The Godfather of Contesting in Sweden
Typical landscape of Northern Sweden – a long and empty road through woods.
Rainer, SM2DMU, is no doubt the single person who has done most to promote and boost serious contesting in Sweden. When he got his first Amateur Radio licence in 1964 at the age of 16, contests in Sweden were slowly gaining in popularity, but the general approach was relaxed, light and easy. The first Scandinavian Activity Contest took place in 1959 and for many years the majority of contest participants were experienced DX-chasers from Southern Sweden. Northern Sweden (SM3 and SM2 call areas), due to poorer HF propagation, was handicapped. The 70s brought a significant increase in new Amateur Radio operators, clubs and available equipment. Better and larger antennas made it possible for the North to compete with the South. Today the most active and successful contesters in Sweden are in Norrland (SM3 and SM2).
QTH of SM2DMU in Robertsfors on the Gulf of Bothnia in the northern Baltic Sea.
Rainer was born in Jämtland – a wilderness region in Norrland, where people are tough and self-sufficient, there are only mountains, woods and rivers. He went to Australia in 1969 and stayed there for two years, not afraid of going Down Under and living in another wilderness. Back in Sweden, he continued his education and joined the Umeå Radio Club SK2AT. Umeå is an important town of Northern Sweden, currently the European Capital of Culture 2014. In 1972 Rainer experienced a multi-operator contest for the first time at this club station, and most likely he took a fancy to it.
Rainer, SM2DMU, guiding me around his property.
In 1976 he settled down in a small community, some 50 km north of Umeå, and started an antenna manufacturing business, known as Cue-Dee. A year later the first antenna tower was installed at this QTH. It was clearly an outstanding structure and attracted a lot of attention. The 140-ft rotary tower carried a 3-element 40-meter array, six-over-six for 20 meters and long monobanders for 10 and 15. Rainer started inviting enthusiasts from all over the country for contests. A formal radio club was founded, the call sign indicated their High Power inclination, and the name was Australia inspired – The Outback DX Club SK2KW. The maximum legal power for Amateur Radio in Sweden was then only 500 W, so mentioning ”2kW” in every contest contact annoyed some people.
A dozen DXCC awards is only a small part of accumulated wallpaper through the years.
The shack is spacious and well equipped.
For more than 20 years this place had been visited by a large number of Amateur Radio operators from Sweden and abroad. Many came here to learn and practise operating technique, others just wanted to see an impressive antenna farm. One can easily say that Rainer has influenced the whole Scandinavian contesting scene. He manufactured high-quality antennas which were battle-tested at SK2KW and showed the importance of antenna systems. He allowed young enthusiasts to experience the fun of high-level contesting.
The most memorable contest event was the 1979 CQ WW SSB when the Multi-Multi group of SK2KW totalled over 10k QSOs and 14.6 milion points – a result still unsurpassed after 35 years by any other Swedish team. In 2011 a Multi-Single team SJ2W approached 14,6 milion points in CQ WW SSB. The SJ2W station is located some 50 kilometers from Rainer’s QTH and they admit that he gave them both inspiration and assistance in building this impressive station. It is probably the best and ongoing example of Rainer’s influence. The result of his attitude is that today there are more active contesters in Northern Sweden (SM2 & SM3) per capita than in other parts of the country. Many skilled contest operators now living in other parts of the country and abroad admit they have gained experience at SK2KW.
Rainer, SM2DMU, at his operating position, but not often on the air.
The radio room is ample and very neat.
Nostalgy department – collection of old tube radios and vinyl records.
One of the three large rotary towers at SM2DMU, but in the heyday there were more.
There are always individuals who have visions, energy and means to take brave steps in every field. Let’s not forget about those whom we are indebted for the progress in our hobby.
In 1999 Rainer acquired a contest call sign of his own – 7S2E. Until 2006, when he suffered a stroke, he entered many contests in Single Operator category and holds a number of Swedish records.
The nature of Norrland is unique, but very tough – it is wet, cold and dark most of the time.
Henryk Kotowski, SM0JHF