Ham radio activation in Hailuoto, Finland

Ossi Herrala
3 min readMay 10, 2021

Our operation was in Hailuoto, a small island (200.53 km²) in the Gulf of Bothnia with a population less than thousand people. This is my story about our expedition.

Natura2000 nature protection area surrounded by a fence.

The day started by packing the car and catching the ferry departing 10:00 local time. We arrived early to our benefit: Soon there were dozens of cars waiting in line to cross the seven kilometers of ocean. From the ferry we headed to the south part of Hailuoto island to place called Pöllä just next to the small airfield (ICAO: EFHL).

Solar panels, vertical antenna and our tent. The Gulf of Bothnia on background. Weather looks nice and warm, but the truth is it was +4°C and breezing cold sea wind. You can see patch of snow and ice just between ocean and grass.

Our chosen operating location was inside Natura2000 nature protection area. We left the car to a designated parking area and went to scout the nearby area by foot. Then thanks to good preparations by Julian, OH8STN we had his tent, solar panels and batteries going in no time. He also set up his modified vertical Chameleon MPAS antenna with four radials and then helped me set up my homebrew 80m end-fed halfwave antenna. With his telescopic pole I could get my antenna wire into inverted-V configuration.

The sign showing the borders of nature protection area. Motor vehicles are not allowed in region on dry season.
For my station I was using the Yaesu FT-891 radio and LDG Z-11 Pro II tuner (not in photo), and Dell Latitude 7280 laptop with ZLP DigiMaster MiniProSC sound interface to the radio.
A telescopic pole keeping my end fed antenna’s center point high up in the air. The thin antenna wire is barely visible. I was lucky finding an U shaped metal bar sticking from ground to strap the pole into. Again patch of snow visible behind birch trees.

We had our stations running at around 10:00 UTC and I logged my first contact with Bas, PE4BAS in the Netherlands using JS8Call on the 40m band. However, the JS8Call was really empty on all bands. I switched to FT8 on the 30m band and logged the majority of my contacts for the day. One more try on JS8Call on 20m band and had a nice contact with Simon, PD7RAN from the Netherlands. JS8Call was still empty on bands. Julian then asked me to try the 17m band. My tuner did a great job tuning the end fed antenna and I managed to log three more FT8 contacts for the day. The 17m band provided my longest contact of the day, Nick SV1BHF in Greece, just shy of 3000 kilometers.

We decided to end the operation at 14:00 UTC to have enough time to pack our gear and catch the ferry back home two hours later.

A screenshot from https://pskreporter.info/ showing stations who could hear me.

The operation was a great success. We could celebrate many things: We managed to find an amazing location, we had both stations on air and also had many successful contacts. I was really happy that the only thing I broke was a powerpole connector on my tuner’s power cable (Julian had a spare cable, thanks!). Days before the expedition I also learned the valuable lesson of testing my gear out of the shack. It is really stressful to realize what’s still missing just six hours before early morning wake up before the departure.

Operation details

  • Date: 2021–05–08
  • Time on air: 10:00–14:00 UTC (local time 13:00–17:00, UTC+0300)
  • Callsigns on air: OH8HUB/P (op. Ossi), OH8STN/P (op. Julian)
  • Maidenhead grid: KP24IX53OE
  • WWFF area: OHFF-0970, Kirkkosalmi
  • IOTA: EU-184, Hailuoto
Screenshots to prove we are operating inside the WWFF OHFF-0970 area.



Ossi Herrala

Co-founder and R&D lead of @sensorfu. Interested about free software, network security, and ham radio (callsign OH8HUB).