Aland Islands

Pile-up from OH0

    Attention: This description was created after the trip, in Autumn 1984. Martial law was then declared in Poland and many things, now normal, were exotic for us then (e.g. bananas or broadcasting equipment in shops or mobile licenses). This tale was not then published in "Radiomator i Krótkofalowiec" due to censorship.

Mustrujemy na prom Pomerania
Boarding on "Pomerania" ferry
    The trip of the Students' Shortwavers' Club SP9PDF from Gliwice began on the 8th of July 1984 and went to Aland Islands with the purpose of conducting as many QSOs as possible - we took a journal with space for 2500 connections. Finally three persons made it for the trip: SP6LHI - "Junior", SP6BGB - "Prezes" and SP9FIH - "Fihu".
    The preparations lasted a whole busy year, which began, when Fihu and Prezes in a certain club meeting decided, that there was going to be some kind of a trip, and finished with the record of Poland in acquiring a Finnish visa (only three weeks of waiting thanks to Jorma's OH2BEJ help).
    On the 8th of July, at 18 we embarked on the ferry "Pomerania" from Gdańsk to Helsinki. Junior swam "in the raw" without even a penny, because he did not make it to draw "value" from a bank on time. The luggage of the whole trip consists of three backpacks, 30 kg each and a twenty five kilogram package of FT101Z and W3DZZ. Due to reasons independent of the organizers there was no car, or even a scooter. In the moment of departure we did not have an Oh0 license, we were on the other hand certain of the historical role of our journey (Hi!).
Half day break on Gotland Island

    The first day in Helsinki, paid dearly with sweat dewing our bodies during the transport of our whole trip equipment, is one of the most unpleasant memories of this expedition. On the other hand the afternoon meeting with Tom OH2BEN was very nice, we have known him so far only from scheduled connections (skeds) at 14 280 kHz. The Helsinian stage of our trip began with a visiting our ether friends' club OH2AR. A couple of friends from Poland scored connections with this station. The surprise was quite big, as no one had known about our departure. Often our sign was thought to be a "pirate", what made Tom especially amused, who sat with us in the club. Great joy - such are the first skeds with SP9PDF with great audibility in both ways.

    We have also began efforts, in order for our license for OH0 to shift from imaginary space to a more real one. Durk OH2ZAS walked with us the paths to PTT's office. In the meantime we have been familiarizing ourselves with Helsinki: the dome of Helsinian Conference, the original church carved in rock, Tivoli fun park, modern district-Tapiol's garden, shops with amateur equipment and warehouses, where one could buy even oranges and bananas - only it was expensive. Our meetings with friends from Helsinki, amateur-radio saunas at Raimo's OH2BGD and Durka's OH2ZAS place, a visit at Jorma's OH2BEJ, who in the meantime came back from Aland Islands making 2500 QSOs within 5 days, filled our time of waiting for the license. Finally there they were: all three and all slash OH0. Great joy!
Jacek SP6LHI and Marek SP6BGB in Visby

    The second stage of our stay is the annual meeting of shortwavers in Kuopio HAMSII 84, we go there by an old, spacious Ford, equipped with a FM mini-transceiver over 2 m, with Esko OH2BEO behind the wheel. On our way, during passing through the following calling wards in Finland we start the converters covering almost the whole area and enabling communication between cars in the band of 144 MHz. Taking our time, bivouacking in places, that we found especially nice, after two days we reached the resting complex Rautalahti in the outskirts of Kuopio. The whole camp-site filled within 4 days with over a thousand amateurs from Finland and other countries.

    In the whole Finland there are about 4500 licenses. The highest class license enables working with the input power of 600 W in all bands except of 160 m, where one is allowed to have only 10 W. An average equipment of an amateur is a Japanese transceiver TS830 or FT102 type with an amplifier 2KW and 3-elements, triple band beam. Mobile licenses are possible, but only for the citizens of Finland. There are no portable licenses. No formalities are required in temporary QTH changes for a period of up to 14 days.

    There were four twenty-meter masts with monobanders. The SSTV station and the station for satellite communications were active. The used equipment mart and the exhibition of new devices were supposed to make up the whole picture. The meeting's program consisted of many parties. We have participated in some of them, the rest we have skipped due to language difficulties. And these are the most interesting propositions of the HAMSSI - 84 organizers:
  • new possibilities: satellite communication in UKF-VHF
  • 10GHz band
  • Dx meeting of Finnish YL in a sauna
  • antenna seminary (antenna construction for beginners and high quality solutions for DX work and in competition)
  • moonlight dancing
  • slideshow from Eric's SM0AGD trip to the islands of Pacific Ocean
  • new constructions of devices for amateur communication
  • competition in constructing dishes with the greatest gain for the 2m band
  • "Pileup contest"
Tom OH2BEN meets us in Helsinki

    This last point was especially interesting. There were mixed calling of many stations with different strength and speed recorder on a tape. During 8 minutes one needed to discover and write down as many signs from this artificial pileup as possible. The winner has received 48 sings out of 100 possible.

    Hours free from the program we have spent at the bank of the lake bordering with our camp site or on discussing with friend members of the DX channel from Helsinki: OH2BGD, OH2BEO, OH2BEN, OH2BEJ, OH2ZAS, OH2VY. Our colleagues from SP could check in the HAMSSI-84 stations in polish - OH7A sometimes worked with the operators SP6LHI or SP6BGB. In that time Fihu was talking over some issues of working on OH0 with several influential Finnish amateurs or was "charging his batteries" lying in his tent.

    Red and white ferry Viking Line has unloaded us on the 24 of July at 6 in the morning in a small harbor in Mariehamn, a 10-thousand capital of Aland Islands. At 21 UTC of the same day the expedition started by making the first connection with SP6ZFE/2. In the meantime on that same day we visited a picturesquely located among the green on a narrow peninsula the "metropolis", with met up with Lars OH0RJ and Kee OH0NA, we rented a house and installed the first antenna 14AVQ (all the antennas, except for ours W3DZZ, we could thank the warehouse in Kee's barn). It was a day full of very promising events for our journey.
In QRL of Durk OH2ZAS

    A regular wok in all the KF bands from 3,5 MHz to 28 MHz began. The operators had turns of duties in the kitchen, at the radio station and at installing the new antennas. The changes were quite frequent - in the night every 3 hours the operator was changed, and every hour during the day. The was not much sleep, so that Marek SP6BGB/OH0 slept on a mast, 25 meters over the ground, where no callings of the station from the pileup could reach at 14 195 KHz. He was consoled to sleep by a mild whistle of TH3MK3 elements vibrating in the wind. Junior became more slender (he didn't like the vegetable soup with tourist tinned insert) and passionate in collecting voivodship from the "POLSKA" diploma. During the turns of duties of Fihu boys raised the bar by placing a plate with food in front of him the moment a 10-meter band opened, and the stations were calling one over another. SP9FIH/OH0 may answer the candidates for DX-pedition how to make several communications in a minute, at the same time swallowing down porridge. His English accent got better then.
Club OH2AR - our home for a week

    Such was everyday life for a week and a half in a wooden cottage located in a beautiful pine forest, with a wooden, barrel-like sauna in the back, raspberry and berry bushes under the walls and with a W3DZZ, TH3MK3, two-element monobander over 40 m - 402BA and a multiband 14AVQ picturesquely placed in the neighborhood of the cottage. Some colleagues (also from SP) could not imagine those three letter OH0 added after our polish signs (on which Masurian lakes are these islands? - a question of one old hand at DX). Some colleagues wanted to conduct long fellow countryman conversations about the weather and state of mind - we are sorry for shortening the connection, but we wanted to give a chance also to those, who impatiently were chewing on their microphones, waiting until we were finished "chewing rags". During the weekend we several times encountered wonderful hours, during which maximum progresses reached 120 - 130 QSO/h, which together produced the result of 7,1k (7100) QSO with 116 countries. I don't think I have to add, how a purebred DXman feels, when FH4AA, KH6DQ, 1Z9A, ZD7CW or KH3GS call him, pushing through a European pileup. In the early morning of the 29th of July we recorded the last pages of the log taken from the country and Fihu was deputized to acquiring paper materials that could substitute our station journal. Fortunately Kee gave us access to several hundred pages of his own log and the expedition combine for making connections was given an appropriate backup of paper.
Junior works SP from club

    The propagation conditions were very poor (summer and minimum solar activity - on the other hand ZP5JAL and AP2SA over 80 m). It led to pretty scarce communications with a typical "DX spoilage" - we have made only 75 stations in the USA and about 250 from Japan. In return we tried to be available for each request from SP. The result of that was about 720 QSO with Poland, which is over 10% of overall amount of communication. Wojtek SP4LVG deserves a special distinction, who made communications with all the operators of the expedition on all bands. Congratulations Wojtek! Krzysztof SP5EXA gave us a nice surprise giving us a new country at 21 MHz for communication with a polish research station in Spitsbergen JW0EQ. All three operators of the expedition ran down to the operator's table wanting to exchange a few words with the Far North.

    After the last Sunday sauna and a bath in cold water the expedition was finishing on 28 MHz announcing QRT at 9 UTC on the 5th of August. OH0NA and OH0RJ bade us farewell by the ferry, and in the country...being asked by customs officers and a standing trip from Gdańsk to Gliwice in a crowded PKP car.
KT34XA at Raimo OH2BGD
In this church OH2BAD is a pastor
At Esko OH2BEO - RTTY fan
After sauna: SP9FIH, OH2BEJ, OH2BGD
Out of town, on forest hill...
We will push some power through these connectors
Connector owner: Jorma OH2VY
Centrum Kuopio
Center of Kuopio
Eric SM0AGD and Matti OH2BH
Eric SM0AGD shows KH1 expedition slides.
Right Matti OH2BH
Helsinki DX Gang
Yacht "Pommern" in Mariehamn
Lars OH0RJ calls Kee OH0NA for help
We install W3DZZ
Tribander mounting
Kee OH0NA (lighthouse man from Market Reef) supervisors
our work
Beam up on tower
Antenna tuner reached only ... sauna
SP6BGB/OH0 fights DXs
SP9FIH/OH0 at the station
Under tribander we have 2 elements for 40m
Our cottage on Alands
Remainders from "midsummer"
The highest point on Alands - 128m asl
On the way back we explore night life in Stockholm
Pension under cloud
Old walls in Stockholm
Scandinavia farewell !
Amateur Radio Awards

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