LEM 260 started on Saturday, February 16, 2008 around noon with expectations of improving conditions after an unsettled to active period in the past week. Saturday offered an unbeatable chance of getting the listening gear tuned into “full readiness”, as the afternoon and evening conditions remained substantially poor. Just a few of some most common NA west coast stations were noted with weak signals.
17.2.2008: Totally quiet around midnight, some LA and CA with weak signals around 1-2 AM UTC, with four or five NL stations surfacing for 10 minutes – not good, but giving a promise of the expected improvement. In the morning all of the sudden a nice and noiseless one hour opening to the areas between the prairies and US west coast , whereafter the atmospheric bruise level returned to where it was on Sunday. Practically nothing from NA during the whole day. Some 15 minutes of fairly nice conditions to Asia in general, with 4QD 1548, along with the 3-4 most common upper band HI stations, surfacing loud and clear for 5 minutes. Japan gave a bit of promise with good signals levels for some minutes, as well, but died out completely 5 minutes prior to the NHK-2 break at 13.20 UTC. A tricky day, but the short morning “break” moments with SDR:s still paid off nicely with a bunch of A-class stations. Peppered fillet of pork accompanied with Torres Mas La Plana 1999 and goat cheese together with arctic cloudberries and sweet caramel sauce topped the evening. KNRS-570, KID-590, KSUB-590, KGVW-640, KXOR-660, KFMB-760, XESPN-800, KUTR-820, KANN-1120, KWIK-1240, KNND-1400.
18.2.2008: Still waiting for the conditions to open up. No evening conditions, some promising Orinoco in the night, but another dead morning. Only a minor 1 hour opening to NA with extremely unstable signals, then complete silence again in the afternoon. Nice sunshiny days with –5 C temperatures outside. The pleasure again today was the chef´s menu with stuffed mushrooms with garlic cream potatoes, accompanied by Puilly Fumé, La Forge, 2006. José Cuervo tequila has been our friend in modest quantities – naturally only to please the God´s of the Mexican skip. Results have, though, not materialized yet. CHTM-610, KFXD-630, KERI-1180, XESA-1260 and KWKW-1330.
19.2.2008: Another disappointing day. Evening and night completely blank to across the Atlantic. The morning equally disappointing. Not a trace of any NA conditions and when trying for morning Iberians, the result: Russians on 2 frequencies and DLF on 1269, nothing else ! . A 5 minute burst in the morning towards NA with 3 “ actual stations (in addition to such stations as KOMO and KBRW which were heard occasionally). But one of these 3 stations gave a super short ID: “La X” on 660 with a decent signal ! Unbelievable to hear such a station without anything worthwhile. The two others identified at 0930 UTC were CKYL-610 and KXL-750. Some Thai in the early evening. It makes one wonder, where have the conditions taken their way in these times of the solar minimum year…Top class spaghetti Bolognese with the remaining 2 glasses of Mas La Plana while nothing that IB is coming in fairly well.
20.2.2008: Still waiting for something positive to happen. Again nothing in the evening, but for the first time Brazil and La Plata fifth fairly good signals in the night. After a bit of sleep, when waking up in the morning before 8 local time, the band was full with NA stations from the prairies, however accompanied by a strong atmospheric “hum”. In 15 minutes the stations started gradually fading outand in an hour the band was empty again. Late in the afternoon some AK and HI with nice signals, but no super-cx. Asia mainly Thai and other uninteresting (?). Wienerschnizel with South African red. R Murial-1290 and R Belgrano-1510 (with supersignals), KLAM-1450.
21.2.2008: The evening started more promising than any of the previous ones. Tiny signals from the most common NL-NS stations started gradually coming in to a more silent MW-band around midnight. Soon VEN-Caribbean stations took over and were well audible all night. Just some isolated NA at night but as the morning came, we had moved to “more normal” conditions. Nothing spectacular, but a handful of nice stations and gratifying was to note that also the GY-frequencies held stations on an uninterrupted manner all morning, from all over the NA, but mostly from the rockies direction. The stations gradually faded out before mid-day and never came back. The afternoon was again totally blank to practically all worthwhile directions, so something is still “wrong”. ZIZ-555, tent. St. Vincent-700 (IQ-recordings haven't been checked out yet), KTNN-660, KGHF-1350, KBLJ-1400, KPTO-1440, KVSI-1450, KMRI-1550.
23.3.2008: Our last chance. We took it seriously and had tortillas with José Cuervo tequila for dinner. The mornings conditions were compared with Tuomo Ahonen, who had sniffed the morning´s conditions and arrived in Enontekiö for a couple of nights for DX´ing. The distance to Lemmenjoki is only some 100+ kilometres but substantial differences in the rhythm of fading and audible stations were noted, in spite of practically the same length and direction of the east coast antennas.
No evening stations from a cross the Atlantic were audible, once again. However, around midnight local time, first NA were noted and soon lots of Puerto Ricans and Venezolanos accompanied them. Gradually, some time after 0100 UTC NA stations started taking over and around 0200 the MW band was already in a promising speed. In the next hour the conditions kept on improving and thereafter the skies opened: signals were huge from all over the NA, with perhaps exception of the extreme West Coast. In addition, we had obviously succeeded in flattering the MEX-gods, since together with the NA signals. NA and Mexican stations were heard both in quantity and quality unexperienced by either of us ever before in our combined history of 68 years of DX´ing.
Then, the conditions behaved as had been the rule this week: in half and hour, the MW band died out completely around 0700 UTC. It is gratifying to end this blog by saying that this last night made the week for us and there will be a lot of work to thoroughly examine all the sound files to get a full understanding of what this rewarding morning gave us. We will do our best to provide the first insights to the list of stations logged.