#introduction As a polymath, I always have the feeling that I get lost in all of my different interests and projects. Sometimes I think the fediverse can help me to get things under control. But it possibly will only increase chaos.
I'm working in the humanities but like to challenge myself with obsolete technologies. Looking at the soldering iron in my shaky hands is terrible but it will not prevent me go on trying.
On the air I hate 59 - 73! contacts. If you don't want to talk, do not answer my call. (FT8 is not an option.)
Always look at the big picture and try to dive deep. If you're only interested in your niche, we'll have little to share.
What a disappointment today.
Since the Covid crisis, and now with the war in Ukraine, I have little time for amateur radio. (It has to do with the increased workload. But I don't want to get into detail how this is all connected). A short glance at my logbook shows: I last had 2 QSOs in December, and then 3 more in May. (The regular conversations with friends on 2m do not count).
Even though I only had that one day free, I was hell-bent on participating in this year's 80m fieldday contest. But I screwed it up.
I started checking out my equipment last night. And at noon today, I set out for the same spot where I participated last year. It's at the beach on the northern coast of the island - a beautiful spot under pine trees. The conditions were great: the sky cleared up, the sun came out, there was only moderate wind and I felt warm and comfortable. I was a little late, as usual, but I got the antenna mast up faster and even better than ever before. And then I screwed up.
When I looked at the dipole, I had the impression that the two legs were not quite on the same axis. I started to turn the mast, a little at first, then with force, until the feed point broke with a crash. I would have needed a soldering iron to fix it. But I was out in the field and all I had was a 12V battery.
The worst part is that others are counting on you. There should be at least one station in each county participating. So I still had to make sure that someone could fill in for me. Well, there is not even cell phone coverage at this spot. I had to quickly climb a hill to reach someone from there and ask them to help out.
That done, I laid down in the grass. My perfectionism, my habit to always do a little bit more, even if everything is o.k., had defeated me once again. It's hard to admit that to yourself when you're already getting old and know yourself as well as I know myself.
But fieldday is about training over and over again how quickly you could establish communication with the rest of the country in a case of emergency, all with your own limited resources. The actual contacts in the contest are the easy part.
This time I was 99% there already - I'll just have to pace myself a bit more next time.
On Friday, Tartu University made a stupid decision. Russian and Belorussian citizens can no longer apply for study opportunities in the upcoming fall semester. The reasoning is particularly bizarre: allegedly, they could pose a security risk to Estonia, as the university is unable to determine their exact intentions and backgrounds. (Estonia has been a fierce critic of Putin's regime from the very beginning. It didn't need Russia invade Ukraine to do so. So why has this not been an issue so far?)
This is an attack on individual and academic freedom that can only prove counterproductive in the current situation: We exclude precisely those who are likely to be among the only ones who might turn against Putin and help to stand up for democratic values in Russia.
188 university teachers and employees of the Estonian Academy of Arts, Tallinn University, Tartu University, Tallinn University of Technology and the Estonian Academy of Music and Theater have signed an "Open letter in support of academic freedom".
The text in Estonian, Russian and English can be found here:
So far, about 18 500 war refugees from Ukraine have arrived in Estonia. Roughly 5000 have moved on to Finland. Every day 1500 to 2000 new refugees arrive. It will be interesting to see how we cope with this development. Estonia has practically no experience with the reception of refugees. I used to say that we are protected by nature in a twofold way: there is the harsh climate and a population that has never been known for its friendliness towards strangers. (We call it aloofness.)
It should be briefly recalled that in the refugee crisis that followed 2015, Estonia agreed to take in 550 (!) refugees. In the end, 161 arrived, 85 of whom moved on to Germany.
This time everything is different: the refugees are readily welcomed by a population, who can easily identify with their fate. So far, most of the refugees have stayed with their relatives. (If I remember the numbers correctly, before the outbreak of the war a community of about 50 000 Ukrainians have been living here). The rest have been housed in hotels so far. Some hotel owners pay for accommodation from their own funds. But capacities in hotels are running out.
The government is preparing for a number of 100 000 refugees. That's a huge number. It would represent 7.7% of Estonia's population.
In the morning at 6:47 my sleep gets interrupted by the roaring noise of fighter planes. It's NATO planes. In the first week of the war they seemed to be in the air almost all day long. Now mainly in the mornings and in the evenings. They take off from Ämari airbase, about 30km southwest of Tallinn. Estonia itself does not have any fighter aircraft (the same is true for the other Baltic states) and is therefore entirely dependent on the Baltic Air Policing mission. At the moment the Belgians are in Ämari with their F-16s, additionally the F-15s of the United States Air Force.
Several times a year Russian fighter planes enter Estonian airspace. They want to test NATO. How long does it take for NATO planes to start, how long does it take for them to reach the borders from Ämari? The invading planes turn off their transponders. (A transponder in air navigation is a radio that answers an interrogating signal with an encoded identifying signal). It goes without saying that switching off your transponder is against any rules. The Estonian Ministry of Defense will send a complaint to Russia. These always remain unanswered.
All summer NATO fighter jets trained in the sky over our island. That constant noise drove me mad. Now the sky is finally quiet again. The planes are now in action in the eastern part of Estonia. In Tallinn, the permanent noise of airplanes over your head makes for constant tension. Not for a minute you can forget that there is a war going on in Ukraine.
In the evening, I go grocery shopping: a salad and a bottle of red wine from Portugal. "Have a nice evening," says the woman at the checkout in the wine department. "Same to you," and I raise the wine bottle as if I would raise my glass to her. "Let's hope we don't get shelled," she replies, breaking into a loud laughter behind her mask. She is joking. But her laughter shows that she is freeing herself from a tension that has been mounting inside her all day.
Einer dieser Tage, die einen niedergeschlagen und trübselig ins Bett kriechen lassen. Wladimir der Unterhosenvergifter belügt die Welt monatelang nach Strich und Faden, daß sich die Balken biegen und die NATO fühlt sich an semantische Unterschiede zwischen Angriffs- und Verteidigungswaffen gebunden, die eh nur fiktiv sind.
Ich rede von den polnischen MiG-29-Kampfflugzeugen.
Meeting at the Institute last night. Number one on the agenda: help for Ukraine.
The application form for Ukrainian art students, which I mentioned lately (https://tilde.zone/@es0mhi/107860012046998675) , is now closed. EKA has received about three times more applications than it will eventually be able to handle. (Places are limited because the university covers the cost of accommodation and board for the students. We also provide help with transportation.)
Our faculty (Faculty of Art and Culure) received the fewest applications and two-thirds of those were to the more practical fields (Cultural Heritage and Conservation). The Department of Art History and Visual Culture received only a few applications, nevertheless some of the students might end up in my courses, because some courses are entirely in English. I would be happy if in this way I could end up being of practical help in this crisis.
So far, only 4 students have actually arrived in Estonia. All the others are somewhere in Europe, on mysterious routes.
Afterwards, I wanted to visit the central collection point for humanitarian aid for Ukraine, which is located very close to the university. But it is temporarily closed: the storages are already filled to the rafters. Other collection points have already been opened. So after the Javelins and the German howitzers that we have already sent, less lethal aid is finally on its way.
The Estonian state is operating in an exemplary manner: the arriving Ukrainian refugees receive their prepared residence permits the very next day, their children already attending school and starting to learn Estonian. One could assume, that we are preparing for a war here that would last for years. But it's a bit different: most of the Ukrainian refugees arriving here have friends or relatives in Estonia and it would be naive to think that they will all return to their homeland. It is better to start integration right away.
The ERAU (Estonian Radio Amateur Union) has issued a recommendation to all its members not to make QSOs with Russian stations for the duration of the war in Ukraine.
I do not think that this is the right decision. Amateur radio is a unique possibility of direct communication between strangers and it serves international friedship and understanding. For me this is most important.
I will comply this request nevertheless. Because I know all the people responsible for this decision personally and I know that it is meant as a gesture of solidarity to the Ukrainian radio amateurs. The Ukrainian amateurs are banned off the air for initially 30 days because of the war. It is understandable why under these circumstances it feels wrong to contact Russian stations as if nothing has happened.
qrz.com had decided to make information to all Russian and Belarusian callsigns unavailable on their website. A pretty strong signal - much better than denying all communication. But they have withdrawn their decision.
This week the first war refugees arrived from Ukraine. About 5000. Estonian hospitals also take injured people for care. Most of them have broken limbs and non-life-threatening wounds. For worse, the transport would be too complicated.
Interestingly enough, people are also arriving from the other direction. The Tallinn-St. Petersburg coach line has doubled its daily routes. Among the arrivals are some foreigners living in Russia, but most are Russians. Russians are leaving their country. So far, it is only dripping. But when Russia collapses it will be an avalanche.
Don't use the word avalanche. These are human beings.
But it will possibly feel like an avalanche.
I think I'll start writing down some things concerning the war in Ukraine that I would otherwise just write in a diary. That way it's easy to look up later, at what moment I started to notice certain things.
I returned to Tallinn this evening - work tomorrow. In the supermarket it becomes clear that people have started hoarding again. This time it's not toilet paper.
It all started a few days ago when the salt disappeared from the shelves overnight. A colleague called my wife: she had run out of salt, went to the grocer, but there was none left in the whole city. My wife told me this on the phone. It was immediately noticeable that she already was in a slight panic. She told me to have a look at the shops on the island if there was anything left. Salt? What do you need salt for? For salting and preserving? It was probably too late for that.
But as always, I do the most absurd things when my wife tells me to. At the first supermarket, big surprise: no salt. Where the salt should be on the shelf, there was nothing but a big gap. In the next supermarket the same. In the third supermarket I could find salt: next to a big gap there were a few packages left, very unusual packaging. Imported from Finland. That rang a bell.
In the morning I had read a strange headline in the newspaper: "Russian-language books still available in bookstores." One of those headlines you skim until your brain starts thinking, wait a minute, wait a minute, what? It said that in the meantime all goods of Russian origin had been removed from the shelves, but russian books will continue to be on sale. So that was it. Our salt here comes almost exclusively from Russia and Belarus.
In Tallinn, the situation was already quite different. The shelves with canned goods were only sparsely filled. Buckwheat was completely sold out. There were also no matches. People are buying matches like crazy, said the woman at the checkout. No doubt these people can still remember wars. If we would run out of matches, we'd really be screwed. All our heating completly depends on firewood.
The Estonian Academy of Arts (EKA) offers Ukrainian students free study opportunities at our four faculties of Fine Arts, Design, Architecture, and Art Culture until the situation in their country stabilises.
For details go to:
Being a direct neighbor of Russia always requires strong nerves. You can't let every little bit alarm you or you'll go nuts. But this time it is getting serious.
Yesterday YLE (the Finnish Broadcasting Company) published this map of the route of a Russian cargo flight from Moscow to Leipzig on last Saturday. It would be an understatement to say that it took a slight detour, wouldn't it? But why did it do that?
It flew over Tikkakoski, a Finnish Air Force base.
I went to the Live World Map of Satellite Positions (in-the-sky.org) to check the position of some NOAA weather satellites.
As there are checkboxes for all kinds of satellites I then just so unchecked everything else but the Starlink satellites.
Still making plans for the new year, drawing consequences from what I have learned from the previous one. But it seems difficult to implement these insights. I should probably concentrate on fewer projects. But I immediately fall back into the old misconception that with better time planning everything could be reconciled.
I fell ill and had to stay longer in Tallinn than planned. Lots of snow there, at least half a meter on the streets.
In the last few weeks I've been constantly wondering how the delivery robots will cope with the first snowfalls - since Corona I've been sharing the sidewalk with several of them practically every work morning and evening. It came just as I thought: already a few centimeters of snow and they got stuck.
Teach them how to ski guys, otherwise it won't work!
The foto is actually from another fight: Wiebe - Mäe at the Olympics in August.
But the World Championships final was heartbreaking: all lost in the last 2 min.
How could this still slip out of her hands? Have a look at her face when she realizes: the victory is gone after a 4-0 lead.
Epp Mäe is a great athlete - period.
homo universalis, radio amateur, unix enthusiast, floss advocate, emacs user, bibliophile, anarchist, teaching at the Estonian Academy of Arts
masto instance for the tildeverse