Wednesday, July 06, 2016

It's Night of Nights time again!

Doesn't seem like a whole year, but it is.  The annual triumph of the human spirit known as the Maritime Radio Historical Society Night of Nights is Tuesday, July 12 (Pacific Time). Believe it or not, this is Night of Nights XVII!  That's a lot of dits and dahs in the ether.

Night of Nights

Why is this night different from all other nights?

On all other nights, we transmit Morse code from ham stations or KSM. On this night alone, KPH, the Power House, comes back to life.

The Night of Nights celebrates maritime commercial Morse telegraphy's refusal to die. The last US commercial Morse message was sent at 0000 UTC July 13, 1999, and that was supposed to be the end of that.  Most of the great US commercial stations quickly became condos and shopping malls.

KPH, former RCA San Francisco Radio, Pt. Reyes, was different.  Through superhuman effort and cooperation from the Point Reyes National Seashore, the former staff and friends re-opened this vast facility and got it back on the air.  It is said that the receiver filaments were still lit... the station manager had refused to let KPH die.

Getting a former RCA commercial station back on the air is something like restoring a classic car whose parts haven't been made in generations. In this case, though, major challenges include pole climbing, reviving control lines miles long, and caring for old buildings going back as far as the Marconi era.

They did it.  Borrowing the KPH call back from new licensee Globe Wireless (itself gone now), and getting a lot of help from true believers everywhere, the great station spoke again.   Now, it does so every year, along with other CW calls heard on this night alone.

These include WLO, and some US Coast Guard facilities in California. The Guard dropped Morse about the same number of years ago, and the stations have since been remoted to the new Commcom.  With all the equipment changes going on, every year may well be the last for USCG.


All the poop, with the many frequencies to be used, is in the latest MRHS newsletter.   (He says Friday, but it's a Tuesday.)  Link follows.

From Richard Dillman:

Join us on he air or in person at the RCA receive site in Point Reyes, CA as we originate stations KPH, KFS and KSM from our transmit site in Bolinas.  WLO in Mobile, AL and USCG stations NMC, NMW and NMQ will be on the air as well.

All the details are in Newsletter No. 55, just published.  Also read details about the magnificent R3 diversity receiver and the enigmatic H over 2 antenna.  Get it all at: