Category Archives: Radio History

“Night of Nights” Returns Tonight!

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

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Brian Smith (W9IND), who writes:

The cast may be smaller than in previous years, but the “Night of Nights” nostalgia show will go on. At 8:01 p.m. Eastern Time today (0001 UTC July 13), two maritime CW stations operated by the Maritime Radio Historical Society will begin transmitting Morse code on shortwave and medium wave bands, while the Society’s amateur radio station will be active on four ham bands.

Venerable KPH will reappear tonight in the company of KFS and ham station K6KPH, all transmitting from a century-old Marconi site at Bolinas, California. They’ll be directed from a 1930 RCA station at 17400 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in Point Reyes National Seashore. Several previous participants will be absent this year, including ship-to-shore powerhouse WLO of Mobile, Alabama, and a quartet of Coast Guard stations.

The annual July 12 event commemorates the date in 1999 when commercial Morse code operations ceased in the United States. One year later, “Night of Nights” debuted in a defiant declaration that maritime CW stations would not go gentle into that good night.

Typically, the two 5 kw coast stations transmit “code wheels” (repeating messages), personal messages, and tributes to long-gone maritime stations and operators, remaining on the air till at least 0700 UTC. And K6KPH will not only be heard, but contacted by fellow amateur radio stations. A list of KPH, KFS and K6KPH frequencies can be found at www.radiomarine.org, including those used by ships. Reception reports go to P.O. Box 392, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956.

The public is welcome to observe today’s event and tour the facility at Point Reyes. Doors open at 3 p.m. local (Pacific) time, and Morse aficionados are invited to operate K6KPH. Whisper the words “true believer” for a peek at the Treasure Room!

https://www.nps.gov/pore/planyourvisit/events_nightofnights.htm

For a comprehensive list of frequencies please click here.

Many thanks for the notice, Brian! We’ll tune in!

Shortwave Radio Recordings: SWL Digest from January 4, 1982

Do you miss Ian McFarland on Radio Canada International?

Yeah, me too.

That’s why I’m always pleased to receive off air recordings from Shortwave Radio Audio Archive contributor, Tom Laskowski.

I’ve just posted his latest off-air recording on the archive and thought I’d post it here as well. Tom note:

Here is another one of my many recordings of Shortwave Listener’s Digest from Radio Canada International, this time from January 4, 1982. This program highlights are: Glenn Hauser with his Year in Review for the previous year of 1981; part 1. Larry Magne with a test report for the Panasonic RF-9000 which listed at $US 3800!!!. The program ends with Glenn Hauser’s second part of his review of the previous year’s highlights. Unfortunately the broadcast suffers from some adjacent-channel interference.

Starting time: 2130 UTC on January 4, 1982

Frequency: 15.325 MHz

Receiver location: South Bend, Indiana

Receiver: Realistic DX-302

Click here to download this MP3 audio.

If you enjoy off-air recordings, check out some of the recent ones on the archive which include:

Thanks again, Tom, and thanks to the dozens of contributors that make the shortwave archive such a treasure trove of shortwave history!

BBC RMP transmitting site up for sale (again)

(Source: Dorset Echo via Dave Porter)

It helped the BBC broadcast its radio programmes across Europe.

Now the vast site of the former radio transmission station in the west Dorset countryside is set for a new lease of life.

The Rampisham Down site next to the A356 Maiden Newton to Crewkerne road, which extends to more than 180 acres, is on the market with a guide price of £2.5 million.

It includes commercial land, and a huge area for grazing – which could be used for a ‘recreational business’.

Rampisham Down was designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in 2014 for its special grassland and heathland habitats.

British Solar Renewables (BSR) wanted to build a huge solar park there, but after a lengthy planning battle – in which the decision was ‘called in’ by the government’ – the company shelved its plans.

A site nearby not deemed of high importance for wildlife was instead chosen for the solar park and given planning permission.

This solar park could help to power the new venture at Rampisham Down, it is said.

All but one of the original telecommunications towers, which helped to broadcast the BBC World Service in Europe until the station was decommissioned in 2011, have been removed.

The remaining tower has become a nesting platform for peregrine falcons, as part of work by BSR, in conjunction with Natural England, to restore the land and make it a home for wildlife.[…]

Click here to read the full article at the Dorset Echo.

Discovering the Apollo Survival Radio

In a previous post, I mentioned that I visited the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville Alabama last week (a museum I highly recommend to anyone interest in spaceflight).

While perusing numerous displays in the Saturn V Hall at the Davidson Center for Space Exploration, I noted this little radio in a case devoted to Apollo survival gear:

I found no detailed information about this survival radio at the display (not surprising), so I snapped a few photos and researched it when I got back to the hotel room that evening.

The Smithsonian Air And Space Museum was one of the few sources I found with a description of this radio:

Survival gear was provided to Apollo astronauts in the case they returned to Earth and there was a substantial delay in rescue and recovery operations. One item in the survival kit was a hand-held UHF radio. Beginning with the Apollo 12 survival kit the radio beacon was manufactured by the Cubic Corporation. It could operate either as a “beacon” or for two-way voice communications. Permanently set to operate at 243 MHz, the transceiver and its cylindrical battery pack were water-tight. It could operate in beacon mode for up to 24 hours. An extendable antenna, a second battery pack, and a spacecraft connector cable were also provided.

I love finding purpose-designed radios like the Apollo Survival Radio.

Post readers: Have you ever stumbled upon similar survival or purpose-built radios? Please comment!