aside from the three 'coal mice' (easiest method) that came with my magnum when it was delivered in early september, and trying 'matchlight charcoal', small pieces of kindling, pieces of firestarter material, etc., here's the 2nd easiest method i've come-upon yet, and it's wood pellets.
at the front of your coal bed, dig a hole with your fingers and fill it with wood pellets 1" deep and 1-1/2" in depth towards the back of your stove. light the pellets with a propane torch until the top of the whole row is glowing red and almost fully ignited. close the door and turn on the combustion blower and wait a few minutes until the pellets are flaming. open the door and sprinkle a handful of coal on top of the pellets (you will hear the coal crackling and igniting). wait a few more minutes & add another handful on top of that. when your coal starts glowing nicely, turn on the feed motor. wait another few minutes & throw another handful of coal on top, and the coal lit very easily for me.
(note: turn off the combustion blower while hand feeding the coal on top of the pellets, or do it rather quickly with a small soup can.)
i would say that lighting a stoker is a bit more difficult than lighting my old manual coal stove, and it's fun learning all the 'ins & outs' from all of you more experienced than i with the magnum (thank you!).
i learned quite a lot of information just browsing this forum, that was missing or vague in the harman manual. too bad there's not a 'harman rep' (as there is a 'leisure line' rep) here monitoring people's questions & concerns about a product they paid quite a sum of money for.
thanks to all, (you too coalminer)