Battleship New Jersey Amateur Radio Station (BNJARS)
Status History 2002
31 Dec - Last Saturday's workforce performed
repairs to the tour route teletype machines. Ed found that a repair made
by the last crew had failed again so he made a more permanent fix. Ski
has started his magic on the red phones located on the Navigation Bridge. Within
the next couple of workdays these phones will be adding to the feel of
the space. In the shack reinstallation of the digital modes for Ham
2 was completed and work continues on the 22MC repairs and additions.
18 Nov - The first AN/URT-23 HF transmitter was connected to a dummy load with 1500 watts of RF measured during testing. This puts the crew one step closer to that long awaited QSO from compartment 3-119-1. Work also continues on the donated T-368, a 500- watt AM/CW Korean War- era HF transmitter.
In the ham shack, work continued on the final installation of the packet systems. A run of CCTV coax was installed between the shack and the transmitter room on the third deck for a future security/safety camera, with the monitor to be mounted in the shack. In the Combat Engagement Center (CEC), the dark NAVMACS monitor has been converted to display data from one of the packet TNCs. In the near future, the data line will be activated, thus bringing life to one more part of the ship.
11 Nov - A return visit to the Navy Shipyard on 8 November to pick up equipment not removed during the last "ship raid" resulted in power supply for the third URT-23, a CA-1100 HF Patch Panel, eight AM-3729 Audio Amplifiers for the CEC, two AM-2210N/WTC Audio Amplifiers used in the sound powered phone system, some AN/SLQ-32 electronic countermeasures system equipment (for show), and other parts.
Last week, a VHF antenna was mounted on the aft yardarm, to be used for APRS (Automatic Position Reporting System) for use by emergency management and special event sponsors. APRS is also for spotting VHF openings. One of the URT-23 HF transmitters was brought back to life, and the RBC World War II-era receiver was fired up (requiring a minor repair). Repairs were also made to the telephone system and the 21MC turret intercom system.
04 Nov - Despite the delay in status updates, much has been accomplished. During the week of 15-18 October, members made another raid on the Philadelphia Navy Ship Yard and found several nice pieces of equipment, including two AN/URT-23 HF transmitters that somehow managed to survive the demillers. They are currently being reassembled and restored down in "Stan's World" in Radio 2 (Transmitter Room). One should be on the air shortly. A large number of power transistors for the 1MC were located, and the damaged audio amps are being repaired. The 1MC is currently putting out 1.5 KW using three amplifiers. One amp brought back from the shipyard blew its fuses and needs to be tested and repaired.
Up in "John's World," the Kenwood TS-430s' shorted driver transistor is being repaired and should be back on the air. John's homebrew power supply for the RB series receivers is now complete.
In the Message Handling Area of Radio Central, some of the transmitter control stations now have illuminated status lights. Ted mounted a camera outside Radio Central so that docents can see how long the lines outside the radio room are. A new security camera has been installed in the area, feeding a monitor in the Ham shack. The purpose of the circuit is to allow NJ2BB operators to keep on eye on the outside world.
In FACCON-1, the ship raid resulted in some missing pieces of the AN/SSR-1 Fleet Satellite (FLTSAT) equipment, filling in some of the blanks in the racks.
Gene and company have been busy sprucing up the ham shack in FACCON-2. The bulkhead behind the HF operating positions has a new face, and the packet equipment shelf has a new backing, covering up the mess of cables.
And finally, the Volunteer Appreciation social was held on 22 October at the Coastline. Joe Fillmyer was honored for his service to the ship with a nice plaque created by Jerry Emdur, W2HKZ.
02 Sept - The radio spaces have been cleaned up and made ready for the members of the USS New Jersey Veterans reunion attendees next weekend. Also, a shelf was installed to house a Model 15 teleprinter next to the "Coke Machine" in FACCON-1. The ship's receivers, switchboard, terminal unit, and loop supply came together to print 20-meter RTTY signals. A 24-volt, 20-amp power supply obtained during our last visit to the Pennsylvania Navy Ship Yard was mounted in the Quality Monitoring System (QMS) rack to power the ever-growing number of reactivated panel lights. The teleprinters in the Message Handling Center went down, but with some effort were repaired and placed back in service.
Down in the Transmitter Room (Radio 2), work on the restoration of the AN/URT-23 Transmitter halted for want of a Power Control Circuit Card (anyone have a spare lying around?). Also on 3rd deck, John has been busy repairing the 1MC loudspeakers in the aft berthing areas so those spaces can be used for encampments.
12 August - After many months of effort, Gene the "gadget guy" completed the workover of the SA-2112 "Coke Machine" secure audio switch. The TA-970 "Red Phones" are connected to the switch bringing them to life. In the Message Handling Center the nixie tube displays have been restored. In FACCON-1 the SRA-49 receive antenna couplers were installed and will be soon ready for operation with the radios.
In the ham shack (FACCON-2), a donated computer is doing double duty as a tuning aid for the FACCON 1 receiver banks during RTTY reception, and for WinAPRS. The attached PK232 TNC drives one of the NAVMACS terminals in the Message Handling Center providing guests with live, off-the-air ham and commercial teletype traffic. The Ham-2 station is now set up for various digital modes, thanks to a donated RigBlaster (TTY and PSK have been checked out). It can also be used for working SSB and CW.
Secretary John Goheen has met with the HPA's new Chief Operating Officer, Troy Collins, and briefed him on BNJARS activities. John also has been busy replacing defective 1MC speakers and is surveying the AM-3729 sound powered phone amplifiers.
05 August - Former BB-62 radioman Gary, NJ8BB, along with two ham friends, Bob and Jesse, drove in from Ohio to spend a Saturday onboard the ship last month. They were able to reassemble and partially re-awaken one of the AN/URT-23 1KW transmitters retrieved from the Philadelphia Navy Yard earlier this year. Before they had to leave late that Saturday night, they had managed to get the power supply and exciter online but were still looking for the one missing interlock in the power amplifier. They plan to return for another weekend trip to finish the job. Thanks guys!
The AN/SRA-49 receive antenna coupler/patch panel in FACCON-1 was brought back to life. It appears to be working just as it was designed. One of the "unknown" cables was traced between the SRA-49 and the SSES area next to CEC, providing a coax run to the starboard 35-foot whip antenna. With this addition we can now operate all the FACCON-1 receivers at the same time.
In Radio Central, restoration of teletype equipment wiring continues and more of the equipment is being lit up. And we now have air conditioning in the message handling area!
During a recent visit by members of the Holmesburg Amateur Radio Club (HARC), which sponsored the 2-meter simplex contest in February, NJ2BB was presented with a certificate for First Place in that club event. Many thanks to those operators who participated. The certificate will be hung in the shack.
22 July - The Museum Ship Special Event weekend was a big success, with 18 members participating. Event coordinator Harry Bryant reported that almost 1200 QSO's were made, using phone, CW and PSK modes. The breakdown is as follows:
15 July - Station Trustee Joe Duffin, W2ORA, received a certificate from the ARRL granting BNJARS the "Worked All States" award #50,831. Jack Imhof, N2VW, was the field checker.
John Goheen reports that the announcing system (1MC and 2MC) is once again fully functional, including the engineering spaces below the third deck. One of the amps blew some line fuses, and it is suspected that line surges may be at fault. John is investigating the possibility of installing surge arrestors. The after deck office was cleaned out and spare alarm contactors were installed, but the General Alarm is still not functioning properly. Troubleshooting continues. The Ship Integrity Alarm (Collision), which is tied into the float switches and fire sensors, operates normally from either deck office. The wind direction and speed synchro/servo control unit was repaired and placed back in service. The wind speed and direction indicators throughout the ship are now operating normally.
24 June - Since the last status report, things have been moving along. In FACCON-1, restored equipment, including the ship's loop supplies, switchboards, terminal units, antenna couplers and receivers (R-1051, R-390 and R-2368), is now printing RTTY signals on a donated Model 15 Teletype printer. Another TTY in the Message Processing Center (where the tour route runs) is being rewired for public viewing.
Out on the weather decks, the URA-38 antenna coupler has been installed and wired to the portside 35-foot vertical transmit antenna, and the starboard-side 35-foot vertical receive antenna had its termination box installed. Also, three of the four AN/SRR-1 "eggbeater" FLTSAT (UHF fleet satellite) antennas has been installed.
Down in "Stan's World" (the radio restoration shop in the old Radio 2 Transmitter room) some vintage RBB/RBC receivers and the T-368 transmitter and power supply are getting cleaned and restored.
John Goheen has been busy repairing the 1MC power amplifiers which failed a few weeks ago before the air conditioning was restored in the Forward IC room. Three of the four amplifiers failed, probably due to excessive heat. Replacement transistors are being tested with the hopes of bring all four amplifiers back online. Also being investigated is an open circuit between the alarm switches in the aft deck office and Forward IC. The 5MC Flight Deck Announcing System was rewired to provide an interim PA system for the fantail.
Over the weekend, BNJARS received the "official" International Morse Preservation Society ("FISTS") certificate containing NJ2BB's FISTS number, 9262. Note the number ends in "62" as in BB-62!
27 May - The ham shack was busy this past weekend with two operating events! During BNJARS' second annual Memorial Day Weekend/59th Launch Anniversary Special Event on Saturday, 25 May, club members racked up a total of 270 QSO's, with 95 contacts on HF SSB and VHF FM, and 175 on CW.
NJ2BB also participated in the CQ magazine-sponsored WPX CW contest. The object was to work as many different stations worldwide with as many unique callsign prefixes as possible. The club garnered 175 QSO's for a score of 63,150 according to Activities Chair Harry Bryant. Chris, WK2W, brought in his station and lap top for the CW operation. Our guests got to hear high-speed CW "live and in living color" thanks to an audio setup Chris threw together for the event. The CW station was set up in FACCON-1.
The simultaneous transmission capabilities of the ship were put to the test. NJ2BB was on the air operating CW in public view, while positions Ham-2 and Ham-3 operated SSB. Combined with the 2-meter and 440 activity resulted in 3 HF and 2 VHF/UHF operating stations plus two packet stations, for a grand total of 7 rigs on air at the same time!
06 May - Staffing of the New Jersey's ham shack by guest operators was kicked off last week when members of the Burlington County Radio Club (BCRC) became the station's first "Guest Operators." Visiting hams also are permitted to operate the station when an Authorized Operator (AO) is present (check the club's calendar to see when AO's are scheduled to be onboard). Last week, Jiøí Hold, OK1DR, visited the ship from the Czech Republic, and a former New Jersey radioman from 1982-84 also visited the shack.
Equipment from last month's "ship raids" is being sorted through. Dave and Ruben spent some time replacing some of the Receiver switchboard assemblies. The with the results being that the AN/URA-17E's now show the figure-eight pattern of a properly tuned TTY signal. More TA-970 "Red Phones" are being relamped, and Charlie and Dennis were busy checking out the antennas picked up during the raids. Two of the AS-2815 "Egg-beater" antennas were mounted off the bridge. One of the 1MC amplifiers failed (possibly due to the high heat in the Forward IC room) and is being looked at for repair.
22 April - Last week the Philadelphia Navy Yard opened select ships to museum ships like the New Jersey to what has become known as the "raiding parties." The results were more than anticipated! The haul included some much needed replacement communications equipment, of which the following is a partial list:
(3) R-1051 HF Receivers (intact and working) plus parts
AN/URT-23 HF Transmitter, 1KW
(2) AN/URA-38 HF couplers and one Control Box
AN/SRA-49 HF Receive Antenna Coupler (intact) and a rack for another
Navy CW Key
(2) AN/URA-17E RTTY FSK Comparator-Converters (working)
RD-397 Recorder-Reproducer used with the TTY's in the SATCOM circuits
(2) Harris R-2368 LF/MF/HF Receivers (intact)
(3) NAVMACS terminal stations for CEC
(4) AS-2815/SSR-1 "Egg-beater" antennas for the AN/SRR-1 Fleet Broadcast receiver
AS-3316/SLQ-32 "Band 1" Antenna
AS-177B/UPX IFF Antenna (1030 - 1090 MHz, 5KW)
Two other VHF antennas not used on the New Jersey, but might prove useful
(4) Search/Signaling Lights
Complete TA-970 "Red Phone" with channel selector
Misc. items, including Type D telephones, 1MC speakers and Mic station, Wind Speed Indicator spare parts, Sound powered phone jacks & amps, headsets, etc.
Also during the past weeks, the second R-390 HF receiver overhaul was completed and sent down to Radio 2 ("Stan's World") from the radio repair shop ("John's World"). The turret announcing system is now operational, and the General Alarm card for the 1MC was received from Dynalec and installed. Now all three alarms, General, Chemical and Collision, are in working order. Three of the R-1051 HF receivers have been installed in the receiver rack and are now working, along with the AN/SRA-49 couplers and the AN/URA-17E FSK converters. In the Message Processing Center, the RD-397 Recorder-Reproducer was installed in the rack above the NAVMACS terminal.
08 April - The modules of the AN/SRA-49 Receive Antenna Coupler, piled up in FACCON-1 for months, have been mounted on a panel, missing the rack frame, but still looking better than the open space. The network server in the ham shack has been moved to the TTY room, and should be left running at all times. John Saracen and crew have been busy restoring the second R-390 HF Receiver, which should be ready to move to the radio history "museum" in the Transmitter Room. Also being repaired is a donated Kenwood TS-430 HF Transceiver and a R-1051 HF Receiver. John also was able to repair a donated USM-117 oscilloscope.
Tom Clarke (CDR, USN (Ret)), W4OKW, of Maryland, delivered a National Radio AN/FRR-59 HF Radio Receiving Set (similar to the AN/WRR-2) on 23 March. It's in FACCON-1 awaiting the trip to Radio 2 for clean-up and restoration.
The Radio Room has been handling 1000 or more visitors on a busy day, delighting tour route visitors with demonstrations of the old teletype equipment and especially the "phone talker's" sound-powered phone equipment with its breast-mounted microphone. Up in the Combat Engagement Center (CEC), Gene the "Gadget Guy" has been rigging up the TA-970 "red phones" to appear operational with lights, buzzers and recorded messages.
01 April - From 29 to 31 March, members manned the ham shack for the CQ WPX Worldwide SSB contest, with two 100-watt stations on the air. Chairman Harry Bryant, AA2WN, reported a final score of 2,004,002 points with 1244 contacts made with 639 unique prefixes. Thanks to the following operators: AA2WN, WA2TVS, WK2W, K3MUA, N2WFN, WA2NBL, KA2YKN, N2HQL. Thanks also to KB2BRR for her help and the numerous QSL requests which are likely to follow.
11 March - A Terminal Node Controller (TNC, or packet modem) is now operational, connected to the DxCluster and available on the HF stations via the logging program. Amended operating instructions on its use, as well as changes to operating and logging procedures, are available at each station. Gene Holben has donated a small refrigerator for the shack, which may be used to store drinks and lunches while "on duty." Bill Bacon and John Saracen have been busy up on the 02 level repairing the donated radios, including the R-390. A cabinet has been installed to hold the QSL cards received by the club, and Lou Priestly has been busy sorting the 800+ QSL cards received to date.
Several guests with ham tickets have been stopping by the ham shack after their ship tour, including OE8NIK, who stopped by during a visit to Pittsburgh (five hours west of Camden!). Guest operators may operate the station with proof of license while an Authorized Operator (AO) is present. Detailed procedures for Guest Operators will be posted shortly.
25 Feb - The list of Authorized Operators (AOs) is growing. An AO must be present in order for anyone to operate the ham shack on the ship. To see when an AO is scheduled to be onboard, see the club's calendar. Cable runs were laid to the ship's VHF antennas, permitting their use on the 2-meter rigs. Thanks to Harry for all his efforts. A bad coax connector center pin was replaced. The poor connection resulted in degraded reception on the scanner used to feed the NAVMACS packet terminals. The DxCluster equipment was moved to FACCON-1 so the PK-232 TNC could feed the NAVMACS displays as well as the HAM-3 operating position. Work continues on the "red phones" and the Secure Voice Switch (SVS) "Coke Machine" to make them appear operational. A 2-meter rig was set up in the VHF Radio Room on the 02 Level for use on weak-signal SSB. The 6-meter will be connected to the ship's antenna once the weather improves for working aloft.
The fan antennas were put to the test on 160 meters with good results in the CQ 160-meter SSB contest. Harry Bryant, AA2WN, made 44 QSOs, including 6 DX stations, 21 states and two provinces. Harry ran 100 Watts into the fan antennas over a six-hour period between 22-23 February.
11 Feb - Work on the ham shack continued, with a solid mahogany shelf installed over the operating positions. The mahogany shelf came from the bridge of the USS Stark (the ship that was struck by two Iraqi Exocet missiles on 17 May 1987, killing 37 sailors). It will be a fine tribute to those who served on the USS Stark. In addition, a new 17" monitor was donated and a flatbed scanner.
Two runs of coax were installed between the VHF room on 02 level and the ham shack, giving us access to the ship's antennas suitable for use on the 2- and 6-meter bands. And thanks to another donated PK232 TNC, we are now up on the DxCluster more frequently now. Documentation "treasure hunts" continue with some valuable finds.
Work on lighting and animating the CEC and Message Processing Center red phones continues, despite the low-level blue lighting in use during tours. Over the weekend, two of the announcing system pre-amps became inoperable. Between Ebe Helms and John Goheen, they are now working again, and a third, which had never been restored, is now being repaired as well. This will give us working 2MC (Engineering Spaces) and 5MC (Flight Deck) systems.
On the evening of 2 February, NJ2BB was activated for the Delaware Valley 2-meter contest. Charlie, Steve, Margaret & Dave had some fun being part of the pile-ups on simplex frequencies. Next year we'd like to get some "Codeless Tech's" out for this fun event.
14 Jan - Relamping of equipment expanded into the CEC (Combat Engagement Center). Gene installed one of his talking red phones (TA-970) in the CEC to surprise visitors who can't keep their hands off the equipment! The second 2-meter antenna was repaired and tested and awaits fair weather for installation. Four "abandoned in place" coax cables were located in the 01 passageway, remnants of the 1982 ET shop. These cables will provide us with the bulkhead access we need into the ham shack. The HAM-2 and HAM-3 computers were connected to the packet TNCs and will be used to access the DX cluster. Jean Priestly, ARRL SNJ Section Manager, obtained a set of ARRL publications for the club, which will prove very handy (thanks, Jean!). The tripping hazard in Radio Central (mounting stubs for a former copy machine) were finally removed. In its place is dark blue tile, which the ship's painter plans to paint with the Radioman's insignia.
On 5 January, several members helped Ebe videotape an Eagle Scout ceremony held in the Wardroom. Thanks to those who helped to record this recognition ceremony. The Eagle rank is the highest award given by the Boy Scouts of America, and is earned by only of few percent of those who participate in scouting. Let's hope Radio Merit Badge was one they all received!