Sunday WWFF activation

Ossi Herrala
3 min readApr 13, 2022

Today’s ham radio WWFF activation headed to a small municipality in Finland called Siikajoki with a population of 5024 people and population density of 4.78/km². Siikajoki was a scene for two battles of year 1808 where Sweden and Russia fought for control over Finland (the Finnish war). Finnish national poet Runeberg tells the story in his epic Tales of Ensign Stål.

Enough history. I chose this site because it was possible to set up a station inside car to provide myself a shelter from the weather. The temperature lingered around 3 °C with some snowfall in forecast.

From collecting all the information I could beforehand I was already worried about the condition of the road leading there. Map shows a single lane road leading mostly to nowhere in particular. Not a good sign. And it’s the worst season in Finland to drive these roads. Then when I got there it was apparent the road was used to access forestry sites with tractors and the like. But with my mighty Subaru I pushed forward in the snow sludge and mud. There was also no way of turning back either on single lane road with snow banks on both sides.

These roads don’t see much snow plowing action.

I was also worried if I could park my car for the duration of the activation. I wouldn’t like to block the traffic (if such thing even exists on this road). But to my good luck there happened to be a wider passing lane just inside the nature park where I could stop and set up a station.

My car with nature park’s sign just visible on right side of photo

I changed to better boots (yes, I had two pairs of winter boots) for crawling in deep snow — it was waist deep in some parts — and went to strap my eight meter long telescopic fishing rod to a nearby tree. Then I extended my homebrew 80m EFHW antenna on the side of the road towards south-east to stay inside the required area. I used the fishing pole to raise my antenna up in almost, but not quite, inverted-L or inverted-V shape and ran 10 meters of coax to my car.

Eight meter telescopic fishing pole strapped into thin tree and holding up EFHW antenna.

Then I connect everything. Power from Powerfilm LightSaver Max unrolled on windscreen to Icom IC-705. Connect the mic and coax, and be amazed how low noise and interference there is in middle of nowhere.

Operating low power using only 10W with SSB was difficult. Signal reports were between 33 to 59, mostly about 44 or 55. Many contacts mentioned band conditions changing rapidly to better or worse. I managed to log 22 QSOs mostly on 80m band. Well, that’s QRP operating I think.

Since I wasn’t too keen on getting stuck alone in bad road in dark forest I wanted to have enough time to get back home. So after multiple CQs without any reply, I packed my gear and headed home with huge smile on my face when I finally got back to main road.

Operation details

  • Date: 2022–04–10
  • Time on air: 14:00–15:15 UTC (local time 11:00–12:15, UTC+0300)
  • Callsign on air: OH8HUB/P (op. Ossi)
  • Maidenhead grid: KP24NM61LM
  • WWFF area: OHFF-0354, “Ilvesmaan ja Leväkankaan luonnonsuojelualueet”
Photo and screenshots to prove I was operating inside the WWFF OHFF-0354 area.

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Ossi Herrala

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