Category Archives: Nostalgia

The Great War: A look at WWI communications

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mike, who shares the following from the YouTube channel The Great War.

This short video gives an excellent overview of communications methods and equipment used throughout World War I. I’ve included the video’s description below:

Click here to view on YouTube.

“If one thing was vital to the the new kind of modern warfare in the First World War, it was communications. The Industrial Revolution had brought wireless transmission of signals with it and the huge armies of World War 1 needed to be in contact constantly to be successful in the field. In this special episode we introduce you to the birth hour of modern military communication and signals.”

Thanks again, Mike! I’ll subscribe to The Great War channel on YouTube.

The Great War Project

If you enjoy reading about WWI history, I would also highly recommend following The Great War Project blog.

The Great War Project follows WWI as it unfolded 100 years ago. It’s an absolute treasure trove of information and brilliantly written.

Richard’s 1998 St. Helena Day QSL Card

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Schreiber (KE7KRF), who shares the following:

Here [above] is the QSL card I received in 2004 for the 1998 St Helena Day shortwave broadcast. There were, I recall, some staff changes and other issues that delayed many reports from being verified, but resubmitted everything in 2004 and they promptly verified.

For the 1998 broadcast I actually phoned the station in St Helena and was put on the air, but unfortunately didn’t record the broadcast.

This is one of my most prized QSLs.

Thank you, Richard. It would be one of my most prized QSLs as well! What a great memory–thank you for sharing!

 

Giuseppe’s recordings of Radio St. Helena Day 2006 & 2009

The current listening post and ham radio shack of Giuseppe Morlè (IZ0GZW) from Ponza Island, Italy.

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Giuseppe Morlè (IZ0GZW), who shares the following short recordings of Radio St. Helena day in 2006 and 2009. These recordings were made from his home on Ponza Island, Italy using the Yaesu FRG-7 and FRG-100 and a 30 meter length of wire antenna:

Radio St. Helena – November 4, 2006

Click here to download.

Radio St. Helena – November 14, 2009

Click here to download.

Thank you again, Giuseppe, for sharing these recordings following my recent post about St. Helena island!

Remnants of WOO at Good Luck Point to be removed

Many thanks to SWLing Post readers Al Quaglieri and Alan Tu for sharing the following story via app.com about the removal of the remnants of radio station WOO:

BERKELEY TOWNSHIP — The mysterious poles have stood in the open marshland off Good Luck Point for nearly 80 years, but sometime in January these local landmarks will finally be removed.

“We’re still working with the contractor to determine the exact start time,” said Virginia Rettig, a spokeswoman for the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. “This is a little more difficult than the typical project, as we’re trying to be sensitive to the marsh surface.”

The Good Luck Point poles – and a similar pole field in Stafford’s Manahawkin section – were part of inactive shortwave antenna fields used by AT&T for ship-to-shore shortwave communications.

They’ve become a familiar landmark for boaters, fishermen and residents of the area, and can be seen from the bayside in Seaside Heights and Seaside Park.

The antenna field was in operation from the early 1930s until 1999. A shuttered building on the Good Luck Point portion of the antenna field contained equipment related to shortwave communications.

Under the call sign WOO, the shortwave facility at Good Luck Point (known as Ocean Gate) was a renowned transmitting station, which helped broadcast Voice of America around the globe after 1944 and enabled communication with ships at sea throughout the 20th century, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

According to federal officials, about 340 poles will be removed from the Berkeley site, along with several metal antennae.

In Manahawkin, about 113 wooden poles will be removed from the antenna field. Several metal antennas will also be removed.

Continue reading at app.com…

Check out this excellent video–an aerial view of Good Luck Point:

St. Helena is “ready to welcome the world”

If you’ve been a shortwave listener for very long, you may remember the annual Radio St. Helena Day: one weekend a year when this small island broadcaster hit the shortwaves and accepted reports from across the globe. I never had the fortune of receiving their modest signal, but I surely tried!

Since I’m fan of remotely inhabited parts of the world, St. Helena is on my bucket list of places to visit–and it looks like visiting the island may become much easier:

(Source: BBC Travel)

For more than 500 years, the only way to reach the British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena was by sea. Travelling to the South Atlantic island by sailboat, after a nine-day voyage from Namibia, my family and I made landfall the way every person before us has: the way Napoleon Bonaparte did when he was sent into exile in 1815; the way modern-day Saints (as the local population is known) do when they venture home from work in the UK; and the way the occasional, intrepid visitor has always done. But we were one of the last travellers to do so.

In April, the first commercial plane landed at the island’s new airport, and the last working Royal Mail Ship, the St Helena, was slated for decommissioning.

A dwindling population and defiant island geology – which, as Charles Darwin put it, “rises abruptly like a huge black castle from the ocean” – were long-time barriers to the development of an airport. But fears that the island could become nothing more than a remote old age home as younger Saints look elsewhere for employment finally forced the issue. Planned weekly flights will replace the monthly ship visits, and tourism is projected to take off.

Now, for the first time, visitors won’t risk being doused in the Atlantic swell when they reach for the ropes at the sea-washed Jamestown landing, trying to time their first step onto solid ground.

Continue reading on the BBC Travel website…

I do understand that the new airport may be a challenging place to land an aircraft. The following is noted on Wikipedia:

Due to the short runway and the long distance to South Africa, a Boeing 737-700 flying to Johannesburg is not able to use its full seat and cargo capacity. Only flights to and from Namibian and Angolan destinations would allow using a Boeing 737-700 near its full load capacity. The other planned destination, London, requires a fuel stop in Gambia, at almost the same distance as Johannesburg.

If Wideawake Airfield on Ascension Island were open for commercial non-military flights, it could be listed as an alternate aerodrome; this would mean that the load capacity of an inbound Boeing 737-700 could be increased as fewer fuel reserves would be required.

The distance from key destinations, the length of runway available, and the type of aircraft available in the region dictate that air services to St Helena must operate to the requirements of extended twin engine operations (ETOPS) which implies the provision of an instrument approach system based on an off-set instrument landing system localiser (ILS LLZ).

Such is also required by the terrain of the airport which, in commercial passenger air transport terms, is safety-critical due to its steep approaches, high elevation (1,000 ft or 300 m above sea level) and rocky outcrops. Without an instrument approach the provision of a viable air service is considered impossible.

There were doubts concerning local weather conditions and, in particular about the amount of turbulence on the approaches from fallwinds resulting from the elevated location and the surrounding bluffs. Therefore, it was recommended that a charter aircraft should perform approaches to and departures from the intended runway. By April 2016 such flights had taken place, and they weren’t 100% positive[…]

There are so many reasons air service will help this isolated community–especially for medical evacuations–but I suspect this will be a challenging airport for any pilot. St. Helena is one of the most remotely inhabited island on earth–due to aircraft fuel limits and the inability to land at alternate locations, aircraft will be forced to land in occasional adverse weather conditions.

While I’d love to to take a cruise to St. Helena, air service will likely make my future visit much more accessible!

Post readers: Please comment if you’ve visited or live(d) on St. Helena! Please share your experiences! Has anyone had luck receiving Radio St. Helena Day broadcasts in the past?