Arctic DXpedition

Over the weekend sunspot 1112 erupted and produced a strong solar flare. Now according to space weather sites there’s a 25-35% chance of high latitude auroras on 19-20 October.

And right now a group of four Norwegian friends are enjoying their annual DXpedition to Kongsfjord – well and truly in the high latitudes – at 70°43′N 29°21′E at the top of Norway.

Kongsfjord, Norway - a nice place to set up your 500 metre Beverage antenna
Kongsfjord, Norway – a nice place to set up your 500 metre long Beverage antenna

Four of the main participants are Arnstein Bue, from Trondheim, Bjarne Mjelde (host), from Berlevåg, Odd-Jørgen Sagdahl, from Trondheim and Tore Johnny Bråtveit, from Trondheim. As you’ll see if you visit their pages these men are serious medium wave and short wave DXers, with impressive equipment racks and listening achievements to match.

Arnstein Bue’s blog DX Paradise gives a sense of some of the QSL trophies. DXpedition host, Bjarne Mjelde’s blog Arctic DX has an entry logging their first day last Friday anticipating the weather awaiting them:

“+2 Celsius, 15-20 m/s (35-45 mph) northerly winds, rain and sleet showers…”

As I write this it’s early afternoon there and according to their website it’s warmed up to +4 Celsius!

They also appear to operate remotely from this spot. Their antennas include a new 500 metre long Beverage aimed at the North Island of New Zealand which is clearly working very well. Two shorter Beverages (225m & 330m) and a Quad Delta Flag Array complete this dream DXing antenna farm.

And if you visit the website you’ll see ample evidence that they clearly know how to enjoy themselves at the dining table as well. Local King crabs are accompanied by the finest New Zealand wines. Their dining notes are as tempting as their DX!

Main course was pork sirloin marinated in garlic and chili, served with tagliatelle, basil, leeks and cherry tomatoes. With the pork we tried Kim Crawford’s Pinot Noir. Maybe a bit light for the quite tasty meat, but absolutely a super wine!

For dessert we had local blueberries with grappa – another Kongsfjord signature dish! And now we are off to listen to more recordings and prepare for another – hopefully eventful night. The solar indexes are going down and the K-index for Tromsø is now 0, and we hope that it will remain like this!

The main website is also the repository of a number of documents on DXing issues by Dallas Lankford. There are also data sheets for a large number of receivers (including AOR, Racal, Rohde & Schwarz, R L Drake Company, Siemens, Harris, TenTec, Icom etc) and information about antennas. Bjarne Mjelde has distilled his experience into a definitive article about the best antenna wire. The conclusion? A thumbs up for galvanised steel and aluminium. A number of his reviews are also aggregated on the site, including reviews of the IC-703 and the Perseus SDR.

Their sites demonstrate how much a part SDR plays in modern DXing and monitoring. There are some huge SDR recordings and mp3 files available as well. Retrospective analysis of these files enables them to find rare stations as well as – presumably – traditional live listening.

It’s been a delight checking in on their site each day to catch up with the activities of such a convivial group of friends. Truly inspiring to this reader on the other side of the globe.

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