Night of Nights XVI: July 12, 2016

Chief Operator Richard Dillman at Position 1 (Source: Maritime Radio Historical Society)

Chief Operator Richard Dillman at Position 1 (Source: Maritime Radio Historical Society)

Update: Please read Brian’s update regarding frequencies.

SWLing Post contributor, Brian D. Smith, writes:

“Thought I’d forward you this information on the annual “Night of Nights” event on July 12 (U.S. local time)/July 13 UTC, which provides an opportunity for shortwave QSLs – assuming the listener understands Morse code!

I’m sure you’re familiar with this one-night-a-year happening, in which maritime radio stations rise from the dead and transmit Morse code messages again for a few hours.

As a guy who honed his CW sending skills by listening to these stations’ constantly repeating messages, I have a sense of nostalgia and gratitude toward these stations, which helped me obtain my first Novice license, WN9ICB, at the age of 15 … less than 2 months after I taped the WWV recording that I submitted.”

Many thanks for the notice and sharing your nostalgia! Brian also forwarded an announcement from the Maritime Radio Historical Society of America. The MRHS describe the event:

It’s that time of year again. Time to honor all those ops who came before us by preserving their skills, traditions and culture through on the air operations.

Why 12 July? Long time True Believers know the story. But it may be worth repeating for new arrivals and to remind everyone of the traditions we hope to keep alive.

On 12 July 1999 some very tough looking grizzled old radio pioneers had tears in their eyes as the last commercial Morse code radiogram was sent. It was the end of an era. And as the last beeps faded away into the static they witnessed the end of the career to which they had devoted their lives.

These men – and some women – had stood watch over the airwaves on shore and at sea. Theirs was mostly the business of maritime commerce. But when their ship was in peril they were called upon to send the most electrifying three letters in radio, S O S, knowing that all their fellow radio operators would press their earphones close to get every scrap of information and bring aid to their stricken ship.

Once, our coasts were dotted with great Morse code radio stations, all communicating with ships at sea. They’re all gone now… all except one, the one they called the Wireless Giant of the Pacific, located at Point Reyes.

On that sad day in 1999 another event took place. The Maritime Radio Historical Society (MRHS) was formed. We made it our life’s work to honor the men and women of wireless by restoring that wireless giant. One year and one minute later the giant’s voice once again spanned the oceas as we picked up the thread and kept the faith with our colleagues of the air.

Every year since, in an event that became known as the Night of Nights, Morse code station KPH has returned to the air, joined by KFS and the station of the MRHS, KSM.

This year our friends and colleagues at USCG station NMC have labored mightily to bring that storied call sign back to life on Morse code for the evening along with NMQ in Cambria, CA..

And station NMW in Astoria, OR will be on the air as well.

Stations WLO and KLB will join us again as hey have in years past.

This is a global and local event. Hundreds of listeners around the world will be waiting with their earphones on, waiting for the signals of the great station to once again arc over the dome of the Earth to their receivers.

You can be with us in person!

The frequencies for this event are numerous! I have listed the USCG (NMC) frequencies below, but please check the MHRS newsletter for MRHS and other maritime station frequencies.

Again, Brian, thanks for the heads-up!

Happy listening, everyone!

NMC (Transmit Bolinas, Receive Pt. Reyes)

Frequency            Transmitter                         Antenna

472.0                    Nautel ND2500TT/6           173′ monopole tower
500.0                    Nautel ND2500TT/6           173′ monopole tower
6383.0                  Rockwell-Collins RT-2200  Omni-directional
8574.0                  Rockwell-Collins RT-2200  Omni-directional
17220.5                Rockwell-Collins RT-2200  Omni-directional

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4 thoughts on “Night of Nights XVI: July 12, 2016

  1. Brian D. Smith, W9IND


    Sounds like you had an enjoyable and successful night on the CW frequencies.

    I, too, noticed that the MRHS website reported the Coast Guard stations’ inability to get up and running this year, which confirms what I was already convinced of. Signal strength may vary from year to year, but I’ve never been unable to copy NMC on any frequency.

    A fellow ham in the Indianapolis area snared an interesting SWL catch: Tank landing ship LST-325 — now docked in Evansville, Indiana — trying to contact KPH on 500 kHz using its old World War II call, NWVC. Although no contact was made, at least when he was listening, the transmission provided a bonus opportunity to add a QSL card to his collection. More information about NWVC can be found on the station’s page under its ham radio call, WW2LST, and especially on its U.S.S. LST Ship Memorial home page,

    And for any SWLs interested in tuning in transmissions (and collecting QSLs) from historic ships all over the world, your best bet is to monitor the ham frequencies on the annual Museum Ships Weekend in early June. More than 100 ships, maritime memorials and related stations participate, and details (at least for this year’s already completed event) can be found on the NJ2BB website:

    Brian, W9IND

  2. Terry WA4AMG

    Had a pretty good night. I am located in SE Florida. Able to copy KPH/KSM/KFS ON 8, 12 and 17 MHz frequencies. WLO was 599 on all three frequencies. W4WLO 599 on both 40 and 20. Didn’t hear K6KPH on 40 but they were 589 on 20. Just checked the web page and they report the USCG stations were unable to get on the air this year. They are working on next year.
    I gave KPH a call on the landline at 0110Z and gave them a short report and told them how much I enjoy their events.
    Pretty much the same results as Mini event 11/15/2015 but I didn’t copy K6KPH then. There was no hope on 40 that night due to 4XZ parked on 7050 with a very strong signal. (Israel navy, usually below 40, but not that night)

  3. Brian D. Smith, W9IND

    So how did everyone do? I copied all the WLO and KPH/KFS/KSM frequencies, as well as W4WLO on 7.055 and 14.055 MHz, but not K6KPH.

    Biggest disappointment was not hearing Coast Guard station NMC on any of the three announced HF frequencies. I have to think something went awry this year, because I never had trouble snaring that station in the past.

    Did anybody else take a shot at “Night of Nights”? I didn’t have access to a ham rig or I would have gone for a QSO with W4WLO. Next year for sure!

  4. Brian D. Smith, W9IND


    The link in this story is for the 2015 event, but I have updated information.

    Here’s the 2016 announcement, including all participating stations:

    And here’s an update to that announcement, with several revisions to the originally listed frequencies:

    73 and have fun!

    — Brian, W9IND


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