Tuesday, January 11, 2011

VE8SUN - Here Comes The Sun

Living above the Arctic Circle gets me the strangest gift from Mother Nature on my birthday. Every year on December 6th the sun sets and doesn't rise again the next day. Or the next week. In fact, it doesn't come up again for a whole month. After 30 days the sun finally peeks above the horizon for a few minutes and then a bit higher and longer every day after that. The good citizens of Inuvik, Northwest Territories celebrate the return of the sun every year with the Inuvik Sunrise Festival. Bonfires, fireworks, and other public events help to kick off the new year and remind everyone that the days will only be getting longer and warmer from this point on.

To share the fun with everyone else, the Inuvik Amateur Radio Club decided to run a special event station this year in conjunction with the festival. I applied for and received the callsign VE8SUN and on the advertised date we fired up the VE8EV mobile shack. The aurora was pretty heavy so we mostly stuck to 15 and 20 meters. As the electronic overcast flared and subsided it was interesting to hear a big pileup of loud stations calling one minute and then dead silence on the next over. To make up for the lack of HF propagation we also worked the satellites, which generated a surprising percentage of our total contacts!

It was a very pleasant experience to operate with a different style than my usual contest or DXpedition QSO machine. No matter how many were calling I did try to spend a minute or two passing along interesting tidbits about the event and the unusual QTH, although with the unstable conditions it was sometimes difficult. I worked several ops that had visited Inuvik before (either for work or pleasure) and even worked one station in Arctic Norway that was located further north than we were and wasn't expecting their sun to return for another two weeks!

After a lengthly absence the sun just peeks over the horizon.

Full-colour QSLs and certificates will be printed shortly and should be available in a month or so. For QSL details click here.

John - VE8EV

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