MARITIME RADIO HISTORICAL SOCIETY
5 July 2020
MRHS Newsletter No. 62
Dedicated to the True Believers Worldwide
> Night of Nights
> Building 1
> Building 42
> BL-10 Tuning gear
> KPH QSL Card
Operations still suspended - KPH, K6KPH, KFS
Point Reyes National Seashore has closed park visitor centers and announced that all volunteer activities are suspended. Since that includes us, all station operations will be suspended "for the duration".
Would you like to help?
When we get operational again w
e could always use more volunteers with varied skills.
Technical/electronic skills, Morse operation, general maintenance in
the field, personal skills for working with Park Visitors, and more!
We also need more operators on the commercial side. Licensing
Services are available as well as training on commercial Morse
Come out and visit with us. Let us know your capabilities and what
you would like to do.
Last Month's article on Maritime Clocks got us a nice e-mail from Arthur Edwards W6GRT and his experience as a youth at sea.
Nice memories: I was born and raised in the Republic of Panama.
Air travel had not caught on and the mode of travel we used to go between Panama and
Long Beach was via freighters which carried 12 passengers. The journey typically took about 8 days.
In January, 1959 I was on the M/S Marburg, Hamburg Amerika Line, en route to Long Beach. The
radio officer noted my interest in radio communications and offered me a visit to the radio room.
He showed the maritime clock and the requirements of listening to distress calls.
I have not see one since.
While visiting the radio room that day, an incoming CW message was copied. We were somewhere off of
Acapulco or Cabo (a small fishing village then). He then took the message to the captain.
Knowing what I know now, it very likely could have been transmitted by KPH. G
ear aboard was made by Telefunken, in Germany of course. While in college in SoCal, I worked in my
grandfather's print shop. He had a Hallicrafters SX-99 tuned to KPH all the time piping its signal into the shop. He would head copy while setting up
letterpress printing. He was a ham before WWI with the call 6LU, before Ws, Ks, and Ns. The call was issued by the Dept of Commerce. Later the FCC came into being. Thanks AAQ (RB)
Night of Nights XXI
NIGHT OF NIGHTS XXI CANCELED
We are sorry to announce that because of the ongoing closure of the KPH transmit and receive sites due to COVID-19 precautions it will not be possible for Night of Nights XXI to take place.
While it's disappointing for everyone that the Night of Nights tradition will be disrupted this year, the health and safety of our colleagues must come first. But rest assured that as soon as we regain access to the transmit and receive sites we'll be working hard to bring the equipment back on line and return KPH, KFS and K6KPH to the air.
While KPH, KFS and K6KPH will not be on the air for Night of Nights XXI, MRHS members will be active from their home stations using their personal call signs on the usual K6KPH frequencies (3550, 7050, 14050). At 5:01pm Pacific time on 12 July (0001gmt 13 July) these stations will send the traditional Night of Nights opening message that in the past has been sent via KPH. They will then stand by for calls or will call CQ NON or CQ NIGHT OF NIGHTS. None of us have big gun stations so listen carefully for these call signs: WB6OVV, N6BBF, WB6UZX, AA6IF, N6AD, W6AWO, W6DHM and possibly others.
For those who may be unfamiliar with Night of Nights, this is the annual MRHS event intended to honor and commemorate the men and women who made the profession of radiotelegraph operator one of honor and skill. On 12 July 1999 what was thought to be the last commercial Morse message in the US was sent. But one year later the MRHS held the first Night of Nights to symbolically pick up the thread and carry on with the tradition of maritime Morse communication. The event has been held every year on that date since then and has become a tradition in the radio community. We hope you will join us for Night of Nights in 2021 and that you will listen for KPH, KFS and K6KPH when we are able to return those stations to the air.
uilding 1 at Bolinas is the original 1914 Marconi building near the bank on the Pacific Ocean. RCA took over operations after WWI. When building 2 and then the 2A addition were built, equipment was still housed and operated from this site. These pictures were taken on 8 March of this year. The NPS has started some preservation work. Beyond the trees is the Pacific Ocean.
Scaffolding erected inside Building 1. The debris from the work going on made it hard to get a photograph of the holes in the floor where the original Alexanderson Alternators were installed.
Housed inside Building 1 is a 40,000 watt powerhouse of a transmitter. This is a big unit that you walk inside. RK and RB are getting ready to enter transmitter cabinet in the photo below. BL-10 is structurally sound but , it's 20 panel meters are missing along with all tubes and the plate transformer.
BL-10 operated on 500 Khz and 426 Khz and as you see the coils for the MF band are huge.
Between buildings 1 and 2/2A is a small enclosure that worked along with the BL-10 transmitter. Building 42 was constructed as the tuning house when the 300ft base insulated tower was installed as the antenna for BL-10. Inside the cage there are two servo driven variometers, one for 500kc and one for the working frequency (which changed over time). The variometers were selected with a rather large solenoid driven seesaw switch. Similar variometers were part of BL-10 (Seen above). All must have been impressive, if n
ot to say startling, to anyone who happened to be in Building 42 at the time. The transmitter fed the tuning house with 3-wire line. Installation notes for the antenna talk about tying its ground system into the famous Marconi/Alexanderson ground system but we have never been able to find that ground connection. This photo was also taken on 7 March of this year and shows how it presently looks.
BL-10 Tuning Gear
This is the tuning gear inside Building 42 that was originally used with transmitter BL-10. Note the corona ring around each coil, and the "walking beam" type frequency change switch between the two coils. These are actually variometers as there are moving, selsyn controlled coils inside each one.
KPH QSL Card
When we get operational again, if you would like a KPH QSL card we would like to hear from you. Besides your name and location, time in UTC, frequency, signal strength (QSA) and readability (QRK). A Self addressed stamped envelope (SASE) helps but is not mandatory.
The current definition of the QSA and QRK codes are officially defined in ITU Radio Regulations 1990, Appendix 13:
Thank you so much for such a loyal, dedicated following and we look forward to hearing you on the air!
The Hat is Back !
Quite a few "True Believers" have been asking about the MRHS Hat. Our vendor has brought it back in 3 styles and quite a few colors. Click on the above image to go directly to the order information.
If you would like to show your support of the MRHS through a gift, please click the "Make a Donation" button below, or send your gift to:
PO BOX 392
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956
The MRHS is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization, so your gifts are tax deductible. Our Tax ID Number is: 20-1122405.
And don't miss our fabulous MRHS Swag store. Your purchases also provide some much needed income to the MRHS. To access these treasures, click on the picture of our lovely MRHS Model, Tina Shinn/TS, below!
Thanks, in advance, for your continued support!
We are committed to using your gifts responsibly to help preserve our maritime and communications heritage!
When visiting KPH be sure to tune in to KWMR for
the great music,
local knowledge and,
most important, emergency information.
For more information about KWMR, and to listen to the live stream,