Tag Archives: Brian Smith

“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!


For a comprehensive list of frequencies please click here.

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

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Today: W9IMS special event honoring races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor Brian D. Smith (W9IND), who shares this information about SWL-friendly awards offered by his amateur radio club to commemorate the three major auto races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway:

Indianapolis Motor Speedway special event stations: Act now for your shot at a 2018 certificate!

Attention, paper chasers: Amateur radio station W9IMS has begun another year of special events honoring major auto races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. And SWLs are welcome to submit reception reports qualifying them for the same colorful QSL cards and certificates available to the ham radio operators who contact the station.

The certificate and QSLs change every year, with three unique cards offered for the 2018 Grand Prix of Indianapolis, the Indianapolis 500 and the Brickyard 400, so even if you scored the clean sweep in 2017, you’ll find new trophies to pursue this year.

Just one catch: You’ll have to move fast if you want to log W9IMS in the first race, because its final day of operation is Saturday, May 12.

But you’ll have a shot at tuning in the station on any of two and possibly three bands (20, 40 and 80 meters), and since it’s the last day (Race Day), W9IMS will likely stay on the air till as late as 11 p.m. and perhaps beyond.

Here are a couple of hints for tracking down the station during this and the other two special events:

  1. Go to www.w9ims.org, find the “2018 Schedule” heading, and click on the link to the Grand Prix operating schedule (or any other race). Although some W9IMS operators take to the airwaves at unscheduled times, you’ll have your best luck looking for the station during the hours and bands reserved with a name and callsign.
  2. Check DX Summit (www.dxsummit.fi) for spots that identify the current frequency (or frequencies) of W9IMS. If you type “W9IMS” in the search box, you can customize it to list reports for only that station.

The second and third special events will take place from May 21-27 (Indianapolis 500) and September 3-9 (Brickyard 400). Full details can be found on the W9IMS web page; note that QSL cards and certificates are not filled out until after the third race, so you can take your time in submitting your reception reports.

Feel free to submit all of your 2018 QSL and certificate requests in the same envelope. And even if you catch W9IMS for only one or two special events, you can still obtain individual QSL cards for those races.

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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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Armed Forces Day Crossband Test on May 12, 2018

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Brian (W9IND), who shares the following announcement regarding the next Armed Forces Day Crossband Test:

The Army Military Auxiliary Radio System will host this year’s Armed Forces Day Crossband Test, scheduled for May 12, 2018. This annual event is open to all radio operators, and will not impact any public or private communications. For more than 50 years, military and amateur stations have taken part in this event, which is only an exercise scenario, designed to include hobbyist and government radio operators alike.

The AFD Crossband Test is a unique opportunity to test two-way communications between military communicators and radio stations in the Amateur Radio Service (ARS), as authorized in 47 CFR 97.111. These tests provide opportunities and challenges for radio operators to demonstrate individual technical skills in a tightly-controlled exercise scenario that does not impact any public or private communications.

Military stations will transmit on selected military frequencies and will announce the specific ARS frequencies monitored. All times are ZULU (Z), and all frequencies are Upper Side Band (USB) unless otherwise noted. The frequencies used for the test will not impact any public or private communications, and will not stray outside the confines of the exercise.

The following stations will be making two way radiotelephone contacts with stations in the ARS between the time periods listed on the frequencies listed in kilohertz below. WAR, WUG-2 and NSS will also make CW contacts.


1500Z – 2359Z 5,330.5 14,438.5 18,211.0


1300Z – 0100Z 5,346.5 7,542.0 13,963.5 20,920.0


1600Z – 2300Z 5,357.0 14,438.5 18,272.0 20,997.0


1500Z – 0100Z 14,487.0 20,994.0


1500Z – 0100Z 14,487.0 20,994.0


1200Z – 2400Z 5,357.0 13,963.5 18,211.0 24,760.0 USB + CW


1300Z – 0200Z 5,403.5 13,910.5 18,293.0 20,973.5 USB + CW


1200Z – 2400Z 4,517.0 7,305.0 15,807.0 20,740.0


1200Z – 2400Z 4,575.0 7,540.0 13,993.0


1600Z – 2300Z 3,308.0 4,872.0 7,545.0


1600Z – 0100Z 5,346.5 7,329.0 13,996.0 14,411.0


1200Z – 0300Z 7,375.5 13,498.0


1700Z – 2359Z 7,542.0 15,740.5 22,924.5


1400Z – 0400Z 4,013.5 5371.5 7,493.5 14,383.5 18,211.0


1200Z – 2200Z 4,000.0 7,360.0 14,663.5


1500Z – 2359Z 4,043.5 6,903.5 14,463.5 18,293.0


1200Z – 0400Z 4,007.0 6,913.0 9988.5 13,974.0


1300Z – 0200Z 4,038.5 5,330.5 7,533.5 9,447.0 14,487.0 17,545.0 USB + CW

An AFD test message will be transmitted utilizing the Military Standard (MIL-STD) Serial PSK waveform (M110) followed by MIL-STD Wide Shift FSK (850 Hz RTTY) as described in MIL-STD 188-110A/B.

Technical information regarding these waveforms is provided at:


The AFD test message will also be sent at 0300Z in Continuous Wave (CW) mode (refer to the far right column in the table below). The message will be transmitted on the following frequencies in kilohertz and at the listed times:

1400Z AGA2SY 13,506.5 kHz ACC 17,443.0 kHz

1420Z WAR 13,506.5 kHz AGA2SY 17,443.0 kHz

1440Z ACC 13,506.5 kHz WAR 17,443.0 kHz

1500Z AAZ 13,506.5 kHz AAZ 17,443.0 kHz

2200Z ADB 13,506.5 kHz AGA2SY 17,443.0 kHz

0300Z NWVC 5,346.5 kHz

For those who wish to document their contacts with a QSL card, go to

http://www.usarmymars.org/events and complete the request form.

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Guest Post: “Night of Nights” July 12, 2017

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

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Brian Smith (W9IND), who shares the following guest post:

“Night of Nights” 2017

by Brian D. Smith, W9IND

“Night of Nights XVIII” – radio’s answer to “Night of the Living Dead” – will again unfold on July 12 (July 13 UTC) with the return of maritime Morse code transmissions that were thought to have died in 1999, but now haunt the shortwave and medium wave bands one night a year. The announced 2017 lineup brings both good and bad news, with venerable Coast Guard station NMN joining the active list while ship-to-shore heavyweight WLO stays on the sidelines.

For CW aficionados, the event offers not only an audio nostalgia trip, but a chance to obtain QSL cards and – for those in the San Francisco area – witness the event in person at the former KPH facility, located at Point Reyes National Seashore near San Francisco.

Amateur radio operators can get in on the fun by working the Maritime Radio Historical Society club station, K6KPH (via CW, of course) – and even operating it if they’re close enough to visit. The event organizers endorse amateur radio licenses with special stamps and “the Great MRHS Seal,” says Chief Operator Richard Dillman.

“Night of Nights” takes place annually on July 12 to mark the date in 1999 when commercial Morse code operations ceased in the United States. The six participating stations will take to the airwaves on multiple frequencies at 8:01 p.m. Eastern time on July 12 (0001 UTC July 13) and continue for several hours. Two MRHS stations, KPH and KFS, will beam signals from the original KPH transmitter site in nearby Bolinas, California, with a quartet of Coast Guard stations checking in from both coasts – NMC (California), NMN (Virginia), NMQ (California) and NMW (Oregon). The latter two will operate on medium wave frequencies only.

Follow this Maritime Radio Historical Society link for a complete list of participating stations, frequencies and other details: http://radiomarine.org/gallery/show?keyword=nonxi&panel=pab1_5#pab1_5

For the backstory on the KPH comeback and the tireless volunteer efforts that went into it, read “Who We Are” on the MRHS home page: http://www.radiomarine.org

This Point Reyes National Seashore page gives a historical perspective on the event: https://www.nps.gov/pore/planyourvisit/events_nightofnights.htm

This YouTube video from a 2012 visit provides an inside look at the MHRS operations: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wj-IwYPrtTM

QSL requests for KPH, KFS and K6KPH go to:

Maritime Radio Historical Society
P.O. Box 392
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956

QSL requests for NMC, NMN, NMQ and NMW go to:

ET1 Mike Leska
ESD Ketchikan – QSL
1300 Steadman St.
Ketchikan, AK 99901

QSL requests to all stations should include an SASE – but no “green stamps” (dollar bills).

Here’s a sample K6KPH “Radiogram” QSL:

Here’s a sample Coast Guard QSL for NMC and NMQ:

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Potomac Valley Radio Club (PVRC) and the US Naval Academy Radio Club to operate NSS special event May 13

Photo: US Coast Guard

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Brian D. Smith, who writes:

Longtime SWLs will recall the repeating CW messages of Coast Guard station NSS and its distinctive “DAH-dit di-di-dit di-di-dit” ID.

There’s even a nostalgia page created in its honor: http://hawkins.pair.com/nss.shtml – along with a Wikipedia entry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NSS_Annapolis – and an online history: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/facility/greenbury-point.htm – among other online references.

Unfortunately, like most other such CW stations of its day, NSS is gone forever … right? Wrong! Get this: NSS will return from the dead during Armed Forces Day crossband tests on May 13!

Here’s what the ARRL is reporting:

“The Potomac Valley Radio Club (PVRC) and the US Naval Academy Radio Club will operate NSS on the site of the 1918 Naval Radio Transmitting Station on Greenbury Point in Annapolis, Maryland, across the Severn River from the US Naval Academy.”

How cool is that?

So both hams and SWLs can obtain a QSL card from this ghost of a station. Personally, I’m thrilled with the news, because I was never able to get a QSL card from NSS or any similar station during my teenage years.

As far as I know, this is the first time NSS has been heard since … what, 1999? It certainly wasn’t on the air during last year’s Armed Forces Day radio event.

Wow–thank you for the tip, Brian! I, too, would love to snag an NSS QSL card!

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W9IMS special event stations, May 7-13

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Brian D. Smith, who writes:

My radio club is about to begin another year of W9IMS special events commemorating the 3 major auto races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway: the Grand Prix of Indianapolis, the Indianapolis 500 and the Brickyard 400.

We’re among the most popular annual special event operations in the United States (along with the Original 13 Colonies and Route 66). Our first special event (for the Grand Prix) will run from May 7-13; for more complete info, go to www.w9ims.org

As you probably recall, we offer 3 new and colorful QSL cards every year, as well as a nice certificate for stations that work all 3 special events in a given year.

Naturally, the offer extends to SWLs as well … so paper chasers, take note! And here’s a tip for locating us when we’re on the air: Keep an eye on DX Summit — http://www.dxsummit.fi/#/ – which will feature constantly updated DX spots for W9IMS during our weeks of operation.

Excellent–thanks for sharing this, Brian. It’s great to know that this event will also issue QSLs for SWL reports!

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