Tag Archives: Maritime Radio

“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!

After 71 years, WLO operators go off the air

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Zach, who notes that WLO have announced that as of 04:59 UTC on July 1, 2018, “there there will no longer be 24/7 operators on duty at the Mobile, AL stations.”

Here’s a screenshot from their announcement on Facebook:
The end of an era indeed. Thanks for the tip, Zach.

Reuters: Cyber threats prompt return of radio for ship navigation

eLoran (Image Source: UrsaNav)

(Source: Reuters via Ken Hansen and Dan Hawkins)

LONDON (Reuters) – The risk of cyber attacks targeting ships’ satellite navigation is pushing nations to delve back through history and develop back-up systems with roots in World War Two radio technology.

Ships use GPS (Global Positioning System) and other similar devices that rely on sending and receiving satellite signals, which many experts say are vulnerable to jamming by hackers.

About 90 percent of world trade is transported by sea and the stakes are high in increasingly crowded shipping lanes. Unlike aircraft, ships lack a back-up navigation system and if their GPS ceases to function, they risk running aground or colliding with other vessels.

South Korea is developing an alternative system using an earth-based navigation technology known as eLoran, while the United States is planning to follow suit. Britain and Russia have also explored adopting versions of the technology, which works on radio signals.

Continue reading at Reuters online…

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
USA

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

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

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: