Amateur radio activities
In December 1969, the first amateur radio operation took place with the call sign OJ0MR and lasted till January 1970. This operation was followed by many other DXpediton type of operations. In 1970, Market Reef became a new DXCC country, thanks to the efforts by Martti Laine OH2BH, OH2NB, OH2BHU (now OH0BA) and OH0NI. The reason for DXCC status was because Market Reef was separated from the main land by another DXCC country, in this case ALand Islands OH0.
OH0MA was the call issued in 1972 to Kee OH0NA, to be used on Market Reef. An administrative change was made by the license issuing authorities by not issuing the OJ prefix anymore for Market Reef. In 1973, the club call OJ0AM was on the air for the first time. However, in April 1999 the Finnish PTT agreed that permanent OJ0-licenses would again be issued.
The 1983 dxpedition
On July 20, I traveled by train to Stockholm where I was picked up from the Central Railway Station by Steve, G4JVG. We stayed the night at his apartment and next morning we left Stockholm with a car fully loaded with Ham gear and heading for the Aland Islands. The ferry took us from Kappelskär to Marihamn and by car we drove to the home of Kee OH0NA at Saltvik in the Northern part of the Aland Islands. Knowing that our departure would depend on the weather conditions in the Baltic Sea, we immediately started asking Kee about the situation and possible landing schedule for Market Reef.
Unfortunately, Kee had to let us know that the weather was bad and the wind was coming from the North and waves were wasking Market. In such a condition it was impossible to make a landing attempt, even more because landings were normally done at the Northern side of the island, because there is a steep edge which can be used as a quay. With the current wind speed the boat would certainly be smashed against the this rock with great chance of demaging the boat. For the next few days, the topic of the day was the wind speed figure, which should be less than 6 m/sec and a wind direction preferable from the South. Every few hours, the meteo data was broadcasted and also the data collected on Market itself was announced. We couldn't get a more precise report on the situation.
Because the departure had to be delayed for at least a few days, we decided to spend our time on the air from the shack of Kee. We could operate on 10, 15 and 20 meters with a TH3Mk3. The 402BA 40 meter beam was already dismantled because it would be used on Market Reef during the DXpedition. For the low bands, we erected a dipole to allow us to operate also during the night.
On Saturday we started packing most of the gear including the 402BA and drove to the house of Lars OH0RJ the fourth team member. Lars had the 15 meter long tower for the 40 meter beam available. In fact, this tower was the base of the 160 meter vertical previously used by the OH0W contest station.
When the meteo data indicated that a landing on Market would be possible, Kee decided we had to make the final arrangements and wamted to make a landing attempt on Monday, July 25. Now we were in a hurry and started to take down also the TH3Mk3 beam and started packing all equipment, food, drinks, fuel, etc.