Tag Archives: WLO

“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.

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:

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