Hopen island (76,30 North, 25,00 East) is a solitary oceanic island in the Barents Sea. It lies in the same latitude as the south point of Spitsbergen and 115 nautical miles east of it. Hopen is 33 km long, and 1.5-2 km wide. It rises out of the sea from the plateau which extends from Bear Island up towards Hopen and then across to the Edge Island. The Islands appears as a long and relatively high mountain ridge, it is made up of alternating strata of slate and limestone. The Island has distinctive mountain summits along the ridge, Iversenfjellet 370m on the south of the island is the highest one. The vegetation is sparse, being mainly represented by moss and a number of other hardy plants, about 30 types altogether.

The island is often
surrounded by ice

The dogs warns about
visiting polarbears

Bear nest


During the period when the Island is surrounded by ice, polar bears and arctic foxes often cisit it, while a small race of blue foxes is resistent. It is not uncommon to have 5 to 10 bears visiting the station daily! There are also many birds, particulary auks which leave the Island at the end of august. Hopen was one of the best hunting grounds in Svalbard for polar bears. Well over 100 bears were hunted every year up to 1970. In 1976 an international agreement on total protection was adopted. The staff on Hopen radio observes often bears nearby the station. Two persons has since 1994 been killed by polar bears on Svalbard.


The staff on the island is 4 persons who is responsible for "Hopen radio". Weather observations are made every 3 hours.

Hopen Radio - LMR JW5RIA - Hopen radio


I was active from Hopen (IOTA EU-063) on all HF-bands plus 6M. from May 2000 to February 2001 and from December 2002 till July 2003. I used a Kenwood TS 450 and an Icom 706. The antennas were a multiband Barker & Willamson and a 5 element beam for 6 meters donated by UKSMG.