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Saturday, December 17, 2016

Finnish hams on the air for Christmas

Ham operators in Finland really enjoy Christmas. They should, since they live near the Arctic Circle and Lapland, the traditional and legendary home of Santa Claus, his workshop and reindeer. (There's also that 22-hours-of-darkness-a day problem that requires some type of recreational diversion.)

For the 31st year, Finnish radio operators are manning OF9X, the Radio Arcala club station and the unofficial ham station of Santa. This time around, 12 operators, who deem themselves to be Santa's elves, are keeping OF9X in the air for the entire month of December.

The operators ("elves") are differentiating themselves by using three-letter initials, and have decided to create a contest for stations they talk to. It goes something like this: each contact with OF9X is worth one point for stations in Europe and two points for hams outside of Europe. The "elves" provide a multiplier - up to 12 - depending on how many of them you contact.

Different colorful QSL certificates will be issued for varying totals, at the 50, 35 and 20 point levels, according to Martti Laine, OH2BH, who has been involved in the Santa station since its inception.

In a news release, Radio Arcala said Santa himself will take to the microphone at times to speak with children across the world. A noted Finnish actor has volunteered to provide the voice and persona of the jolly one.

One of the seven massive tower sites at Radio Arcala,
Lapland, Finland.
"The patron of the OF9X Santa Activity is Mr. Juha Sipilä, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Finland. Mr. Sipilä indicates his sincere support of Finland being the home of Santa and states that using the latest technology to promote Santa is valuable support for Finland and helps make this Christmas a special one," the release further said.

In the past, Radio Arcala has used 14255 kHz during daylight hours in North America and 7120 kHz at night. Hams who work the station will likely post the frequency on the spotting site

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