This weekend: Historic NSS Call Sign reactivated during Armed Forces Day Crossband Test

100th Anniversary QSL card for NSS

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Brian Smith (W9IND), who shares the following press release regarding the historic U.S. Navy callsign NSS that will be reactivated during the 100th anniversary of the former Naval Radio Station in Annapolis, Maryland:

Historic NSS Call Sign to be Reactivated During its 100th Anniversary

Historic U.S. Navy callsign NSS will be reactivated during the 100th anniversary of the former Naval Radio Station in Annapolis, Maryland.  The U.S. Naval Academy Radio Club (W3ADO) and the Potomac Valley Radio Club (W3GRF) will reactivate the historic callsign during the upcoming Armed Forces Day Crossband Military/Amateur Radio Communications Test.

NSS operations from the location of the former Naval Radio Station on Greenbury Point will be from 1300Z Saturday May 12 to 0200Z May 13.  CW and SSB transmissions will be on 4038.5, 5330.5, 7533.5, 9447, 14487 and 17545 kHz.  NSS will listen for callers on announced frequencies in adjacent amateur bands.  Commemorative QSLs will be sent for all QSOs.

NSS began operations in 1918 as the Annapolis High Power Radio Station using a pair of Federal Telegraph Company 500 kilowatt Poulson Arc transmitters and four 600 foot towers operating in the Very Low Frequency (VLF) band.  At that time VLF provided the only known capability for trans-oceanic radio communications. NSS began continuous operations in the HF bands about ten years later until 1976 when its HF mission was transferred to Naval Radio Station NAM in Norfolk, Virginia.  The 1200 foot central tower and dozens of other towers and masts were demolished in 1999, except for three iconic 600 foot Eiffel towers that remain at the southern tip of Greenbury Point.

A brief video history of NSS is here:

A virtual tour of NSS is here:

Important: Click here for details about the Armed Forces Day Crossband Test this Saturday May 12, 2018.

Many thanks for sharing this item, Brian!  I will do my best to snag a few stations during the crossband test tomorrow!

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4 thoughts on “This weekend: Historic NSS Call Sign reactivated during Armed Forces Day Crossband Test

  1. David

    You folks got the facts screwed up a bit. NAA was on the air in 1913 communicating with Paris, France almost five years before NSS went live. See for yourself (link to the article below) Those towers in Annapolis are the Three Sisters Towers that were built in Arlington, VA in 1912 and later moved to Annapolis when National Airport opened. There were concerns the one tower in Arlington that was 45′ taller than the Washington Monument would be hit by one of the many bi-planes that were using National Airport… Those Three Sisters Towers are the oldest towers in the USA over 100 yrs old.

    Maybe you can edit the article above and make it accurate and a bit more interesting.

    Dave, WA3GIN

  2. Erica Simpson

    Some of these Band frequency are out of nkrmal band plan guide. Are we still allowed to go out of band plan to collect these?

    1. Brian, W9IND

      Hi Erica,

      I’m sorry I didn’t see your post until just now. But for future reference (they do this every May), here’s how the Armed Forces Day Crossband Test works: Military stations operate “split,” transmitting on frequencies outside the amateur bands, but receiving on frequencies inside the amateur bands.

      For instance, NSS transmitted on 14.487 MHz and received on 14.257 MHz.

      So your concern about operating outside the amateur frequencies is well founded, and you should never TRANSMIT outside the amateur radio bands, but of course it’s perfectly fine to RECEIVE outside the amateur radio bands.

      But how can you know which ham frequencies to transmit on? Well, you can’t know ahead of time — you can only find out by tuning in the various military stations on Armed Forces Day and listening to the frequencies they announce on the air.

      I hope this helps a little, and that you see this post so you’ll know what to do next year (if you haven’t already found out).

      Incidentally, I just got a QSL card from NSS, and it’s one I’ll treasure, having never received one when I first heard the station during the 1970s.

      Brian, W9IND


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