|The Åland Project (1994-2006)|
Since retirement, I try to structure daily life by setting clearly defined targets both in terms of content and time. As far as possible, I'm thinking and acting in projects (family, amateur radio, gardening, photography...). Going to the Åland Islands and presenting myself as OHØJWH or OHØP was one of them. Having visited many parts of the European north, especially its islands, I look back on a long Scandinavian experience. My journeys made me fascinated by the people, the countries, and the natural environment.
Åland belongs to one of my younger nordic experiences. It was in 1994 that Peter, DL5FF, asked me to accompany him to OHØ for a "DXpedition". I readily accepted his offer, and we made a handful of unforgettable trips together, with a clear emphasis on amateur-radio activity. Since 2003, I'm planning my own journeys to OHØ, still with a marked (but slightly changed) focus on amateur radio, but increasingly concentrating on nature observation and photography. Gerd Gerbig, my son-in-law, who shares my pronounced affinity to nature and to the flair of the North, has become a new valuable partner.
At present (2017), there is no further trip to the Åland Islands planned, as I feel there is enough activity from this beautiful spot every year. Moreover, being more than 80 years old, I do not really like very long journeys by car.
The Åland Islands
Åland (Finnish: Ahvenanmaa), an archipelago of some 6,500 islands, isles, and skerries, is located at the entrance of the Gulf of Bothnia between Sweden and Finland. The islands are easily reached by car ferries from the Swedish and Finnish mainlands.
By decision of the League of Nations in 1921 and granted by the "Act on the Autonomy of Åland" by Finland's legislative assembly, the Eduskunta, in 1920 and 1991, Åland enjoys a status of extensive autonomy, ruled by its own government, the Landskapsregering in Mariehamn, the capital, and symbolised by an own national flag and anthem. The 30,000 Ålanders speak Swedish and use the Euro (€) as their currency.
For more information on Åland, its geography, history, politics, and economy, click on Åland's national flag below:
Although widely autonomous, Åland is part of Finland, and it is the Viestintävirasto, the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority, in Helsinki, that is responsible for regulating amateur radio in the archipelago. Åland's semi-independent status qualified it as a separate DX-entity (OHØ). A good dozen of licensed and quite active native hams live on the islands, so that this DX-entity does not belong to the 100 most-wanted countries of the DXCC-list. Objectively seen, there is no real need for radio DXpeditions to the Ålands, although pile-ups can easily be caused at any time in certain modes and on certain bands.
As an amateur-radio visitor to Åland you should make use of the usual callsign format OHØ/homecall (without signing "/p").
The Åland Project (1994 - 2006) - Overview
*special callsign kindly issued by Viestintävirasto to celebrate my 70th birthday and my 50th anniversary of being on the air
Where we lived on the Ålands
The QTH, Sjöbodskogen, always used by OHØJWH (and also by Peter, DL5FF/OHØJWL), is located on the Island of Eckerö in the west of the archipelago, about 3 km north of the village of Överby, which lies on the road from the ferry port to Mariehamn, the capital of the Ålands. The WWLocator of the QTH is JP9Øtf.
The cottage (photo above) contains everything you need: a large living room (with enough space and a separate table for a radio station), three bedrooms with at least two beds each, a well-furnished kitchen with electric stove, fridge and a separate deep-freezer (for the fish you catch), microwave oven etc, satellite TV, of course hot and cold water, WC and a shower. A well-equipped motor boat (for fishing and other excursions) belongs to the house.
The cottage, which lies behind a large monolithic rock about 8 metres above the open sea, is surrounded by pine wood on thoroughly rocky underground with little or no soil above (and no real electric ground...). The trees make it a little difficult for longwire, dipole, and shortwave yagi antennas. The large rock ("splendid insulation", so to speak) in front of the cottage is an ideal spot for erecting vertical aerials like ground planes, half-wave verticals etc, and ideal for slopers downwards to sea level (although the growing vegetation at the foot of the rock has meanwhile become a problem).
Our radio toys
Transceivers: ICOM IC-746 and YAESU FT-767GX, both 100 watts max.
Accessories: several match boxes, Hadi's Digimizer (homemade interface for the digimodes), ETM-9C keyer, DELL DIMENSION XPS P133 desktop PC.
Antennas: R7000 half-wave vertical, 54-metre long wire used as a sloper for 160, 80, and 40 metres.
Software: CT (CW), MMTTY RTTY), MMSSTV (SSTV), MMVari (PSK and MFSK), MultiPSK (Olivia, Contestia and other digimodes), W6EL (propagation forecasts). ADIF-file logging.
Two men in the same boat...
The team consists of:
Hadi, DJ2PJ/OHØJWH/ex-OHØP (left): (one and only) radio operator, sometimes photographer.
Gerd (right): "antenna assistant", cook (at least three stars, one extra for his pike-soup...), fisherman (two pikes per day as a guarantee...), photographer
Send your card for OHØJWH to DJ2PJ via the Bureau, or request your QSL using e-mail with the address given at QRZ.COM mentioning callsign, date, time, band, mode of your QSO(s). Because of the high amount of SPAMs and virus-infected mails received, old OHØJWH- and OHØP-addresses have been deleted. If you request your card by e-mail, please do NOT send me a card via the Bureau! There is and there will be no eQSL- or LoTW-Service. I do not want to encourage or support radio amateurs who never send paper QSLs.
If you want a direct QSL, use the following address:
OHØJWH sends 100% QSL upon receipt of your QSL (SAE and enough return postage provided!) or e-mail request (see above).
Bureau cards can be very, very late. But sometimes it's the not the bureau to be blamed but the sender of a QSL himself. One reason being forgetting to mention the QSL manager (via ...). In June 2009 I received more than one thousand cards from the Finnish QSL Bureau for QSOs made as OHØJWH and OHØP, some of them even from the nineties, with no via-statement on them. I assure return cards will be filled in very quickly, but I am sure their way back to the senders in most cases will take another year. Life could be much easier...
Report on the OHØJWH activity 24th September - 7th October 2006
OHØJWH made 4,106 radio contacts (nearly 300 contacts per day) with 3,081 different stations:
1-band-QSOs were accomplished with 2,409, 2-band-QSOs with 435, 3-band-QSOs with 117, 4-band QSOs with 28, 5-band-QSOs with 9, and 6-band-QSOs with 2 stations (ER1OO and S52OT). More than 100 stations worked OHØJWH twice or more on the same band.
This time it was absolutely no problem to span the 54-metre sloper. It used a counterpoise system with it which was laid out in the forest above the huge rock in front of the cottage. The sloper was fed through an automatic tuner positioned at the feeding point of the aerial, with RG58-coaxline running from there into the shack. This setup worked perfectly. Tuning the antenna was a matter of a few seconds; so even QSYs from one band to another could be made in much less than a minute. The sloper even functioned well on the bands above 40 metres (mostly better than the R7000) and produced very good signals in the Far East (signals from there used to be better than most European signals sometimes).
Propagation was good to very good on 160, 80, 40, and 30 metres, fair to extremely bad on the bands above. 10 metres opened only a few times; CQs there delivered no results. There were a few but very short openings on 12 metres. Working 15 metres suffered from hundreds of mysterious s9+ carriers which covered the whole band. Having QSOs on that band turned out to be nearly impossible. We never experienced that before at the same place and I could not find out the source of interference (it was not our own computer...). I'm sure the interference was transported by the power line.
For a couple of days activity on 160 and 80 metres was considerably interfered by an extremely high static level which made my eardrums ache. Very difficult to decode even the biggest signals under these circumstances. I am very sorry for the many QRZs during these days...
Choice of mode was more or less a result of "supply and demand". Calling CQ in CW always "triggered out" one or more replying stations which sometimes ended in astonishing pile-ups. Other than in the years before, this was not the case with RTTY. Working BPSK turned out to be rather "nerve-wrecking". This was due to the many strong and overmodulated signals with extremely bad IMD, and, above all, remarkably bad operating habits and - sorry to use that word - silly operators. I gave up BPSK after a couple of hours and never came back to it. Very disappointed by that experience, I did not try other digimodes and concentrated on my favourite mode CW. SSB was not intended ("I like everything except shouting into a microphone").
Thanks to all who give us or have given us a call! Hej! Vi ses igen!
|Initially published: 2011|
Last revision: 6th February 2017
©2017 by Hans-Dieter Teichmann