Activating Svalbard (JW), summit Ottofjellet (JW/MS-083)

Hi all, my first post here!

This is a short summary of our SOTA activation at Svalbard, the 30’th of April 2024.

This is not your average SOTA trip, or - not MY average SOTA trip! A lot of planning is needed, and mainly due to rapid weather/visibility change, and the risk for polar bears. You could rent a local guide in Longyear city, which is recommended if you are planning a SOTA trip here.

With reference to pre-planning post we were three operators planning activation this day.

Team was:

  • JW/LB4MI Helge
  • JW5WUA Bjørnar (mainland call sign: LA5WUA)
  • JW9DSA Knut (mainland call sign: LA9DSA)

Weather was cloudy, and 0 degrees C in Longyear city, and -4 degrees celcius and wind at summit.

At arriving at Svalbard, we had a planning meeting with to local ham radio operators in the local group station for JW5E (can be rented by guest operators):
(Solveig JW5MUA, Helge JW/LB4MI, Bjørnar JW5WUA, Knut JW9DSA)

Our plan was to use snow mobiles for approaching summit. The visibility was partly not that good, so we did have to fix issues like this… (don’t worry, it looks worse than it really is):

Finally arriving at summit, after some hours, we could set up tent. It was a bit windy, so the tent is mandatory as shelter at summit.

About antennas, we used one that is proven in use at Svalbard, vertical trapped 15/17/20M DX-PEAK antenna (which can be purchased here). Antenna was actually designed for earlier JW SOTA activation team. We also set up a Sotabeam bandhopper, but it was not used, as we used one radio/antenna, but it was a backup.

Helge and Bjørnar:

After getting in the tent, it was dinner first, freezed dried food. Lovely!

Then activating, all three operators activated with one Yaesu 857D running 50W. Only SSB activation. Many chasers, and around 100 in total of the three operators.

Bjørnar’s very first SOTA activation. He is a local at Svalbard, and helped me and Knut ALOT planning activation.

Knut activating.

Thank you very much to all chasers. I have been CW operator for some years now on SOTA, and it was a pleasure working SSB hearing all the great voices with greetings from around the world.
And yes, we did get around the world! VK2PW had a fantastic signal, and was our longest DX!

Due to weather, or more correctly, snow conditions, we are not sure if we can make more SOTA this trip. But we are trying for a POTA activation, but nothing is sure yet.

Take care,
JW/LB4MI Helge


I just wanted to say thank you for all the effort that you and the team made to put on this activation in such a hostile inviroment. Also for the contacts on 18mhz & 14mhz and the quick confirmation on LOTW & QRZ. I can’t imagine the amount of planning and effort that went in to make this a success.

73’ Don GW0PLP


Congratulations on the expedition and how you planned it… definitely a motivation for the entire SOTA movement.


Thank you for the chase yesterday when I was on GM/NS-089, it was quite unexpected and a most welcome surprise.