My first student Esko, OH2GTS, soon became the chairman of newly founded youth committee of SRAL. The committee consisted of enthusiastic boys and girls wanting to widen their Amateur Radio hobby to new areas never visited before. One of them was going on a DX-pedition. In year 2006 we felt that we were ready for some serious action.
A suitable time for this kind of activity off home base was in the middle of August, just before the schools started again. The International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend offered several possibilities to sail to the seas and see the old buildings built on faraway cliffs. Radio activity would be inspired by the salty water around the QTH ensuring good propagation.
My first young ham team of six operators decided to opt for Bengtskär way out in the Baltic Sea. This magnificent lighthouse once so important for seafarers had been renovated for tourists wanting to have a taste of salt water and to be embraced by the wild beauty of the sea while enjoying the luxury of hotel services.
The 52 metres high tower, highest of its kind in Finland, suited well to serve as a support for our Windom antenna. We also had the lecture room at our disposal for the radio station as well as to conduct a training course for some new team members. Successful exams proved that the students found the exceptional environment inspiring.
For our operation we loaned the special event call sign OH3W belonging to the club station OH3AA of Hämeenlinna and added the abbreviation /LH denoting our status as a lighthouse station. We stayed on the rocky islet for four days and enjoyed working with our radio station, going to sauna, swimming and admiring the silent beauty of the calm sea. Just before our arrival there had been a storm – we were so lucky!
Some years later another youth DXpedition was made, this time to a much bigger island, the main island of the Aland group. Again we had a special call sign, OH0/OH2DXF, which actually belonged to our sponsor OH DX Foundation. This was the first operation with the brand new call OH2DXF.
Eight young operators with three adults as a support team made almost two thousand QSOs in three days from the contest station OH0Z with a fine location 90 metres above sea level and serious antenna arsenal. Some of these operators continued their DX quest next year at the superstation OH8X in Arcala near Arctic Circle.
OH8X team was established not only to satisfy the competitive needs of seasoned gentlemen in their seventies but also to give younger operators a chance to sit in the driver´s seat of a world-class station and make a serious effort in major contests. SRAL youth team was happy to enjoy the hospitality of OH8X and in August 2009 stay at this dedicated SO2R station to familiarize themselves with modern amateur radio technology.
These DX-peditions were possible thanks to SRAL support which will continue next year. OH youth goes this time a step further, to Market Reef OJ0. One more year in the quest of becoming a mature DXpeditioner means a lot – just wait and see!