Brunswick – Yesterday morning after breakfast I fired up the mobile HF station to try for some Skywarn Recognition Day contacts. I saw AB4UG tweet that WX4CHS at NWS Charleston, SC was active on 40 Meters, but propagation was too long for me to hear them. I did, however, manage to work two other NWS stations on 40 Meters: WX2PHI, NWS Mount Holly, NJ, and WX8GRR, NWS Grand Rapids, MI. In between those two, though I made one of the most interesting QSOs I’ve had in quite a while.
Since I wasn’t hearing a lot on 40 Meters (it was only just after 0700 local), I tuned over to 20 Meters to see if I could find anything there and was surprised to hear some DX stations. As I tuned around I found something that really caught my attention: a station using the callsign SN1918WAR. It checked two boxes that interest me: a station with a non-standard callsign and since it included 1918, a history-related special event. I already assumed that it was World War I related due to the use of 1918, but a station ID further identified it as having to do with Poland regaining its independence after World War I. I tried for quite a while to make contact with him, all the while hearing 2 area and 1 area US callsigns make it through. I persevered and finally made contact; I only got a 31 signal report (I gave him a 56 back), but neither one of us had any problems understanding the other (compared to WX8GRR, who really had to work to pull my signal out – many thanks by the way!).
The significance of SN1918WAR has to with the radio transmissions made announcing Poland’s independence on 18/19 November 1918. Using captured German military radio equipment in Warsaw and using the callsign WAR, Polish operators transmitted a message to Great Britain, France, the United States, Italy, Japan, Germany and other countries proclaiming their independence. SN1918WAR’s QRZ page describes the WAR station as:
“The WAR radio station was established by German troops in 1915 in the gunner plot in a road hidden between the third and fourth bastions of the Warsaw Citadel. The Telefunken transmitter, with a multiple spark gap Wiena cooled by a fan, generated a power of 4 kW. The L-shaped antenna of the Marconi system was suspended between two 70-meter masts. The receiver was based on a Telefunken detector and an “E5″ receiver. The station operated on a wavelength of 900 m and the receiver between 600-9000 m.”
They will be operating through the end of 2018 on multiple bands and modes, and you can QSL via email for a PDF certificate. As you’re tuning through the HF bands, keep an ear out for them, this one is a nice one to put in your log!