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Check out the latest pictures & monk blog in Monk Diary
 
MARKET REEF, OJ0X, TO BE ACTIVATED FOR THREE WEEKS BY 12 BRAVE MEN
Latitude 60.299743 (60° 17' 59'' N);
Longitude 19.137154 (19° 8' 13'' E)
 
 

 

Helsinki - November 7, 2011 OJ0X DXPEDITION CAME TO AN END WITH 66.000+ QSO's

With record warm temperatures and calm seas, the last OJ0X sub-group of Timo, OG9X; Olli, OH0XX; Martti, OH2BH and Teemu, SM0W got back to Aland Islands with 10.000 CQWW QSO's in the books, bringing the total to more than 66.000 in the OJ0X log. The updated log search page is now online at http://www.clublog.org with the latest pictures to be added soon.

The OJ0X operating team comprised these fourteen (14) operators: Salvatore, DH7SA; Dietmar, DL3DXX; Frank, DL5CW; Timo, OG9X; Olli, OH0XX; Juha, OH1ND; Pekka, OH1TV; Miika, OH2BAD; Martti, OH2BH; Ilmo, OH2BO; Tapani, OH5BM; Teemu, SM0W; Rick, SM6U and Robert, SP5XVY.

While the gang experienced all kinds of weather in fighting for their landings and departures, they were satisfied in being able to catch some good high-band openings, offering OJ0 on those bands and modes for the first time. They managed the four weeks without a glitch among the rotating groups.

Here, they offer a score card listing those with the highest number of band points in various geographical areas, such as Japan: JA6BZI and JA4DND (21) and JA4EPE, JR4FYW and JA0FSB (19). In the United States, top honors go to K5EK (17) followed by W4CHA, W4DXA and N8RR. The U.S. West Coast is led by W7AL (11), followed by N6ED (10). In Europe, OK2PAY and LZ1NG are credited with 23 band points, followed by EA1SB and ON7GB (22) and DF3QG and PA1PVH (21). Oceania's best score (15) comes from VK7ZE and South America's from YV8AD (13).

All in all, OJ0X contacted 26.873 individuals, and 141 stations made it on all 9 bands offered.

The background team offering help and performing several support functions consisted of: Mario, 9H5QB; Nigel, G3TXF; Jarmo, OH2BN; Pertti, OH2PM; Harri, OH6VM; Tore, SM0DZB; Vlad, UA6LV and the boat captain, Mats Sjostrom, plus the Finnish Lighthouse Society’s chairman, Pekka Vaisanen, and Market Reef chairperson, Angela Eriksson, who did their utmost to make everything jell.

If you are interested in operating from Market Reef in 2012, you may contact Pekka or Angela for more information at http://www.majakkaseura.fi/eng/market/. Harri, OH6VM/OJ0VM is also offering you a complete tour of the lighthouse facilities at http://www.oh6vm.org/market/.

OJ0X QSL cards are available from OH2BH in December and soon via LoTW.

--

73 Jarmo OH2BN

 

 

Helsinki - October 25, 2011

RADIO ARCALA TEAM POISED TO STRIKE HARD IN CQWW SSB

It is that great time of the year when the Northern folks typically head South but now increasingly also allow their own hardware to speak for Nordic supremacy.

MARKET REEF, OJ0X
Challenging the soon-to-be freezing sea, they try to activate Market Reef for the first time as a CQWW SSB Contest multiplier. If lucky on this week's Thursday landing, OJ0X will be aired by Timo, OG9X; Olli, OH0XX; Martti, OH2BH; Harri, OH6VM and Teemu, SM0W in the Multi-2 category. You can follow their adventure at www.qrz.com/db/OJ0X

AZORES ISLANDS, CR2X
Early Tuesday morning, Toni, OH2UA heads to Radio Arcala's Atlantic outpost to see how improved 10M propagation can push his score to new heights. The Azores station is now furnished with a new dual FTdx5000 setup, with OM Power auto amps at all Radio Arcala stations.

ALAND ISLANDS, OH0X
The world renowned OH0W site in Brando, Aland Islands, is now integrated into the Radio Arcala station network as OH0X, and an old warhorse Pertti, OH2PM will be shooting for Northern Europe SOAB honors. Here the old wisdom is to face the challenge of young energy. OH0X cut the finish line first in the recent Polar Battle (CW) - the Scandinavian Activity Contest - with Toni, OH2UA at the helm.

NORTHERN FINLAND, OH8X
The Radio Arcala mother-ship on the Arctic Circle is to be manned by Kim, OH6KZP amid good prospects for openings with polar propagation on all three higher bands. The station recently won the SSB Polar Battle (SAC) with Tonno, ES5TV at the controls.

SOUTHERN FINLAND, OH2BH
With a slightly different propagation outlook to North and West, Pasi, OH6UM will try to maneuver somewhere in between, aiming to show up as a dark horse in this battle and ride the Northern Lights to another mathematical marvel while Martti is seaboard at OJ0X, now in his 50th consecutive CQWW.

You have five runners from the Polar Region to look for and nail down. Following the CQWW, these serious stations will present their "clean sheets" - their success of staying up for 48 hours, without touching their bed sheets! All four are true all-band single-ops committed to following the newly promoted Contesting Code of Conduct due to be released after the race in the upcoming Contest Club Finland's PileUP! magazine, themed "The Last Blast". All CQWW QSOs, SSB and CW, by Radio Arcala stations will be confirmed on a single X-rated QSL card and through LoTW.

It is contesting time again at Radio Arcala.

 

 

*** LATEST NEWS ***

 

Monday morning, October 10th OJ0X: FINAL RUN AT MARKET REEF LIGHTHOUSE

When OJ0X was set to be active for four weeks with a string of operators, some targets were outlined. With a target of 50.000 QSOs, it was estimated that some specials could be done with an always changing propagation. These were RTTY and higher bands, such as 10M and 12M, still needed by most. Also a huge effort was put into low-band antennas by Dieter, DL3DXX and Ilmo, OH2BO. Yes, the 50K mark was passed, and you can look at the results at http://www.clublog.org/charts/?c=OJ0X with some of the latest logs still to be uploaded. Thanks are due to Nigel, G3TXF; Carsten, DL6LAU and Pertti, OH2PM for their efforts. They all missed Market Reef because of weather related schedule issues.

The always popular QRZ.COM callsign database was augmented with an OJ0X record, with the website normally attracting people as a matter of course. The added OJ0X feature became quite popular, now in a different way, with a total of more than 100.000 visits registered. Thanks are due to Mario, 9H5QB and Vlad, UA6JD who did a superb job. See their labor of love at http://www.qrz.com/db/OJ0X

It was also decided to integrate a humorous segment into the website in the shape of four fictitious monks living in harmony with the DXpedition in a remote outpost. While it was hopefully entertaining, it also unveiled some mysteries always looming on the horizon during a DXpedition. Just go and visit the lonely monks at http://www.qrz.com/db/OJ0X#mnk

By way of contrast, the four solitary monks had two wonderful ladies helping to make all the practicalities work, in addition to the more than 50.000 QSOs. While we thank the Finnish Lighthouse Society (FLS) for their overall cooperation, we would also like to recognize Teija Sjöholm and Liisa Oksanen as great companions and hope that they will not suffer the Stockholm Syndrome for Zero X-ray. For all the press releases and Monk's Diary, Jarmo, OH2BN provided great help, being at the end of a very sporadic data connection.

As our ordeal has now come to an end with an again worsening weather, we hope that our skillful captain, Mats Sjöström will take us off the island first thing Tuesday morning. Fun as it was, our adventure now comes to a conclusion. But the good news is that Harri, OH6VM/OJ0VM will come to Market Reef for a one-month stay as the renovated lighthouse needs to be looked after and kept dry. Harri will use the two stations and antennas that we may have to leave behind since our group is scheduled to be taken off by a small outboard boat. See daily FLS reporting at http://www.majakkaseura.fi/fin/market/marketin_paivakirja_2011/ where the OJ0X group is covered extensively.

And, if everything jells, we may send out another small team to activate Market Reef for the first time in the CQWW SSB contest in a few weeks while hopefully taking our equipment out before the sea starts to freeze over. It is hoped that OJ0-land will be kept as another target location also in 2012 for those who want to experience DXotica at its best. We would like thank FLS chairman Pekka Vaisanen and the FLS Market Reef chair lady, Angela Eriksson, for their great cooperation.

Finally, these expeditions would not happen without those thousands of individuals who give us a reason to go to rare places and hopefully provide an enjoyable show on our Broadway -- the radio waves.

The year 2011 soon comes to an end, and it is time to salute our friends and dear ones -- specifically our families that continue to live through these wonderful adventures. In my personal case, for the past 50 years.

To OJ0X operators DH7SA, DL3DXX, DL5CW, SP5XVY, OH1TV, OH2BAD, OH2BO, OH5BM, OH1ND, SM0W and SM6U, I say thanks for a job well done.

Martti Laine, OH2BH
Radio Arcala

P.S. We are still on Market Reef and will keep two stations on until Monday evening European time. Hopefully not any longer.

October 6, 2011

BRAVE MEN BATTLE ON

Weather is pretty awful now in the South of Finland, and that includes the sea between OH and SM where Market Reef is located. it's raining heavily and gusting! Must be rather uncomfy in the damp lighthouse - but these are BRAVE men..they've gone through it all before.. ..many times..

>October 4, 2011

MARKET REEF WITH NEW BLOOD

It was at noon on Tuesday when the second and third week teams changed on the fly and quickly put fresh energy and two signals on the air again, now with a repaired Alpha 91B. It works! From now on OH1ND, OH2BH, SM0W and SM6U are in command.

An exhausted team of OH1TV, OH2BAD, OH2BO and OH5BM was sent home to get on with life as landlubbers again. Their 16,500 QSOs were added to the Log Search facility at QRZ.com, now totaling some 37,000.

With lots of IT expertise and new data equipment, it still seems that the Internet is not reliable and more work needs to be done. The teams left four people on the small island of Enskar between OH0 and OJ0 to install a new cell site so traffic can be boosted for data and news delivery to the outside world.

After running their first thousand QSOs, mostly on 15m SSB to Japan and USA, the ops heated the island sauna behind the breakwater and enjoyd their new remote life.

They now have three complete stations, squeezing all available power from the wind generator charged plant. The overall target is set at 50,000 QSOs, and they have decided not to leave the reef before that goal is accomplished.

The wind is gathering momentum but the team is safe!

October 1st, 2011

There is no doubt autumn is approaching the North and the weather is becoming rather unstable. The second group - OH1TV, OH2BAD, OH2BO, OH5BM - has experienced the full variety while radio propagation hit the rock bottom. It is not often that Northern Lights are visible on the latitude of Market Reef - now the Aurora Borealis was seen on the last day of the German group but also the current second week's Finnish group. There were predictions of a recovery of band conditions for this weekend – but no signs of it yet.

Worse is expected again on the horizon, and the forecast for next Tuesday is high winds. Hence the group for the third week will need to travel to Aland Islands early to be stand-by for a potential advanced outing.

If you are still in need of some band points, you may watch the weather reports at www.g3txf.com/dxtrip/OJ0X/OJ0X.html direct from the Market Reef automatic weather station. There the Titanex 160/80M vertical may be taken down today as preparation for early departure as well as for poor propagation on the low bands.

But the spirits remain high among the group as they have passed 30.000 QSO and eagerly wait for 10M to open up. Nevertheless, the third week's group - OH1ND, OH2BH, SM0W and SM6U - may take advantage of any 10 & 12M openings to all regions of the world.

OJ0X also experienced some curious magic as UPS delivered a new RF choke for their burned Alpha 91B amplifier. Thanks to quick action from Acom Bulgaria, the choke arrived in Finland the following day. Unfortunately, UPS’s one-day service anywhere in Europe did not extend to Market Reef. Hopefully the next group will be able to bring the third amplifier back on line.

Are you guys in the audience having any fun yet? With 60.000 hits at QRZ.COM, some of you are still there. The band slot race is still there with ON7GB and LZ1NG leading Europe with 20 points while Asia's JA4DND is close behind (19). The US East Coast is suffering from poor propagation with K5EK running far behind at 14 points. Just enjoy the log search facility operated by Nigel, G3TXF www.clublog.org/charts/?c=OJ0X ,but save any queries until the operation is finished.

************************************* OJ0X - Market Reef IOTA EU-053 *************************************

With the kind cooperation of the Finnish Lighthouse Society and their transportation partner, Captain Mats Sjostrom of Aland Islands, Radio Arcala, OH8X and their associates are announcing a 3-week DXpedition to Market Reef - OJ0X IOTA Ref. EU-053 to commence on September 19, 2011, weather permitting. The operation was originally scheduled to begin this week but with the tail end of Hurricane Katia, the waters of Aland Islands were stormy with waves as high as 5 meters. Challenging the current weather conditions, the group of DL3DXX, DH7SA, DL5CW and SP5XVY is due to arrive in Aland Islands to attempt landing on the morning of September 19.

 

You can follow the happenings via the Market Reef Diary at http://www.majakkaseura.fi/eng/market and observe the latest weather conditions as measured and transmitted from the actual lighthouse at http://www.g3txf.com/dxtrip/OJ0X/OJ0X.html. Please note that autumn winds should be less than 5 m/s for a comfortable landing. This first group plans to run three stations, especially on WARC and low bands, but also in the CQWW RTTY Contest. It will be followed on September 27 by OH1TV, OH2BAD, OH2BO, OH5BM to take up where the previous group left off. And finally, by October 4, more bands and the SAC SSB Contest will be covered by OH2BH, SM0W, SM6U, OH1ND. Log search will be available at http://www.clublog.org/charts/?c=OJ0X, but it may not be updated daily due to poor Internet access from Market Reef. OJ0X QSL via OH2BH

Note: It would be nice for all the team@ OJ0X if you could sign our Guestbook ( top of menu on the left side)

 

Market Reef OH2BH Martti

1st week: This first group plans to run three stations, especially on WARC and low bands, but also in the CQWW RTTY Contest. DL3DXX, DH7SA, DL5CW, SP5XVY

2nd week: It will be followed on September 27 by OH1TV, OH2BAD, OH2BO, OH5BM to take up where the previous group left off.

3rd week: And finally, by October 4, more bands and the SAC SSB Contest will be covered by OH2BH, SM0W, SM6U, OH1ND.

 


Their announced frequencies are:
CW: 1813 or 1826.5, 3523, 7023, 10123, 14003 or 14033, 18083 or 18083, 21003 or 21033, 24893 or 24903, 28003 or 28033
SSB:1843, 3770, 7070, 14170, 18130, 21280, 24960, 28490
RTTY: 10140, 18108

OJ0X QSL via OH2BH

Changing of the Guard at Market Reef! 1st Team meeting the 2nd..

 

Dietmar DL3DXX showing the boys how it's done! Pekka, Tapani, Tiimo and Miika...ermm well, busy...

Breaking the rock.... Captain Mats Sjostrom

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Monk diary

Let me introduce you to the Monk diary....These are the first thoughts from Market Reef monk from the lonely monastery...

October 1st , 2011

Are you guys in the audience having any fun yet? With 60,000 hits at QRZ.COM, some of you are still there. The band slot race is still there with ON7GB and LZ1NG leading Europe with 20 points while Asia's JA4DND is close behind (19). The US East Coast is suffering from poor propagation with K5EK running far behind at 14 points. Just enjoy the log search facility operated by Nigel, G3TXF www.clublog.org/charts/?c=OJ0Xbut save any queries until the operation is finished.

 

October 4 , 2011
MARKET REEF WITH NEW BLOOD

It was at noon on Tuesday when the second and third week teams changed on the fly and quickly put fresh energy and two signals on the air again, now with a repaired Alpha 91B. It works! From now on OH1ND, OH2BH, SM0W and SM6U are in command.

An exhausted team of OH1TV, OH2BAD, OH2BO and OH5BM was sent home to get on with life as landlubbers again. Their 16,500 QSOs were added to the Log Search facility at QRZ.com, now totaling some 37,000.

With lots of IT expertise and new data equipment, it still seems that the Internet is not reliable and more work needs to be done. The teams left four people on the small island of Enskär between OH0 and OJ0 to install a new cell site so traffic can be boosted for data and news delivery to the outside world.

After running their first thousand QSOs, mostly on 15m SSB to Japan and USA, the ops heated the island sauna behind the breakwater and enjoyd their new remote life.

They now have three complete stations, squeezing all available power from the wind generator charged plant. The overall target is set at 50,000 QSOs, and they have
decided not to leave the reef before that goal is accomplished.

The wind is gathering momentum but the team is safe.

 

October 5th , 2011

LIFE IN THE MONASTERY BEARS SURPRINGLY CLOSE RESEMBLANCE TO EXISTENCE IN A REMOTE DXCC COUNTER

Looking at the open sea from the emptiness of a remote lighthouse makes you examine things a little differently. What you see is only the endless sea and the weather that dominates your thinking...and ultimately you realize that you are totally dependent on Mother Nature. What a holy feeling!

With no Internet access and television, life gets a more valuable meaning...maybe DXpeditioners are, after all, a holy bunch? Certainly the light has come to them - telling them to serve the multitudes, to appreciate these fundamental values, and help the multituides find that light – the DX Light!

So, after all, I feel like a new monk in his monastery, a far-away outpost, trying to establish a new order of things – set a new course and leave the routines of normal life behind. It's like experiencing a sense of renewal and a new frame of mind; can you successfully make that transition?

This year indeed is the 50th of a kind – it has been enjoyable as long as it has lasted but somehow it keeps repeating itself, and one sees more clearly the negative sides of it. Instead of happiness, as it was once experienced, now you can see egotism and selfishness at both ends of the circuit – a reflection of the fact that the end is getting nearer, at least for those who can see beyond the mountains and feel the crystal-clear waters of unpolluted rivers.

Back in 1975 I was stationed at Mount Athos (SV1GA/A) and tasted life the same way I now do here in this lonely lighthouse. The monks got their lives organized differently in many ways. Let me try to get organized in similar fashion and spend the rest of my life differently...hopefully there is still some of it left and maybe, when trying hard, I can make the transition a success.

The Mount Athos monks reset their clocks to zero hours at sunrise...maybe I will do the same here. Sunrise is different – it's a sign of a new day. Traditionally, it was a sign of huge low-band openings. What a change it can be. Getting up and honoring a new day - not just that USA is coming through on 40M, as it was this morning. Maybe I will try that new order of things tomorrow, if I can.

At zero hours, the monks divided their schedule into three equal segments, eight hours each. Working, resting and praying. Maybe I will do the same. Maybe - at least in the beginning - I will be working for 10 hours and resting only for 6 hours. But I should keep praying to 8 hours, and see how it all comes out. Praying I can probably divide into some segments, such as praying for better life and divine mercy, while a second segment could be praying for better behavior on the part of who make QRM – not only Italians, as I had one of another kind there yesterday - and a third segment, more traditional, could be praying for change for a better life that will not affect you too suddenly. And, why not pray some hours for better propagation...

Oh, I feel better already...life can be better this way. Maybe I will try this order of things for some time and then make other adjustments. Now back to working – working more DX as 15M is about to open into the Far East.

Market Monk Martti

 

October 6th , 2011

IT'S NOT GOOD TO BE ALONE AT STORMY SEA

As I finished my previous posting in my dormitory, Mother Nature confronted us with another wisdom of life. It is terrible to be left alone in your monastic outpost. Life is not meant to be such at a time when you are in need of a comforting shoulder. It is amazing how little things count when your own strength is at a low ebb. While living in an isolated monastery, those needs face us more often than not. Let me share with you one that Mother Nature sent us last night.

10M was in full swing and we had logged the first 100 U.S. Q's and were ready for more. Life was in perfect shape and smiling – those are the times when you easily forget that your are experiencing good times but need to be prepared for something else. And, suddenly, a strike of Aurora hit these northern parts. Total silence – the bands were dead like a cemetery. Only the wind was blowing in every corner of the lighthouse. Were we prepared for this? People normally are not, and hence monks follow the same pattern. We were lost in sorrow. The end of the world was nigh.

Those are the times when even a small nap on a shoulder would help. Those brotherly smiles would do marvels. Maybe a little joke would delight the whole brotherhood. Are we always ready for this, or are we the ones who need such help more than the others? It really doesn't matter – we are all in need at times but should also be mindful of the need to help others. That has not only got to do with team dynamics but it is also a sign of true brotherhood. We should realize that in our far-away, isolated monastery, such as ours, we are to get and give a caring hand.

There are many stories in the monasteries and the saddest ones are those where the brotherhood is unable to live in full harmony. One member wants to be a leader - others try to stand out as co-leaders and undermine other monks on a mission. Disaster strikes if the leader has no leadership qualities but needs to be led himself. In the holy monastery, there are no advertised leaders but each and every one leads the party toward the light and the common good. It is like a wedge of cranes heading south to warmer climes – they change leadership when the bird up front needs to rest. They do it naturally – they do not advertise it in a newspaper or on a webpage.

I forgot to tell you that we have currently four monks to serve you and others. They all deserve their own life – they all possess value in helping this holy community when Aurora hits hard.

Monk Theodor has a technical mindset and he can make two pieces of cable match with no connectors on hand. Monk Theodor likes Coke and has a sense of humor to share. Monk Johannes is more philosophical in his approach and goes about life with greater care. Monk Ricardo comes from a royal background but, in contrast, has left the ropes hanging loose and let go with no formalities - we often feel that we lost Ricardo but find him huddled in the monastery towers trying to connect with the modern world. Gladly, there is no success and our community remains plain and simple. No Internet connectivity is needed after all – searching the Bible indicates that no such thing was on the agenda at the beginning of time.

So, life goes on in the monastery with routine business – one is running 20M and another 17M. The monks do not count the days but speculate about the weather and the magic of Old Sol. A major storm is predicted for Friday and the monks have to get ready to seek more shelter. The HF9V seems to be at risk since it stands right at water's edge.

It is on the monks' agenda to heat the sauna behind the breakwater – it is important that not only their mind is clean and pure but their bodies live in harmony with their mind.

Monk Martti, observing life and reporting from an isolated monastery for others to share.

 

October 7th , 2011
MAGIC NIGHT IN MARKET MONASTERY

When things settled down and the lineup of monks retired for evening prayer, Mother Nature decided to give the monastic bunch a bit of rock 'n roll. In some ways, monks can be compared to ordinary mortals -- even those who make DX and provide it for the multitudes.

It was totally dark on the horizon, with Old Sol looming behind an ominous curtain. The monks began to feel something strange about the waters surrounding their lonely outpost. Was it a harbinger of the Dark Ages coming back or just a reminder of the end getting nearer?

No, the rock 'n roll came in the shape of a major storm with wind speeds in excess of 20 m/sec and soon the Swedish end of the reef was under water. "Sweden" was gone for the most part and you began to treasure your home country more than ever before. Monk Ricardo, of Swedish origin, seemed to be exiled in another country. Meanwhile, the Finnish monks mumbled something about Santa Claus, the Winter War and ceded territory. With everything mixed up, practically and emotionally, they were nevertheless able to log 1000 U.S. stations on 10M SSB.

With precise timing, Monk Theodore and Monk Ricardo were able to salvage the HF9V from total disaster -- what an exercise it was while the waves surged straight to their holy outfits. They felt wet, as monks often do. They did not lose their sense of humor, though, and hoisted the antenna on top of the outhouse which is known to be the last structure to remain above the water during those hours when this DXCC counter is more or less totally submerged.

In only a few hours, the next stroke loomed on the horizon -- the reef's entire electricity system went off and a veil of heavenly darkness descended on the holy edifice. All systems were dead as wood. Even the sole known animal of this DXCC counter -- a small frog -- crossed its heart.

Monk Johannes focused his mind on trying to understand how a wind generator, sixteen huge batteries and a diesel generator could work in harmony for the common good. After some three hours, the lights came back only to go off for several more times. Simply, the wind generator kept going crazy about the storm and the system was not able to handle all the energy it provided. Monastic life was simpler in those other years. With oil burning in the lamps, monks were able to count the ticks nestled in their most sensitive parts.

There is a heavily anchored buoy several hundred feet off the reef to the south. But now the buoy had moved and stood like a monument on the rocks, making a wonderful sight together with the HF9V perched on top of the outhouse. All this indicated that it was a kind of night in the monastery -- nothing was done outdoors at night -- when nature called, empty Coke bottles were used for the purpose. With the generator hum gone, Monk Ricardo started to resonate and forced sensitive Monk Johannes outside of the regular sleeping quarters.

Why is it that Mother Nature needs to show her mighty power in this manner? Why is it that storm and rain are not under her control? Why is it that all this needs to disturb otherwise peaceful life in the monastery? Why is it that we were not all born to be without sin and to do good with no sin? Why? These questions seem to bother the brotherhood seriously. But then again, the sun was sure to rise at the expected hour and 300 U.S. brothers found their way on SSB into the holy book -- the logbook.

Why is it that we have day and night? Why is it that Old Sol controls everything, even radio propagation? How was it in those other years when monks had to keep their groceries cold without electricity and a fridge? How is it all possible? There are more questions than answers in the monastery when the monks slowly move toward their target of 50.000 QSOs.

 

October 8 , 2011
HOLY COW -- BORDER DISPUTE FLARED UP AT MONASTERY

While the monks were conducting their routine activities, it was noticeable that tension began to build up, as it always does when lonely souls share limited quarters and watch each other long enough. But a border dispute on the open sea. What a mess!

So, a short description is in order. Market Reef sits astride the border between Finland and Sweden, so much so that the original border sliced a kitchen table in two. In more recent years, it was found impossible to manage the lighthouse building with two constitutions in place. How can a potential dispute of any kind be resolved with two high courts involved?

Hence, some years ago Finns negotiated the building to their side of the border but, in return, gave Sweden the same amount of territory from the Finnish side. The current borderline is shown on the OJ0X website. So, when -- on the reef -- Sweden is gone, the only Swedish part is around the outhouse. Swedes made a bad deal as they always need to come to Finland to ask for shelter. They are often in exile, as Ricardo found himself.

But why is it that the Finnish side counts for DXCC and the Swedish side does not? In the small wee hours, this question came up and a heated discussion ensued. The Swedish monks found themselves in exile and therefore felt, rightly so, that a great unfairness exists in the monastery.

Ultimately, the oldest brother, gray-haired Monk Martzonero set the record straight. ”See, the Finnish side lies behind another DXCC counter -- OH0 -- and therefore it qualifies, as it did in those ancient times. But there is no intervening land between the Swedish side of the reef and Sweden itself, " he explained and went on: ”If Swedes had kept a part of the lighthouse and allocated some space on the east side of the building, you would have had another country -- Finland -- intervening and, pronto, another DXCC counter would have surfaced. But you did not!"

Monk Theodore stood up to his full height and spoke and spoke again. And Monk Ricardo was there standing much shorter and slimmer, weighing in the discussion.

”You have grossly cheated us; you took the monastery, gave us barren rocks that are oftentimes under the water, you gave us a piece of wasteland, and now we are in exile!” As the volume rose above 100dB and the Swedish monks were furious, another approach was indeed called for. A compromise was needed in the holy edifice.

Since Martzonero had more years under his belt, he proposed a sharing strategy -- nothing can beat a compromise. ”You see”, he said as a final rescue attempt, ”as the main building stands in Finland, how about if we adjust the borderline once more and you get the other building? Isn't that a reasonable act of sharing?" Only way to go -- and, truly, the holy spirit settled in and peace was restored to the monastery.

The other building was an outhouse. It is a solid cement building and much in need. And it does ensure a sense of belonging and regular visits by Finnish monks to Sweden. As it looked like a reasonable compromise, it was presented to the holy council, resulting in an immediate resolution, with white smoke billowing from the smoke pipe – just like in the Vatican when a new Pope is elected.

As the outhouse is located to the east of the main building, there will be a piece of Finland separating the outhouse from Sweden as intervening land. With the holy smoke, the monks were euphoric, exuding happiness and celebrating a new counter -- an outhouse of Sweden. As we speak, K1ZZ happened to be passing by on 10M, but he did not quite get the idea. So far only the monks have bought it!

October 9 , 2011
HOLY BROTHERS IN UNIQUE COMMUNICATION WITH UPSTAIRS

The world is indeed coming to an end this prime weekend of Zero X-ray experience. You would never believe what happened when a new day dawned on the holy brotherhood. It all started right at midnight when this assemblage of monks -- side by side -- gazed at the skies above to witness the uniqueness of this night in the monastery.

Suddenly the sky cleared up as a curtain of clouds was removed and a show of shooting stars began to light up the heavens in an unforgettable celestial spectacle. What an ultimate experience it was as messages started to form from a stream of dusty debris originating from a comet orbiting the sun, this one originally designated by astronomers as the Giacobini-Zinner comet. This particular comet is linked to the Draconid meteor shower. The meteors appear to rain into the sky from Draco or the dragon. The Draconids seen last night had given rise to intense meteor storms in 1933 ja 1946. From the ashes of those storms and more, Monk Martzozero was born November 19, 1946 and now he is celebrating his 50 years of service to the community (DX).

This whole episode was one of its kind -- not to confound mankind again. And it indicated, as the monks took it, that the end is near but not quite on hand yet. At the same time, radio propagation peaked to an all-time high, with K7JA striking like a bolt of lightning on 10M in the midst of the falling stars. As Monk Martzonero had shared many mystiques of the past with Brother Charles-san, it was a clear sign that the night called on all dear ones to stand close to each other to bear witness to this 10M opening reminiscent of those occasions when the Palos Verdes Sundancers had performed their choreography so many times in those other years.

So, this Holy Sunday the sky is without a cloud and you can see the passing ships more clearly than ever before, and the blue heaven is painted in front of the monks' eyes to match the best of Picasso's works of art. The band openings sound better than ever before -- nature's renewal is here to salute the last weekend of the best show in town.

There is no better scene than the one where you see the monks heading to Sunday service now conducted behind the breakwater, right in the border zone of the newly established borderline between their home countries. They bow in prayer seeking absolution from sin -- and they pray for blessing to their loved ones and peace on earth. They are dressed in their Sunday best, shaved and look civilized, following early morning rituals when they set fire to their foul-smelling DX outfits. They also pray for Monk Theodore whom they had left on 15M to serve the world.

The monks devoted their prayers for absolution from sin not only to themselves but also to the multitudes, inspired by their ordeals on the radio. Monk Ricardo, the smallest of them, asked for forgiveness having taken some disorderly Europeans while working Japanese. More seriously yet, unbeknownst to the whole trio, an unidentified monk had relieved himself on the boots of another monk in the small wee hours when the pileup was such that no break was warranted. One monk had lost his temper with the brothers calling out of turn from the world's capital Rome, while he had quietly wished another IV3xxx would be tormented in the fire of hell. There was also a load of sin with monks mixing up their cookies and occasionally sipping from the wrong whiskey bottle. Monk Johannes, more of an engineering type, asked for forgiveness having left an uncertain character in the log on 30M.

The prayers were also extended for those trying to come to the monastery for CQWW SSB to share this experience of mankind with the multitudes.

The last two nights ahead here are reserved for contacting the monks in their own element, and every effort will be made to populate 10M, whenever it opens up. To reward the efforts of these brave monks and their holy offerings on all bands, you may wish to call them by their religious titles, if you contact them on another band.

Smallest, SM6U, Monk Ricardo; Hardest, SM0W, Monk Theodore; Slimmest, OH1ND, Monk Johannes and Largest, OH2BH, Monk Martzonero.

October 10 , 2011
END IS NEAR -- LAST DAY FINALLY IN SIGHT AT MONASTERY, DX-WISE

What a glorious day it is when the monks are busy ironing their outfits to perform what could probably be described as the most important meeting in front of the holy council. This is where they will present their accounts of 50.000 QSOs and lessons learned -- this is when the value of their efforts should be demonstrated to the masses and to their own idols, those that they respect. Helping those who should know better is key to becoming a better monk. Learning and getting better at it is the only legacy that this pious quartet is to leave to mankind.

Before the holy council, they will offer what is known as their proposed chapter to supplement the new testament -- one that may replace all the previous codes of conduct which those still short in years or limited in experience have proposed under their good name.

Here they are gathered, safe and sound. This is the last day when the truth shall prevail and the infidels will be sent back to the drawing boards. Now standing up, the monks adjust their robes and ready themselves to present their final statements. The assembled members of the holy council sharpen their feather pens to record the truth. And the truth is here.

Lined up from the smallest to the biggest, the monks are prepared to speak:
”There is no single code of conduct to lead this wonderful world of ours to behave and act in one specific manner -- our planet is full of cultures, languages, tempers and demeanors associated with different races and colors,” the first monk announced. And he continued: ”The world was once ordered in such a fashion as to offer an interesting showcase of the masses being able to live in harmony, as suggested in the holy book. But mankind never succeeded in this endeavor, and the result was diversity and strife.”

Sweating noticeably, the first monk spoke, presenting a fundamental truth that the regulars may have a hard time living with. What a relief it was for mankind now to know that the multitudes would never behave in a uniform manner. The only order is found in the holy book and its supplements -- including the logbook.

Those who go on a mission -- DX included -- need to know what they are up against when leading the chosen people to their ultimate happiness. Many missionaries do not, and consequently the thundering multitudes run amuck on the bands and their QSOs are no reflection of the intended happiness. The people on a mission come from one culture and they may display it in a strange language to those that they try to help. Any orders or instructions may be issued in Latin. Missionaries not yet in the know ought to climb up the hill to look for an Old Timer. They should find an old sage of the caliber of Hugh Cassidy, WA6AUD, the only true professor of DX. His wisdom was rooted in the axiom that if you still need to ask all those questions, you may not understand the answers. It was well said!

Then the third monk was ready to announce his well-thought-out words of wisdom to the world. His message was a little hard to formulate, and it might hit some people hard -- particularly those who have already seen the light.

”People performing in front of holy society need to be the smartest and the most experienced of them all. And you cannot just buy a ticket to satisfaction -- your own satisfaction and that of the multitudes. You cannot travel to heaven without knowing the road out there.”

The holy council then ordered the monks to stop right there. There was an obvious need to seek further clarification. Those who go on a mission need to learn more and to understand that the resulting behavior lies in their own hands. Unruly masses and disorderly pileups are a mirror of their own brawling conduct. On a mission, those things suck.

Finally the holy council saw the light. The behavior of the masses is a complex matter and it can only be managed by the best performers who are guaranteed to make the mission a success. And the ultimate outcome will be a holy document that may soon surface. It is not another version of the code of conduct for the masses but a code of conduct for the conductors -- those who should know better!

The meeting was cut short as the monks were now ready to board a ship taking them back to the masses and life among ordinary mortals. They had experienced the way toward the truth in their cold and damp monastery, and they were now one step closer to the truth which will always emerge for those who can see the light.

There are many stories in this naked world of ours. This monastic mission was just one of them. Gathered aboard the ship, the monks waved goodbye to those still seeking the truth. They wish you God Bless on your own mission -- be it as part of the thundering multitudes or in the conductor's holy rostrum talking to an unruly world. Amen.

 
 
 

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