Monday, December 30, 2013

December 2013 Verifications

KPTO Pocatello ID 1440 (thanks OJS)
KQJZ Evergreen MT 1340
KKTS Evansville WY 1580 (thanks OJS)
WXCO Wausau WI 1230 (thanks ABU)
WXNT Indianapolis IN 1430 QSL in pdf format here
WINC Winchester VA 1400
WMAC Macon GA 940
KATE Albert Lea MN 1450
KTJS Hobart OK 1420 "I will mention your DX report on our local news"
WGCL Bloomington IN 1370
KJJQ Volga SD 910
WKAL Rome NY 1450 (DX- test)

Monday, December 16, 2013

WKAL Rome NY 1450 DX Test - Third Time's A Charm

I didn't bother to post "Day Two" because increased proton levels wiped out everything DX-worthy on Sunday morning. However, Bob at Mid-Atlantic Engineering decided to do a third night of testing, and this morning I noted morse code IDs from WKAL! Conditions weren't in any way exceptional (in passing I noted IDs from common stations as CJOY-ON 1460 and WMBD-IL 1470), but as any CW operator knows, tones will beat voice in 10 out of 10 instances.

Thanks to Bob Carter for staying up late and do the work. I know that the test (first night?) was heard in Scotland. I hope other European DX-ers have noted the dit-dit-dahs as well.

Regular service from WKAL will commence in early January.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

WKAL Rome NY 1450 DX Test - Day One

WKAL is doing a DX test over two nights, Saturday the 14th and Sunday the 15th from 03:00 to 07:00, with morse code segments of 5 minutes every TOH and BOH. The first day in Kongsfjord was disappointing, due to effects from a coronal hole, so conditions were poor as the MW spectrum below shows. I did hear Bermuda tentatively just after 05:00, and probably Colombia at 07:02, but nothing more. Not even a hint of morse.

Incidentally, WWXL Manchester KY was also testing on 1450 at 05:00 and 30 minutes onwards.
Nothing audible prior to 05:00, and not a lot of juice afterwards either
I'm hoping for better results on Sunday!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

November 2013 Verifications

KRRZ Minot ND 1390
WROX Clarksdale MS 1450
KWYN Wynne AR 1400
WFAS White Plains NY 1230, fastest response to date, less than 1 minute
WPLA Dry Branch GA 1670
KLWN Lawrence KS 1320
KXGN Glendive MT 1400 (thanks OF)
WOR New York City NY 710 (thanks TJB)

Several: Thanks OJS

Friday, November 01, 2013

October 2013 Verifications (Oct 31 Update)

WTDR Gadsden AL 1350
KRDZ Gray CO 1440
KFIV Modesto CA 1360
CBKD High Level AB 1560
KVKK Verndale MN 1070
CKDY Digby NS 1420
KROS Clinton IA 1340
KREL Colorado Springs CO 1580
WZNG Shelbyville TN 1400
KWHN Fort Smith AR 1320
WKWY Frankfort KY 1490
WMNY McKeesport PA 1360
KKTL Casper WY 1400
KWBE Beatrice NE 1450
KHTK Sacramento CA 1140
KQAM Wichita KS 1480
KJYE Delta CO 1400
WFBL Syracuse NY 1390
WEEX Easton PA 1230
WAOC St. Augustine FL 1420
WHKT Portsmouth VA 1650
KWAD Wadena MN 920
WWNA Aguada PR 1340
WCSL Cherryville NC 1590
KEZJ Twin Falls ID 1450
KCJB Minot ND 910

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Kongsfjord Revisited - One Week Later

If anyone was waiting for a final KONG23 post, I apologise. A severe weather forecast was in effect for departure day (Saturday Oct 19), but luckily the storm held its breath until I had sent TJ, OJ and Arnstein to the airport. The mountain crossing on my return to Vadsø was a little challenging, but I was safe at home when the storm hit. It lasted until Sunday evening. Since then weather's been nice, and my trip to Kongsfjord on Friday afternoon was uneventful, save a few snow drifts.

Conditions have been under the influence of an active sun, but reasonably good most of the time. Friday saw two X-level flares, and I expected a dead band on the night. Not so. Contrary to the common mid-west and western stations usually dominating here, I had a rush of east coast, Caribbean and Colombian stations, many not heard here before. Some of the more interesting ones were WAOC St. Augustine FL 1420, WCSL Cherryville NC 1590, WQSC Charleston SC 1340 and WGHB Farmville NC 1250, the first three new for me. WMDD Fajardo PR was booming in on 1480, and WMKI Boston MA, WSKO Syracuse NY and CKHJ Frederickton NB were fighting for dominance on 1260 in the absence of usual dominant CFRN Edmonton AB.
310 beverage overnight Jaguar waterfall, October 26

Contrary to previous days when conditions lated until 13:00 UTC or longer, signal levels were rather weak at 07:00 and more or less completely gone by 08:00. I had hoped for an east coast sunrise opening, but it was not to come.

Saturday afternoon brought nothing of interest from Asia and the Pacific, and Sunday was uneventful. Heavy interference from Europe, and only the usual La Plata stations audible. Conditions turned a bit north later in the morning with a few eastern NA stations at very low signal levels, and also HJJW Bogotá 1460. However, we DX by the slogan "Expect the Unexpected", and  WWNA Radio Una 1340 in Aguada PR fits perfectly into that category. Thanks Arnstein for checking my recording.

310 beverage overnight Jaguar waterfall, October 27

In contrast to Saturday, when the 340 beverage heard almost the same as the 310 beverage, today was totally different and the 340 was basically empty.

Weather has been quite ok for October, from +1 to -2 Celsius, mostly cloudy and occasional flurries, mostly calm. Quite a contrast to the previous weekend.

Friday, October 18, 2013

KONG23 - Day Nine (Morning)

Today is the last full day of KONG23, and improvement is coming! We have seen great improvement in solar weather, and from just before 03:00 signals improved considerably, as we can see on the Yaslog waterfall below.

We'll see what happens as we have a lot of catching up to do. Departure for Berlevag airport at 05:00 tomorrow...

Weather is pretty much like yesterday but a little windier.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

KONG23 - Day Seven (Evening)

Not much to report DX-wise, however we've been having fun checking recordings from the last week of September, and we've found lots of new and interesting stations.

As is the procedure every year, the chefs take a day off and we eat at Kongsfjord Guest House. This year, we opted for cod loins with custard and garlic, carrot paste and potatoes. A delicious Chianti was served with the fish. For dessert we had pannacotta with fresh cloudberries. Of course we didn't know quite when to stop, so we couldn't resist  a couple of Gammel Opland aquavit.

Solar activity is still on the active side, but we hope that tonight will be a bit better than last night. In fact, any night will be better than last night...

Since I don't have any photos to accompany this post, why don't you check the link to one of the stations we heard in September, and QSL-ed this evening.

KONG23 - Day Seven (Morning)

What have we done to deserve this... basically nothing at all during the night:

Luckily we still have lots of recordings from the good September openings to check, and find new stations.

Yesterday it was time for another KONG signature meal, the reindeer tenderloin, together with mashed potatoes & carrots and a veg wok. We started off with fresh dates wrapped in bacon or parma ham, fried on the pan. We finished with what gradually became a four-dish dessert; baked pineapples followed by cloudberries in whipped cream. As if that wasn't enough the rest of the cheese were downed with port wine before finishing it all with chocolate pudding leftovers and Amaretto. And the absolutely totally awesome Felton Road Pinot Noir.

Weather cooled off overnight, -4 Celsius but sunny and moderate breeze. One or more foxes visited the premises during darkness, and was not disappointed to find a nice selection of leftovers from past dinners.

View to the southwest

What Did The Fox Say? "Thanks guys!"

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

KONG23 - Day Six (Morning)

We hope it doesn't get any worse than this. The night and morning was totally uneventful, a small peak at 04:00 but nothing exciting. We can only hope for improvement. Yesterday evening brought a nice opening towards Japan and the Philippines. Recordings from previous days and weeks keep us busy.

Our activities rarely create headlines with the stations we hear. KROS Clinton IA 1340 however decided to share this with their internet readers, and made this page where reports from me and Ole Forr are cited. I received my KROS verie yesterday.

The weather has turned colder with moderate breeze, light snow and hail showers and around 0 Celsius.

Today's photo is from October 13 after the storm.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

KONG23 - Day Five's been a while.

The sun's not been nice to us. It's teasing us with letting signals through now and then, but it shuts the door too often. Nothing interesting from Asia yesterday, and nothing interesting from Asia today. On Monday however (TJ discovered when playing back his Winradio recordings), there was a nice opening at 20:00 towards Asia, when the NHK-1 stations had their local ID procedure.

Last night was mostly quiet, but a few short but interesting openings brought stations like KOLY Mobridge SD 1300, KWYN Wynne AR 1400, KYLS Fredericktown MO 1450 and  WROX Clarksdale MS 1450. Recordings are still being examined.

Yesterday was beef day, with a Uruguayan tenderloin carefully and respectfully prepared by Arnstein after a salmon sashimi starter. Today was OJ's turn and he impressed us as usual with cauliflower soup for starter, followed by rack of lamb with vegetables. We have to wait a bit for the cheese, since there's a limit to how much we can eat. For details (especially about the wines): See the Kongsfjord page.

Winter's been waiting a couple of days to unleash its white power on us, and today we got an early warning of what's to come.

Our neighbours - barely visible

Sadly, winter seems to have joined forces with the sun, so there are near-storm levels everywhere.

Monday, October 14, 2013

KONG23 Day Four (Morning)

The planned KONG23 Day Three (Evening) post never made it. Too much dinner-related fatigue.

Conditions towards Asia and Pacific yesterday was uninspiring to say the least. We did do an antenna check yesterday though, and the previous night's storm hadn't done any damage. The wind had calmed to fresh breeze at the time.
Ocean swells hammering on the "Hattholmen", Hat Island

The white stick to the left is one of the 340 beverage supports

Even if conditions let us down, meals never do. Sunday's three-course dinner started with a duck liver paté on crispy sourdough bread. From that rather heavy intro we went on to woked salmon before ending up with assorted cheeses.

Solar activity has been very low the past 24 hours or so, but it doesn't reflect on conditions. Stations are heard, but overnight European interference was heavy, and the signal levels this morning are low.

Weather is gradually cooling off and we're just on the plus side of the scale now. Calm winds, occasional sleet. We may expect more gale force winds tomorrow with snow and temperatures below 0 Celsius.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

KONG23 Day Three (Morning)

OK signal levels throughout the night, but not very focused so difficult to hear anything interesting. At 05:00 southern states became more audible as WTDR Gadsen AL 1350 and WZNG Shelbyville TN 1400 came up with nice IDs.

Weather this night was rough indeed with heavy winds, sleet and snow, and the noise made it difficult to sleep. At dawn I took this picture from the window.

We will see what the rest of the morning brings. When the weather clears up a bit it might be a good idea to do an antenna inspection, however there is no indication that there is anything wrong with them.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

KONG23 - Day Two

This morning's propagation report wasn't very optimistic, and the Jaguar overnight waterfall below illustrates quite well that the signal levels were low and mostly of little interest. There was a short blast however at 07:00 to 09:00 with decent signals from some Coloradio stations and neighbouring states. New in the log is KRDZ Wray CO 1440. KIIX Ft. Collins CO 1410 is not new but not very often heard, however they had a very nice signal today.

China was surprisingly weak this afternoon, allowing a nice opening to Japan at 13:00, and decent signals even at 13:20 when the NHK-2 stations had their local ID break. JOLR KNB Toyama 738 had a massive signal, and JOEF YBC Yamagata 918 dwarfed Archangelsk completely. A possible NHK-2 local ID was noted on 1035 which is mostly inaccessible due to Chinese interference. KTWG Agana Guam 801 and KUAM "Isla 63" 630 were noted with strong signals a while.

Later in the evening TJ found a signal on 1130, and at 15:53 we noted a KPHI Honolulu HI identification with fair signal levels. Other Hawaiians were audible too, but signal levels weren't very impressive. Nothing of interest from DU.

This evening was King Crab day. For starters, we chose bruschetta with parma ham, baked dulcita tomatoes, parmesan cheese and fresh basil. The main course was of course king crab the usual way, baked on a salt bed, and served with pasta carbonara. The wine of choice this year was a 2009 Chablis Premier Cru. We rounded off the meal with burned figs with Gorgonzola cheese and cloudberries on top. A Madeira would go nicely along with this, and we decided that a 1982 Madeira Barbeito would do well. Especially since it was the only one we had.

Optimistic as ever, we're looking forward to the coming night.

Weatherwise: Rain showers, calm to fresh breeze during the day, and 3-4 Celsius. The weather bureau warns us about stormy conditions overnight, with sleet and snow. If the weather turns bad enough I'll post a photo tomorrow.

KONG23 - Day One

KONG23 officially started with the arrival of Arnstein Bue, OJ Sagdahl and TJ Bråtveit on schedule, in heavy winds at 13:05, courtesy of Wideroe Airlines. Solar conditions aren't at all good, the previous night was uneventful with only a handful stations heard. Nothing interesting from Asia and the Pacific in the afternoon either, so the guests could set up their PCs and black boxes (SDRs) with no stress. Weather has definitely turned autumn, although mild for the season with 5 Celsius, but gale force winds and showers would be unmotivating for outdoor activities like antenna erections. Luckily we didn't have to, they were already up.

The first KONG meal is usually a simple one. This year, Bjarne presented his special fish gratin comprised of haddock loins and fried bacon, lyce, carrots and macaroni, and the all-important muscat flavour. A Kim Crawford white wine served as a worthy companion. For dessert we enjoyed dark chocolate pudding with vanilla custard and a small glass of Amaretto. To clear our throats we also needed a glass of the lovely Grappa Amoroso.

Overnight conditions are even worse than yesterday's. Few, and faint signals. Luckily we have lots of recordings to attend. The temperature this morning is 3 Celsius, fresh breeze and the hills are snow-clad. Fresh breads are in the making. Ocean swells are hammering on my sandy beach near the house. Yes, it's that time of the year again.

October 2013 Verifications (Oct 12 Update)

KTOQ Rapid City SD 1340
KBRB Ainsworth NE 1400
WJOI Norfolk VA 1230
WCHU Ithaca NY 870
WTKI Huntsville AL 1450 See proper QSL letter here
WGY Schenectady NY 810
WKNW Sault St. Marie MI 1400
WRVA Richmond VA 1140
CBN St. John's NL 640 (Canada no. 200)
WFIR Roanoke NY 960
KTFI Wendell ID 1340
WGAN Portland ME 560
WEAV Plattsburgh NY 960
WBIP Boonesville MS 1400
WRTO Chicago IL 1200 (thanks BIH)
KCOW Alliance NE 1400
CJVA Caraquet NB 810
WIOD Miami FL 610
WMOH Hamilton OH 1450
KRLW Walnut Ridge AR 1320
WBCK Battle Creek MI 930 - their full-hour ID is here (studio version)

Thanks OJS for several verie-signers.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The KONG Crew Has Landed!

Now: Setting up the gear, accompanied with music from KBRW 680 and "Northern Lights" beer.

KONG23 - Arrival Day

We don't quite know what to expect from this year's KONG DX-pedition, given the recent solar activity. Actually we thought the band would be dead quiet last night from the aftermath of the M-class flare on Wednesday. It wasn't! It varied a lot, as one can expect with disturbed conditions, and the Jaguar overnight waterfall illustrates this nicely.

Good conditions towards the MI/OH/IN area at 01:00, stations like WBCK-MI 930, WSBT-IN 960, WMOH-OH 1450 and WBNS-OH 1460. Totally dead at 02:00, improving 03:00 and then a very nice opening toward the southern states at 04:00 giving me new stations from VA, KY and AR. Decent signals even at 05:00 but then the signal levels dipped as if someone switched the power off. From red to green in seconds.

At the time of writing this, 03:30 UTC on the 11th, the night has been quite uneventful with only the most common stations audible.

Weather permitting, the other KONG participants Arnstein Bue, OJ Sagdahl and TJ Bråtveit will land at 11:04 UTC. The weather is quite rough although temperatures are still just on the red side of the zero mark.

What we do know, is that even if we don't hear well, we will eat and drink well! Stay tuned for some hefty descriptions here and on's weblog.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

September 2013 Verifications

KBZY Salem OR 1490
KVSI Montpellier ID 1450
KTNF St. Louis Park MN 950
CFOS Owen Sound ON 560
Vision Radio Network (several possible locations) 1611
Vision Radio Network, Bathurst NSW 1629
Regarding Vision Radio: Listen to their studio recording vs. my recording here

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Ending A Spectacular September

While it is true that conditions in September have been monitored in an unprecedented scale in Kongsfjord this year, I think it is also safe to say that the conditions have been unprecedented in stability and quality. Below is the overnight waterfall from the 340 beverage on Sept 28th:

Both my Perseus/Jaguars were running in continous mode overnight. Logs from this week include CFOS Owen Sound ON 560, WCHU Ithaca NY 870, WIBX Utica NY 950, KTOQ Rapid City SD 1340, KFIV Modesto CA 1360, KJYE Delta CO 1400, WKNW Sault St. Marie MI 1400, KBMW Breckenridge MN 1450, WTKI Huntsville AL 1450 and KKAQ Thief River Falls MN 1460 to name some of the better ones.

While conditions were good and focused on the 28th, they were anything but focused on the 29th, so nothing new was heard. Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Cuba, US/Can east coast mixing with mid-west and even the odd west coast station makes it hard to find anything of interest.

However, weaker signals are audible several hours after sunrise now, after we passed equinox.

Very little of interest from Asia and the Pacific this weekend. Less than two weeks until the KONG23 DX-pedition starts.

UPDATE September 30th:
And this is how the Jaguar waterfall looks after a "solar fart", in this case the start of a proton event:

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Yes, It's That Time Of The Year...

...when I fire up the good old R-390A again. And it never lets me down. This one was restored to perfection with the invaluable help from Dallas Lankford, to better than specified performance (sensitivity is -115 dBm on AM, 6 kHz bandwidth,400 Hz tone and 30 % modulation). The stock filters were replaced with filters more suitable for MW DX, and the last modification involved an AM Synchronous Detector. Once the set is sufficiently warm, it's rock stable.
R-390A - still glowing

Dallas also helped make a complete inventory of valves, lamps and other parts that could come in handy during the next 50 years or so.

This R-390A is a relatively new one, manufactured in 1967. Its pre-Mjelde history is rather obscure, but there is reason to believe that it was one of the workhorses at a Norwegian Army Sigint facility. They were supposed to be demolished after completing service, but story has it that some operators who were also radio amateurs managed to save some of them. I bought it from a radio amateur in 2004.

The R-390A hasn't been among my most important DX receivers, however in many ways it's still a reference receiver for todays' SDRs. Although it can't compete with the versatility of SDRs, on single frequency monitoring it is still number one.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Autumn Equinox (well, almost) DX Weekend

With the clear, dry and relatively warm weather continuing well into autumn, it was time for another weekend at the KONG site. The record-breaking summer of 1960 is no longer a benchmark, and for decades to come we will tell our children and grandchildren about the fabulous summer of 2013. Unless of course this is the new average, courtesy of global warming.

The KONG DX Headquarter
Solar activity was quite a bit higher than last weekend, and conditions varied a lot. Friday afternoon towards Asia/Pacific was uneventful - I did hear 4QD Emerald QLD 1548 a couple of times, but nothing else of interest. The night was mixed. At 01:00 UTC signal levels from eastern North America were high, but not particularly interesting with the exception of WVHI Evansville IN 1330 which I heard for only the second time I think. Then towards 02:00 the band died, but returned towards 03:00 with fair levels. Especially notable was KQDS Duluth MN 1490, not an unusual station but with a magnificent two-minute ID by ID by ID at excellent strength a few minutes prior to 03:00. Sunrise was at 03:35 and at 04:00 the band was rather quiet.
Jaguar/Perseus overnight waterfall
Most of Saturday was spent with antenna support maintenance and strolling around with my Lumix. The photo below shows the "transmitter end" of the 310 degrees beverage. Eastern North America is straight down that line.

310 beverage, transmitter end
From the other side, we see the wire towards the feedline end at the bottom of the slope. The black plastic bands are placed on the wire to warn and deflect the occasional reindeer - although I don't think there are anyone left here now. Average antenna height is around 130-140 cm, extending to around 240 cm where it crosses a dirt road.

310 beverage, receiver end
Conditions towards Asia on Saturday afternoon were even less eventful than Friday as Chinese stations even dominated over the strong Japanese stations. Iran became audible at very high levels - a tell tale sign of auroral conditions. There was however little or no aurora borealis in the evening, so I had hopes for the coming night.

And it wasn't too bad, although not much new. The top of the hour 02:00 appears to be the most interesting one, with Colorado stations at unusual levels. A very nice signal from KIIX Ft. Collins 1410. Others noted in passing thoughout the morning were KTUB Centerville UT 1600, KMRI West Valley City UT 1550 (presumed day power), KGFX Pierre SD 1060, KDHL Faribault MN 920 and possibly KOZY Grand Rapids MN 1320. OJ Sagdahl also alerted me about KTNF St. Louis Park MN 950 which was heard competing with CFAM. New log. New log also for KVSI Montpellier ID 1450.

I used both the 310 and the 340 beverages for the first time this night. Differences were subtle and with regards to signal strength much less than the overnight waterfalls below might suggest (it's due to different coding on two different versions of Jaguar).
Jaguar/Perseus 310 overnight waterfall

Jaguar/Perseus 340 overnight waterfall
Sunrise at 03:39. At 05:00 only a few low-level signals were left, but I did note CFYK Yellowknife YT 1340 at that point. Soon it will be gone and 1340 will become even more interesting.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Weekend DX In Kongsfjord - Surprising Aussie Opening

Another weekend was spent in Kongsfjord to check conditions and gear. We are enjoying a mild and dry autumn, with temperatures well above an average day in July, so there is no sense in sitting at home. Solar conditions were mostly quiet to unsettled, due to a coronal hole, but it didn't do very much damage. It's still very early in the season on this latitude, but I did get some nice catches.

From North America, stations of interest were WMDR Augusta ME 1340 and rarely heard (here, but common further south) CKDY Digby NS 1420 on Saturday. Sunday brought WRVA Richmond VA 1140, WOMT Manitowoc WI 1240, WMFJ Daytona FL 1450 and an unusually strong KOLM Rochester MN 1520. It takes something to get by WWKB. The overnight waterfall shows signal peaks around 01:00 and 01:30, somewhat weaker at 02:00 and fading as dawn went into sunrise at 03:10 UTC. Poor signal levels in the bottom half of the MW band.

From Asia and the Pacific, Friday afternoon and evening brought some astonishing signals from Japan, plus KUAM Agatna Guam on 630. Tentative reception also from KGUM 567 and KTWG 801, the latter with great signals. Also the odd Australian. All heard before so nothing spectacular. .

All the more spectacular were the Australians that showed up on Saturday though. Excellent reception both in-band and in the x-band, the latter producing super signals from The Vision Network on 1611 and 1629, also 4KZ great on 1620 and 2ME/3ME on 1638. Signals further up to be checked. What was really surprising was in-band, with our old friend 2BS Bathurst NSW on 1503 excellent on top of the hour, also tentative 4AY Albury NSW on 1494 but running syndicated programming at the time they peaked. On 1350, 2LF from Young, NSW is a new log, and we also have tentative logs from 2SM Sydney, NSW 1269 and 2GF Grafton, NSW 1206. ABC was heard on a large number of frequencies, including extremely unlikely 1602 where the main suspect is ABC Western Victoria, 250 watts. Favoured stations were located in NSW with some QLD and Victoria stations.

So: What can we expect the coming afternoon? Time will show, SDR recorders have been set as I return to Vadsø. The photo below was taken on Sunday around 08:30, and although it has a clear autumn tint with wind and dark clouds, the temperature is still 15 Celsius. (Yes, that fiber glass pole on the right is an antenna, it's a Mini-Whip).

Monday, September 09, 2013

Arctic DX Summit - Day Four (and departure day)

Expectations for more excellent Asia and Pacific DX were high yesterday, but conditions took a deep dip as the signal paths were a lot more southerly than on Saturday. Nothing of interest was noted, except 5PA Naracoorte, SA which was heard briefly on 1161. The following night wasn't out of this world either, with mostly the usual stations heard and European signal levels rather high. Sunset was at 0245 which is quite visible on the waterfall below as the signals weaken into blue and then fade away.

Yesterday evening we had one of the KONG signature dishes. For starters we had champignons, filled with a mix of chopped chorizo, garlic and olive oil, oven-baked until perfection. The main course was reindeer tenderloins with potato paste and fried mushroom picked from under the 340 beverage path. The dinner was rounded off with cloudberries in whipped cream. We enjoyed a 2010 Shiraz Victoria from Brown Brothers with the champignons, and the sirloins were accompanied with a 2008 Barolo from Monforte D'Alba.

Today at 0800 UTC we will depart for Vadsø. Another beautiful day has arrived with clear skies and only a light breeze. The full KONG crew will return in October.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Arctic DX Summit - Day Three

We expected nice conditions towards North America this night, and they were quite good, starting at around 2330 UTC on the upper half of MW and fading out around 0300, half an hour after sunrise. It is interesting to note that on the lower part of the MW band, signals became audible a lot later.

Conditions mostly towards the eastern part of North America, as is standard procedure these early weeks of the season. Ohio and Michigan stations came out on top on many frequencies.

The windy weather yesterday calmed down in the afternoon, and in between logging Asian and Pacific stations we found time for a reindeer stew with assorted cheeses for dessert.

Light breeze, mostly cloudy and 10 Celsius this morning at 0600 UTC.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Arctic DX Summit - Late Asian Opening

And some opening! The band has been filled with excellent signals from especially Japan and Korea, and even Australia, both in-band and x-band, and New Zealand! Earliest Kiwi log ever in Kongsfjord.

At 1800 UTC Japan and Korea peaked at exceptional signal levels. Too bad the NHK stations didn't have a local break at this time. AFN Korea noted on 1530 and 1575 kHz, Newstalk ZB on 1035, HLQC KBS1 on 1539, ABC on 855, 630, 1548 etc.

At 1900 the signals were still outstanding, but less interesting because of more interference from SE Asia/Middle East and from Europe.

This has indeed raised our expectations towards the coming night. But then, you never know... Below is an example of the signal strength of one of the FE Asian stations, JOIF Fukuoka 1413 kHz. I doubt if they're heard much better in the outskirts of that city... The distance is 6800 km. And if you wonder how it sounds like, check this audio!

Arctic DX Summit - Early Asian Opening

From an otherwise completely empy MW band, stations from Hokkaido, Japan were audible before 13:00 UTC. 1602 (NHK2), 1593 (NHK2), 1557 (HBC), 1449 (HBC), 1440 (STV) and 1287 (HBC) were noted at the full hour. Distance from us to the sunset line was 2200 km at the time.

UPDATE at 14:00 UTC: Nice signal levels above around 1250 kHz, all the common Japan stations audible. Even heard 4QD Emerald Qld-1548 with a weak signal, very early for DU at early September. Below 1200-1250 kHz signal levels are low. No AUS carriers on X-band.

Arctic DX Summit - Day Two

Despite excellent solar conditions, last night's DX was a total disaster. Weak audio only on very few frequencies.

Nowhere even close to disaster was OJ's superb dinner yesterday evening: Pesto-baked chicken with mushroom picked by Arnstein along the 310 beverage path. Chocolate pudding with vanilla custard and port wine rounded it off nicely.

Today is stay-indoor-and-see-how-the-antennas-cope day since the wind is gale force and the rain showers are rather intense. The odd bottle of beer keeps us happy.

Friday, September 06, 2013

The Tecsun PL-380's New Long Stick

Some will know that I recently purchased a Tecsun PL-380 to bring along for a trip to East Africa in February. Following Gary DeBocks advice, I bought ferrite rods from Amidon and Litz wire from Ebay, and started to "roll my own" as it were, this afternoon. 81 rounds of Litz wire was what Gary recommended in his write-up, and 81 rounds I did.

Removing the stock ferrite rod inside the PL-380 was done in five minutes, with the help of a small flat screwdriver and a bit of patience (and possibly luck, since I didn't break anything), as it was fastened with two blobs with glue.

The new ferrite will necessarily have to be an external one. The photo shows a somewhat makeshift solution as I probably need to secure the wires to prevent stress on the solder joints.

Anyway, the results were rather surprising. I went outdoor to get away from all the in-house noise sources, and reception was clear and strong on all MW frequencies. It is impossible, and of course unfair, to compare it with a Winradio G33DDC connected to a 500 meter long beverage, but all in all I was pleasantly surprised with what it had to offer.

It will be interesting to see what I hear on the slopes of Kilimanjaro, not to mention  on the north coast of Zanzibar!

Arctic DX Summit - Day One

This year's ADXS is scheduled from Thursday 5 to Monday 9 September, with me, Arnstein Bue and OJ Sagdahl as participants. Starting from Vadsø airport, we made a short detour to Finland to shop some alcoholic beverages such as the beer brands pictured below, and then headed straight to Kongsfjord. The nice late summer weather allowed outdoor grilling of fresh salmon.

German inspiration while testing the Jaguar Roadster
On Friday the weather was even warmer, and we spent several hours outdoor setting up the dual 340 beverage and providing proper grounding for the 50 beverage. As I write this, we are waiting for le chef OJ to compose a special chicken dish.

Conditions were ok, although at this latitude we never expect much at these early days of September. There were fair signals from the dominant eastern US and Canadian stations at 0000 and 0200 UTC. At 0300 we were already half an hour into daylight but some stations were still audible.
Checking last night's DX
More to come!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

First TA Signals (and then some)

First signals from over the pond were recorded on Aug 29, and Argentina was the first country this year. The day after saw nice signals from the usual ARG stations, like 1110, 1190, 1270 and 1350. A little Cuba and Brazil mixed in. Nothing from North America so far.

The above were logged on the 310 beverage, which went quiet during yesterday. I went out to see what was wrong. It was totally devastated. Including extremely solid supports, thrown around as were they matches. In the middle of it all: A very grumpy reindeer bull, his antlers entangled in beverage stuff. I managed to cut as much of the wire as I dared, and off he went, leaving me to pick up the pieces.

Today the 310 is up and running again, in the hope that Mr. Reindeer has learned a lesson. Actually he shouldn't be here at the coast at all now, he should be up on the plains looking for reindeer girls. Maybe he missed the biology class.

It's the first reindeer catch since I started erecting beverages here in 1997.

A new radio project is underway. I will be going to East Africa in February and thought I'd bring a small radio with me and do some MW band scanning. So I ended up with the Tecsun PL-380, which fits "small" comfortably. But I need to rely on its internal ferrite rod for MW reception, and as we know small is not good for ferrite rods. So I got two 7.5" ferrite rods from Amidon yesterday, and I'm waiting for some Litz wire to complete the project. Thanks Gary DeBock for the write-up on this mod. The picture shows the difference in size between the stock ferrite and the new one. Now I only need to find out how to make it fit in the enclosure...

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

New Season Underway!

The 50-degrees beverage has been remarkably quiet since noon on Saturday. Today, after being alerted about DU conditions in Aihkiniemi FIN yesterday, I checked it via remote control at 1900Z. Sure enough, ABC Adelaide 891 with a nice signal! Earliest ever confirmed DU in Kongsfjord! Interestingly enough, nothing (except a Greek pirate) was audible in the X-band.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

New Season Approaching Pt II

Well I was wrong. The noise I experienced on the 50 degrees beverage had nothing to do with insufficient grounding. The noise just happened to be gone when I tested after the grounding work. It later returned, and was present almost every time I checked the past week. Before noon on Saturday however the band was quiet again, and it is still quiet on Sunday morning. Problems of intermittent nature are indeed difficult to pin down. And conclusions are easily made on insufficient evidence.

During Friday evening (when the noise was definitely there) I analysed it to the best of my ability. It appears to start around 400 kHz, and above 4 MHz it's not noticeable. It has its peaks and nulls as can be seen from the 4 MHz DDC spectrum below but they are not completely evenly distributed. What was really quite surprising was that when I engaged the G33DDCs Noise Blanker, it all but removed the noise. Alas, the Perseus NB is much less effective so unless I'm able to remove the source, the G33DDC is the only SDR I can use with the 50 degrees beverage.
Noise floor when disturbed. Vertical lines are "proper" signals.
I am now 100 % certain that the source is not within my house or any of my equipment. There aren't many possible sources within a reasonable distance here, but 3 km away on the back lobe of the beverage there is a power plant transformation station. I walked around the station on Saturday with a Degen DE-1103, but its ferrite antenna didn't pick up any particular noise.

The 310 degreees beverage was erected in beautiful late summer weather yesterday and works as expected. The hope for early trans-atlantic signals was shattered by two M-class flares yesterday evening followed by a proton event.

The dual-340 beverage will wait until OJ Sagdahl comes around in early September.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

New Season Approaching

And with it comes antenna preparations. The first beverage out was the 500 meter, 50 degrees Asia/Pacific beverage. It has been an exceptionally quiet antenna in the past, but last autumn we noticed noise coming and going. It only periodically disturbed DX-ing though. However this was the spectrum that met me after I connected yesterday:
Afternoon spectrum
Of course, this was not good. The noise band seemed to come and go at rather random intervals so I was relatively sure it was not man-made. Getting a good grounding at the starting point has proven to be a bit tricky, so I decided to investigate this lead first. Equipped with a sledge hammer, extra copper rods and leads I reworked the grounding system with four rods into the rather stony ground. When I got back I found this spectrum:
Daytime spectrum
Now we're talking! This is just about as quiet as it can get. You will notice the horisontal lines on parts of the spectrum. It's Loran C noise, and reducing it any more than I have already done isn't possible without switching off the station.

Despite the noise yesterday evening, I was able to hear DX as several Japanese MW stations were audible with good levels, especially JOHR HBC Sapporo 1287.

To round this off, a couple of pictures of the starting point and how the antenna stretches towards the shore on the other end.
Mostly rocky soil, grounding is difficult

Last 300 meters towards New Zealand :-)

Friday, March 29, 2013

Updated Log 2012-2013

For some reason I have been unable to update the "Recent Logs" on the right-hand menu. It is possibly Java-related. However, the March 29 update of the 2012-2013 log is readable if you click this link.

Monday, March 04, 2013

March 2013 Verifications

(Stations added at the top)

WAGN Menominee MI 1340
KHAS Hastings NE 1230
WPVL Platteville WI 1590
WTKG Grand Rapids MI 1230
KFTM Fort Morgan CO 1400
KMRY Cedar Rapids IA 1450
WNBF Binghamton NY 1290
KXPD Tigard OR 1040
WFAU Gardiner ME 1280
KEYF Dishman WA 1050
WSKO Syracuse NY 1260
WASB Brockport NY 1590
WTTL Madisonville KY 1310
WATZ Alpine MI 1450
KFJL Central Point OR 1400
WIMA Lima OH 1150
WXFN Muncie IN 1340
WSAM Saginaw MI 1400 (2010 reception)
KGEM Boise ID 1140 (2010 reception)
KWTL Grand Forks ND 1370 (2009 reception)
KCVL Colville WA 1240
WEZE Boston MA 590
WJRW Grand Rapids MI 1340
KWVR Enterprise OR 1340 (2007 reception)
KOHI Saint Helens OR 1600
WDIA Memphis TN 1070 (2010 reception)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

So You Thought You Could Run A Perseus With Windows 8

...but you're not allowed to? The problem is with the driver, as Microsoft has added security levels regarding unsigned drivers. This was not a problem in MS Vista and MS Windows 7. However, Windows 8 won't let you get away quite that easy.

I built a Windows 8-64 Pro system  a few weeks ago. Prior to that, there had been both questions and solutions in the Perseus Yahoo reflector about how to install the Perseus driver in Windows 8. The answers basically pointed to a solution you will find here. It's a description on how to disable and bypass driver signature enforcement i Windows 8.

The routine is quite straightforward although it involves quite a few steps. You will not be able to convince anyone that you installed a malicious driver "by accident" if you've done this. After restarting the PC in a mode that will happily install any unsigned driver, you're ready to install the PerseusWinUSBDriver. It is available as a zipped folder here. Follow the instructions included in the folder when you install.

A less cumbersome method might be that the driver got a Microsoft signature. I don't know if that is going to happen or not, but I had no intention of waiting any longer.

My Perseus is now running happily in my Windows 8 environment.

Monday, February 04, 2013

February 2013 Verifications

(Stations added at the top)

KRDM Redmond OR 1240
KTBZ Tulsa OK 1430
CIOR Princeton BC 1400
KQAQ Austin MN 970
KJRG Newton KS 950
WLFN La Crosse WI 1490
WOSH Oshkosh WI 1490
WGIV Pineville NC 1370
KTIL Tillamook OR 1590 ("Your signal is the strongest I've heard so far!")
KPAM Troutdale OR 860
KLMS Lincoln NE 1480
KYNO Fresno CA 940
KFLD Klamath Falls OR 1450
KIIX Ft. Collins CO 1410
WJSM St. Joseph MI 1400
WWLS Moore OK 640 (now KWPN)
WTUX Madison WI 1550 (now WHIT)
WJMC Rice Lake WI 1240
WCSZ Sans Souci SC 1070
KOLM Rochester MN 1520
KAUS Austin MN 1480
KBRV Soda Springs ID 800, check their DX logs here!
KEYL Long Prairie MN 1400
KNEB Scottsbluff NE 960
KAGO Klamath Falls OR 1150
KWIX Moberley MO 1230
KJCR Billings MT 1240
KSJX San Jose CA 1500
WHJJ Providence RI 920
WDLX Washington NC 930
WGHB Farmville NC 1250

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Log Update

My online log has been updated as per March 20, 2013 (NA-section only). It is found here, or on the link to the right.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

January 2013 Verifications

CISL Richmond BC 650
KCVR Lodi CA 1570
KBLA Santa Monica CA 1580
KFAN Rochester MN 1270
KSHP North Las Vegas NV 1400
KOLT Scottsbluff NE 1320
KSEL Portales NM 1450
KCBL Fresno CA 1340

Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Software Challenge For The G33DDC

Software bundled with SDRs suffer from the need to satisfy customers with a wide variety of preferences. Special functions or needs are not catered for however, and will usually be subject to third-party developers. DX-ers with special requirements will either have to know how to develop these solutions themselves, or have to rely on developers who understand what they’re after.

The Perseus SDR soon had quite a variety of third-party applications, albeit of varying quality, serving special needs. Some are shareware/freeware, some are restricted («teamware»). There has been very little development going on for the G33DDC.  One reason is probably that (at least in Europe) the Perseus is used by a lot more MW DX-ers, so the focus has been on that radio.

Typical for bundled SDR software is the lack of focus on recording and playback of ddc files. The G33DDC software fares a lot better than Perseus with regards to live and scheduled recording. The playback function however fails to recognize 1) the DX potential of extended recording sessions, and 2) how extremely time consuming playback of many ddc recordings is.

My objective is to find out if it is possible to make a basic ddc playback application where ddc files can be checked at a much higher rate than the G33DDC software allows. This is indeed possible, I am using this approach today. I’d like to know if anyone here share the same objective, and have the necessary programming skills to cooperate with me. I am very much aware of what this application should do.

Contact info: bjarne.mjelde at 

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Remote Control - Or Being 170 km Away From The Dial

The KONG antenna farm is located in Kongsfjord, Arctic Norway, at 70.72 degrees north, and 29.35 degrees east. That's just south of Barrow, Alaska and a little east of Istanbul, Turkey. You didn't expect Norway to stretch that far east, did you? Now, the antenna farm isn't very impressive compared to other MW sites in Arctic Europe, but its proximity to the sea shore partly outweigh the disadvantages of short beverage antennas. Another important factor for a good, permanent DX site is good infrastructure, such as stable power, road connection and not least:  Internet connection. All this combined with an extremely low RF noise level makes it a very attractive location. Most readers will know about the KONG DX-pedition every October, but in fact we're there every day now, thanks to a 450 MHz internet link.

OJ Sagdahl and I have set up PCs and SDRs to record automatically. Theoretically, we could let the equipment stand there during the winter, pick up the xxx TB of recorded stuff in spring, and check the recordings during the summer. But we're DX-ers aren't we, so we like to twiddle the "knob" live as well. And we also want to know what was heard last night, not only 8 months ago. So we turned to the possibly best software since Star Trek to beam us up to Kongsfjord: LogMeIn.


LogMeIn comes in two guises: The Free and the Pro version. The Pro version  is the software you need for the "host" PC. This enables audio to be sent over the internet. Without audio, you won't hear much DX. Besides, file transfer is a breeze: Cut/copy and paste from remote to local. LogMeIn runs in a browser, so it is independent of your operating system. Another very useful software from the same company is Ignition, which lets you access the remote site without using a web browser. In fact, Ignition can be installed a USB memory stick, so you can access the remote site from any PC you have access to. Ignition is Windows only, but is also available as an Android app. There is also an iOS app available for iPad/iPhone, which for some reason is not named Ignition but LogMeIn for iOS.
Access to my 3 PCs via Ignition

What remains then is a stable internet connection. In Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Poland the old Nordic mobile phone frequency range at around 450 MHz is used for broadband internet. The speed is not impressive, typically 500 to 1500 kbps down and 200 to 800 kbps up, but in most situations this is totally adequate for LogMeIn.

Remote control with LogMeIn Pro is quite straightforward. Due to the distance (I suppose the internet signal travels not 170 km but 170 times 170 km before reaching its destination), there is a 0.5 - 1 second latency in key presses and mouse clicks. Occasionally more. The latency slows down operation a bit, but one gets used to it.
Win7 PC in Kongsfjord remote controlled from my Win8 PC at home
Video quality is fair, audio quality is in fact very good. There is the occasional audio stutter, but as long as we record ddc files to the host's hard drive we won't miss an ID due to stutter. The stutter seems to increase though if the audio has high peaks, such as during splatter and Loran C noise. In fact, the most infested Loran C frequencies can cause the connection to all but freeze, with keyboard latencies of up to 30 seconds. I suppose this is a bandwidth problem.

Client/server not an option

There are CSOs available for several SDRs, but since we need to control the PC and not only one single SDR, they are not used in Kongsfjord. I have up to four SDRs, all of different brands, running on one PC so controlling the PC itself is the most practical solution.

Alternative software?

There are other programs available for remote control: Teamviewer, Radmin, Anyplace Control, Remote Utilities, Google and many others. We haven't tested any of these, and it's not likely that we will. LogMeIn has been working well for several years now and we see no need to change.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

LKE/LLE 1314 kHz Test Transmissions

The past few weeks, Bergen Kringkaster/LA1ASK together with veteran MW DX-er Svenn Martinsen have challenged European DX-ers with test transmissions from the former NRK Bergen site. LKB, operating on 890 kHz, closed operations in 1978 together with many other low- and medium power NRK transmitters, among them LLE (ex-LLU) 1466 kHz from Odda.

The test transmissons were conducted on the former Kvitsøy frequency 1314 kHz, with powers around 100-200 watts. Since I am 1572 km away from transmitter site I thought this could be a real challenge, and basically it was, but on December 27 at 0730 UTC I was able to pick up morse code IDs at good levels. Spain's Radio Nacional dominated the frequency, but morse code always wins...

At the time of listening, they were running at 120 watts from this WE 451A-1 transmitter.
The antenna was a modest 15 meters high Comrod/Tjøstheim vertical:
On the receiving end was an Afedri SDR-net receiver, connected to a 500 meter beverage directed at 50 degrees. Bergen is located at the center of the back lobe of the beverage.

I happened to be the most distant listener (so far), but they appeared to get out well in both Norway, Sweden and Finland.

Thanks to the LA1ASK crew for their time and effort!