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Storm Takes Down Antennas at Memorial Ham Station on Swedish-Norwegian Border

08/13/2018

The SJ9WL-LG5LG Morokulien memorial station on the border of Sweden and Norway is off the air after a large tree, brought down during a severe storm on August 10, caused extensive damage to the station’s antennas. According to one report, the station’s 100-foot tower was broken into pieces after the tree fell across three tower guys. That pulled the support structure toward the station building, but a third set of guys on the other side of the tower held and kept it from damaging the structure. The tower has been up for at least a decade.

“This is a unique place, because the radio shack is exactly on the border, and the users are obliged to use the call signs alternatively — one day SJ9WL and the next day LG5LG,” Henryk Kotowski, SM0JHF, told ARRL. Kotowski has operated from the station in the past, and a photo he shot at Morkulien appeared on the cover of the October 1996 issue of QST.

“This was a memorial station devoted to SM5WL and LA5LG,” Kotowski explained. “They both promoted Amateur Radio and supported disabled hams. Swedish and Norwegian hams took over the abandoned border checkpoint house 50 years ago and made a joint club station there.” He said the area is now devoted to recreation and includes a peace monument. With funds from station rentals, the association Amateur Radio in Morokulien (ARIM) maintains and manages the station, which may be the only one located on an international border in what ARIM calls a “ham state.” The station is designed to accommodate individuals with disabilities. The name Morokulien is a combination of the words for fun — moro in Norwegian, and kul in Swedish — plus a suffix indicating “in one place.”

Antennas on the support structure included an eight-element log periodic for HF plus a 6-meter Yagi and antennas for VHF and UHF. The antenna structure was topped with a VHF-UHF vertical. The tower also supported dipoles for the lower bands.

“Sweden has been haunted this summer by drought, wildfires, and, recently, heavy storms and rainfall,” Kotowski recounted.

The cottage in Morokulien had been booked for the weekend, but the reservation was canceled. This fall, clubs on both sides of the international border are planning a joint 50th anniversary celebration.



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