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DX Voice from Mount Athos Monk Apollo, SV2ASP, SK


Mount Athos' best-known radio amateur, Monk Apollo, SV2ASP, died on May 5 after complications resulting from cancer. He was 64. Monk Apollo was essentially the lone DX voice from Mount Athos, the 20th most-wanted DXCC entity, where he operated from his Orthodox Monastery of Docheiariou. Born into a large family in western Greece, he became a monk in 1973, eventually joining the ascetic monastery on Mount Athos in 1980.

When the need for reliable communication from the monastery surfaced in the 1980s, Monk Apollo followed a recommendation to become a radio amateur, which he did in 1988. He had to wait for permission from the Holy Council to operate, however, before he was able to get on the air for the first time in 1990. He celebrated his 10th anniversary on the air with the special call sign SY2A.

Members of the SZ1A club visited in 2003 and began helping him to maintain his station and antennas. Zorro Miyazawa, JH1AJT, followed with additional assistance in 2016.

“We will miss his smile, his good willingness and friendship. I will never forget the times he awoke in the middle of the night to make skeds with amateurs needing Mount Athos for a new one. I was lucky to have him as a friend,” remarked Kostas Stamatis, SV1DPI, a close friend.

Chip Cohen, W1YW, commented on, “For many decades, Monk Apollo was the sole operator from the rare country of Mount Athos. A talented and religious man, Monk Apollo combined an engineering background with a deep religious faith. He became an international ambassador for ham radio and one of our most famous hams.”

A service was planned for May 6.

Monk Iakovos, SV2RSG, who lives at Koutloumousiou Holy Monastery on Mount Athos, was licensed in 2015 and has been active on the air. He is a member of DX Plus Hellenic Radio Amateur Team.

Peter Vekinis, KH6VP, has visited Mount Athos a few times recently to help Monk Iakovos, and an article on his experiences there will appear in an upcoming issue of QST.




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