Friday, July 24, 2009

Night of Nights X Videos!

These have been sent to YouTube by Paul Shinn.

The first one is "DA" Stoops, the first female telegrapher in the US commercial Morse service, proving the great ones never lose it. She runs off the closing message on a Vibroplex bug and makes it sound like music:


Off in the distance, a large transmitter building vibrates in time with the keying. This is the upstairs. There's another whole floor where the MW equipment lives. The RF practically comes out of your computer screen. Check the huge bank of Henry 5K commercial rigs, and also the older units that have been restored and returned to service. The MRHS has to have the best transmitter department anywhere to get this old station humming like this again:


WWII vintage Press Wireless HF transmitter used for KFS on 12695.5 kHz. No sound. Put a mike next to the biggest air cooled rig you can secure admission to, crank the gain to 11, and you've got it. This old rig and another like it were rescued from the old Palo Alto site, and restored at Bolinas by the MRHS engineers.

Friday, July 17, 2009

W1AW To Add New Digital Modes

From The ARRL Letter/American Radio Relay League:

* W1AW to Add New Digital Modes to Transmission Schedule:

Effective August 17, W1AW, the Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Station, will replace its AMTOR and ASCII transmissions with PSK31 and MFSK16, respectively. RTTY (Baudot) will continue to be the first digital mode used in the transmission schedule. The frequencies used by W1AW for all its digital transmissions will remain the same. "All regular 6 PM and 9 PM (Eastern Time) digital transmissions will begin with RTTY," said W1AW Station Manager Joe Carcia, NJ1Q. "PSK31 and MFSK16 will be sent as time allows. The Tuesday and Friday Keplerian data bulletins will be sent using RTTY and PSK31." The W1AW operating schedule -- complete with times and frequencies -- can be found on the ARRL Web site.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

STS-127 Downrange Ops

Weak USB here on 9043.0 kHz, sounds like Cape Radio.

Freedom Star reported on 9132 and 9043 by Jon in Florida.

STS-127 Made It!

Presumably everyone knows by now that the 6th time did it, and Endeavour is on-orbit. Keep listening as the Booster Recovery Vessels do their jobs downrange.

STS-127 Still Go

The STS-127 count is in its final T-9 minute hold, which will last another half hour or so. Launch time is scheduled for 2203:10 UTC.

Weather now only has a 10% chance of preventing launch.

Poor STS-127 Is Trying Again

BTW, this is not the record for scrubs. They've scrubbed 5 times (leak, leak, lightning, weather, weather). Two earlier missions both had 6.

Tanking is complete, and the count is in the scheduled T-2 hour hold. Weather has a 60 per cent chance of allowing launch, but KSC is currently under a lightning watch. Barring further storms, this should expire at 2000 UTC. Launch is scheduled for 2203.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Poor STS-127 Rescheduled for Wednesday 2203 UTC

Today's attempt was canceled due to poor weather conditions within the launch area at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Anvil clouds and storm cells containing lightning flared up toward the end of the countdown, violating stringent launch safety rules.

A postponement briefing will air live on NASA Television at 8 p.m. EDT this evening. (That's in about 7 minutes.)

Poor STS-127 Scrubs Again

Thunderstorms came up, and that was that.

The next launch opportunity is not yet known.

Poor STS-127 Tries Again Today

Poor STS-127 has been postponed 4 times now (hydrogen leak, hydrogen leak, lightning, weather).

They're trying again today. Launch target is 6:51 EDT (2251 UTC).

At this moment, tanking is complete. Astronauts are suiting up.

The weather has a 60% chance of preventing launch. [Corrected from 80% after the weather briefing, but now there are storms forming in the area, so that might be optimistic.]

Sunday, July 12, 2009

KPH Now On 426 kHz

I don't know if the band improved at night or they did something, but suddenly a signal that had been buried in the noise is running s3 - s5 with perfect CW copy of a maritime newsletter.

WLO Finally Heard

WLO, Mobile Radio/Shipcom, AL, is now audible here on 8658.0, 12992.0, and 16968.5 kHz CW with a QSX marker. All other freqs are nil here. Meanwhile KPH is running weather (hurricane carlos advisories) with such good signal and keying that even my computer has 100% copy.

Oops! (KPH also on 6 MHz)

Somehow I forgot that one. Figures to blast into here. Sure enough, on 6477.5 kHz CW at 0122 UTC, it's in here s9 with the CQ wheel and that good old solid KPH keying we're all so used to.

KFS on Night of Nights X

KFS was weak and testing around on 12695.5 kHz CW, then it put on a wheel and suddenly jumped to a solid S9 here at 0110. Currently it is sending a QSX marker on the wheel. Love hearing that old call again. You can practically dance to it. dahdidah dididahdit dididit dahdidah dididahdit dididit


Night of Nights X is Underway

KPH is being received on all frequencies here in Southern California. It is running a QSX wheel and various messages in good old Morse code.

At 0013 my reception was:

4247 s9
8642 s9+30
12808.5 s9+20
17016.8 s3
22477.5 in the noise, mostly copyable.

The low strengths on the two highest frequencies are probably due to skip zones, as has been experienced in the past.

Now get your computer or brain in gear and copy some Morse!

STS-127 Scrubs Again

Worsening weather caused a 24-hour scrub before the count would have resumed at the T-9 hold. Florida's notorious afternoon thunderstorms strike again.

Next opportunity is at 2251 UTC tomorrow. As Tom Petty said, the waiting is the hardest part.

Now, let there be code.

STS-127 Holding At T-9

This is a planned built-in hold which will last approximately 45 minutes. A rapidly developing weather system inside the radius needed for a return to launch site abort is currently no go. There might or might not be any improvement before the launch window closes.

STS-127 Still on Time

Holding at T-20 minutes. Weather is fine but there's a chance it might violate criteria at launch time.

I just heard Cape Radio making checks with an unknown station.

Night of Nights X Tonight

CW fans shouldn't forget the yearly Night of Nights, when the end of US commercial Morse code is celebrated (or is it mocked?) by an ether full of the dits and dahs just like it used to be when people communicated with ships instead of machines.

Fun starts at zero zulu (0000 UTC) tonight (or at least night in the USA). Vintage equipment is used, with original wire antennas, and this stuff can put it out. Copy should be possible in all kinds of places.

Full details are here:

STS-127 Count Resumes

STS-127 came out of the built-in hold around 2100 UTC. Crew is getting ready to enter the vehicle. Weather shows only a 30% chance of preventing launch.

So far no reports of Booster Recovery Vessels. I continue to monitor 10780 kHz, Cape Radio primary, but so far nothing.

STS-127 Still On Time

Tanking was completed around 1600 UTC, and no leaks were found. NASA TV coverage begins at 1800 UTC though a picture of the pad is up right now. Downrange operations should be on the radio, though I haven't seen any frequencies yet.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

STS-127 Delayed Until Sunday 7:13 PM EDT

Lightning strikes around Pad 39A were severe enough to scrub the STS-127 launch. NASA video shows one direct hit to the mast atop the gantry tower. Catenary wires conducted the juice to ground, but systems need to be checked for electrostatic surge damage.

New launch target is Sunday at 7:13 PM EDT (2313 UTC). The Mission Management Team will meet at 8 a.m. Sunday to evaluate the latest data. Fueling of the external fuel tank is scheduled to begin at 9:48 a.m. Sunday.

Friday, July 10, 2009

STS-127 Count On Schedule

No major issues were mentioned at today's mission status briefing. The launch remains scheduled for 7:39 PM EDT (2339 UTC). The Rotating Service Structure will be rolled back at 11 PM EDT (0300 UTC), and tanking will commence around 10:14 AM EDT tomorrow (1414 UTC).

Florida's summer stormy weather has a 60% chance of preventing launch.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

STS-127 Countdown Begins

STS-127 launch is targeted for 7:39 PM EDT (2339 UTC) on Saturday, July 11.

Updated Night of Nights X Frequency List

Dean, W9WGV, was nice enough to assemble all this into a nice table. All frequencies, of course, are good old Morse code in CW or MCW:

MRHS Night of Nights X
Courtesy of Dean Lewis/W9WGV

kHz.......Station.........Ship Calling
426.......KPH, KSM..........500.0
500.......KPH, KSM, KLB..6276.0
17026.0..KFS (after 0430Z)
* Tentative
KLB might not use HF this year.


It might also be worthwhile to give a listen for CWA, Cerritos Radio in Uruguay. While this station is not directly participating in Night of Nights, it is one of the few CW coastal stations still taking traffic and sending weather/MSI information (in Spanish).

Morgan, AL0I, reports their active frequencies as:

421.5 kHz, A1A, A2A
4346, 8602, 12750, 17230 kHz, A1A

These are +/- around 300 Hz, and skeds don't necessarily start right on the hour. Listed times for MSI and weather are 0000, 1400, and 1900 UTC.


US Coast Guard stations will not participate this year.


Remember, this is a public event. If you are in the area you are invited to join MRHS at the RCA receive site, 17000 Sir Francis Drake Blvd in the Point Reyes National Seashore north of San Francisco. If using a computer mapping program add "Inverness" after the address above even though the station is well beyond that town. (R. Dillman)

Thursday, July 02, 2009

STS-127 Gets Go for July 11

Following the successful completion of tanking tests, NASA has set a launch target for STS-127. Technicians replaced parts on the external tank and no leaks were found after it was filled.

Endeavour's launch on the STS-127 mission is targeted for 7:39 PM EDT (2339 UTC) on Saturday, July 11. The 16-day mission to the International Space Station will feature five EVAs. These will complete construction of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kibo laboratory. Astronauts will attach a platform to the outside of the Japanese module that will allow experiments to be exposed to space.

Announcing CW Night of Nights X on July 12!

Can you believe it's been ten years since the first Night of Nights at the Maritime Radio Historical Society and US National Park Service's restored coastal maritime station KPH?

As usual, a number of old CW coastal stations will participate, and some will QSL. KPH itself QSLs on authentic RCA radiogram blanks that were in the station when it was re-occupied, usually typing them out with a telegrapher's "mill."

Here's this year's announcement from Richard Dillman:

The annual Maritime Radio Historical Society "Night of Nights" event is less than [two weeks] away.

This will be the tenth annual Night of Nights!

Every year on 12 July (US time) many famous coast stations return to the air to commemorate what was then thought to be the last commercial Morse stations in the USA.

Since then MRHS coast station KSM has taken to the air and three other commercial coast stations have received licenses for operation in the MF band (KNE, KDR and WFT). Historic ships have reactivated their radio consoles and are active on MF and HF.

The purpose of Night of Nights is to emphasize the objective of the MRHS: to preserve the skills, traditions and culture of the men and women who came before us and who made the profession of radiotelegrapher one of honor and skill.

This year stations KPH, and KSM will be on the air. We anticipate that KFS will be on the air as well. We hope that US Coast Guard stations NMC, NOJ and NMN will join us as they did last year.

Amateur station K6KPH will guard 3550, 7050 and 14050kc for reception reports.

Preliminary information has been posted on the MRHS Web site:

Check back often for updated information as it becomes available.

If you would like to receive announcements like this and are not already a member of our mailing list just send a message to:

VY 73,