Where Do We Go Next ?
There are easy squares, more difficult ones, and some almost impossible - KP57 belongs to the last ones. This is the story of Puitsi - KP57aq.
On most locator maps, KP57 has been drawn totally on Russian side but in Finland some hams knew that in reality a small area is also on OH-side. One of them was Jukka OH8MSM - very well known among OH-hams as OH8MSM/M mobile station on 3.5 MHz. In winter 1993 Jukka drove to KP57 with snowmobile, skidoo, more than 30 km companion by Antti OH8NXE in order to activate the square during some hours on 2 m. Number of QSOs was small but the thought returning back kept alive.
The corner of borderline between Finland and Russia is just on the top of Puitsitunturi - mountain of Puitsi and KP57 reaches out about 800 metres on Finnish side. It is frontier zone - with no admittance. The distance to the nearest city (in OH) is more than 100 km and the roads are very bad indeed. The last twenty kilometres are for only 4-wheel jeeps and from the bottom of valley to the top, ab 2 km, is only a trail which border guards goes with four-wheel bike ; difference in altitude is about 300 metres.
Jukka and Aulis OH6JW has made during the last few years numerous peditions in KP43, KP44 and KP54 on 145 MHz and also 50 MHz. KP57 has been in discussions every now and then, so how about this year ? Only to find a group of 5 - 7 hams and four-wheel bike. Many active hams were interested but they prefered to sit home and work new square instead. Any way, three promised to come: Antti OH8NXE, Johannes OH6HFX and I, Jussi OH6ZZ. I managed to find also the bike and van for transport : green light !
So, on in the saturday morning of 4. August Aulis OH6JW drove to me and loading the MB van started. 4.5 kW B&S and 2.8 kW Honda aggregates,4-wheel bike Honda and trailer,80 litres gas and 100 litres diesel,FT847,TS790, linears,DC powers,tents,etc.With fully loaded van then towards Sotkamo and OH8MSM.After 400 km drive, we had a very goog meal by Jukka's XYL and on the road again,towards north to Salla,now with two cars.Jukka had all antennas,4 kW diesel aggregate,small 800w Honda,army tent,microwave oven,electric cool bag,electric cooker..
After 400 km drive and ab 2100 local time we arrived at Salla and continued to lower corner of KP47,now 50 km via small roads to the target and started to find qth. On the map there were several high places but we tried to find out the one without trees with good opening to 170 - 240 degrees with roads suitable for our cars.One place was just on KP37/KP47 border but the road was too wet and we had to turn back 15km south to KP47BA. By the way, we met bear hunters because it was only short time before hunting season and just on that region some bear has been seen. Fortunately we did not had any co-operators.
Our pedition was started one day earlier because heavy rain was coming from south and we wanted to put up station on dry condition. So ab 0015 local time we started and 0430 in the morning tents and antennas were ready! Rain came after couple of hours. First 2m qso was on 1300 UTC and first ms-qso 1800. Strange thing, from 7.8 0900 - 8.8 09.00 we were heard very well but we heard nothing,only LA0BY went through. It was total black out -it must be aurora or some other phenomenon which blocked us totally.It happened same thing also later in KP57. We were so up north that aurora was probably either above us or in front of us. On the same level there is Sodankylš Geophysical Observatory. I try to find out the reason in more detail.
Anyway , statistics from KP47: 2m ms 23 qso's, 2m cw/ssb 76, 6m 43, one 70 cm and one 2m ionoscatter qso with DL9MS 1678 km. On Wednesday 8.8 ab 1000 hours it was time to take down antennas,tents and pack the cars again. At Salla we met Johannes OH6HFX and Antti OH8NXE and continued to hotel nearby,where we were sponsored to stay overnight. After three days working in tent,after sauna it was very nice to sleep in bed.
TO PUITSI KP57
In the Thursday morning 9.8,we bought more diesel gasoline and food for five days.50 km drive was to Border Guards at Karhutunturi,to have special permissions to enter border zone. Jukka had made excellent work with authorities,papers were ok.Antti left his car there,took with Johannes all their equipment to two other cars and real drive begun with two full loaded vehicles. After 20 km the tarmac ended, no gsm-field any more,roads became smaller and smaller, holes deeper and deeper.40 km more and still 10 km left.We took off Honda-bike and trailer,in order to have more ground clearance and Antti followed us with Honda, then still forward but very, very slowly. Stones,holes,steep up and downs but somehow we both went through to Puitsitunturi - mountain of Puitsi about 1400 local time. For last leg,2 km with 300 m rise no road,only a narrow trail, four-wheel drive Honda bike -'creeper'was the only way to get up with all that huge amount of things from two cars and trailer.
ON THE TOP
The scenery from the top was magnificent.One border guard came with us and told where to put tents (and where NOT to go).GPS showed values when walking the slope. Big tent,ms-station,was about 100 m to the boarder and to the top in south-western direction. It took eight runs to get everything to the top and ab 7 hours to get ms-station working. Exciting moment was to switch on pc, rig and linear but they were all ok, also swr 1:1. Ms-station was ready about half an hour before sked time. Next day other 2m station ab 60m to the south then 6m beam. The end of G5RV was only 40 m from boarder.
Our first ms-sked was on 2100 UTC with LA0BY 1281 km - it took the whole hour finished it, next one PA9KT 2026 km -ok in 50 min but then DL9MS fine, only 10 minutes.Not so many stones - mostly only short pings but enough to have qso. Next day 11.8 saturday morning was quite good but then - from 1800 to 12.8 2100 total black out. Only DL9AN 1900 km was confirmed, also OH6YF and OH2BNH from KP20/800 km and SK6HD JO68/1342 km went through but all other skeds - nothing but the noise. The only explanation is aurora because later on Sunday we had qso with UA4AQL,DL/UT8AL and DK9OY.We checked cables,swr values were ok all the time.Then on monday morning again three hour silence 0300-0600. However,we could work 31 2m ms-qso, 59 qso on 2m cw/ssb and 104 qso on 6m.
To be continued soon.
PS. Thanks to Winfried DH3YAK who loaned us a laptop, also to Eki OH9MTY/OH9SCL who also loaned us mini tower pc as backup device.
And above all - to the Finnish Border Guards.The whole KP57 operation would not have been possible without special permission by Border Guards. Many thanks also to Border Guards staff at Salla/Karhutunturi base.
PPS. For those who did not get KP57 this time - we'll go back ! Perhaps already next year but at least in 2003 .
Sorry KP56 does not reach on Finnish side, some 200 m missing !
73' OH8K Team