«Young hams visit monuments to Russian war heroes», ARRL Web, USA, May 5, 2001

“WACARL” 1999 год (Великобритания)
Radio Expeditions of Youthful Russians

It is difficult to find someone, who did not dream to go on a journey with friends at his native land. If such a daydream is realized by any youth, it will for a long time stay in his memory. The young amateur radio lovers from the Kursk regional youth amateur radio organization - YOUNET annually conducts a tourist radio expedition at the district of Kursk. We hope that it will be of great interest to inform you of two such radio expeditions.

Kursk is one of the ancient towns of Russia. It was founded in 982 - 984 as a fortress of Kiev Russia.The first mention of Kursk was in the "Патерике Печерском" - one of the most known monuments of church system of writings by the monk Nester in 1094. At the territory of Kursk are still preserved historical and cultural centres of the Russian Orthodox Church, its' saints and sacred places - cathedrals, temples, priories and mystical sources. At the invitation of the archbishop of Kursk and Rilsk, His Holiness Vladik Juvenal, a group of young amateur radio lovers visited the priory of Korennaya Pustin (not far away, there is a village called Liberty); later on at the Nichol's male priory (some distances away from the city of Rilsk).

At the end of July 1998 a group of children from YOUNET made a tour of the Korennaya Pustin priory in Kursk province during the event of the opening ceremony of the monument of Seraphim Sarovskii, one of the most honoured Orthodox saints. Prior to embarking on this journey the children got aquainted with the histories of the priory - Korennaya Pustin and the life of Seraphim Sarovskii. As soon as the children arrived, the Abbot of the priory, reverend father John warmly met members of the expedition and humbly asked us to occupy one of the buildings near the priory. Within two hours the children installed the equipments and antenna for functioning in the airwaves. A separate room was allocated for the radio station. At this quiet room were installed locally-made transiver and a 200 watts amplifier. It took us a lot of time to choose the right place for installing the I.V mast antenna because the courtyard was not very suitable. Not minding the unexpected difficulties, we were able to go on air. This success thrilled the youth in the radio station. Each new radio expedition could be comparable to a first radio communication for it is always full of thrills. On the 31st of July by 17 o'clocks in the airwaves for the first time was heard UE3WSS special call signal. This radio expedition greeted amateur radio lovers from Russia, Ukraines, Monaco, Liechtenstein, Kuwait, Italy, the Great Britain and other countries. The youth on air with great fascination told amateur radio lovers/listeners all over the whole world about the holy places, about the reverred saint Seraphim Sarovskii, about the monument in memory of this saint and about the holy sources of Korennaya Pustin.

At a period of twenty two hours during the radio expedition, the youth conducted two hundred and forty eight radio communications with nineteen countries of the world. The furtherest communication was conducted with PT7WX. Unfortunately, we were not able to effectively work at all the ranges due to the inefficiency of our locally made radio appliances. Our call sign UE3WSS sounded only at the ranges of 3,5 , 7 and 14 MHz. Towards the end of the exciting hours, we had our last radio communication with Mr. Vladimir RA3TMP from the town of Sarov, Nijegorod's province. At this town, there is also Sarovskaya Pustin priory. Mr. Vladimir from Sarov asked us to send him photographs of the priory of Korennaya Pustin. He hopes to give these photographs of ours to the museum of Seraphim Sarovskii in the town of Sarov.

Notwithstanding the fact that we were faced with lots of difficulties, it would be fair to say that the first radio expedition organised jointly by the Kursk's Russian Orthodox Church diocese and the amateur radio lovers/listeners under the aegis of YOUNET was successful.

At the beginning of the first week of January 1999 the young amateur radio lovers from Kursk undertook a tour of saint Nichol's male priory which also is one of the oldest in Russia. It was founded in the 16th century and is situated at the bank of river Seim, not far away from the town of Rilsk in Kursk district. Our three hours travel over this one hundred and twenty kilometres to the monastery was successful. While on motion, we were able for the first time to communicate from our bus at the frequency of 144MHz on our call sign of UE3WNM\m.

We hope that we would be able to quell your curiousity if we are able to elaborate a little on saint Nichol's male monastery. This priory is situated at the highlands of river Seim. It has a barricade of stony walls with angular towers. There are three temples at the territory of the monastery. However, one of the temples was destroyed. Only the basement of this temple remains uptill now. It was on record that the Russian Czars sent criminal overlords to this monastery. At the walls of these cellars one could see metallic rings and chains which were then used as attributes of punishment. While we were there we noted that there were repair works at the temple. After a long period of inactivity, it gladden our hearts to see that on the 6th of January 1999 worshippers were admitted to the temple for the first time.

Haven got the permission of the abbot of the priory, father Pitirim, we installed our radio appliances. At the courtyard of the priory, we installed a ten metre mast I.V. antenna for functioning at the frequency ranges of 3,5 and 7 MHz. At one of the highest spots (some twelve metres high) we hung two dipoles for the frequency range of 14 MHz and for ultra short wave band. At first we thought that it would be difficult to install our mast and antenna because we were disturbed by the windy, iced rain drops and wet snows; but with all zeals we accomplished this task. How exhilarating to go on air with our first call sign of amateur radio stations.

From this particular minute and for two complete days in the airwaves both in english and in russian one could hear the youthful voices of the participants of this radio expedition UE3WNM. Even on Christmas' eve holy night services, that is between the 6th and 7th of January, 1999 the children continued to transmit.

While we were here the boys and girls felt the unique hospitality of the abbot. The gracefulness of Vladik Juvenil was eminent and radiated a sort of pleasing solicitude amongst the youth. We had delicious bounties together with the in-mates of the monastery. We also took part in all the prayerful observations of this holy occasion. It was interesting to note that some of the children were for the first time exposed to this religious way of life; for some of them asked a lot of curious questions.

There are two sources of underground springs flowing not far away from the territory of the priory. They are known as saint John and the Virgin Mary sources. It was unusual to note that near the springs are even flourishing green grasses during the winter frosts. After we had a drink of the sparking spring water, we noted that it was warm and amazingly tasteful.

In addition, there is a cave near – by that has a curative clayey quality for some skin diseases.

Soon in the evening, after the church services, the children were guests to father Pitirim, the abbot of the priory, who told them histories of saint Nichol's priory and of the ancient town of Rilsk. During the daytime the children visited the local museum.

We should add that during the radio expedition 200 QSO was conducted with 21 countries of the world. Notminding that our simple, locally-made radio appliances did not permit us to have a high result, however one could envy the persistence and enthusiasm of the young amateur radio lovers/listeners.

With mixed feelings the radio expedition ended on the 7th of January, 1999 and ten youthful participants returned back to Kursk.

YOUNET unites ten groups of young amateur radio lovers/listeners from different schools in Kursk. During winter the children study construction of radio appliances, they also learn radio technics and Morse code. At summer time are conducted lectures and competitions on radio signal tracking and radio expedition.

Last year in 1998, the children undertook a tour of a village called Ditchnia in Kursk district on the occasion of the musical festival known as "The Nightingale warble". From the tents at the open field for three days in the airwaves sounded UE3WST call sing. Two radio expeditions were held at the north and south fascades of the Kursk war zone arc. On the air from places of fighting during the second world war sounded the call sing UE3WBW, UE3WSF, UE3WMK, UE3WNW, UE3WWS and UE3WAG. In deed, the children would remember this occasion of the glorious history of the Russian state and of one of its part – the Kursk land area for a long time.

It behooves me to convey the gratitude of this youth to all those who listened and communicated with us and wished us further success.

In 1999 YOUNET wish to undertake some radio expeditions. The most interesting will take place at the beginning of July. This radio expedition will be at the Solovetskii Islands at the White Sea.

For those, who are interested to know about the activities of YOUNET, or to shear experiences on how best to conduct radio expedition, to take part or even render practical help for this new radio expedition are requested to write, using the address below: Valery Pikkiev (RW3WW), P.O. Box 18, Kursk - 41, 305041, RUSSIA.

Valery Pikkiev (RW3WW) - Radio expeditions chief director