Under the auspices of the Battleship Iowa Amateur Radio Association, the “Gray Radio Gang” will sign NI6BB as they operate the IOWA’s legacy gear on 18.164 MHz J3E. The “Gang” expects to be on the air from 1700 UTC to 2200 UTC Saturday during Museum Ships Weekend with some operations possible on Sunday.
This activity requires a minimum of 5 “Gray Radio Gang” team members. Two are in the transmitter room on Deck 3, one is in FACCON I on the main deck where the receivers and switching is located and two are on the bridge with one doing the talking on the “Red Phone” and a second to log.
When transmitting the receivers are protected from overloading by cutout relays. As such there is an approximate two second delay from the time the operator stops transmitting and the receiver returns to service. In order to be heard, COUNT TO TWO after the NI6BB operator stops transmitting or you will not be heard. Also recognize that the EARS on the ship are not as sensitive as you might expect so be prepared to hear us much stronger that we will be hearing you.
QSL per information on NI6BB at QRZ.com and note LEGACY QSO on your card.
For those trained to read maritime signal flags, the four flags that appear on the IOWA’s port side up near the ship’s bridge, spell out NEPM. NEPM was the ship’s assigned radio call sign from 1942 until 1997 when it was stricken from the official register. Later the call sign NEPM was assigned to the US Coast Guard Cutter Heron.
In 2015, Mr. Bob Burchett contacted a USCG Spectrum Management Consultant to request that the NEPM call sign be reassigned back to the IOWA. After several months of negotiations his request was approved and the USCG Heron’s call sign was reassigned to the Battleship IOWA. The Heron now has a new call sign NHRN.
On May 28, 2016 in a ceremony aboard the IOWA, Mr. Burchett made a presentation to senior members of the Pacific Battleship Center, including Mr. Jonathan Williams, President & CEO and Mr. David Canfield, Vice President of IT / Security & CIO along with members of BIARA and Mr. Bryan Moss, who served as a radio operator on the IOWA during the Korean War from 1952-1953.
On Saturday, February 27, about fifty 4th and 5th grade students of Dorothy Grant Elementary School in Fontana, California and their families visited the USS IOWA museum ship and the Battleship Iowa Amateur Radio Association station NI6BB in the ship’s Communications Room.
The students are members of the school’s ham radio club, Dorothy Grant Elementary School Amateur Radio Club, K6DGE under the direction of Beverly Matheson, WA6BK.
Several club members have already passed their Technician Class exam including Suzette, KK6TQK and Jocelyn, KK6TQS.
Not only are the students active DXers, but David Collingham, K3LP, co-leader of the recent VP8 DXpedition to South Sandwich/South Georgia is the K6DGE club license trustee and an alumnus of the school.