Kongsfjord - 70°43'N 29°21'E
KONG8 - report
AMAZING DAYS IN ARCTIC NORWAY
Finally! The annual KONG DX-peditons to Arctic Norway have never been fruitless, but we have had to fight solar storms, poor conditions and noise almost every year. This time, things got right. We knew already early fall that unless the sun really messed things up, this could be a success. As we all know, the sun held its breath until late October!!
Kongsfjord – located roughly at 71 degrees N and 29.5 degrees E – a quiet place 34 km away from the municipal centre Berlevag, where Bjarne Mjelde has a large cabin with space for several beverages. None would be particularly long, but 300 meters plus towards North America/Hawaii and 5-600 meters towards Asia. Unfortunately, for several reasons only one of the NA beverages were put into work, and had to function for both continental NA and Hawaii. The last day we put up a dedicated Alaska/Hawaii beverage which worked excellently. Contrary to previous years, we had little trouble with the 250kW Loran C tx located some 14 km to the North. Partly, we believe, because we replaced the Wellbrook ABS-cover splitters with a metal-cased splitter. This actually did wonders on the NA beverages which do point to the North and the Loran C mast. The Wellbrook splitters were instead used «inside» the first splitter to divide the signals to various receivers.
Bjarne had been in Kongsfjord a day before the others arrived, logging a few NA and Australia on 1620. With the three others arriving around 11 pm local, they were busy setting up their gear because NA were already coming to life. From 2 am local onwards we heard KXNO-IA 1460, WXYT-MI 1270 and KOZN-NE 1620 among others. During the night we also heard XEAI-1470,and early morning brought XEP-1300, KRXR Gooding ID 1480 with a huge signal, and new WRLL Bervyn IL 1690 became a common guest. After sunrise (yes, post-sunrise DX is no problem in the Arctic parts of the world, at least some time on the darker period of equinox) we heard KHDN Hardin MT 1230, followed by a west coast opening with KKNW Seattle WA 1150, KMED Medford OR 1440, KUTI Yakima WA and KARR Kirkland WA 1460, and KPUG Bellingham WA 1170 to name a few. Later checks showed signals also from KEJO Corvallis OR 1240 (which turned out to be a dominant), and KCTC Sacramento CA 1320. Towards the afternoon we heard a couple of Hawaiian stations including KHBC Honolulu 1060,new in Europe mainly because they seem to recently to have adopted a 24/7 service.
The second day (or night) of DX started around 1 am local on Oct 10 with unusual east coaster WVAA Burlington VT. Not much more until morning, when we heard KTFH Seattle WA 1680 and a tremendous signal from KRKK Rock Springs WY. Around 8 am conditions turned towards the northern west coast again, with superb reception of KSRO Santa Rosa CA 1350, KVRI Blaine WA 1600, KONP Port Angeles WA 1450, KCKX Stayton OR 1460 among many others.
A little after 12 noon (1000 UTC) we connected one of the Asia beverages to try for one of our «dream» stations, only heard once before in Europe, in Lemmenjoki Finland, Tonga 1017. Conditions were so good, we thought if it could be heard it had to be now. Bingo! The signal on 1017 varied a lot, from not audible to reasonably strong! This was insane. Heard only by Mika Mäkeläinen back in 1997 with a lot of effort, here it was with armchair listening quality! Luckily, there were practically no European stations present, and the beverage was verydirective. Having found the station of our dreams, we dialled 540. Bingo again! Samoa with a fair signal! Never heard before in Europe?
In between we also searched for the odd Asian station and North America. We noted a hefty opening towards the northern part of Japan, with JOXS Nomuro 1062 with a fine signal in parallel with JOWF STV 1440. Only 100 watts. As the day turned into afternoon, we also logged many of the same stations as on the 9th . On 1450 we noted KLAM Cordova AK, not a common guest, and KBKW Aberdeen WA. On 1430 the super-dominants KLO and KEZW finally gave way to KYKN Keizer OR. 960 brought forth a station previously unheard in Europe, KALE Richland WA, doing "K-Jocks" id's in an apparent call-swap with KJOX Selah WA 980.
evening brought Australian X-band signals from several frequencies, the
strongest being 1620, 1629 (NTC Radio) and Radio Lebanon
October 11 started with several easterly oriented stations, like WHFA Poynette WI 1240, WSUI Sioux City IA 910, WHLY West Bend IN 1580 and KWPM West Plains MO 1450. Later on west coast stations dominated, like KRNR Roseburg OR 1490. Great signals from Hawaii.
We had to make a go at Pacific again, and Tonga and Samoa are heard again this day. But we also heard French on 738!! Not sure yet if there is a definite ID on Tahiti here, or if they relay France-Inter. At any rate, the catch is fairly certain with nothing else from Europe on the MW band. A very interesting UNID on 846 turned out to be Radio Kiribati - certainly another sensational log and a first from Europe. On the afternoon we had good signals from Hawaii, later on also from Australia, x-band stations but also ABC Naracoorte 1161. For some reason, none of the Guam/NMI stations like 567 and 801 were audible.
October 12, morning:Conditions change a bit with several EST and CST area stations being heard including KSJB Jamestown ND 600. At 1000 UTC we got a local id from JOIK NHK1 Sapporo 567 and JOPG NHK1 Kushiro 585, following a regional program from Hokkaido. After that:Hawaii. And what a day. All on-air Hawaiians except 790 and 1210 (and 1570, which is reported to have only500 watts if on) are logged; we did hear Japanese on 1210 at assigned sign-on time 1530 UTC for KZOO but too weak for ID. How do we convince station personell that these stations were heard in Europe??? A DX-er on a neighbouring island wouldn't hear some of these signals better!
Departure day was in the morning of Oct 13. The last night from midnight onwards we did hear a few easterly oriented stations, such as WOAM Peoria IL 1350, but conditions seemed to vane as morning arrived. And they never quite recovered. So this must have been the best timed DX-pedition we have ever had. Otherwise, we had nice temperatures (5-8 degrees C), calm winds, little rain, by no way the typical arctic October weather.
Participants and equipment:
Odd-Jørgen Sagdahl, Trondheim: One Watkins-Johnson HF-1000A with Sherwood SE-3, one AOR AR7030+. Recordings to MD's.
Tore B. Vik, Mysen: One Icom R75, one AR7030+. Recordings to cassette and MD.
Rolf Torvik, Kristiansund: One Icom R75, one NRD-535D, one Winradio G303i. Recordings to MD's and Total Recorder (PC).
Bjarne Mjelde, Berlevåg: Two NRD-525, one NRD-545, one AR7030+. Recordings to MD's and Total Recorder (PC).