Events / Photo Galleries

It’s All in the Cards! QSL Cards from the Aland Islands

Editor’s Note: Every month, DX Engineering features QSL cards from our team members’ personal collections. To highlight upcoming DXpeditions, we’ll be displaying a few of our favorite cards along with details about what it took to make these contacts. We’re excited to share some of the special cards pulled from the thousands we’ve received over the years. We look forward to seeing your cards as well!

Aland Islands Active in April

If you’ve never made contact with the Aland Islands or need to fill bands, you’re in luck this April. You’ll have two opportunities to make QSOs with this autonomous archipelago belonging to Finland at the entrance to the Gulf of Bothnia in the Baltic Sea. Team 1 of the OH0EG DXpedition (DK8RE, DM5WF, and DL8UUF) is scheduled to be QRV until April 9 from the Aland Islands on 160-10M in CW, SSB, and digital. Team 2 (SP1EG, SP1QY, and SQ3PMX) is slated to be on 80-15M in FT4, FT8, and RTTY from April 22-29.

The Aland Islands (610 square miles, population of 30,100) ranked as the 242nd Most-Wanted DXCC Entity per Clublog as of March. Aland’s low ranking as a coveted DXCC entity can be largely attributed to the entity’s hugely successful contest stations, including OH0V (Jukka, OH6LI) located atop Getabergen (Geta Mountain) in the northern part of the islands, and the world-renowned OH0W multi-multi site established in 1982 in the eastern Aland Islands on Brando.

Some Facts about the Aland Islands

  • The Aland Islands is the smallest region in Finland in both population and area.
  • The archipelago is made up of 6,700 islands and reefs, only 60 of which are inhabited.
  • The League of Nations declared the Aland Islands an autonomous and demilitarized region of Finland in 1920. This status means that there may be no military presence there. June 9 is known as Autonomy Day, or Self-Government Day, an annual celebration in memory of the first meeting of the Aland Regional Assembly in 1922.
  • Swedish is Aland’s only official language. Per the Act on the Autonomy of Aland, communication between Finland’s government and Aland officials must be done in Swedish.
  • Ninety percent of the region’s inhabitants live on Fasta Aland (40% reside in the town of Mariehamm, its capital city and one of Aland’s 16 municipalities). During Autonomy Day, Aland Pancakes (cardamon-flavored, oven-baked pancakes made with semolina and traditionally served with whip cream and prunes) are eaten in Mariehamm’s main square.
  • Aland Islands’ only land border is uninhabited Market Reef, a skerry shared by Finland and Sweden. Market Reef, which celebrated its 50th year as a DXCC entity in 2019, ranks as the 164th MostWanted DXCC Entity according to Clublog.

QSL Cards

Here are a few of the QSL cards from the Aland Islands collected by the active operators at DX Engineering over the years.

Scotty, KG9Z, customer/technical support specialist, pulled this OH0BA QSL card from his collection. OH0BA operated from the famous OH0W DX site on Brando, described on the back of the card as “…a very small insular community at the easternmost end of the island group. It is a desolate, isolated community made up of thousands of rocks and skerries. You need to take three ferries to reach Brando. We have established a DX location here and we keep coming here to enjoy the remoteness, relax, and do DX at its best.” Brando, an island municipality of Aland, has a population of 449 who work primarily in fishing, farming, and forestry.

George, K3GP, DX Engineering customer/technical support specialist, reached OH0W back in February 2005 and OH0/K7BV in May 1999.

Tom, KB8UUZ, DX Engineering technical writer, contacted legendary DXpeditioner Martti Laine, OH2BH/OH0B from Brando Island in 2011 and reached OH0Z in 2013. Read the back of the OH0B card regarding the establishment of the OH0W contesting site on Brando.

Scott, N3RA, DX Engineering sales manager, contacted OH0/SK3SN on 17M FT8 in May 2019.

Mark, W8BBQ, DX Engineering customer/technical support specialist, contacted OH0V in November 2014 on 20M CW and OH0B/OH0X in October 2010 on 20M SSB. For the OH0B/OHoX operation, the Brando DX station was put into service as an OH0 multiplier in the CQWW DX Contest, recording 10,240 QSOs. Featuring a scenic view of the island, the card reads, “Aland stands Tall…with its beauty of nature.”

David, K8DV, DX Engineering customer/technical support specialist, reached the OH0R DXpedition from Brando in July 2008 on 40M CW. Featuring one of the station’s massive antennas, the card proudly declares, “Finns stand Tall…leaving small talk to others.”

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