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 As the representative of the National Museum of the Surface Navy at Battleship IOWA in San Pedro, California, the Battleship IOWA Amateur Radio Association (BIARA) will honor the sailors and ships previously home ported in San Pedro who were attacked on December 7, 1941, with special crossband activations of NEPM on December 6th and 7th, 2022.

When Pearl Harbor was attacked on 7 December 1941, seven of the battleships formerly homeported in San Pedro Bay weren’t present. Eight Pacific fleet battleships (ArizonaCalifornia, MarylandNevadaOklahomaTennesseeWest Virginia, and Pennsylvania) were at Pearl Harbor and absorbed the brunt of the Japanese attack. Of these eight, three sank, one capsized, and four suffered varying degrees of damage.

With authority from the Navy and Marine Corps Spectrum Office Southwest, we will transmit using the IOWA’s NEPM call sign on assigned military frequencies and listen for calls from the amateur radio community in their adjacent bands. NEPM will transmit on 14.375 MHz, 18.170 MHz, and or 21.460 MHz on J3E/USB and or A1A/CW. The operator will advise listeners as to where they are listening. Amateur participants are reminded not to transmit on the NEPM military frequencies. Operations on both days are expected to be from 1500 to 2400 UTC. QSL procedures can be found at https://biara.org. For specific questions in advance of the operation, contact w6hb@biara.org.

  • BIARA moderates a local net on the W6MEP repeater (147.240/147.840; +600; 67 Hz PL) for associates and visitors Wednesdays at 2000 Pacific local time. Listen for the moderator ID’ing as NI6BB.
  • BIARA now has a 2m repeater, NI6BB/R, operating again. It can be found on 147.195, +600, PL 88.5. The repeater is on the 010 level of the battleship and the antenna is on a yardarm at 013. We plan to add  AllStarLink and Echolink  nodes to the machine in the future.
  • Battleship USS Iowa Museum is open. Check www.labattleship.com for details.
NI6BB Souvenir Card

The Battleship Iowa Amateur Radio Association (BIARA) is an association of radio amateurs whose purpose is the support of radio activities on, or associated with, the Battleship Iowa. The operation of the Battleship Iowa is under the control of the Pacific Battleship Center (PBC), a 501(c)3 non-profit California corporation. BIARA is a social and recreational non-profit 501(c)7 California corporation. All BIARA full members who engage in amateur radio activities aboard the Battleship Iowa are required to be accepted and registered as volunteers of the PBC and to abide by all volunteer guidelines and directives as may be established by the PBC.

BIARA acts as the representative of the Battleship Iowa, the Pacific Battleship Center and the National Museum of the Surface Navy within the amateur radio community; in this role, BIARA promotes the Battleship Iowa, the Pacific Battleship Center (PBC), the National Museum of the Surface Navy, the interests and advancement of amateur radio, coordinates the activities of the associates in providing public service and provide the opportunity and facilities for the gathering of associates and others interested in the hobby.

BIARA operates its station under license NI6BB from the communications center on the Battleship Iowa promoting the PBC, the Iowa and amateur radio in general. We appreciate your contacting us and helping us in our mission.

BIARA does not solicit donations for its operation. Persons wishing to make tax deductible donations are encouraged to do so to the Pacific Battleship Center (PBC) as our host. The PBC is dependent on grants, donations, ticket sales and event income to maintain and enhance the battleship. Your help for the greater good is appreciated.

Please use the PayPal link below to make your tax deductible donation to the the Pacific Battleship Center (PBC).

NEPM was the Iowa’s call sign from her initial commissioning in 1943 until her final decommissioning in 1990. In 2002, it was assigned to the USCGC Heron. In 2016, through efforts by Bob, WB6SLC, the battleship was able to have the call sign reassigned. The USCGC Heron now has NHRN. The Iowa is one of the only US museum ships that has it’s original military call sign assigned.

Having the call sign does not afford any operating authority, although once a year, BIARA may use the callsign NEPM during the annual Armed Forces Cross-band Tests if authorized. With authority from the Spectrum Manager of the Navy’s 3rd Fleet we may gain approval for special event activations. These events will be promoted throughout the world to the amateur radio community. The ship’s quarterly activation of the “Gray Radios” is under the Innovation & Engineering Technology’s call sign NE6PM for which Gary Lopes, WA6MEM, is the trustee.

NI6BB’s Home

Each station contains an Astron RS-60M Linear Power Supply with an Icom IC-7300 HF Transceiver paired with a laptop for logging and digital modes. We have three identical stations that may be tied each to one of three possible antennas.


Station operator in the photo is Roy, 4Z1KO/WX6OMG.


The discone-cage antenna in on the bow. Two antennas, each with a separate feed point, are combined in one structure.  Higher bands use the discone, with the radial elements at the top as the disc and the upper section of the cage as the cone; feed point is the gap between the disc and the apex of the cone. The lower bands, fed from the bottom, use the entire cage section.


A trussed monopole is mounted above the Aviation Service Center on the aft deck. This antenna covers 10-30 MHz. The red base identifies this as a transmitting antenna (blue bases denote receiving antennas). The nonskid deck in foreground is for the flight operations area. Three hooded signal lamps are along the aft edge of the hut roof. At left is the No. 3 16-inch gun turret.

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