For friends in Finland,
Here is an English translation of a part of my article “My Memories in EU -Germany, Italy and Finland-” that I wrote in a Japanese magazine “CQ ham radio”:
5 Finland · Helsinki
In the memory of ID-51, OH2RCH is stored as the only D-STAR repeater in Finland, in the city of Espoo close to Helsinki. I contacted Erik, OH2LAK, who is named as the administrator of the repeater on D-STARusers.org. He answered to me, however, that the repeater went off the air a few years ago due to little use. It was regrettable, but, Wow, Erik was so kind that he invited me to the weekly meeting of his club station OH2K, which is held every Thursday night.
“Radio Club of Kauniainen (OH2K)” is located in the city of Kauniainnen, about 30 minutes by train from Helsinki. I arrived at the train station and called Erik through the local repeater (OH2RCH/434.825 MHz), and got his answer, saying he was going to the station to pick me up by car. This is a good practice for radio amateurs to rendezvous.
OH2K is located in the premises of a local school and took over the facilities of a club station which used to be established by a teacher of the school. A tower rose on the roof.
By opening a thick iron door that looked like the one in a nuclear shelter, I found three rooms inside. The first room is a living room that is furnished by even a refrigerator, where an UHF mobile radio is always watching the repeater. Many fine measuring instruments were lined up in the next room, and the back was the radio room.
The club meeting was not a cramped-feeling meeting, but members were getting together and enjoying chat on having Finnish specialty pie “karelian pasty” or something in their hands. Other members were sharing junk items, or were listening to the radios. There were people coming in and out, in free and warm atmosphere.
Because all Finnish people speak very clear English, and moreover because we are the same radio amateurs, I never felt trouble in conversation with the members. When I enjoyed talks with everyone, showing rod antennas and Japanese radio catalogs that I brought for them as “Akihabara Souvenir” from JA, I was asked to come to the measuring instrument room and told “he there is making your own radio now.” What a surprise to me! I further told the story: the analog cell phones that the Finnish global company Nokia once manufactured were actually designed by a radio amateur. After use, junk portable phones are brought there to the club and are modified to amateur radios by rewriting the ROM. Every club guest is given one to bring home. This was the sincerest gift for radio amateurs, and so deeply impressed was I.
OH2K, based on the well-equipped club room, is the place where various members really enjoy their life with the amateur radio, from a generation who comes to the club room from early morning and enjoys DXing, to the one at the age of twenties who enthusiastically told me that an SDR dongle can be used not only to listen to radios but also to transmit weak radio waves. This was the ideal form of a club station. I took a memorial photo with them, felt like I teared myself away from the club, and left the club room behind.
From the hotel in Helsinki, I tried HF operation for a while with the same “delta loop antenna” (LOL), that I used in Milan, using the call sign “OH/AC1AM.” I was able to make QSOs with many EU stations, including the one in Luxembourg, and was even able to QSO with JAs on 17m / 20m, JT 65.