An Interesting Early Morning QSO with SN1918WAR, a History Related Special Event Station in Poland

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!

History Related Amateur Radio Special Event Stations for October 2018

Four history-related Amateur Radio special event stations during October stand out to me. Two o the special event stations honor important figures from US History: Dwight D. Eisenhower and Roger Williams. A third commemorates the birth of one of our armed forces: the US Navy. The fourth commemorates a key battle of the American Revolution and the subsequent surrender of British Forces at Yorktown, VA.

The Grayson County Amateur Radio Club in Sherman, TX will be operating special event station W5I from 8 October to 16 October in commemoration of Dwight D. Eisenhower’s birthday on 14 October 1890 in Denison, TX. Eisenhower was a pivotal figure in American History during World War II and the early part of the Cold War. After the Pearl Harbor Attack, Eisenhower was assigned as a Brigadier General in the US Army to the General Staff in Washington DC where he was responsible for developing war plans against both Japan and Germany. Just six months later, despite having never held an active command higher than Battalion Commander, he was appointed Commanding General, European Theater of Operations and promoted to Lieutenant General. In the run-up to the North African invasion, he was named Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force, North African Theater of Operations. In late 1943, Eisenhower was appointed Supreme Allied Commander in Europe and Supreme Allied Commander Allied Expeditionary Force. He would hold both commands until the end of World War II in Europe. Despite not having the experience of command above the battalion commander, Eisenhower proved to be an excellent appointment by President Roosevelt. The job of Supreme Allied Commander was just as much a political job as it was a military job and he did a terrific job juggling the different aims, wants, and politics of the various Allied powers as well as dealing with extraordinary personalities like DeGaulle, Montgomery, and Patton. After World War II, Eisenhower, by now a five star General of the Army served as Military Governor of the American Occupation Zone in Europe, as Chief of Staff of the Army, and finally as NATO Supreme Commander before retiring in 1952. In 1952, Eisenhower was pressed to run for President by the Republican Party and was elected. As President, Eisenhower was noted in the foreign policy arena for working to bring the Korean War to an end, Cold War policy including nuclear policy and the “domino theory,” and his handling of the Sputnik crisis and U-2 incident and in the domestic policy arena for continuing New Deal programs such as Social Security, creating the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (later split into the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education), authorizing the Interstate Highway System, the Civil Rights Act of 1957, and the Little Rock Crisis. On the political spectrum, Eisenhower considered himself a moderate, progressive Republican. It can easily be argued that his experience as Supreme Commander during and after World War II gave him the experience in handling disparate groups and personalities that enabled him to be a great President; he was ranked the 5th greatest President in the 2017 C-Span Presidential Historians Survey. In his farewell address, he offered us advice which is still pertinent today:

“As we peer into society’s future, we – you and I, and our government – must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for our own ease and convenience the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.”

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

W5I will be operating on or near 14.250 USB, 7.200, LSB, 14.040, and 7.040. QSL via Grayson County ARC, PO Box 642, Sherman, TX 75091.

Providence Emergency Management Agency RACES, KK1PMA, in Providence, RI will be honoring Roger Williams with a special event station on 13 October. Williams is a fascinating figure in US History. A Puritan minister, Williams came to the Massachusetts Bay Colony from England in 1630. Before long, his beliefs in religious freedom and separation of Church and State and his dealings with Native Americans brought him into conflict with the Colony’s leadership. First, he believed that individuals should be able to follow their own path when it comes to religion and that they should not be coerced into following a particular church; in his mind, a state religion was a religion forced upon the people.  Second, he believed that it was not the place of civil authorities to enforce religious laws such as those found in the first five of the Ten Commandments: idolatry (Thou shalt have no other God before me/Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image), blasphemy (Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain), and the breaking of the Sabbath (Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy). These arguments were the antithesis of most of his contemporaries but they would influence our Founding Fathers and the direction our government would take. Also contrary to most of his contemporaries in the Colony was how he dealt with Native Americans; Williams believed in fair dealings with Native Americans. He came to question colonial charters that didn’t reimburse Native Americans for land taken to form those colonies. It was because of those beliefs that Roger Williams was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. After his banishment, he eventually founded Providence Plantation, which eventually became the colony of and then the state of Rhode Island It’s also worth mentioning that Williams was opposed to slavery and attempted to prevent its legalization in Rhode Island. Unfortunately, it was an admirable but unsuccessful attempt.  KK1PMA will be operating on or around 53.02 USB, 14.275 USB,  and 7.275 LSB. QSL for a certificate via Barry Noel, P.O. Box 28091, Providence, RI 02908.

Also on 13 October, NI6IW, the USS Midway (CV-41) museum ship will be commemorating the establishment of the US Navy on 13 October 1775. The United States Navy celebrates its birthday on 13 October because the Second Continental Congress authorized the purchase of two ships, marking the beginning of the Continental Navy. The Continental Navy was shortlived; it was disbanded at the end of the American Revolution because the new government lacked the funds to maintain a standing navy. Between 1790 and 1797, the US Revenue Cutter Service (a forerunner of the US Coast Guard) provided the only armed maritime service that the United States had. In 1794, however, Congress passed the Naval Act of 1794 authorizing a permanent standing Navy; the US Navy was established and by 1797, the first three of the US Navy’s first six frigates were commissioned and in service. For more information on and a good read about the beginnings of the United States Navy, I highly recommend Ian W. Toll’s Six Frigates: The Epic History of the Founding of the U.S. Navy. NI6IW will be operating on or around 14.320 USB, 7.250 LSB, and 14.070 as well as D-STAR on REF001C. QSL via USS Midway (CV-41) COMEDTRA, 901 N Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101.

On 20 October, K4RC, the Williamsburg Area Amateur Radio Club in Yorktown, VA will commemorate the surrender of British forces after the Battle of Yorktown. The Battle of Yorktown lasted from 28 September to 19 October 1781. Yorktown was more of siege than a battle, American and French forces surrounded the British Army on land and at sea. The Continental Army under George Washington and the French Army under the Comte de Rochambeau surrounded the British Army under Charles Cornwallis. At sea, the French Navy under the Comte de Grasse blockaded the British and prevented reinforcement attempts. The siege began on 28 September and throughout the first half of October, the Americans and French worked closer to the British positions. On 14 October, assaults of the British defenses began and on 17 October the British offered to surrender. Negotiations began and on 19 October, the surrender was official. The British surrender at Yorktown didn’t end the American Revolution, it would continue until 1783, but it did give American morale a much-needed boost. It also caused a collapse of public support for the war in Great Britain and moved the British government to negotiations to end the Revolution. To read more about the American Revolution, I would recommend Robert Middlekauff’s The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763-1789 and for reading about the last years of the American Revolution following Yorktown, I would recommend American Crisis: George Washington and the Dangerous Two Years After Yorktown, 1781-1783 by William M. Fowler Jr. K4RC will be operating on or around 14.265 USB and 7.265 LSB. QSL via K4RC, P.O. Box 1470, Williamsburg, VA 23187.

History Related Amateur Radio Special Event Stations for September 2018

The month of September has a number of History related amateur radio special event stations, but four stood out to me. The first is N0HWJ, which is commemorating the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The second is a set of special event stations, K3B, N3B, and W3B, which commemorate the Battle of Brandywine during the American Revolution. The third, K7T, commemorates the final surrender of Geronimo. The last, W0CXX, commemorates the 85th anniversary of the Collins Radio Company, undoubtedly one of the United States’ most important radio equipment companies.

The N0HWJ Lewis and Clark 1804 Expedition special event station will be ending its multi-month run on 15 September. Beginning at Camp Dubois near Wood River IL in May 1804, the Lewis and Clark Expedition, also known as the Corps of Discovery was commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Lead by Captain Merriwether Lewis and 2nd Lieutenant William Clark, the expedition was tasked with exploring the newly acquired territory and the Pacific Northwest as well as mapping both territories and staking claim to the Pacific Northwest before European countries could. Additionally, they were to do scientific studies of the plant and animal life and establish relations with the native peoples of the territories. The expedition lasted over two years, ending in September 1806 and traveled over 8,000 miles Despite difficult terrain and conditions and contact with both friendly and unfriendly tribes, there was little violence and they lost only one man. Even though it didn’t find the fabled Northwest Passage, they weren’t the first ones to explore the area, and they set the stage for the treatment of Native Americans in the future, the expedition was a success. They greatly contributed to the United States’ knowledge of its new territory and established a claim to the Pacific Northwest. Look for N0HWJ on or around 14.275,  14.250, 3.982, and 3.975. QSL via Don Lallier, N0HWJ, PO Box 303, Orchard, NE 68764.

Special Event Stations K3B, N3B, and W3B, operated by the Christiana Amateur Radio Emergency Service in Chadds Ford, PA will be commemorating the Battle of Brandywine, fought during the American Revolution, from 6 to 16 September. It was both the longest single-day battle (11 hours) of the American Revolution and was fought by the largest number of troops in any battle of the American Revolution (14,000 plus Americans versus 15,000  plus British)Fought around Chadds Ford and Brandywine Creek in Pennsylvania, the Battle of Brandywine was a significant defeat for the American forces led by George Washington. Poor scouting on the American’s part resulted in a lack of knowledge of where the British were and what they were doing, so the British forces under General William Howe were able to flank the Americans. A combination of delaying and rear guard actions and a British lack of cavalry allowed the Americans to escape and fight another day, but the loss at Brandywine led to the fall of Philadelphia, the home of the Continental Congress. K3B, N3B, and W3B will be operating on or near 21.280 14.280 7.180 3.860. QSL via Battle of Brandywine Special Event, P.O. Box 1324, 1620 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford, PA 19317

On 15 September, The Oro Valley Amateur Radio Club in Tucson, AZ will commemorate the 132nd Anniversary of Geronimo’s surrender at Skeleton Canyon with special event station K7T. Many assume Geronimo was a Chief of the Apache tribe, but he wasn’t – he as a leader and medicine man, but not a Chief. He was a skilled leader in raids and warfare and frequently led large numbers of Apaches during the fights with both the United States and Mexico. He and the Apaches following him surrendered and moved on to reservations, breaking out on three occasions due to disease, lack of rations, and the desire to return to their traditional lives: 1878, 1881, and 1885. K7T  commemorates the capture of Geronimo after the 1885 breakout. After the 1885 breakout, Geronimo and his followers were pursued by B Troop, 4th Cavalry under Captain Henry Lawton and 1st Lieutenant Charles Gatewood; the Troopers eventually wore down Geronimo’s group in Mexico and returned them to the United States on 4 September 1886, where they surrendered to General George Crook for the final time at Skeleton Canyon near Douglas, AZ. K7T will be operating SSB on 7.200 and 14.250, CW on 7.040 and 14.040, PSK on 7.070 and 14.070, and FT-8 on 7.074 and 14.074. QSL via email to qsl@tucsonhamradio.org.

The Rockwell Collins Amateur Radio Club, W0CXX, will be operating a special event station on 22/23 September in commemoration of the 85th Anniversary of the Collins Radio Company. Founded in 1933 by Arthur Collins, Initially, Collins manufactured Shortwave and AM equipment, but after providing communications equipment for the Byrd South Pole expedition, the company quickly became the preferred radio manufacturer of the US Military before and during World War II. After World War II, Collins expanded its horizons, moving into satellite and space communications and provided for programs such as Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo. Collins also played a key role in amateur radio, perhaps most notably the S-Line receivers, transmitters, and accessories. Considered some of the best equipment available, Collins and then Rockwell Collins continued to manufacture the S-Line from 1958-1978. Bought by Rockwell in 1973, Rockwell Collins continues to manufacture communications equipment, primarily for commercial, government, and defense users. While they still produce mechanical filters that are available to the public, they no longer produce radios for amateur radio or general public use. Look for W0CXX on or around 14.245, 14.045, 7.195, and 7.045. QSL via W0CXX, 1157 Highway 965 NW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404. 

History Related Amateur Radio Special Event Stations for July 2018

The month of July sees a lot of Independence Day special event stations as well as the 13 Colonies Special Event (to be honest, it’s almost become more of a contest than a special event), but there are three History related amateur radio special event stations this July that stand out. The first commemorates the Battle of Gettysburg, the largest and probably most well-known battle of the American Civil war. It’s important that we remember the Civil War as an example of what happens when we are unable to govern ourselves and take up arms against each other as a result. The second commemorates the Whiskey Rebellion, one of the first tests of our new government following the American Revolution. Perhaps there was something to learn from the Whiskey Rebellion that both of our political parties overlooked in the years prior to the 2016 Presidential election. The third special event station commemorates the Maryland Slave Rebellion in 1845. The slave rebellion can remind us that even though our country was founded on the concept that “…all men are created equal…” some have always been more equal than others and that not all of us have been free. Independence Day is a time to celebrate our independence and our freedoms but we should also use it, particularly this year, to reflect on where we’ve been and where we’re going, what our Country has been, and what we want it to be.

Bob Hess, WO4L, is operating special event station W1G through 10 July 2018 in remembrance of the Battle of Gettysburg. The Battle of Gettysburg took place from 1 July 1863 to 3 July 1863 around the town of Gettysburg, PA and was not only the largest battle of the Civil War but the largest battle to have occurred in North America. On the first day of the battle, Union cavalry under General John Buford and infantry under General John Reynolds held the line against Confederate forces under General A.P. Hill, allowing Union forces to hold advantageous positions over the Confederates. Day two of the battle was long and bloody; throughout the day more units of the Union Army of the Potomac and the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia arrived on the field and were fed into the battle. On Day 3, the Confederates suffered from General Robert E. Lee’s overconfidence and aggressiveness. Over half of the troops he sent against strong Union lines on Cemetery Ridge didn’t return; it was a waste of perfectly good infantry. Both sides took heavy casualties, over 23,000 for the Union and over 28,000 for the Confederates; but the Confederates lost more percentage wise and most importantly lost too many experienced leaders. Along with the surrender of Vicksburg on 4 July 1863, Gettysburg proved to be a turning point in the Civil War. W1G will be active on or around 18.158, 14.288, 7.227, and 3.830. QSL via Robert J Hess, WO4L, 74 Curtis Dr, East Berlin, PA 17316.

From 3 July to 15 July 2018, Washington Amateur Communications in Washington, PA will be operating special event station W3R commemorating the Whiskey Rebellion. The Whiskey Rebellion lasted from 1791 to 1794 in response to a tax on whiskey instituted by the US Government. Suggested by Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, President George Washington was assured by local officials in Pennsylvania and Virginia that the tax wouldn’t meet much opposition so Washington, in turn, assured Congress that it wouldn’t be a problem. Unfortunately, it seems that those local officials didn’t know or weren’t concerned with the feelings of the western population of their states, because when the tax went into effect it was heavily opposed in the west. Tax officials were met with harassment, resistance, and violence. Hamilton called for troops to be sent in to enforce the tax, but Washington decided to try peace envoys first. The peace initiative failed, so Washington sent in troops under his leadership. As he led 13,000 militia into western Pennsylvania to put down the rebellion, the rebels melted away and only around twenty arrests were made. Most of those arrested were acquitted and those found guilty were pardoned by Washington. Although the Whiskey Tax eventually proved impossible to enforce and was repealed by Congress in 1802, the response to the Whiskey Rebellion was a critical test to the new United States Government. Washinton’s handling of the rebellion proved that the Federal Government could and would put down violent resistance to federal laws. One wonders if the government’s overlooking of the feelings and views of the western citizens before the Whiskey Rebellion was repeated in the overlooking in recent years of the working class that helped bring about the election of President Trump? W3R will be operating on or around 50.300, 18.160, 14.270, and 7.275. QSL for a certificate via William Steffey, Radio Hill, Bells Lake Rd, Prosperity, PA 15329.

On 7 July 2018, the Expatriate Marylanders Radio Club will be operating special event station N3APS to commemorate the Maryland Slave Rebellion of 7-8 July 1845. On 7 July 1845, a group of slaves from Charles County Maryland began moving by road in an attempt to reach freedom in Pennsylvania, approximately 110 miles away. As other slaves along the way joined in, the group became impossible not to notice and were eventually intercepted by a group known as the Montgomery Volunteers. The leaders of the slave group, armed only with a pistol, swords, clubs, and farm implements, decided to give battle. Outgunned, it wasn’t much of a battle, with most of the slaves being captured, some killed, and a few escaping. The Slave Rebellion struck fear into the citizens of the surrounding area, resulting in further restrictions on slaves, “Committees of Vigilance,” and more volunteers for organizations like the Montgomery Volunteers. N3APS will be operating on or near 50.150, 28.325, 14.325, and 7.290. QSL via Expatriate Marylanders Radio Club, P.O. Box 617, Orinda, CA 94563.

 

Operating Field Day 2018 From the Mobile Station

Brunswick, GA – Due to it being a busy weekend at work, I hadn’t planned on operating in Field Day this year, but after getting off from work a little bit late and having breakfast yesterday, I changed my mind. I parked behind work, turned on the FT-857D in the mobile station and tuned up the ATAS-120A antenna on 40 Meters. I intended to just get on 40 Meters for a few minutes and make a few QSOs but instead ended up working 12 stations on 40 Meters. Since 40 Meters was in such good condition, I decided to go ahead and give 20 Meters a try as well; I ended up with 13 QSOs. After a made the run through 20 Meters, it was just after 1300 UTC (0900 local), so I decided to see if anything was happening on 15 Meters; it was indeed active and I ended up with another 13 QSOs. Since I haven’t heard much activity on 15 Meters recently, I thought that maybe since it was open, 10 Meters might be open, too. I tuned the FT-857D over to 10 Meters and discovered that the band was beginning to open up; it wasn’t open good quite yet, but I still made another 5 QSOs. Since 10 Meters was open, I decided to push my luck again and see if maybe 6 Meters open. 6 Meters was trying to open up, but I still managed to add two stations to the log. I wouldn’t be surprised if both 10 and 6 Meters opened up better later in the morning.

I only operated for a couple of hours, but a little over two consecutive hours and 45 QSOs was the most operating I’ve done at one time in at least a year. Band conditions, while not the best in the world, weren’t terrible. Over the course of two hours, I worked 17 states, including much of the southeastern and east coast states: Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virgin Islands, and West Virginia. Even though I had just completed a shift on the work radios, it made for a truly fun morning on the air.

Yesterday was also the first real workout I’ve given the FT-857D/ATAS-120A mobile combination and a workout and the first opportunity to compare the ATAS-120A to the Opek HVT-400B I used previously. I was very pleased with how the FT-857D and ATAS-120A worked. Neither the ATAS-120A or HVT-400B are great antennas on 40 Meters, but the ATAS-120A gives me a lot more capability than the HVT-400B did; I found it a lot easier to make contacts on 40 Meters yesterday than I ever did with the HVT-400B. On 20 Meters, there’s not as big of a difference between the two, but the ATAS-120A definitely has the edge there as well. On 15 Meters, I didn’t notice a lot of difference; 15 Meters seemed to be a sweet spot for the HVT-400B and it seems to be the same for the ATAS-120A as well. 10 Meters and 6 Meters weren’t really open enough to form an opinion, but so far it seems like the ATAS-120A definitely hears more on 6 Meters than the HVT-400B did.

After a period of inactivity, I think yesterday morning also rekindled an interest in operating. Since I had so much fun yesterday morning, I doubt it will take another year before I operate like that again; I think I’ll be a little more active on HF. I hope other Hams had as much fun as I did and had the opportunity to put in more hours on the air than I did.