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Kapp Linné - A view from our expert author
This tiny satellite station settlement has been retrofitted as a chic base for adventure trips into the Arctic wilderness.
Until the end of 2003, the radio station, Kapp Linné, on the southern side of the entrance of Isfjord, with its huge parabolic antennae, was the telecommunications lifeline for Longyearbyen, connecting the town with the rest of the world. Only here, where no mountains are in the way southwards, could the parabolic antennae of this ground station be directed at the geostationary telecommunication satellite just above the southern horizon as seen from here – due to the extreme northern position of the islands. In the 1990s, the station was automated and in 2004 it was replaced by the new twin glass-fibre sea cable, which stretches over the sea bottom between mainland Norway and Svalbard, providing a vastly expanded and less disturbed data-transfer capacity. Over the past few years, the station has been converted into an upmarket lodge run by adventure company Basecamp Spitsbergen (tel: 79 02 46 00; www.basecampspitsbergen.com).
The several buildings that once housed satellite equipment and accommodation for the people that manned it have since been re-envisioned as a rustic-chic base for explorations into the surrounding wilderness and adjacent bird sanctuary, onto which the two-dozen rooms now look out.