Dedicated to True Believers World Wide 
29 January 2013

  • International Communications Facilities of the American Carriers   
  • A Very Special Receiver Donation
  • New MRHS Merchandise!
  • Operations Report 



International Communications Facilities of the American Carriers  


We admit the above title is a little cumbersome but maybe the back story will make things more clear.

We troll eBay constantly for artifacts that might add to our knowledge of the history of communications in the US, especially radio communications.  So when Richard Dillman (RD) came across a document published by the Radio Corporation of America with the above title, he pounced.

And what an interesting document it turned out to be.  It was compiled by Mr. M.K,Pitts, Domestic Sales Manager or RCA Communications in New York.  It seems primarily intended to show how superior the RCA network was.  But in order to show that superiority the other networks had to be shown for comparison.  And that's what makes the document unique.

Here, in a single publication, is information about the ship-to-shore and trans-oceanic networks of all the players in the business as they existed in May 1950.  It includes information on Western Union, the French Cable Co., Tropical Radio Telegraph Co., Globe Wireless, Ltd., Press Wireless, Inc., American Telephone & Telegraph Co. and RCA Communications.

But it also contains information about one of the oddest and least known radio communications systems, the United States - Liberia Radio Co.  This company operated a single circuit between Akron, Ohio and Liberia.  It was operated by the Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. for communications with their Liberian plantations.  It was in operation up through the 1970s when it was using mostly SITOR instead of Morse.  The FCC mandated that this system be a public, common carrier facility open to public communications.  But in reality very few non-Firestone messages were carried.

There are lots of maps of the circuits, both cable and wireless, used by these companies, all on FCC maps, harking from a time when "the FCC had more engineers than lawyers" as one of our guys said.


Mr. Bill Ruck (RK) of the MRHS Maintenance Department kindly scanned the document so we can present it to you for your reading pleasure.  There's a lot of detail here so it might be worth downloading and printing for examination at your leisure.

To see the full document click on the map above or HERE.  Enjoy!


A Very Special Receiver Donation

One of the best things about this project, maybe even better than getting to restore and operate one of the great coast stations of the world, is that it occasionally puts us in touch with some very special people.  This happened when we received a communications from Mr. Chris Wells and Mr. Ed Schwartz containing an astoundingly generous offer.

It was explained to us that two very special receivers were available, a Radiomarine CRM-R6A and an AR-8516.  These two model numbers will resonate strongly with those having a deep knowledge of the truly great receivers of the vacuum tube era.  And the AR-8516 was in service at Position 1 of KPH during the station's golden era.

But there was more...

These two receivers were the property of Mr. Raymond Berge, the primary engineer responsible for the design of both models.  That connection made these receivers unique and especially important.  We were honored and - we must admit - quite humbled that these receivers might come to us as a way of commemorating the work of Mr. Berge, who has passed on.

The donation was most gratefully accepted.  Mr. Schwartz was asked to write something about Ray Berge and his work which he kindly did.  So we present...

Ray Berge: Electronics Pioneer, Gentle Man 
                                    by Edward S. Schwartz

Ray Berge.

The marine radios designed by Ray Berge continue to draw praise.

Ray passed last year at the tender age of 93, but the two radios he donated to Maritime Radio Historical Society drew an immediate reaction. The volunteer aficionado who reconditioned the first one exclaimed: "That's my favorite receiver".  And like his radios, Ray was a favorite of all who knew him.  He was technically sound, long lasting, a quick wit, and had a quiet brilliance that he  didn't flaunt. 


Ray Goodner Berge was born June 25, 1917 in Portland, Oregon, the son of Mathew C. Berge and Grace E. Goodner. He and his older sister were raised in Portland and on Long Island, New York. Ray's grandparents, Martha and Gunder Berge had settled in Wisconsin when they emigrated from Norway. His Dad had moved to Oregon in pursuit of work, met and married his mother there, and then relocated the family to New York when he had an opportunity to advance at work.


After completing high school, Ray evaluated several colleges and settled on Columbia University because he could live at home and commute. He graduated from Columbia in 1939 with a degree in electrical engineering. Because "electronics" was a new technology at the time, Ray's education was only in the area of "power" generation and distribution. He had no background in or knowledge of electronics.


That changed after he made his way into the job market. His first job was with a company which did not appreciate his engineering skills and where Ray said he was employed as "an adding machine".   In March of 1941, he was employed by Radiomarine Corporation of America (RMCA) in New York City and found his life-time career. He was a part of a new company, exploring an exciting new technological area, participating in the middle of a war whose Allied leaders soon came to appreciate the value of radio communications as a strategic battle element and a way to save a significant number of lives.


Ray and an unidentified associate aboard ship

To expand his knowledge base for the new job, Ray studied electronics at RCA Technical Institute. On the job, he initially tested radios before shipment to ensure they were working properly. Later as his interests became focused and his skill sets recognized, he switched to design and development. He designed radio telephone receivers, radio direction finders and radio teletype equipment. He also supervised installation of equipment on the superliner S.S. United States.


With experience he became a pioneer   in the development of "ship-to-shore" radio communication systems. His work eventually led to the development of the Model CRM-R6A Marine Receiver referenced in the opening paragraph and a sister model of the same unit, Model AR8516. Both were considered excellent radios. A personal comment on the web by an unidentified radio collector said "The 8516 is a great receiver, very possibly RCA's best technical design."


Ray's CRM-R6A placed in the care of the MRHS


In 1956 Ray shared a patent on the tuning mechanism with his co-worker George Bradley. This intricate gearing arrangement allowed the operator to precisely select the desired frequency and be assured that the radio would not shift in the extremely rough marine environment.


The CRM-R6A is a 16-tube receiver which was used at Coast Guard stations and afloat in Radio marine consoles. The unit covers 80kc to 30Mc in 18 bands, using either single conversion or double conversion depending on the band. The AR-8516 was available for AC/DC use aboard ship.


Ray's AR-8516 placed in the care of the MRHS

After working in New York, Ray was transferred to New Jersey and eventually to Washington, PA, just south of Pittsburgh, where he concluded his career. While attending RCA Technical Institute, Ray married fellow student, Helen G. Gallaud in Brooklyn, New York on June 8, 1946. Helen and their daughter Judith remained in the Pittsburgh area after Ray's death.


After retirement, Ray maintained a Model CRM-R6A and a Model AR8516 in working condition in his basement and regularly used them to communicate to the world of "Ham" operators. Recognizing his love for the radios and their obvious historical significance, when he moved from his home to a retirement community, he agreed to donate them to a museum with the caveat that they be placed where they would be used. He did not want them to be left "on a shelf, under a plastic cover, with a label which said: "Typical Vintage Marine Radio Receiver". 


The protective care of the Maritime Radio Historical Society seemed the ideal location to meet his criteria. This volunteer organization restores, collects, and operates vintage radios. They operate California Coastal Station KSM in Point Reyes National Seashore (PRNS), which is a part of the National Park Service,


Ray died before the radios were "officially" donated to MRHS, but the nature of the organization and the radios' ultimate retirement environment were discussed with him before his death and he approved.  They are now in an environment where they will be used and appreciated while receiving museum-like exposure both locally and on the Internet. At KSM they will also continue to inspire others as they did Paul Brady who was quoted on MRHS's web site: "To put it simply, this radio (Model CRM-R6A) opened up a world that I never knew existed. Quite frankly, it's directly responsible for me getting my ham license in 1994 and my electronics degree in 1998. I will never part with this radio."


While the radios are a lasting legacy to Ray's technical brilliance, they do not begin to display the range of his talent or his nature.   He was also a pilot, a gardener, a biblical scholar, and a talented musician who played the organ, piano, trombone and recorder. He sang in the church choir for many years at Trinity United Methodist Church in McMurray, PA. He read voraciously and was a self-taught linguist who was apt to "break out" in Norwegian, German, French, Spanish, Greek, or Mandarin Chinese, which he learned in his spare time just to keep himself busy. He was widely traveled, first while testing his radios aboard ship and later when he and Helen took many overseas vacations.


Ray died on May 19, 2011 in McMurray. He was a quiet man with a quick smile, a razor sharp wit, and a love for donuts. He was respected, appreciated, and loved by all that knew him! He was an electronics pioneer, a truly brilliant engineer, and a gentle man.




Well... what can you say after that?  Maybe that radio and radio artifacts are more than theory and glass and metal.  Maybe that the preservation of a man's best achievements is a proper memorial.


But there is more to say, because there is something about Mr. Berge's receivers that seems to attract respect, even veneration.  Mr. Berge's CRM-R6A is not the first of its breed to come within the sphere of the MRHS, or at least one of its members.


Some years ago Richard Dillman (RD) was offered the chance to purchase a CRM-R6A, and this receiver also has a pedigree.  It was previously owned by  Gordon C. Hopkins. He was born in 1915 and died on March 7, 2003. He worked for RCA/RMCA for many years.


The MRHS Web page contains more information about this receiver, including interior views and a response from another CRM-R6A owner.


Please click HERE to view that Webpage.




New MRHS Merchandise!

Announcements like this usually begin by talking about popular demand but in this case it's true.  We've received lots of email asking why Bill Ruck's MRHS logo is not available on mugs and hats.  We had no good answer for that.  So... we bring you...

The MRHS anchor and chained lightning logo mug and hat!

New MRHS Mug

New MRHS Hat
Click on the images above or HERE to visit the MRHS True Believer store and place your order.

Support the MRHS 


The proceeds from MRHS merchandise sales are used to defray the costs associated with running, repairing and restoring a full scale commercial coast station.  We pay most of these costs our of our own pockets - and happily!  But we had to hesitate about such things as adding the dedicated phone number because that represents a recurring cost we must meet. 



Make a Donation    
Are you in a position to help The Cause with a donation?  Even the smallest amount helps.  And it lets us know that the project means a lot to other folks, not just to ourselves. 





Operations Report


KSM Phone: +1 415-990-9646



KSM email:



The details are in Mike's report below.  But first let's review our operating hours. 


Operating Hours -  

Here are the current operating hours for both KSM and K6KPH two way operations.  KSM press and weather broadcasts begin at 1000pst (1800gmt).

Saturday - 1200 - 1600pst, 2000 - 0000gmt

Sunday - 1200 - 1600, 2000 - 0000gmt (No KSM RTTY)

Wednesday - 1900 - 2300, 0300 - 0700gmt (No KSM RTTY)

Mr. and Mrs. America and all the ships at sea... let's go to press with Mike Payne's operations report for KSM and K6KPH...

Please follow the link below for recent scanned KSM and K6KPH logs.

As always, Mike says:


Please advise any c/s or data errors in this weeks report and I will attempt to correct same.


For the list of stations worked, go >>==> HERE <==<<


73 fm ZUT central, MP

MRHS Operating Department 

MRHS Merchandise!

T shirts, hoodies, mugs, belt buckles, bumper stickers - we've got them all for you at the MRHS on line store - each with the MRHS logo.

These are high quality items you'll use and enjoy for a long time.  And every purchase you make helps to support the MRHS.

Click on the image below or on the link below that to go to the MRHS True Believers on line store.



Until next time we wish you fair winds and following seas.                      

VY 73,

Newsletter Back Issues 

You want 'em, we got 'em! (Starting with Newsletter No. 4, the first that wasn't a plain email message.).  They're on line for your reading pleasure.  Just click on the link below.

Back Issues

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