Last full day at the cabins and what a day that was! In the morning a totally new country was heard, i.e. Libya that became our FM country #68 in the inofficial Finnish count. In the evening we had a stunning long opening to Greece; also the Balkans, Turkey and Italy were present. Now at 2:50am (!) local time Italian and Balkan stations are still jumping in up to 108 MHz at times.
Let’s see how hectic tomorrow will be as we have to dismantle the antennas and pack our stuff by 2pm.
Utö Blog is thus over and out! See you again next year 🙂
Today we woke up at 5.50am to check Mr. Hepburn’s forecast of some Baltic tropo. And right he was again – some Lithuanian stations came through quite nicely, eg 104.2 Opus 3 (Taurage-tx) and 106.6 M-1 (Kaunas-tx). This year’s big thing in Latvia has been the local announcements of Latviesuradio on every one of their frequencies and many managed to complete their collection during the morning hours.
Es woke up, but she seemed very much worn out from this week’s earlier activities: first very little Romania (KISS FM), then an UNID Arab praying on two frequencies (89.3//89.5), and finally an hour-long weak opening to Greece – mostly Athens and Thessaloniki low-band high power stations.
We had arranged lunch at 2pm, this time not at the hotel, but at the residence of the parents of Hanna the landlady. Everyone became kind of edgy when the Greek opening was still sort of ongoing when we had to leave. Luckily we didn’t miss that much, it seems.
Hanna and her mother had prepared us a local specialty, seal stew. Something not many of us have ever tried or even considered. However, it was excellent, and the meat tasted like something between very tender beef and liver.
This is the last evening for three members of the Utö team and now at 6.45pm the band and Sherlock both seem very dull… We want more! 🙂
No Sporadic E today. But we had a strange powerful meteor bang on the hour at 0900 UTC, with the following stations identified: 87.5 Dorozhnoye R, St Peterburg, local ID; 92.4 Sport FM, Moscow; 92.8 M-Vienas, Lithuania. Very short skips!
A couple of pictures from our morning jog (5.91 km at 38 min 53 s, says the computer), all courtesy by OSY.
A sunny morning and the Es have all gone away. Time to delve into yesterday’s loot. Loads of good stuff from Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Northern England.
There seems to be a pattern, that an eruption in the sun first lifts Sporadic E in higher latitudes giving us stations from the British Isles. But when it hits the Earth all we get is Aurora and the Es are all gone. As the sun has been really inactive in recent years we haven’t really had any decent openings to that direction since 2006. Now is the time to hope for something better…
During our morning jog, OSY was nearly bitten by a ferocious viper that literally attacked us from behind a stone. Luckily he managed to jump up high above the stinging snake, a real touch and go situation.
Oh and your ed won the the third round of cards, aka Utö Championships – more trophies to win will follow 🙂
“Scotland is my dreaming head; Ireland is my heart” -Mike Scott/The Waterboys
Monday evening was well spent sitting in front of the radios. Pillows are much in need with this hobby 🙂 It all started at 1430 UTC with Greece, 1500 Normandy and thereabouts again, 1615 Turkey and Greece and the archipelago in between, up until 1705. New round at 1915 with a tougher set of Normandy and Jersey Islands, 1925 Spain with a strong peak at 1935, fadeout at 2005, but short openings came up and down until 0110 local time.
Our card playing championships’ third round was cancelled yesterday evening because of the opening. The game is Reverse Old Heck/Reverse Up and Down, a fine variation of “Oh, hell” that Wikipedia claims to be Bill Clinton’s favourite game. As usual, the bookkeeper keeps on winning (not me).
This morning offered a mixed two-hour session to Normandy. Mostly familiar stuff, but Aunt Esmeralda had some surprises in her bag as well.
The afternoon opening from Central Finland to Holland went straight over our heads, so it was time to fix the vertical aerial. Now it’s in a much better place and all kinds of interesting stations flow in, eg 99.8 Kelyje (Klaipeda-tx LTU).
A new personal tropospheric scatter distance record was made last night with 102.1 PR3 Bygdoszcz-tx. The distance is a whopping 749 km. Mr. Hepburn says the theoretical maximum for this propagation method is around 700 km. Of course, this distance limit is not valid for “real tropo” (which we haven’t had at all). The troposcatter signals can be really surprising, lifting up one station at a time up to noise-free levels for a minute or two. The Baltic Sea makes it happen much easier than on the mainland.
The morning dawned still windy and cold (+9 C). The wind had blown away the reflector of our OIRT antenna, otherwise the antennas had stayed in place. After a refreshing morning jog around the island (6 km) we saw a red cargo ship approaching us with the name KESS painted on it. Was it a greeting from our dear friend Es? It seems so, as 0700 UTC Sherlock’s MUF map started looking interesting.
The band opened at 0727 with a brief Spanish opening in two intervals, followed by a Balkan opening focusing on Bulgaria and Thessaloniki but only reaching 94 MHz. The best part of the day started at 0945 with a rather good French opening up to 108 MHz that lasted for an hour or so before starting a hanging “hiccup” situation of some French and Balkan stations coming and going. Portuguese stations were also heard on some frequencies, but the mystery remains whether they were real or just immigrant services from France.
Now at 1357 Sherlock looks promising but the band is empty. Everybody’s drooling for more…
Antennas are in place and they’re rocking back and forth in the merciless wind. Lot of troposcatter in the air all the way from Bornholm, Gothenburg, Kaliningrad, Klaipeda and of course Gdansk. 101.7 R Plus Gdansk reaches RDS levels from time to time.
Sporadic E has been non-existent since the UK opening yesterday when we still were on our way here. Let’s hope the trend is not turning against us: so far we’ve had Es on every day in June.
If all else fails, there always time to enjoy the beautiful archipelago (read: watch football on tv with a pint of the excellent local beer 😉