Dedicated to True Believers World Wide 
9 April 2013

  • MRHS Participation in International Marconi Day 2013  
  • Incredible Radio Tales "Radio is Magic" Available On Line 
  • The Great Keying & Control Drama Continues Part II 
  • Archivists Corner -  Sea Letter Telegram 
  • Operations Report  



MRHS Participation in International Marconi Day 2013  

Both Transmit and Receive Sites Will Be at Historic Marconi Locations 

20 April 2013



Each year the Cornish Amateur Radio Club organizes International Marconi Day (IMD), an on-the-air event to celebrate the birthday of the Great Man, Guglielmo Marconi, born on 25th April 1874.   The IMD event is not a contest:  it is an opportunity for amateurs around the world to make point-to-point contact with historic Marconi sites using HF communications techniques similar to those used by Marconi, and to gain an attractive Award for achieving the requisite number of Marconi stations worked.

K6KPH, the amateur station of the Maritime Radio Historical Society, proudly participates in IMD as an Award Station since we transmit from the historic 1913 Marconi transmitting station in Bolinas, CA.  But this year our participation will be different and special.  This year both the transmit and receive sites will be at historic Marconi locations.

All the buildings of the original Marconi receive site in Marshall, CA remain intact.  Many have been lovingly restored for use by the Marconi Conference Center including one of the two Marconi cottages used by the Station Manager and Chief Engineer.

Now comes Ms. Kathy Wippert, Marconi Conference Center manager, with a generous offer to let the MRHS set up our receive site in one of those Marconi cottages.  We will install vintage receiving equipment and our house built remote control panels to allow us to key the transmitters in Bolinas.  With both transmit and receive sites at historic Marconi locations we think we will be one of the most authentic Award Stations participating in IMD.

Restored Marconi cottage, now known as McCargo Hall
> Public Invited - Operators Needed

The public is invited to visit the receive site at the Marconi cottage.  We will have exhibits set up and MRHS merchandise available for purchase.  The location of the Marconi Conference Center is stunningly beautiful, worth a special drive in itself.  Why not make a special day of it with a beautiful day on the coast and a visit to a historic radio site?  See location information below.

Morse operators are needed for this event.  Some True Believers have already raised their hands for the coveted position of IMD operator at K6KPH for this event.  The more ops we have the more hours we can be on the air for this 24 hour event.  Care to don the MRHS earphones and green eyeshade?  We'd love to have you.  Please let us know you're coming by sending an email to .
> Event Details

IMD 2013 will be held from 0000Z to 2359Z on 20 April 2013.  The number of hours K6KPH and KSM will be active during this period has not yet been decided.

K6KPH will guard its usual frequencies (3550.0, 7050.0, 14050.0, 18097.5, 21050.0) on a selected basis.  The remote control console allows for the use of only a few transmitters at a time so frequencies will be selected from the above group according to prevailing conditions.

> KSM Operational

KSM will also be on the air, keyed at various times from the Bolinas transmitter site and from the Marshall receive site.  Do you hold a commercial radiotelegraph license?  Visit us to exercise the privileges of your license and have it endorsed for operation at KSM.

> Receive Site Location

The Marconi Conference Center is located at:

18500 State Highway One (also called Shoreline Highway)
Marshall, CA 94940

GPS and on line mapping programs like Google Maps will guide you to the site from your location.

See you there!

Incredible Radio Tales Available On Line

On 28 March our very own Richard Dillman broadcast an episode of his "Incredible Radio Tales" as part of the pledge drive at community radio station KWMR where he is the Transmitter Engineer.  Those within range of KWMR could hear the episode, "Radio is Magic", directly on the air.  It was also available via the KWMR streaming service.  But for those who missed the program it has now been posted on line for your listening pleasure.

Richard at the KWMR transmitter site 
All episodes of "Incredible Radio Tales" deal with the majesty, drama and pathos of radio communications. In the "Radio is Magic" episode Part 1, Richard talks about all the strange and mysterious sounds that can be heard in the radio spectrum, from the sounds of the Earth to spy transmissions.  In Part 2 you'll hear the dramatic story of the best Morse operator KPH ever saw and what happened to him as a Merchant Marine Radio Officer during WWII.

Click HERE for Part 1

Click HERE for Part 2


The Great Keying & Control Drama Continues Part II

Readers may recall that Mr. Bill Ruck of the MRHS Maintenance Department came close to reaching his limit for undocumented circuits and strange wiring in his efforts to sort out the keying and control circuits at the Point Reyes receive site (RS).  But he's nothing if not resilient and so he's bounced back for yet more work on the project.  Here's his report from his most recent work day on Saturday 30 March:

Saturday was a very productive day.

1. Before operations started at RS I wanted to ring out the keying lines. My attempt at this before was confusing. This time I spent time with Brasso and cleaned up a couple of patch cords. (I did learn _something_ in the navy!) They were dark brown. Copper oxide is a semiconductor and if it is that dark it is more of an insulator. With a bright and shiny cord I was able to reliably ring out the patch points vs. tone set positions. What I found is likely the result of several generations of wiring. (A/K/A "Welcome to KPH")

Bill shows the results of his Navy training

The patch bay suggests that the keying lines are normalled through two jacks. But it turns out that the output (keying to tone set) jacks are paralleled with the keying lines. I don't know why this was done and from the condition of the wiring on the xmas tree terminals it may have been to bypass the patch jack normals. There are a couple of discrepancies but most of the jacks and most of the tone sets are wired in sequence. The discrepancies were minor. Will need to move one wire so that the tone sets are in sequential order on the xmas tree.

Bill's 5V power supply, showing his typical craftsmanship
2. Next I tackled the WCC +5 supply. This time I remembered to bring the power supply that I built. Nothing fancy; a 10 VAC transformer to a bridge rectifier and capacitor and a 7805. Standard parts and in the future easily maintainable. The measured maximum load with all 10 lines selected was 600 mA so this supply will be adequate. I couldn't exactly match the size of the old supply so I had to change some wire lengths and also changed ring terminals to spade lugs but it went together without any problems. Tested good.

5V supply mounted on rack panel about to be installed
3. The next task was to install a new panel with barrier strips to terminate the keying lines and the tone sets in the tone set rack. I had cut a piece of 1/4" masonite and painted it in the laboratory. Found appropriate nickel plated brass straight slot binder head screws in the shop (that particular style is now impossible to find) to mount the barrier strips to look appropriately 60's. Fortunately Cinch "140" barrier strips have not changed appearance over the years. Labelled the panel so it will be obvious in the future. Drilled holes in the straps supporting the existing xmas trees and mounted the panel with 10-32 hardware also found in the shop. Consistent with KPH practice and hardware inventory the screws that I found and used were flat head brass.

Bill displays the new panel, ready for installation
I then wired the WCC keying lines to one of the barrier strips. Installed a temporary jumper with clip leads so that WCC line 1 keys K6KPH 3550 kc. The plan for the KPH keying lines is to use the 7th jack in the multiple assembly that is not used at this time. I made a cable that will go from this jack to the KPH barrier strip. When that is installed the existing 15 conductor cable can be cut off from the multiple assembly and used to terminate the tone sets on the appropriate barrier strips. Clip leads will be used to keep KSM operations alive while this is being done. This is classic "change the tires as you drive down the freeway" and with some planning can be done with minimal interruption of "revenue for the company". I've done this many times in the past at radio stations.

Then wire jumpers will be used from the keying line barrier strips to the tone set barrier strips. This will allow for easy future configuration changes. But that will have to wait until May. Next work Saturday various antenna problems at BL are calling my name; after that is IMD.

Respectfully submitted,
MRHS Maintenance

When Bill was under mild sedation as a result of his earlier work on this project it was only our calm explanation that many True Believers had stepped up to contribute to The Cause that started him on his road to recovery.  We thank you all. 

Make a Donation 


If you can make a donation to help with our ongoing work it would be deeply appreciated.


Archivist's Corner  

by Carola DeRooy
Archivist, C.A. & Museum Collections Manager
Point Reyes National Seashore

As we mentioned in Newsletter No. 30 we have the wonderful good luck to work with the professional archivists at the Point Reyes National Seashore, operating under the baton of Carola DeRooy,   For this issue Carola writes:

RCA made several notable contributions to marine radio communications in 1934. A new service was the "Sea Letter Telegram, "by which a person aboard ship could send a message which was forwarded from the coastal station to the addressee by first class or special delivery mail at the option of the sender. The service supplemented the regular radiogram service of Radiomarine Corporation of America which in 1934 maintained and operated sixteen coastal stations on the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts, Great Lakes and the Gulf including the Point Reyes Station.


Here's an example of an addressed Sea Letter Telegram (SLT prefix in a radiogram):





For more information about the extensive radio collections in the Point Reyes National Seashore Museum please contact park Archivist, Carola DeRooy at 415-464-5125 or by email        



Operations Report -

by Richard Dillman

Chief Op  





> International Marconi Day


The big news for the Operations Department - for all of us really - is that we will have our receive site at the original Marconi receiving station for International Marconi Day 2013.  I case you missed it the full details are at the beginning of this Newsletter.  But I'll take a moment here to invite everyone to the event.  And if you can't make it maybe you can give us a buzz on the air.


 > 30 March Report


I signed in on watch at 1940Z.  The Maintenance Department was on the scene as reported above. 


As many know, we have a land line TTY order wire between the receive and transmit sites.  We have a Model 28KSR at RS and a Model 15 at BL.  We figure this must be the last such link still operating.  Anyone know of others?  We've been having a spot of bother with the order wire when we first begin the day's operations at RS.  The copy as seen on the Model 28 is often garbled with overstrikes.  The keyboard and printer are separate in our arrangement.  The print seen at the RS end when a message is typed actually loops through BL and comes back to the RS printer.  After a while the problem disappears.  The tone sets used for the circuit at the RS are on all the time and they're transistorized to boot.  So they're not warming up.  The ones at BL are turned off when we leave.  So maybe the problem is there.  Further investigation is needed.


> K6KPH 


Conditions appeared to be poor on all bands.  But at 2148Z Dean Sever of W8IM  came up with his usual excellent signal report for KSM.  OMs Shaefer at W3SW and Sinclair at K6ETM (Virginia) also came through with their reports.  Thanks, Guys.




Operations were normal.  The traffic list went out at 2100Z and high seas weather at 2130Z.  Sadly, no ships called.


The closing message was sent at 2302Z after which the transmitters at Bolinas were shut down and Luigi was taken for a walk at North Beach.


> 6 April Report


We began the day as usual at the Bolinas transmitter site for Services of the Church of the Continuous Wave.  Antenna maintenance is a constant chore at a station of this size.  The Transmitter Department recently identified yet more transmitting antennas that are down or need repair.  So we called upon Nick Whitney of the  Pacific Slope Tree Cooperative to survey the situation.  Nick and his crew are tree guys, not antenna guys.  But they immediately understood the task and have done great work for us.  See Newsletter No. 23 for a report and photos of their previous work at the site.


I departed for RS at about 1100LT as usual and signed on watch at RS at 1853Z 




The KSM phone rang (+1 415-669-9646) and I immediately checked my scanning receivers, worried that I might once again not be scanning properly (see the Ops Report in Newsletter No, 30).  But no, all looked good.  It was actually a rom OM Tom Van Buskirk, calling from club station W2GSB of the Great South Bay (Long Island) Amateur Radio Club.  Seems he and the boys were hanging out at the club house and idly tuning around when they heard the KSM 22Mc signal pounding in.


They checked the Web site, found our number and rang us up.  We had a fine chat.  When I mentioned that K6KPH guards 21050kc in addition to our other frequencies OM Tom rattled the key at W2GSB and gave us a call at 2008Z. 


This was a particularly nice contact for me as I grew up on Long Island and knwe exactly where they were transmitting from.


At 2139Z OM Dean came up on 21Mc at the key of W8IM with his usual professional signal report for KSM.




At the beginning of the shift BL advised via the order wire that transmitter A7 (500kc/426kc) was out of service.  We actually noted some anomalies with that transmitter while I was still at BL.  But now it was solidly off line.  As usual Steve Hawes threw himself into the breach to get the transmitter back on line, enlisting my help to key the transmitter while he was standing in front of it to observe.  While it still isn't clear what exactly is going on and there were some "welcome to KPH" moments A7 was returned to service at 2039Z, in plenty of time for the traffic list.


The traffic list went out at 2100Z and the high seas weather at 2130Z with no problems. 


Sadly, there were no calls from ships.



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



VY 73






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,

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