UK from Finland
by Mika Mäkeläinen
In spring 1990
Jari Sinisalo and Jukka Soini were researching
maps to find the ideal location for listening
to radio stations from the British Isles. They
found a camping site, which became an instant
success among Finnish DXers. During the first
12 years, over 230 DXpeditions have been held
and Jukka are among the leading Finnish DXers
in hunting for UK radio stations. Luckily, both
live close to the west coast of Finland, but
neither one has quite ideal surroundings for
long Beverage antennas.
So the search
began. Jukka tells that during the spring and
summer of 1990, both investigated maps to spot
camping sites that could be used as a DXpedition
base. Most sites, especially those right on
the seaside, had to be rejected because of lack
of space for antennas to the west.
found a camping site at Långåminne
a short drive south from the town of Vaasa.
A brief visit to the site confirmed their enthusiasm,
to the west there was at least a kilometer of
swampy forest, where antennas could be built.
One of the cabins was to be reserved for DXers.
is in fact a Swedish name, and this area south
of the town of Vaasa is among the few regions
in Finland, where the majority of the population
speaks Swedish as their native tongue. Långåminne
belongs to the municipality of Malax (Maalahti
in Finnish), where 89% of the population are
Swedish-speaking. For the mostly Finnish-speaking
DXers this has offered a rare chance to use
Swedish in everyday conversation.
The first DXpedition
LÅ1 was held on October 14-19, 1990, by
Harri Kiikeri, Jukka Soini and Tuomo Vesala.
Initially, there were no permanent antennas
installed, so each DXpedition had to set up
and take down their antennas. The cottage that
was used first was different from now, and antennas
had to be lifted over a tennis court, which
is located just south of Vaasa, easily accessible
for a weekend DXpedition for DXers even
in Southern Finland.
that the results of LÅ1 were beyond expectations.
For example on 1584 kHz both Airport Information
Radio stations (Gatwick and Heathrow) were heard,
the other one of which was never again heard
in Finland. Also stations from the La Plata
area of South America were heard well.
After a few
DXpeditions and a lot of sweat in the forest,
in September 1991 permanent wires (diameter
of 0.7 mm) were erected. They proved to be too
thin and would not stand storms and ice, so
they had to be replaced at least annually. This
was however the practise for several years.
Most of the time four antennas were in place,
directed at 250, 255, 280 and 285 degrees, so
that two listeners at a time would have good
wires to both the United Kingdom and Southern
|The DXpedition site is
really a camping site, but there are hardly
any visitors during the prime DXing season.
avoid replacing antennas all the time, a thicker
antenna wire was used along with splitters,
so that only two wires (up to 800 meters in
length) were needed, first at 255 and 285 degrees
and a few years later also an antenna for the
Iberian Peninsula directed at 235 degrees. As
there are only few wires and hardly any outside
interference, coax feeds have not been built.
Back in 1990
the camping area was owned by Nils Törn,
who used to visit the shack every now and then,
and even brought his guests - once all the way
from New Zealand - to talk with the hobbyists.
Ownership has since then changed hands, and
there have been no more unexpected visitors,
but cooperation with the new owner has been
|The cottage houses four
people, but in practise it is just big enough
for two DXers and all the gear.
has had the honour of hosting the most international
DXpedition ever held in Finland. This took place
just before the EDXC Conference of Tampere in
Having just spent one night on the dial at the
shack of Per-Ole Stenman further north on the
Gulf of Bothnia, Michel Ravigneaux (France),
Dario Monferini (Italy), Roberto (Italy), Jaroslav
Bohac (Czech) and Henrik Klemetz (Sweden) spent
another night of DXing in Långåminne.
Maybe there was even one more Czech DXer, Jukka
has not faced major setbacks over the years.
Sometimes fuses have blown and getting a new
one has been difficult. A mouse has been the
only truly unwanted guest. Aside from DX gear,
not much preparation is needed, because Långåminne
is not in the middle of nowhere. You
can get a burger at the camping site bar, and
the town of Vaasa is near. DXing can however
be challenging in the winter, if temperatures
dip below -15 degrees Celsius, because then
it becomes cold also inside.
|Jim Solatie listening
during the LÅ227 DXpedition in March
Jukka Soini if there have been any exceptionally
memorable events during the many DXpeditions
held in Långåminne. -Jim Solatie
had once lent his tape recorder to Jari Ruohomäki
when the two were listening, Jukka tells. When
Jari heard a rare Puerto Rican station on 1380
kHz, the recorder wouldn't work and he missed
the ID. As a consequence, Jim invented a new
sport - throwing a tape recorder over the shoulder
to the forest. Other than that, no collateral
damage has been reported from fierce DXing over
results from the British Isles and South America
have made Långåminne one of the
most popular DXpedition sites in Finland. If
measured by the number of DXpeditions, Långåminne
is the most frequently visited one with over
230 DXpeditions held in 1990-2002. However,
most of these have been very short, even just
1-2 days. Långåminne is about five
hours away from the capital area, so it is possible
to go there for a weekend DXpedition. In terms
of total listening time, DXpeditions to Lemmenjoki
still outnumber those held in Långåminne.
on September 11, 2002