Scandinavia and Svalbard 2004

Amateur radio info:
EU-044: Finnmark County West group  - NO propagation! no QSO's :-( Even world service RVI was impossible to hear.
EU-026: Spitsbergen Island - (only a few hours of operating but great fun!)
EU-046: Troms County group  - still lousy propagation, few contacts and weak world service RVI. The last hours on the island of Senja brought some QSOs
EU-033: Vesteralen Islands - fair propagation
EU-076: Lofoten Islands - fair propagation
EU-062: Nordland / Nord-Trondelag County group - fair propagation

Saturday, July 17th   25°C sunny

Home - Malmø ** 1102 Km

The alarm clock went off at 3:30. We got ready and loaded the last few things in our rented RV. By 4:15 the laptop was switched on as was the GPS. I saved most of our itinerary in the weeks before the holiday so seconds later we were set to go.

It was still dark when we left and traffic was low this early on a weekend morning. We saw the sun rise over the horizon as we drove northwards. We expected heavy traffic in Germany, however, it was worse. We had to make a large detour because of an accident the day before and later we were in a 'stau' a few times.
Driving to Sweden does not mean you have a ferry to take, the new bridges are a big improvement, no need to book in advance and no fixed crossing times. The Storebælt connects the mainland with Zealand with 2 bridges (6.790 and 6.611 Km long). The combined bridges and tunnel took us into Malmø by 20:00, just in time to find a spot with a nice view where we had dinner and enjoyed a good night's sleep.

Storebaelt bridge
Oresund bridge

Sunday July 18th overcast 17°C/rain later sunny 21°C

Malmø - Gävle  ***  868 Km

The campsite north of GävleAfter breakfast we went on the road again. It had been raining during the night and soon after we got on the E-20 it started to rain again. Once we got near Stockholm the skies turned blue and the sun started to shine. By evening we looked for a 'spot with a view' again and settled for the night about 50 Km north of Gävle.

Monday July 19th  Overcast 17°C

Gävle - Sangis *** 781 Km

Campsite SangisWe had another drive ahead of us. After breakfast it was north again. By evening we failed to find a good spot with view over the water so we settled for second best, a place on a quiet camping with just 5 cottages and 3 other campers.

Tuesday July 20th  Sunny first 25°C later rain and then sun again

Sangis - Rovaniemi ** 234 Km

Santaland entranceThis time we only had a short drive ahead. After about 200 Km we arrived at the Polar circle just north of Rovaniemi. We visited Santa Clausland, which we found to be a tourist trap and not worth the 10 Euro entrance fee. Just 2 Km further up the road is the original site spot on the polar circle. This is a small village made out of small and larger shops and a post office where all mail gets a special postmark.

Napapiiri, the polar circle
66° 32' 35" North

Campsite in the middle of the woods.From here we headed north for another 50km and found a nice spot in the woods where, for the first time this trip I was able to make some contacts on 20m. A few of the guys of our local club made it into the log. When I went out to disassemble the antenna there was a reindeer just 20 meter away from our motorhome.

Wednesday July 21st  All weather in a day 17° C

Rovaniemi - Inari ** 281 Km

Golddiggers !!Again only a short drive today. We enjoyed the view of the land of a 1000 lakes and stopped in Tankavaara. The gold museum tells the story of the early gold diggers and shows the equipment they used. Later we panned ourselves and found some gold. Further north is Lake Inari. There is a panorama view just off the main road but since it's a 20% climb we decided to walk instead of drive the 1000 m to the top. Then it was on to Inari to find a camping spot.

Thursday July 22nd ** Sunny 17°C later 15°C

Inari - Kafjord ** 317 Km

Sami museumAfter breakfast we drove to the center of Inari to visit the Sami museum. We were there in 1989 and found the place drastically changed. There's now an indoor exhibition about the Sami people while the open-air museum remains mostly as we remembered. We continued towards the Norwegian border. After filling up the RV at the Finnish site we crossed into Norway. In Karasjok there's another exhibition about the Sami (the Sampi). We saw a typical summer and winter Sami camp. From here we followed the signs to Northcape, however, we stopped around 18:00 about 20 Km before Honningsvag. Once again I was able to set up the station and make some QSO's.


Friday July 23rd Sunny 16°C

Kafjord - North Cape ** 122 Km

KirkeportenWe drove toward the North Cape this morning. First we had to drive through the new 6.8 Km long tunnel that took us 212 meter below sea level to Honningsvag. After a visit to the local museum we went to Gjesvaer for a boat trip to the birds. From here we went to Skarsvag where the Kirkeporten is. This is a hole in the rock shaped like a church entrance. From here it was only a 20 km drive to North Cape, the northernmost point of continental Europe. We arrived with the sun high in the sky, a sharp contrast to the previous visit in 1989 when we could hardly stand up because of hard blowing wind.

Midnight sunWe stayed at the Cape for the night and by 23:00 then sun went behind the clouds but not below the horizon. I had set up the antenna but heard nothing at all on 20-17 and 15m. Even 40m was completely dead. When checking RVI on short wave I found them to be a lot weaker than the previous days.

Saturday July 24th Sunny 24°C

North Cape - Alta  ** 281 Km

HammerfestWe woke up with the sun already high in the sky and a strong breeze at North Cape. We left the Cape and took the toll tunnel again to the mainland. We continued to Hammerfest, the northernmost town in the world. I found a hotspot but since the laptop was still in the RV I had to wait until we visited all the sights. When we finally made it everything was closed (at 16:00 there's not a lot open in Norway). I tried to connect but... no such luck...

We continued south toward Alta and found a camping spot 50 Km north of the city.

Sunday July 25th Mostly sunny 23°C

Alta - Tromsø ** 439 Km

Alta rock carvingsThe sun was still shining in the morning. In Alta we saw nobody on the streets, it seemed like a ghost town. There was only one shop open, Subway (an international sandwich chain). We bought lunch there and continued 10 Km to the Alta rock carvings, a 6000 year old pre-historic site that's protected by UNESCO as world heritage. The rest of the drive took us through the changing Norwegian landscape of fjords and snow covered mountains. By evening we found a camping spot overlooking the water.

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