News from August and September 2006
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September 29th 2006

Whale outside Olonkin City!

Today our maintenance leader called me on the VHF, yelling «Whale blowing outside, whale straight outside Olonkin City!»

Five or more of us ran out, and after a while we saw the whale blowing tall water pillars into the air! Enjoy :) (Sorry, we did not see the whale itself)

September 29th 2006

Changing room

We are making space for the new crew, every person that is travelling home washes her/his room and moves into a temporary room. I left my room two days ago, here you can see my old room where I have lived the last season.

The sign on my door says «E-sjef,» Chief of electonics in norwegian. All the rooms have similar signs, burnt into pieces of Siberian driftwood.

September 29th 2006


The autumn has come, and winter is coming - soon. Here you see todays sunrise, picture taken at around 0900.


September 27th 2006

Christianing of «Mildrid»

This spring we got two new (old) cars up here, Nissan Terrano II's. Better late than never, today we had the Christianing ceremony of the car - named Mildrid after our medical nurse.

You can see Mildrid posing next to Mildrid on the last picture!


27. september 2006

Nærmer seg!

Vel, det nærmer seg nedreise styggfort nå. I dag er det 10 dager til jeg lander i Bodø, og 12 dager til jeg lander i til Trondheim. Har tom. bestilt flybillett, så klokken 0910 på mandag morgen når beina mine trøndersk jord!

Da har snart ett år gått her på Jan Mayen, det har gått sakte og fort, jeg har ikke kjedet meg mange sekundene! Oppsummering kommer når datoen nærmer seg mer!

September 26th 2006


Today we transported the EGNOS Rims A and B rack to the Consol C building. The racks are several hundred kgs, it took us a very long time to get the job done. The racks were transported on a custom trailer, and lifted into the building using a fork as you can see on the pictures. I can assure you the job was not easily done.

On one of the pictures you can see the repaired window. We put extra insulation in front, and sealed the edges with sikaflex.

September 26th 2006


Saturday morning at 0720UTC we had the biggest earthquake recorded during my one year stay at Jan Mayen. According to US Geological Services the quake measured 4.7 on the Richter Scale.

Below you find a photo of the helicorder paper log. If you click on the picture you can see that the pen has peaked at the limit several times.

September 24th 2006

Nice weather

Today we have five-times-a-year kind of weather outside! I took a short stroll outside, taking some photos, have a look! The Beerenberg picture to the right is taken through artillery binoculars.

September 23rd 2006

Aurora Borealis

This evening we had clear sky, and the NOAA POES satelite forecasted lots of Aurora this evening. I had prepared my Nikon D100 camera with tripod and a 14mm 1:2.8 lens, waiting for the Aurora to appear. The anti collision lights on the antenna towers were also switched off to reduce the amount of light from the surroundings.

When the northern lights started dancing above me, it was the clearly the most beautiful Aurora I have seen on Jan Mayen. We discussed this some days ago, we are born in Norway and used to see Aurora in the winter time, but one never stop to be stunned by its beauty..

I am sorry the pictures does not tell how beautiful it really was, I used shutter times from  6-10 seconds, aperture 1:2.8 and ISO800 om the pictures here.

You can trace the Aurora activity realtime on Naturfokus' website!

September 23rd 2006


Før hver kontingent reiser ned har vi såkalt nedreisefest på Jan Mayen. Dagen startet med en god bassengøkt, her fikk vi servert varme pølser med tilhørende forfriskninger!

Hele dagen har høvdingen og sondesjefen stått ved grillen og grillet lam, det smakte helt nydelig sammen med salat, hvitløksbrød og potetsalat!

Vedlikeholdslederen er øyas skuespiller, plustelig kom Bin Loran stormende inn, før han forsvant ut døra... BANG sa det, før han kom inn igjen, fillete og sotete! Se det jeg rakk å filme her, (5MB, XviD)!

Senere kom han med nok et morsomt påfunn, hele 9 av 18 her er fra Nord-Norge, sammen med noen interne morsomheter ble da «Nord og ned-» samt «Mørebenken» lansert med tilhørende flagg :) Se opptrinnet her! (7MB, XviD)

Siste påfunnet er alternativ tilberedelse av ferdigpizza, dette er en intern sak som kun de som har vært her siste 6 mnd. vil forstå :D

September 19th 2006

Trip to Flykollen and Kapp Wien

We were six guys on a hiking trip to Flykollen («Airplane Mountain») and Kapp Wien, we wanted to have a look at the wreckage of the Junkers JU88 that crashed here during WWII.

The weather was very nice, the sun was shining but the temperature was at the freezing point. After lots of up-and-down hiking; we reached Flykollen, and walked down the very steep hill to the airplane. The JU88 itself is in a poor  shape, but the material is hardly corroded, some parts can still be moved, the germans really knew how to make planes! The engines are V-12s with overhead camshafts, the bottom of the engine is made of aluminum..

Lots of parts are spread down the canyon, the tires are still inflated after 64 years! Some parts are salvaged, and the pilots have graves on the mainland.

The blue tanks are oxygen tanks, marked "Sauerstoff", there is also a picture of such tanks inside the fuselage. Take a look at the video with overview of the crash site (XviD, 3MB)

The airplane is a Junker JU 88 D-1, its serial number is 430265. The plane was a part of Westa 5. Crew: Pilot Oberleutnant Werner Köhler, Observer Wetterdienst Insp. a.K. Heinrich Beuck, Radioman Oberfelwebel Herbert Bunge, Engineer Feldwebel Günther Geerhan. No one survived the crash on July 15th 1942.

While we were at the wreckage snow started falling, but it snowed for only about ten minutes. We walked to the top again and had a nice break with food and beverages. You can see me in my down jacket, what a great way of keeping warm...

We continued down to Kapp Wien. Here is a very cool video (XviD, 13MB) of some boys ;) pushing a huge rock down a long slope :D

Later we descended to the beach below, and walked on rolling rocks for one hour, very hard for your feet and knees. The rock formations down at the beach are marvelous. I could stand here for hours and hours watching, really magnificent nature!

When we arrived at the station some of us were swimming in the outdoor swimming pool for 2 hours, watching the aurora flicker beautifully over the sky... I am sorry, the lactic acid in my legs kept me from fetching the camera ;)

September 17th 2006

Coast Guard Two-Four landed - and departed

At 1139UTC CG24 arrived at Jan Mayen, they flew from Egilstad, Iceland. The weather was nice, wind some 18knots almost parallell to the runway, so they landed at the first try.

The passenger finished the necessary maintenance on the jet fuel tanks, and the airplane departed at 1745UTC. We then had the fire crew and tower control (me) standby for 30 minutes until we stood down. I filmed the departure using a small Canon Ixus IS800 camera, you can find the (heavily compressed) video file (XviD) here!

September 17th 2006

Runway status

It is 0500UTC and I am checking the runway. The fog is really dense over the runway, at the station I can see the fog almost like a blanket over the runway. The pictures are both taken within 5 minutes. The latter is taken 3km away and shows the fog over the runway.

September 17th 2006


This evening I have been to my alternative QSO speaking with fellow radio amateurs. When I came home to the station around 0200 local time, the northern lights (Aurora Borealis) were waving over us, and the moon was shining through the fog skies. I grabbed my camera and tripod and took some photos using ISO800...

September 16th 2006

Preparing for airplane arrival

Today we were expecting an airplane from the Coast Guard, but the fog was to dense, it had to divert to Iceland. Here I drive the Mercedes over the runway to check the firmness of the gravel runway.

We are expecting another try tomorrow, sunday.

September 15th 2006

Ham radio evening

I drove to Gamlemetten and had some 2-300 nice QSOs, mostly with USA. On the right you see the diesel generator and my rig, transmitting 1kW at the moment.

Check the video of me driving to the Gamlemetten cabin! (19MB, Xvid)

September 12th 2006

Beautiful rainbow

As you can see on the news items below, the weather changes often. This and the two pictures below are taken from outside my office...

September 11th 2006

The REAL Jan Mayen

I know I have spoilt you, posting mostly pictures of nice weather here at Jan Mayen. Well, soon I'll be flying home (in 26 days), maybe I'll better show you some real Jan Mayen images.

The picture to the right shows the usual (summer) fog, the picture is taken from outside my office. Welcome to the real Jan Mayen :S :)

September 10th 2006

Sunset behind Beerenberg

Sitting in front of my office desk, evening shift, doing some paper work - looking out the window...

The colors of the image looks pretty close to real life, at least on my computer screen! Beerenberg is covered with fresh snow from the night before.

September 10th 2006

Doing nothing, actually

The plan for today was waking up at 0740, eating breakfast and hiking towards Flykollen, visiting the wreckage of a German airplane from WWII.

Well, I woke up, the wind blew heftily and snow had fallen in the heigths, it was raining now and the visibility was bad due to the fog. Zzzzzzz! :)

September 9th 2006

Offroad driving trip

This weekend the weather was bad, heavy wind and rain, so Svein-Ove and me drove over to Consol C to check if the satellite antenna had survived the wind. It had, so we drove further to the oldest meteorological station for a stroll. This station was set on fire in 1940 when the Norwegian crew abandoned the island for 6 months. You can see lots of metal object remains, tools and such.

We went down to the sea, watching heavy swells breaking into foam. Here is a video of the waves hitting the cave on the pictures below! (6MB, XviD codec needed)

The sandstorm was annoying, one has to use goggles when in sandy areas. The old guard hut is sandblown, but on the protected sides you can still see the imprint on the copper nails: AUSTRIA! These nails (and planks) were taken from the station the Austrian/Hungarian mapping expediton built in 1882/83.

On our way home we drove on Sørlaguna (South Lagoon), which is dry some two months in the summer/autumn. The surface is hard and flat (mostly), so you can drive almost everywhere. A small video here! (4MB, XviD)

September 7th 2006

Working at Consol C

Today, John, Jørn, Svein Ove and me worked on the logistics regarding transportation of huge delicate electronic equipment the 10km offroad terrain to Consol C. We postponed the transport until further notice, and finalized (most of) the remaining outside work at the site. You can now see the cable trenches clearly due to the fluorecent wooden poles. The inside is now clean and space is made for making working here easier.

September 5th 2006

Second top today: Wildberget

A walk to Wildberget, partly for training (keeping my pulse high when climbing), partly for photographing, brought my tripod and panoramic head. Nice weather.

Four Arctic Skuas nested on top, the parents constantly dive bombed towards my head while I walked close to their nest. Got some nice photos of them.

The remains are from the Norwegian Army station during World War II. The island of Jan Mayen was the only Norwegian territory not occupied by German forces.

You can see the old meteorological station (red building) taken through my 300mm telephoto lens, then the Palffy crater and Kvalrossen.

September 5th 2006

First top today: Kvalrossen

I do not start working until this evening today, with this weather a short hiking trip is a nice thing to do!

I started on the small mountain of Kvalrossen, ran up in some 10-15 minutes, warming up for the next mountain to climb somewhat later.

Here the rock formations are awesome, totally awesome! Imagine all the time it takes for the weather to carve such sculptures... and so beautiful! Jan Mayen is a sight for eyes. :)

September 4th 2006

A chest of gold...

The weather is strange, lots of tiny tiny raindrops, the sun shines through small holes in the cloudbase.

The rainbow to the right is viewed from the electronics departments exit door.


September 2nd 2006

Camp Ulla and the ride home

Gro-Heidi, Øyvind and me spent the night at Camp Ulla, the two others went hiking in the mountains, but I wanted to bicycle home, saving some energy for sundays planned trip to Flykollen.

I took some pictures on my way home, the panoramas are still not perfect, I will spend some time tweaking these when my new Mac workstation arrives. (My current computer is way to slow for dealing with large panoramas...) The first panorama covers a 215° sector.

On my way home I stopped several times, photographing the unique scenery of Jan Mayen. This part is known as «månelandskapet» (moon landscape) due to the rocks and small hills.

After the final spurt home (I wanted to beat Gro-Heidis time;) it was delicious having a long shover, a shave and a long relaxing bath in our outdoor swimming pool!


September 1st 2006

Mountain biking to Camp Ulla

It is weekend again, and time for some hiking - or something. Unfortunately the cloudbase started at some 300 meters, so I desided not to hike in the mountains, but rather bicycle to Camp Ulla, 21.5km away from the station.

On my way I met Odd-Torstein on his way back from Kapp Muyen on the north-west side of Jan Mayen.  I also met Bjørn who climbed Wildberget mountain, you can see his car, the police vehicle below. Later this evening, Øyvind, Gro-Heidi and me barbequed sausages and sat outside, enjoying the campfire and watching the stars. A great way of spending an evening on Jan Mayen!

August 30th 2006

Mountain biking to Maria Musch Bay

After todays dinner it was time for some exercise, and when the weater is nice, would you rather do one hour indoor spinning or have a three hour bicycling trip in beautiful terrain, accompanied by two dogs? :) Rhetoric question, I know.

Bicycled 26km in different terrain, some in loose sand, very exhausting. Carried the mountain bike up a hill, saved 600 meters (lazy me;). Fox front shock absorbers makes riding downhill on sharp rocks a piece of cake.. love these FOX absorbers!

August 30th 2006

Searching for misconfiguration error at EGNOS site

The VSAT satellite communication system on the EGNOS is running perfectly, but the ESA EGNOS communiction rack did not co-operate fully...

Today I had a british engineer on the phone, searching for the error, we found it, someone have actually used a RS232 interface where it should be a RS422 :S

Of course we do not have the proper equipment for fixing this right away, but we have an interface card, and I'll make some prober cabling tomorrow. Maybe we really should have a slogan... «Improvision is our business» :) 


August 29th 2006

Airplane «Sweeper 71» departure

The crew of the Piper Navajo enjoyed some food and buyed some souvernirs before continuing towards Svalbard airport. The wind direction changed 90° during the time it took getting departure clearence from Reykjavik control, so they had to change runway before departure. (Of cource we have only one airstrip, the runways are designated 06 or 24 dependant on the direction.. (060° or 240°)


August 29th 2006

Airplane «Sweeper 71» arriving

This morning we got a call from Greenland, Blom Geomatics were finished running a mapping survey over Liverpoolland, and wanted to refuel here on their way to Svalbard. (They got gasoline stockpiled here)

The airport is still my responsibility, so the somewhat unclear photos of the landing are taken through the control tower windows.

August 27th 2006

Inspection at EGNOS site

This is my first view of the site since the digging of the trenches. I needed to check the length of the trenches and inspect some of the deliveries - the transport company has sent us the wrong antenna cable. They have interchanged the cables (or antennas) for the Svalbard and Jan Mayen site... Well, improvision is our business. If ESA allows it... Nice weather btw :)

August 24th 2006

Cable trenches ready!

Today, after planning trench placement, standards requirements and such, Svein-Ove, Gro-Heidi and Robert went away and started digging cable trenches.

I was stunned by their speed, in only 5 hours time three persons digged 140m cable trenches, put cable tubing and ground wire systems in place, well, I guess they are just skilled! Unfortunately ESA forgot to send some necessary parts, but they managed to do an on-site fix :)

August 24th 2006

Fire drill

Every month there is a fire drill on Jan Mayen. Fire is still the greatest safety threat on our desolate island.

Todays scenario was a fire in the boat building shop, here lots of polyester and chemicals are stored. In this scenario, our chief engineer (and fire chief) was missing, so smoke divers had to find him quickly.

My job as chief of electronics crew in such a situation is coordinating messages between the active parties, so I had to stay inside while the others had a more active part in the action...

August 23rd 2006

Preparements for digging trenches

Yesterdays digging for the concrete foundations showed us that digging cable trenches using the wheel loader is out of the question. Our machine operator, Svein-Ove drove the excavator the 10km from the station to the EGNOS location, I can tell you, this machine will never break speed records :)

I was designated taxi driver for him, but wet ground redused the excavators speed so much I needed to wait almost one hour for him. Well, now everything is ready for digging trenches for the antenna cables.

August 22nd 2006

EGNOS antenna towers in place

The concrete tower foundations were finished and ready for transport and placement. Jørn, John, Gro-Heidi, Svein-Ove, Robert and me started working at 1800. The foundations are approx. 1.2 metric ton each, and were transported with the wheel loader. After this Svein-Ove drove back to the station where he exchanged the wheel loader shovel with one designed for digging in sand.

In the mean time us others located the high voltage cables and digged a big hole around the cables. There is no need for accidental cutting of these..

Digging deep enough holes for the fondations using the wheel loader was difficult, but Svein-Ove managed. After 5 hours the masts were where they should be!

August 19-21st 2006

Renovation of Camp Vera

Early saturday morning Svein-Ove walked to Camp Vera, after some hours Robert and me followed. Camp Vera was raised in 1968, some 10 years ago an avalanche hit the rear wall and made it more rhomb-shaped than square...

This weekend we built a new wall and roof for the woodshed, replaced the south wall, put up new gableboards and painted three walls. The rear wall needs complete replacement, and is next on the to do list.

August 15th 2006

5.5 hour trip in beautiful weather

The weather improved, finally at around 1700 there were no skies visible - this kind of weather is the four-times-a-year kind. Mildrid, Per Erik and me decided to have a hiking trip in the middle part of Jan Mayen, we brought the two dogs, Ingolf and Greyling, and I brought my tripod and panoramic head.

I went a while on my own, photographing; before the three of us we met on Holtanna crater after one hour. When walking, I was «attacked» several times by the Great Skua, Stercorarius skua, (Norwegian: Storjo) but they never come closer than half a meter when they divebomb towards your head. The «swooosh»-sound startles you though, when they do a flyby without you beeing aware of it..  I saw some strange sight, a Great Skua attacked by an Arctic Skua, Stercorarius parasiticus, (Norwegian: Tyvjo)...

The panoramas are not final, I need to do some more adjustment on the original images (barrel correction), but you'll «get the picture» from these preliminaries.

August 15th 2006

Cruise ship visiting

This morning we got a visit from the cruise ship Clipper Adventurer with 87 passengers and 70 crew members. Most of the passengers and some of the crew went ashore in the beautiful weather this morning.

Later in the day, I took some pictures of the Beerenberg Volcano, the last one through high power binoculars using a small digital camera... Take a look at the crevasses in the glacier! I wonder if there will be a Beerenberg expedition this autumn. By the way: High-res version of the Beerenberg closeup here!

August 11-13th 2006

Weekend at Camp Vera, relaxing...

Svein-Ove and myself hiked across the island on friday afternoon, heading for Camp Vera on the west side of the island. The higher parts were foggy, but as you can see on the pictures to the right, conditions were nice when we arrived, the sea was very calm, unusually calm actually.

This evening we made a huge campfire out of driftwood. I went for a stroll and found the carcass of a seal.

Saturday afternoon we saw a ship passing by, we later found this to be the Polarsyssel scientific vessel bound for Greenland.

On sunday we headed home, on 400m (you can see the rainbow on the picture) we came through the fog, and decided to climb the mountains Borga and Trollslottet (Castle of the Trolls). On the way we passed some craters, and had magnificent views all around us. We brought one of the dogs, Greyling with us on this trip, you see him on the second last picture. The last picture shows a strange hole in the ground, some 1.5m across and 0.5m deep...

August 9th 2006

Johns birthday

My colleague John has his birthday today, here you see him recieve half a barrel lid with greetings from the station commander.

Happy birthday, John!


August 9th 2006

Another sailboat visiting...

The third sailboat this summer, Wandering Albatross with a crew of two visited us today. They have anchored at Eggøya for the night, and sailed to our station this afternoon in perfect weather! Later on they ate dinner with us and joined us in the bar to celebrate my colleague Johns birthday.

On the last picture the station commander, lieutenant-colonel Hanevold is ready to welcome our guests.

August 6th 2006

It is getting dark outside...

It is 0230 local time, and only a few minutes until the darkest moment of the day. The midnight sun has been gone for one week, and the nights are getting darker rapidly. Here is the view from my office to the north.


August 3rd 2006

PATCO Finally OK!!!

I have been telling you about the trouble we and previous crews have had with the Pulse, Amplitude and Timing COntroller - finally the problem now is resolved! As I wrote on the June 14th news article on this matter, the problem had to be a mechanical failure in the PATCO chassis, and with the new chassis secured in place, everything wroks fine again!

It is a great feeling knowing this problem is - history! :)


August 2nd 2006


The Coast Guard people stayed for the night and left today with the support crew that have stayed here for one week. The weather was ok, no problem sending the aircraft away, good visibility.

The next aircraft will maybe come sometimes in September when some people from the Norwegian mapping authority will oversee the progress of the building of the EGNOS RIMS station. This visit is unfortunately not 100% certain, the next one after this is my plane back to the mainland on October 11th!


August 1st 2006

Coast Guard airplane landed

We were so lucky! The fog eased for 10 minutes and we were able to recieve the Dornier Do228-202k from the Norwegian Coast Guard.

The plane arrived from Svalbard with some necessary cargo and three of the crew that had one week off at the mainland.

Here our new station commander welcomes one of the pilots.


August 1st 2006

AnTech guys tearing down the old Conical HF tower

This week we had a visit from three guys from the antenna and tower specialist company AnTech. They have changed guy wire and inspected most of our antenna and tower park.

Today they removed the old tower used for Loran C HF communication. One guy wire had broken, and we do not use the tower anymore. The tower is approx. 25 m tall. I guess this tower will be bourne again as a radio amateur tower on the mainland! :)


News from June and July here!
News from October here!