As mentioned in this previous Blog post, Zorro is presently operating as SV8/KH0WF on the Greek island of Ammouliani (EU-174).
I spoke with Zorro last night on the phone and this is some of the information he passed on to me.
During a 40 Meter run from SV8 yesterday, Monk Apollo (SV2ASP/A) was able to break the pileup. They had a great 20 minute QSO. At that point the Mount Athos information is now out on some of the European DX news channels.
Zorro (JH1AJT) and his small work team will travel to Mount Athos April 23rd to repair/install SteppIR antennas, and to also install a 12/13 Meter tower for Monk Apollo (SV2ASP/A). Zorro is bringing a 500 watt amplifier and a Kenwood TS480HX radio that he plans on donating to Monk Apollo before departing Mount Athos on Monday, April 28th.
Due to the special requirements for radio operations on Mount Athos, and also the major task(s) of repairing/installing antennas and a tower still ahead of the team, Zorro does not know at this time whether he will have the time or if the circumstances will allow him to operate from Mount Athos.
Zorro will call with an update from Mount Athos (if possible) and I will update this Blog post accordingly.
UPDATE: April 23rd, 1650Z (Mount Athos local 7:50PM) - Sunrise Mount Athos at 0332Z, Sunset at 1709Z. No update as of 1650Z.
UPDATE: April 25th, 1330Z. No update.
UPDATE: April 26th, 1330Z. No update.
UPDATE: April 26th, 1730Z. Just got off the phone with Zorro from Mount Athos. Here is some information he requested I forward to the Ham Radio community:
Zorro's Greek work team has returned home. He is alone on Mount Athos until his scheduled departure on Monday, April 28th. Monk Apollo returned to Mount Athos today and they had a very good meeting. Zorro and his team were able to install a new tower, but the SteppIR antenna is still broken. There are two issues with the antenna. One is the SteppIR motor is intermittent, the other is the Control Box is not functioning properly. Zorro could not get the SteppIR to work as it should. More repairs will be required. In the meantime, he hung a 15 & 20 Meter dipole from the tower.
Monk Apollo plans to operate Sunday morning (April 27th) with Zorro at his side from around 0800/0900Z for one hour or so. Frequency unknown. This is all the time Elder Apollo has for radio operations as he is busy with his duties on Mount Athos. As far as Zorro operating alone from Mount Athos while Monk Apollo is tasked, that is not a decision that can be made by Monk Apollo or Zorro. There is a 20 Monk committee that must approve any and all communications operations. 14 of 20 committee votes are needed to allow any such endeavor. Monk Apollo is all for furthering the hobby from Mount Athos, but it is not his decision.
- END -
Now, here's a few of my comments. Of note, and just as in Myanmar (which took ten visits and numerous communications between Zorro and Myanmar officials), Zorro has opened a solid line of communication for future radio operations from Mount Athos. Zorro worked long and hard to open up Ham Radio into Myanmar, and he's ready, willing and able to work long and hard to further the hobby on Mount Athos too.
I did not know (until today) that there's a committee that overseas radio/communications operations on Mount Athos. I, like many Hams I've spoken to always thought radio was controlled by one man. It is not. I learned that Monk Apollo is a very, very busy man tasked with many duties. Elder Apollo wears many different hats in support of the Orthodox Spiritual Center.
Mount Athos is way bigger that I thought - here's a few interesting links I found:
Another thought I've had. I know a lot of people swear by their SteppIR antennas. I also know a few Hams that swear AT their SteppIR antennas. Seems to me Mount Athos is not the place for what I consider to be a "complicated" antenna. A simple and inexpensive trapped tri-bander would sure make a lot of people happy me thinks.
I do not believe North America will have any chance of working SV2ASP/A at 0800/0900Z on any band, but knowing Zorro is making headway for the future should calm some North American nerves. That sure doesn't mean I won't be looking though!
Good luck, keep the Faith!
UPDATE: April 27th, 1200Z. Monk Apollo and Zorro did indeed show up on the air today, but judging from the DX Cluster spots their signal was considerably down. DX Cluster spots placed them on 21.365 MHz.
Take a peak at the comments below to make sure you read Kosta's (SV1DPI) post. A great, informative post from one of the team of friends that's been assisting Monk Apollo for years.