Market Reef & Aland Islands DXpeditions


DXpedition Profile

Updated April 7, 2000

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The following provides details of two DXpeditions to Market Reef and the Aland Islands that occurred in May and September 1999 by Dennis Motschenbacher K7BV with generous help from Finnish friends Ari OH1EH, Jukka OH2MAM, Juha OH1JT, Seppo OH1VR, Pasi OH1MM and "The Boss" Lars OHØRJ.

Over 26,000 QSOs were logged during the two trips.

September DXpedition Report

    The September trip to OJ and OH proved to be a tough one. The trip opened as promised with a concentrated 80 and 160 meter effort by Ari OH1EH and Dennis K7BV operating from the OHØZ super station throughout the evening of Monday September 13th until sunrise on Tuesday. Only 110 QSOs were logged - a certain indicator that difficult conditions lie ahead for the Market Reef DXpedition.

    Another omen of trouble ahead occurred at the Mariehamn airport when the helicopter pilot refused to carry the three operators and their gear to the reef in one trip, instead stubbornly demanding that two expensive round-trips would be required. Lars and a lot of the gear went out on the first trip with Seppo and Dennis following with the rest of the gear later.

    Disturbed propagation greeted the ops after they rushed through antenna erection work necessitated by the delayed arrival on Market Reef. The propagation gods seriously challenged the operators' attempts to achieve their goal of making 12,000 QSOs. The trip did keep its focus, though, on making as many 160 and 80 meters QSOs as possible. North American contacts were few and far between on all bands with the RF absorbing auroral zone extending deep into southern latitudes. K indexes as high as 6 were copied by the anxious operators. They also received reports of visible aurora as far south as southern Germany.

    The inverted L for 160 and the vertical for 80 were erected on the reef as planned but even this effort did not produce the desired contacts with the North American Top Band crowd who so generously financially supported the DXpedition. Dennis concentrated on these two bands each night ignoring openings on the other bands. The antennas did produce QSOs on both bands as far away as VK6 and other distant points. The only NA QSO completed on 160 was almost perdicably made with VE1ZZ. W3UR got the first 80 meter contact but only a small handful of other NA QSOs were logged there. 40 was also a disappointment to NA with only one good pile-up producing opening - and that being during that last 2 hours on the reef.

    The September trip low bands effort did produce over 300 160 meter contacts while 800 QSOs were logged on 80.

    Slightly over 10,000 total contacts were made on all bands 160 - 10 meters.

  1. Sketch - Sketch of 160/80 meter antenna (By N6FF)

  2. Antenna Photo - Simulated photo of what the antenna looked like when installed on the reef.

Trip Information

The September trip involved use of the following callsigns by the various operators: OJØ/K7BV, OJØVR, OJØRJ, OJØJ, and OJØ/OH1MM. The combined total number of contacts was in excess of 10,000. This is the second 1999 trip to Market Reef by the group. The earlier May DXpedition netted 6,000 OJØ/K7BV QSOs while Seppo OH1VR logged an additional 2,000 QSOs during that trip using OJØVR.

Photos from the May trip are available below for your enjoyment.

  1. Market Reef Map - Sketch of Market Reef. The erratic line shows how a piece of the Swedish side of the reef was deeded over to Finland to correct an earlier error. The Finns sliced a comparable piece of their side of the reef to the Swedish nation, which then created a DXCC reef

  2. Lifevest - Lars OHØRJ helps K7BV put his lifevest on while Pasi OH1MM looks on

  3. Market Reef - Market Reef overhead view from the helicopter

  4. Approach - Market Reef as viewed from the helicopter during the initial approach

  5. Landing - Landing on the rocks of Market Reef

  6. Lighthouse - The Market Reef lighthouse where the keeper lived (right) and support Buildings (left)

  7. Generator House - The generator building (left) with Seppo OH1VR at the doorway and the Lighthouse (right)

  8. OHØRJ & OH1VR - Lars OHØRJ standing making his 1st QSO with his new OJØJ callsign while Seppo OH1VR looks on

  9. Pasi OH1MM - Pasi OH1MM operating the OJØ/K7BV station

  10. Dennis OJØ/K7BV - Dennis K7BV operating his DXpedition station equipment as OJØ//K7BV

  11. Return to Aland Islands - Lars, Pasi and Dennis quickly haul the equipment and load it onboard the helicopter for the trip back to Mariehamn, Aland Islands

  12. OHØZ - K7BV setting a new CQWW WPX CW SOABHP Scandinavian record using the Radio Sporting Team - OHØZ station after the Market Reef adventure

Mission Statement

  1. Make as many CW and SSB contacts as possible on all bands, 160 through 10 meters, in an orderly and controlled manner that provides equal opportunity as dictated by propagation for operators from all corners of the world to complete a contact with Market Reef & the Aland Islands (OJØ & OHØ respectively).
  2. Pay particular attention to lowering the demand for contacts with OJØ & OHØ on the 160, 80 meter and WARC bands.
  3. Conduct activities in a safe, legal and complementary manner such that the operator and callers enjoy the end result of the DXpedition.
  4. Answer requests for a QSL confirmation in an expedient manner.


Market Reef Trip Planning

K7BV Profile
Dennis Motschenbacher - K7BV
Licensed as WV6WTD in 1962 at the age of 13, Dennis is an active DXer and Contester currently living in Carson City, Nevada. Previous calls and DXpedition experience include KZ5M AA7VB 8P C6 CY9 J6 KC6 KH2 KH6 KL7 KP2 KP4 KP5 KP6 OH OHØ OJØ P4 S5 SV9 TI V2 V4 V6 VE VK VP2E VP9 XE YB9 YV.

Dennis has been clocked at QSO rates of 300+/hr on both CW and Phone. Numerous contest certificates and plaques occupy proud space on his wall including two Third Place - World finishes in ARRL DX CW contests and three Top Ten - World IARU HF Radiosport CW finishes. He currently serves as Editor for the National Contest Journal; is an ARRL Life Member and past President of the Texas DX Society.

Pilot Station
George Wagner K5KG of recent 3B7RF fame performed Pilot Station duties.

Operating Plan
CW and SSB on all bands 160 through 10 meters. Dennis and the operators were on the air with at least one station on the air nearly 24 hours a day except during antenna work.

Dennis took advantage of the new CEPT participation by the USA to operate as OJØ/K7BV and OHØ/K7BV.

The following equipment was used by K7BV in additional to the customary assortment of keyers, paddles, headphones, etc.

Transceiver: Yaesu FT1000MP
Amplifier: Dentron MLA 2500
OJØ - Seppo OH1VR and his good friend and business partner, Lars OHØRJ, supplied a full complement of antennas suited for erection on the reef based on their past operations there. A R7000 vertical and one HF2V vertical were added to their stock. These antennas have been donated by Steve KU9C and will be left on the reef for use by Lars, Seppo and friends on future operations.

OHØ - The OHØZ station has an impressive assortment of antennas to chose from including:

1 - 140 ft. Rotating Tower with 4 stacked tribanders + 2/2 40 meter stack
1 - 100 ft. Rotating Tower with 2 stacked tribanders + 2el 40 meter
Various wires are used on the low bands.

For more information about this awesome station, visit the Radio Sporting Team website OHØZ

QSL Information

OJØ/K7BV & OHØ/K7BV -- Steve KU9C has unselfishly volunteered to serve as the DXpedition QSL Manager for all contacts using these two calls. A self addressed, return envelope is requested.
Steve Wheatley KU9C
P O BOX 5953
Parsippany, NJ 07054

Ari Korhonen OH1EH
Kreetalank. 9 As 1
FIN-29200 Harjavalta



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