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Hans Ostnell



I am Hans Ostnell, a 47 years young man who is a Swedish "refugee" now living in Vardo in the arctic part of Norway.
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The town of Vardo is actually located on a small island, about 2 kilometers east of the Varanger peninsula in the extreme north of Scandinavia. The population of the Vardo community is just about 2000, but that's still enough to make the small town on the island pretty crowded. A fun fact of Vardo is that it's the easternmost point of Norway. Actually, it's located more east than Istanbul in Turkey(!). Just have a look at the map and see for yourself. Being on an island out in the Barents Sea, on 70,25 degrees North, also makes Vardo the only town in Norway located in the arctic climate zone.

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I work as a manager for Vardo radio, which is the coast radio station on Vardo island. Our task is to service the merchant navy and other seafarers with maritime safety information, weather forecasts and assistance in search and rescue operations. When I was offered this job, a dream came true for me. Working with the thing that I enjoy most, radio, is nothing but true luxury to me!

I'm also a ham operator. Amateur radio has been a part of my life since 1990, when I got my first license in Sweden (callsign SM7TUG). Now I'm active from Vardo island, with my norwegian callsign LA2MOA. The thing I enjoy most in amateur radio is looking for DX on the lower bands, i.e. 40, 80 and 160 meters.

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I started as a DXer in 1980 when I was 14 years old, and over the years I have heard radio stations on short and medium wave from most countries in the world. I've always been interested in DXing the AM Broadcast band and after moving up north to Vardo, I've more or less specialized in AM BCB Dxing. The winter nights up here are long and dark, which is ideal for the low frequencies on the AM band. From the end of November to the end of January, the sun is never over the horizon , which means that the AM band is open 24/7. During the summer we have midnight sun for about two months, and the AM band is totally dead during this period.

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The town of Vardo isn't an ideal place for DXing. The urban noise, generated by broadband nets, plasma TV:s and other electronic gadgets that we need in our civilized lives makes hunting for weak radio signals on short and medium wave almost impossible. This is why I do most of my distant radio listening from my car. I've found a very electronically quiet place on the northern peninsula of the island, where it's possible to lay out long wire antennas directly on the ground. This works pretty well, and quite a number of North American, Asian and African AM-stations has found their way into my logbook.

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As you can see on the pictures, my "DX-spot" out in the wilderness is a beautiful place (pictures are taken in the end of October). Besides being beautiful, it's also a bird preservation area, meaning that  the peninsula is closed for activities involving cars and very long antenna wires during springtime and early "summer". I'm writing the word summer within quotation marks, because we really don't have any real summer up here - there's only three seasons in Vardo: A long and dark winter, followed by a short and intensive spring which gradually transforms into a long autumn.

Besides DXing on Vardo island, I also have made one DXpedition to Aihkiniemi in northern Finland. This is an amazing place - made by DXers, for DXers. Hosting an antenna farm with at least ten (or more) very long antennas, tailored for AM BCB DXing, Aihkiniemi is a superb place for weak signal-hunting.

73's from Hans / LA2MOA in Vardo,
The easternmost DXer in Western Europe (I think)

Les in Thailand


For a number of years now, I've been wintering in Thailand.  Having travelled throughout the country, I've settled for my house in Ban Phe, southeast of Bangkok on the Gulf of Thailand.  It's the small port town that's the ferry terminus for anyone visiting the renowned beach island, Koh Samet.  I've got a usually good internet connection, so love listening to a double serving of Baba's Grooves and Cam Hayden's Saturday Morning Blues Party on CKUA.com  Yes, that's right - we're fourteen time zones ahead of Alberta.

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Les with his Zippy Transportation

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View of Koh Samet

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Ban Phe



Lorelei


Meet Lorelei Loveridge - she says, "I'm a long-time fan of CKUA - have a listen: http://www.sonicbids.com/loreleiloveridge

My album Bakhoor (Arabic for "Incense") was featured at CKUA when it was released in Edmonton in May 2009. I'm moving back to the UK after a brilliant 2 years in Qatar, and am on to my next adventures in Europe. But I love the Middle East & shall miss it a lot.

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Climbing the 'singing dune' - a dune that actually hums when you go down it!

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At Fuwairit Beach on the NE Qatari coastline on Persian Sea - where the turtles are currently nesting!


Performing at a local festival


Coatepec


My name is Christian Pickup, and I live in Coatepec, Veracruz, Mexico, with my wife and our two daughters.  We re-located here from Edmonton in 2011. I have listened to CKUA since the mid 90s, and out of easy radio range was a tough adjustment.  We do tune in online, since  the radio here does not compare. 

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Me in Teocelo (about 25 minutes away from Coatepec), where the independent radio station is located.

There is an independent not-for-profit AM radio station here (Radio Teocelo, www.radioteocelo.org), and I have been given the opportunity to host a weekly program (called Ruleta Musical, www.facebook.com/RuletaMusicalRadio), in which I play music from all over the world, with a good dose of Can-Con. 

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Ripe coffee cherries

Coatepec is often called the coffee capital of Mexico, and any given day the smell of roasting coffee wafts through the streets.  The climate is much like Vancouver (humid and cool in the winter, warm and sunny in the summer). The mild climate also makes the area an ideal location for expatriot Canadians, Americans, and Europeans.

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Evening mist settling in the hills above Coatepec, as seen from the roof of our house

We are only 15 minutes away from the capital of the state of Veracruz.  This city is called Xalapa (Ha-la-pa); Xalapa has been called "the City of Flowers" (a title it has held since Baron von Humbolt's called it that during his tour of Latin America in the early 19th C.), and "the Athens of Mexico" (a title earned for the many universities, museums, and other cultural institutions, as well as the many great artists, musicians, and thinkers who have called Xalapa home over the centuries.)

And of course, there is the coast.  We are about 1.5 hours from the port of Veracruz, on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.   But as nice as all the local wonders are, sometimes we get homesick.  CKUA helps keep the homesick blues away, and we have shared it with several of our new friends.

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A view of Coatepec from the Cero de las Culebras
 

Regards,

your loyal fans in Mexico,

Christian Pickup and family


 

3 Weeks in Iceland


We just got back from three great weeks in Iceland.  It was funny riding in buses and hearing 70s North American pop or sometimes even 40s and 50s crooning because everything we had heard was that Iceland had a vibrant music culture.  There even was the running joke about none of the drivers or guides particularly liking Bjork!!
 
Finally, on a small 4 by 4 bus tour, I spotted some CDs and asked if we could hear some local music.  "Well" said our driver, "there is Sigur Ros".  To which I replied that I had heard them on our local radio and liked them.  The entire bus was curious so of course I had to shamelessly advertise CKUA and their hand-picked music.  It seems that most tourists aren't interested in Icelandic music (or maybe don't hear anything but top 40 North American pop at home) but we had a rollicking good couple of days exploring our driver's music collection of Sigur Ros, Hjalmar and Vikivaki.  Thanks CKUA.
 
Thanks as well to Sarah Hoyles for playing Sigur Ros early in the morning on my first day back at work!!
 
Here's a couple of pictures from our time in Iceland.

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Standing on the Fimmvöršuhįls ridge with Eyjafjallajokull in the background.

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The trolls aren't us - they were down the street from a great bookstore/music store where I picked up a number of CDs to bring home. 

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View from Landmannagaugar

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Jokulsarion Glacial Lagoon

Cal and Lorri White
(long-time subscribers and happy to spread the CKUA message)


Heath and Olivia


Here are a few of pictures of my wife and I in Ho Chi Minh City.  We relocated in August 2011 after spending 5 years living in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.  Just to finish things off for you, my wife’s name is Olivia (and yes…she’s from Bolivia).  This is the first time she’s lived outside of Santa Cruz so moving to Vietnam was a VERY big thing.  Spending time on Skype with her family certainly helps bridge the distance.

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Olivia and Heath

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On the Water

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3 Friends

 

Timothy in Tennessee


Hello to all!
 
My name is Tim, I am an avid radio DX'er. From my location here in Kingsport, Tennessee,USA, I have logged nearly 1000 FM stations over the past 16 years. On June 11, 2012 your station on 93.7 Mhz became my farthest catch at 1849 miles! Please have a listen to the attatched mp3 file of the recording. I use a modified Carver TX-11 stereo tuner attached to a roof-top antenna. It is then run into my computer for ease of audio recording. Your station is most strong after the 20-second mark on the audio clip.

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Laurel Falls, Tennessee                                                                Here I am in the great outdoors!
 
After hearing your station I found your website and live audio stream. I absolutely love CKUA! I now listen to you via the internet while doing work around the house! You play a great eclectic mix of music and the website is wonderful to look at and use. Since hearing your signal a few days ago, I now have a newfound interest in Alberta and have been looking at websites and pictures of Calgary and across the province. You guys are truly blessed to live in such a beautiful place. I hope to visit some day! 
 
Best Regards!

Tim

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Scanning the radio dials.

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Rooftop antenna that received the CKUA signal

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The mountains of Tennessee

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Distance between Calgary and Kingsport


Tree Frogs


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Ken with his blind dog by the pond

 

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Dear Bob,

From an apartment in a city near a sea called Yellow.

I just wanted to tell you that here in Gunsan, South Korea I can listen to your show twice.
It is on at 12:30 pm and 8:00 pm. It is good to listen to while I make English lesson plans.
I am fortunate in being able to work out of my own home.

This large apartment complex has an ornamental pond. Which was always dry because it leaked. Six months ago it was torn apart. It was only recently reconstructed. Two days ago it was filled with water. Last night the constant mumble of traffic couldn't be heard because of the optimistic chirpings of tree frogs. I couldn't believe it.

Twelve years ago I left tiny Redwater, Alberta where I had an organic garden and a very quiet life. Now I live in one of the most densely populated countries in the world. You can understand why I appreciate your show.

Cheers,
Ken Walton


 

Listener in London


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David in front of his peach tree in Erith, a suburb of London

We met David when he asked us this:

I'm looking identify a song by, I believe, a Canadian folk artist. It's from the 1970s. I have a digital recording of it. Could I send it to you to pass on to someone who might know about these things, or should I send it directly to some else there who could help? Believe it or not, I recorded it from, I believe, CKUA, all those years ago, too! I have googled it all over the place, with no luck -- am none the wiser.

Our own Brian Dunsmore replied:

Pete Whites song sung by Paul Hann on Pauls (I think) first album
http://www.paulhann.com/bio.html
 
What do I win?

O and its called Workin’ Up the Line...

And David responded:

The prize is a round or two for you and Brian at yer favourite pub in 'the 'Chuck' if I get there for my annual ski holiday in April...failing this, a round at MY favourite pub here in London, should you get here for any reason whatsoever, should you actually need one.  

Montezuma


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Montezuma, Costa Rica (J. Bentley)

Calgary in Qatar


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View of Doha


UCAQ?

My husband Dirk and I have just relocated from Calgary to Doha, Qatar, where I'll be working for the University of Calgary-Qatar. We've found a great way to identify our luggage! 
Chris J

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Above Grounds in Belize


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This is a little coffee house in the trees in Placencia, Belize call “Above Grounds”. It is actually in a tree house. We found this a couple of weeks ago February 2012, and while having coffee noticed the weather report was talking about Calgary, Edmonton and Fort McMurray!  What?! The owner used to live in Calgary. It was a nice slice of home…
Cecilia
Calgary

Olli Kilpeläinen


Hi to you all in CKUA !

Witw_Olli_putantenna
I am putting up a temporary antenna for a weekend expedition.

My name is Olli Kilpeläinen and I live in Helsinki. In my family are my wife and daughter. I am working as the Mastermind of the Gulf of Finland oil spill prevention and response planning in the Helsinki City Rescue Department (http://www.hel.fi/hki/pela/en/Etusivu).

I have been listening to the broadcast of your radio station CKUA Edmonton AB on 580 AM in Finland, North Europe! In the northernmost part of Finland, in the Aihkiniemi village of Inari municipality, stands a little hut and 9 wire antennas (3000 feet long each) only for foreign radio station listening purposes. I had a radio listening expedition (DX-pedition) with my friend there on February 11-28 2011. The full story and some pictures can be found on our DX-pedition WEB site at http://www.tapiokalmi.net/dx/aih6.

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