This december I’ll spend two weeks in Äkäslompolo, mainly for chilling out, enjoying the sauna in the hut, reading and hopefully seeing the occasional aurora and maybe add some cross country skiing and snow shoe walking.
I’ve got no clue what’s even possible when it’s basically dark 23 hours a day and below -15C. I assume OH/KI-017 should be doable as it’s the top of a skiing resort. From what I can tell OH/KI-068 should also be reachable on snow shoes with a proper head light.
Other options include OH/KI-043, OH/KI-024 and OH/KI-032.
Any tips, hints and warnings of possible troll encounters are welcome…
It is of course 100% intentional that we travel north of the polar circle during the time of the year with the shortest days. I’m also absolutely aware that for a SOTA holiday this is not the optimal choice. However, SOTA was not a priority (even though I made sure we travel to a place where it is at least an option… )
I checked the database for unique chased peaks in Scandinavia. Of the total 1816 unique peaks I have chased, the following were in Scandinavia:
Finland: 0 !!
It seems that our Nordic colleagues are much more in the sauna than on the mountains, no wonder in this climate . So, if you activate a mountain in Finland and we make a QSO, it would be the first Finnish summit for me. I guess others feel the same way, give us a chance!
I’m still wondering myself whether activating a summit on this holiday is just an insane idea that I’ll throw out the moment I turn on the sauna in the hut for the first time or whether this could really turn out to be a realistic plan…
Yesterday we came back from Hetta (Enontekiö) and was one times in Äkäslompolo, years ago in end of decembre. It was verry cold, and if the Summits didn’t have a lift or a cross country ski tracks, it’s verry difficult to walk to the summits. The light isn’t a problem because its always a little bit like sunset evening in our region or dawn for about 3 hours. OH/KI-017 has several skilifts and always well-lighted piste.
The last to weeks i made SOTA in Hetta only as chaser (hi). the summits are unreachable, also with snowmobile in case of a bit of snow.
73 de Peter
@HB9CMI Sadly no Swiss stations replied so I guess I wasn’t heard back at home. I suspect that my inverted V EFHW isn’t optimal to get further into Europe and on 20m it’s a End-Fed-Full-Wave because I don’t have any traps or links. Sadly I ran out of time before the holidays to optimize my setup…
I can not confirm that. Yesterday I reached on DM/NS-163 the Azores and the east coast of China with my fullsized 20m EFHW in SSB at 14MHz. But not the faithful chaser Jack, OH3GZ The conditions were the reason I guess.
EDIT Today OH came strong with the same EFHW.
It’s the radiation pattern of the inversted V only 6m above ground ad the highest point that I doubted, not the fact that it’s end-fed. Possibly you’ve got a better setup for the antenna layout?
Sadly I didn’t make it to the summit today, it was still -32C in the morning and the two summits I considered where significantly further away. We decided to head towards OH/KI-032 knowing that we started most likely way to late to avoid the bad weather and snowfall in the afternoon. We turned 1km before reaching the summit because there wouldn’t have been enough time left to activate it anyway…
I’ll try again later this week. Not tomorrow, that is dog sled day.
Tomorrow I’ll try to activate OH/KI-017 to give everyone who can only chase on weekends a chance. The challenge on this summit won’t be getting there as there is a aerial cableway leading into the activation zone. Finding a spot to operate between the tourist masses might be more of a problem.
If anyone needs an extra challenge - though not a cheap one - you could take a sauna gondola into the activation zone and then operate from a hot pot on the summit: Sauna gondola - Ylläs - I decided to skip this for now ;). However arriving on a summit in a sauna would probably be the most Finnish way to do a SOTA activation (except for operating from within a sauna on the summit, maybe…).
I totally misjudged the situation on OH/KI-017. The only tourist masses were in the bus to the gondola and in the cafe on top. However, it was still hard to find a place to operate because it was still between -13C and -15C, this time with about 6-7 m/s wind which didn’t help. Putting up the mast was out of question because most shelters from wind that I could find were part of the skiing infrastructure and I definitely needed some protection from the wind.
So I decided to keep it low profile and put up the MP-1 behind a shed next to a ski-lift that wasn’t running.
Due to the cold I left most of the wires that were supposed to be my ground plane in the bag. The ones I did attach were stiff from the cold, refused to stay straight and kept curling up. After trying to get a decent SWR from the sliding coil for about 20 seconds I decided to leave it alone and tune the 3:1 SWR using the KX2 tuner.
Ok, again I have to post a sorry to all those trying to get a connection and waiting for me to switch to 40m on OH/KI-043. It was supposed to be the easiest of my activations. There is a XC skiing track up that hill. The track wasn’t open yet but enough people went up there yesterday with backcountry skis that it was doable on XC skis even though it wasn’t the best equipment to reach the summit.
When I arrived at the summit and put up my antenna it looked like it was going to be the friendliest of my OH activations. There was a frozen tree I could use as shelter from the wind, the sky was clear and the views beautiful. By the time my antenna was up and ready, the weather darkened and the view was replaced with low hanging clouds, snowfall and heavier wind. The spot under the tree became very uncomfortable because the snow and ice from the tree started to fall on me and the station.
Eventually I decided the only option would be to pack up and head back as long as I’m still able to see the tracks from the ascent…
So, well, I’m now running out of summits here around Äkäslompolo and I’m not even sad about it. I’m looking forward to activate summits back and home where temperatures usually stay within a single digit negative value (in Celsius, that is.)
Well, it mainly comes down to clothing, really… The skills were acquired on the go here in OH9 land: Handling very stiff cables, setting up a station and writing a log with thick gloves and keeping the KX2 as snow-free as possible. Additionally bring a battery with double the capacity you think you’ll need…
After every activation I laid out all the equipment at room temperature, the KX2 open, to let everything dry. Even the things that were not wet will collect condensed water while warming up.
And maybe it’s also important to know that you shouldn’t charge LiFePo4 batteries before they’re warmer than 0C - however, that’s what I was told, I didn’t try what would happen if you did