There is a nice variety of History Related Amateur Radio Special Event Stations during November 2019. A multitude of stations will be honoring Armistice Day/Remembrance Day/Veterans Day. Early American History is represented by a Special Event Station commemorating the Pilgrims’ landing at Plymouth. Another Special Event Station commemorates the birthday of the US Marine Corps, which was established during the American Revolution. A Special Event Station honoring Stephen F. Douglas and commemorating Austin’s Colony represents westward expansion by the United States in the mid-1800s. More modern History is represented by Special Event Stations remembering the sinking of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald and Exercise Able Archer 83.
Armistice Day/Remembrance Day/Veterans Day
Armistice Day, Remembrance Day, and Veterans Day are all commemorated on the 11th day of November each year. Armistice Day serves as the root of both Remembrance Day in The Commonwealth and Veterans Day in the United States.
On 9 November from 1400 UTC to 2200 UTC, the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, MO will be operating Special Event Station WW1USA to commemorate the 101st Anniversary of the Armistice that ended World War I. They’ll be operating on or near 14.275, 14.074, 14.050, and 7.050. QSL for a certificate via WW1USA, National World War I Museum and Memorial, 2 Memorial Drive, Kansas City, MO 64108.
Armistice Day commemorates the day that the armistice ceasing hostilities in World War I was signed: 11 November 1918. At the end of September 1918, The German Supreme Army Command began to realize that World War I was lost for them. Negotiations with the Allied Powers would begin in early October and go on through early November as the German Government came to grips with Allied demands that Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicate, the German Navy cease submarine operations, and that German forces withdraw from all territory that they occupied during the war. On the Allied side, the French, British, Italians, and Americans had to negotiate with each other because France, Great Britain, and Italy weren’t committed to President Wilson’s Fourteen Points. After five weeks, an agreement was arrived at and German representatives traveled to Le Francpont, France and surrendered to the Allies, agreeing to terms dictated by Marshal Ferdinand Foch, the Supreme Allied Commander at 0545 hours on 11 November 1918. Fighting would largely end, as agreed to, at 1100 hours on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. The Armistice ended the fighting in a war that killed approximately 10 million servicemen and approximately 8 million civilians (6 million of which were from disease and famine caused by the war). Total military casualties (including killed in action, wounded in action, and missing in action) were over 31 million.
From 1-30 November, Special Event Station VE2PEACE in St-Jerome, Quebec will be commemorating Remembrance Day. They’ll be operating on or near 21.040, 14.040, 10.112, and 7.040. QSL via Jean Charron, 17 Elisabeth, St-Jerome, QC J7Z 2S9, CANADA.
Of the approximately 10 million military dead of World War I, around 5.5 million of them were Allied dead. The heavy losses experienced by the Allied countries in World War I led to the remembrance of their war dead on 11 November, the day that the armistice ending the war was signed. The first official Remembrance Day was held on 11 November 1919, after Britain’s King George V honored the French President on 10 November 1919. The commemoration would spread to other countries of the British Commonwealth between World War I and World War II.
From 6-13 November, Club KC5NX in Cleburne, TX will be honoring Veterans Day with Special Event Station N5VET. They’ll be operating on or near 14.252, 14.045, 7.230, and 7.045. QSL via Jay D. Stanfield, 9200 Summit Court West, Cleburne, TX 76033-8212.
From 9-10 November, the American Legion Amateur Radio Club Post 209 in Colorado Springs, CO will be honoring Veterans Day with Special Event Station K0TAL. They’ll be operating on or near 21.285, 14.285, and 7.285. QSL for a certificate via American Legion Post 209, 3613 Jeannine Dr, Colorado Springs, CO 80917.
On 9 November from 1500 UTC to 2200 UTC, the Five Sullivan Brothers Amateur Radio Club in Waterloo, IA will be honoring Veterans Day with Special Event Station W0FSB. They’ll be operating on or near 18.124, 14.240, and 7.240. QSL for a card or certificate via Five Sullivan Bros ARC, 3186 Brandon Diagonal Blvd, Brandon, IA 52210.
On 9 November from 1530 UTC to 2100 UTC, the Warminster Amateur Radio Club in Philadelphia, PA will be honoring Veterans Day with Special Event Station K3DN. They’ll be operating on or near 14.225 and 7.180. QSL via Warminster Amateur Radio Club, Box 113, Warminster, PA 18974.
On Veterans Day, 11 November, the American Legion Amateur Radio Club in Indianapolis, IN will be honoring the holiday with Special Event Station N9V. They’ll be operating on or near 14.275 and 7.225 in addition to IRLP Node 9735 and the*CROSSRDS* EchoLink Conference Node. QSL via the American Legion Amateur Radio Club, 700 North Pennsylvania Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204.
On Veterans Day, 11 November, the North Port Amateur Radio Club in Bradenton, FL will be honoring the holiday with Special Event Station W4NPT. They’ll be operating on or around 14.270. QSL via the North Port Amateur Radio Club, P.O Box 7716, North Port, FL 34286.
In the United States, we already had a tradition of Memorial Day/Decoration Day in late May from the end of the Civil War. From 1926 to 1937, a Congressional Resolution requested that the President issue annual declarations of 11 November as an observance of the end of World War I. In 1938, Congress passed an act designating 11 November – Armistice Day as a Federal Holiday. Following World War II, Veteran Raymond Weeks proposed using Armistice Day as a day to honor all Veterans, not just World War I veterans. The idea was proposed by Weeks to then General Eisenhower and national celebrations would begin in 1927. In 1954, Congress passed a bill designating 11 November as Veterans Day and it was signed into law by now President Eisenhower.
The Founding of Austin’s Colony and Stephen F. Austin’s Birthday
On 2 November, from 1400 UTC to 2100 UTC, the Stephen F. Austin Radio Club in San Felipe, TX will be commemorating Stephen F. Austin’s 227th birthday and the founding of Austin’s Colony with Special Event Station W5SFA. They’ll be operating on or near 14.240, 14.035, 7.240, and 7.035. QSL via Roger Klein, PO Box 161, New Ulm, TX 78950.
Stephen F. Austin, born on 3 November 1793, led the first successful (but second attempt) colonization of Texas and is considered the father of Texas. In 1821, Austin’s father, Moses Austin was granted land in Spanish Texas by Spain and permission to settle 300 families. Moses Austin would die before he could carry through any settlement plans. Stephen Austin would decide to continue his father’s plan and decided upon land between the Brazos River and Colorado River. Settlers would begin arriving in 1821 and 1822. In 1825, Austin won recognition of the grant from newly Independent Mexico. Austin would also gain three more grants and share a fourth. All these grants were administered as one and by 1830, they would be settled by 1500 families. Settlement in the colony was attractive because of the low cost of the land; a farmer could receive 177 acres at 12.5 cents an acre and a stock-raiser could receive 4,428 acres at 12.5 cents an acre. Those prices were a tenth of what land cost in the United States at the time. Initially relations between the Texas colonists and the Mexican government were friendly and cordial, but by 1835, due disagreements over immigration limits and slavery (the colony’s economy, not unlike the southern United States’, was dependent on slavery, to which the Mexican government was opposed), the Texas Revolution would begin in October 1835.
For more about the westward expansion of the United States in the first half of the 19th Century, I recommend reading What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848 by Daniel Walker Howe.
The Sinking of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald
From 2-17 November, The Livonia Amateur Radio Club in Detroit, MI will be remembering the sinking of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald with Special Event Station W8F. They’ll be operating on or near 14.260, 14.040, 7.240 and 7.040. QSL for a certificate via Tas Foley, K8TAS, 37255 Euraka Rd., Romulus, MI 48207.
From 2-3 November, the Stillwater, MN Amateur Radio Association will be remembering the sinking of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald with Special Event Station W0JH. They’ll be operating on or near 21.360, 14.260, 7.260, and 3.860. QSL for a certificate via Shel Mann, N0DRX at SplitRock2019@Radioham.org.
The SS Edmund Fitzgerald was a lakes freighter that hauled iron ore in the form of taconite from Minnesota mines via the port in Superior, WI to ports other Great Lakes ports. When she was launched in 1958, she was the largest ship on the Great Lakes and remains the largest ship to sink in the Great Lakes. On 9 November 1975, the Fitzgerald departed Superior en route to Detroit in the company of another lakes freighter, the SS Arthur M. Anderson. When the two ships left Superior, the National Weather Service was forecasting that a would pass south of Lake Superior by 0700 on 10 November; that forecast would later be changed and the NWS issued gale warnings for all of Lake Superior. As a result, the two shops changed their route to use the coast on the Canadian side of the lake as protection from the wind. The NWS forecast would again be changed from a gale warning to a storm warning with winds of 35-50 knots. As the storm passed over the two ships, winds shifted and it began to snow, reducing visibility. The Anderson would end up recording sustained winds over 50 knots and gusts of 70-75 knots. During this time, the Fitzgerald began reporting a series of problems, including the loss of radar, damage to a fence and two vents, and that the ship was taking on a list. The ships also began getting hit by rogue waves as high as 35 feet with seas over the deck. At 1910, the Fitzgerald reported that she was “holding our own,” but shortly thereafter the Anderson lost radar and radio contact with her; she had sunk in 535 feet of water with the loss of all 29 on board. Controversy surrounded the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald, and while there are several theories as to why she sank – from negligence to structural failure, nothing has ever been conclusively proven. That said, the sinking did result in safety regulation changes and changed the way captains operated in storms.
Exercise Able Archer 83
From 9-10 November, the Education Alliance for Amateur Radio in Davidsonville, MD will be commemorating Exercise Able Archer 83 with Special Event Station W3A. They’ll be operating on or near 51.000, 14.336, 7.189, and 3.885. QSL via Walter J Skavinsky, 1574 Layfield Rd., Pennsburg, PA 18073.
Exercise Able Archer 83 was a NATO command post exercise that began on 5 November 1983 and lasted 5 days. It involved NATO forces throughout Western Europe and simulated a period of escalating conflict which resulted in forces ending up in a simulated DEFCON 1 status (nuclear war imminent) and a simulated nuclear attack. Several factors would combine and cause Able Archer 83 to bring the world to the brink of nuclear war. Throughout the early 1980s, NATO surface and air assets tested the Soviets around the GIUK gap, the Barents Sea, the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea, and the Norwegian Sea. In April 1983, conducted exercise FleetEX 83-1 in the North Pacific with approximately 40 ships and 300 aircraft, the largest exercise held in that area to that time. Adding to tension over these activities, the Soviet Union shot down Korean Air Lines flight 007 (KAL007) on 1 September 1983. These events caused relations between the Soviet Union and the United States to deteriorate. Able Archer 83 saw the participation of heads of state, the simulated release of nuclear weapons, and changes in communications methods and procedures. The combination of those changes and the already elevated tension between the superpowers caused the Soviet Union to interpret the exercise as preparation for an attack against them and they readied their nuclear forces in response. Historians have argued that it was one of a handful of incidents in which the world came dangerously close to a nuclear war. Later, intelligence reports about how the Soviets had responded to Able Archer 83 seemed to change how President Ronald Reagan approached nuclear forces and nuclear war. It has been argued that the exercise influenced his change in policy from one of confrontation to one of rapprochement and helped lead to summits with Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, resulting in nuclear weapons treaties.
Birthday of the US Marine Corps
On 9 November, the USS Midway (CV-41) Museum Ship will be honoring Veterans Day and commemorating the birthday of the United States Marine Corps with Special Event Station NI6IW. They’ll be operating on or near 14.320 and 7.250, operating PSK31 on 14.070, and will be on DSTAR REF001C. QSL via USS Midway Museum Ship COMEDTRA, 910 N Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101.
10 November 1775 is recognized as the birthday of the United States Marine Corps, so this year, the USMC is celebrating its 244th birthday. On 10 November 1775, the Second Continental Congress passed a resolution forming two battalions of Marines – infantry that could fight on both land and sea. These Continental Marines served aboard Continental Navy ships, conducted raids (including some in the Caribbean against British bases there), and at times served with the Continental Army. Like the US Navy, which the USMC is associated with (the Marines come under the Department of the Navy), the Continental Marines were disbanded after the American Revolution. They were re-established in July 1798 prior to the Quasi War with France but would go on to make their name during the First Barbary War, where during the Battle of Derna, Marine and mercenary forces marched from Alexandria, Egypt to Derna in present-day Libya and captured it. The Battle of Derna is the “shores of Tripoli” in the Marine Corps Hymn. This time, the establishment of the Marine Corps would be permanent. They have been an important part of the US Military and remain one of the US Armed Services to this day. The Marines have a significant presence in the Lowcountry South Carolina and Coastal Georgia area through MCAS Beaufort, home of MAG-31 and the F-35B training squadron VMFAT-501 and MCRD Parris Island, one of two USMC Recruit Training Depots.
The First Pilgrim Landing at Plymouth
From 30 November – 1 December, the Whitman Amateur Radio Club in Plymouth, MA will commemorate the first Pilgrim landing at Plymouth with Special Event Station NI1X. They’ll be operating on or near 18.160, 14.260, 7.260, and 3.860. They’ll also be on EchoLink at WA1NPO-R and IRLP node 8691. QSL for a certificate via Whitman ARC, P.O. Box 48, Whitman, MA 02382.
On 6 September 1620, the ship Mayflower left Plymouth, England after a multitude of delays, bound for the mouth of the Hudson River in present-day New York, where they planned to settle, with 102 Pilgrims (Puritan colonists) on board. The voyage would see few problems early, but they would later encounter rough seas and storms that damaged the ship and caused leaks. One Puritan died and one child was born during the voyage. On 9 November 1620, they arrived in the area of Cape Cod in present-day Massachusetts and made an unsuccessful attempt to sail down the coast to the Hudson River. On 11 November 1620, the Mayflower anchored at Provincetown Harbor and on 13 November, after disagreements led to the Mayflower Compact, the Puritans would land at Provincetown. They failed to find a proper site for a settlement and clashed with area Native Americans after taking corn from one of their burial grounds and ended up reembarking on the Mayflower in December. She arrived in Plymouth Harbor on 16 December and after looking for an appropriate place to land, went ashore at Plymouth on 21 December. Although construction would begin shortly thereafter, many of the Pilgrims remained on board the Mayflower through the Winter. It wouldn’t be until Spring before everyone would be ashore. By the time the Mayflower departed back to England in April 1621, almost half of the Pilgrims had died, but they had established friendly relations with the local Native Americans that would allow the Plymouth Colony to grow roots and survive (even if they would later wreck those friendly relations – but that’s another story).