Battleship New Jersey Amateur Radio Station (BNJARS)
27 Dec - Down in the transmitter room, shock mounts for the second functional AN/URT-23 transmitter have been installed. We have enough mounts for the spare parts donor transmitter chassis as well as for the R-1051 receiver that will be used locally with the transmitters.
"Gadget-Guy" Gene spent the day in CEC connecting some 20-watt general-purpose audio amps, recently restored by Harry Carlson. To date, Harry and Gene have returned live radio audio to the Helo hut, CEC, CEC Admin, Message Handling Area, FACCON 1 and the Pilot House (aka Bridge). The live audio consists of river traffic, air traffic control, time ticks, Morse code, NOAA weather and military Air Traffic Control (ATC) for the North Atlantic Ops Area.
Stops were installed to prevent attempts to open the shack cage outward. Stiffening plates were added to the tools drawers recently installed next to the "Coke Machine." This not only strengthens the drawers but also provides for a smoother operation. A very nice color monitor, for use with the ATV system, arrived in the shack. Local loop testing proved the clarity of its operation. Nine more emergency light units were carried onboard and placed in forward storage for use by the ship. To date, BNJARS has provided 11 units to the BIG J in addition to the five we have kept for our own spaces. More will be delivered at the end of the month.
Margaret kept an ear open for any signs of Ham activity from the International Space Station. Some weak voices were heard on one pass but were not confirmed as coming from the ISS. On another pass the sounds of packet came from the speaker. A quick scramble to shift our packet station to the ISS frequency resulted in copying a couple of lines of text using the Russian call sign assigned to the ISS.
22 Dec - More donated Teletype equipment found its way onboard the ship. Of special interest is the Model 26 printer. This seldom talked about printer uses a rotating drum to print characters, not type bars as in the Model 15 or the type box of the Model 28, but the drum is a step toward the type ball of the IBM Select typewriter.
Down in the transmitter room, the shock mounts for one of the functional AN/URT-23 transmitters was installed. Mounts obtained during the last shipyard raid fit right into the existing holes, as they should have. We still have enough mounts for the second transmitter as well as for the R-1051 receiver that will be used locally with the transmitters.
The hinges on the shack cage door have been changed so that now the door opens into the shack instead of outward. This change was needed to remove the interference caused by having the cage open onto the racks recently installed next to the "Coke Machine." Remember, three years ago when the cage was installed we had no idea that we would ever be able to replace the missing racks or the equipment that was once mounted in them. Stops will be installed to prevent any attempt to open the cage outward. This new arrangement also protects the three VHF rigs and their packet TNCs mounted just inside the shack from accidental nudges and elbows.
15 Dec - After the conclusion of the general meeting, several members stayed onboard to lend a hand with the scheduled work party. The VHF compartment has been totally cleaned. Work in Avionics continued until the compartment lights went out. Seems a fuse that supplies lighting power to that section of the ship decided to end its life. Ship crew planned to work on the problem during the week. The Amateur TV group met to discuss the final details for bringing ATV to the shack.
Seven more emergency light units were brought onboard. Five took up residence in our spaces while the remaining two go to the ship. Over the next few weeks, several more units will arrive at the ship for use in improving the safety of our visitors and fellow crewmembers.
At the end of the day, Ed decided to check out 20 meter SSB with the result of 75 QSOs. Just a short mention on being onboard the BB-62 still creates a pileup on the band. While Ed was working 20, Ruben checked the condition of 10 meters during the weekend contest. He was able to snag a few contacts before heading to the parking garage before it closed for the night.
Brian, besides being small enough to slip behind an equipment rack or two, continued with his project of building a test set for the LS-519 "bitch boxes". John, Bill and Terry kept busy working in the 02 level shop.
NJ2BB had two more radios donated to the shack. Both are Kenwoods, one a 2-meter FM rig, and the other a dual-band (2/440) rig. Both were bench test and appear to be fully functional.
Our weekday volunteers have been busy as well. Bill Lewis has been spending time working on the transmitter switchboard. Al Lynch has been tending to avionics as well as sorting and testing the spare telephones stored just off Broadway. Thanks to those who take time to help out during the week!
08 Dec - Despite the snow there was a work party on Saturday. Most of the effort went into organizing the old Avionics storage space. It is taking on the appearance of a proper storage area. Gone are the days of looking for parts "somewhere in TTY, VHF, 2 door cabinet or who knows."
The Navy inspection went quite well for us. As usual the team spent an extra amount of time checking out the handiwork of the BNJARS volunteers. One Lieutenant Commander was observed staring, with his mouth open, at the operating model 15 teleprinter with the sounds of air traffic control, WWV and a 20-meter QSO adding to the feel of FACCON 1. I doubt if he noticed that the deck needed polishing. Ski extended the new emergency light system into the shack, just in time for a "loss of lighting test" by the inspections team.
While listening on 2 meters during one of the International Space Station's possible "on air orbits," we learned of the presence of a former Ham in the shack. One of the current BB-62 Chaplains, who allowed her license to lapse while serving overseas, is interested in returning to the hobby. Sorry to report that not even the Chaplain's presence in the shack helped with the ISS. No contact was made with the astronauts.
01 Dec - Last Saturday another small but interesting step of restoration was performed with little fanfare. In FACCON 1, just to starboard of the AN/SRA-49 antenna coupler, is the collection of Teletype patch panels. One of these "black" (unclassified) message panels contains what was the terminus for the AN/UGC-20 teleprinter located above the safe in the Message Handling area. Ed has restored the patching function for the UGC-20 at the black panel and also installed patch functions for the Model 15 teleprinter located next to the "Coke Machine" as well the Model 28 printer being installed in FACCON 1. Besides being able to copy two messages from different receivers at the same time, Ed was able to sent text from the Model 15 to the UGC-20.
Also in FACCON 1, Randy installed a donated emergency light unit. This unit, rated at 8 hours, uses remote lamps to provide a safe exit environment should normal lighting be lost. He mounted two lamps above the R-1051 receiver rack, one light facing toward the message handling area, and the other along the aft walkway of FACCON 1. A third lamp is scheduled for the NJ2BB shack. In the weeks to come, units will be installed in the Transmitter room, TTY office, "John's world," Forward IC and the VHF Radio Room. Several more units will become available for use by the ship as needed.
Bob E. spent the day at his bench working on the alarm panel for the Communication Center. He reports nearing completion of his restoration project in addition to finding time to help clean the area in preparation for the upcoming inspection. Doug G. completed several tasks ranging from mounting 19" rack shelves in VHF, stripping shipyard goodies from unneeded chassis, and helping with cleanup. "Woody" was found in VHF working on the AN/VRC-46 transceiver. He has isolated one poor performance problem to a bad SMA connector. Thanks to the shipyard collection, he has located a replacement connector. Dave F. spent the day stripping shipyard bounty, working on the Model 28 in FACCON 1 and hauling stuff from VHF to Avionics.
Up in TTY Gene H., Ted K. and Margaret reconfigured the computers and databases and rebuilt at least one computer. Gene was also observed busy performing his inventory of NJ2BB equipment. In the shack, Lou was kept busy helping others and trying to keep the QSL cards filed. A recent delivery from the QSL buro provided a large number of cards. In the ET shop (aka John's World), John and Bill kept busy working on receivers. Late in the day an R-1051 receiver was transported to FACCON 1 for installation in the racks.
Out on the fantail two attempts for a QSO with the International Space Station (ISS) went without success. Three tries from Dave's home QTH had the same results on Sunday. Apparently the ISS never got on air during the weekend. Better luck next time.
24 Nov - The crew was pretty busy last weekend. They continued loading the analog/digital encoders (vocoders) into the racks next to "Coke machine." These two new racks now contain two audio switchboards, three vocoders, two ON-143 interfaces, five drawers, one Model 15 Teletype, one Model 28RO teleprinter, and one UPS (uninterruptible power supply). One final item, a Navy-style power strip, will be installed next Saturday.
The wiring harnesses from the SB-2727 receiver switchboard modules obtained during shipyard raid were removed. As found, these harnesses needed repair before being installed into our switchboard, so the items are currently stored in Avionics. The metal chassis, not original to BB 62 nor useful to us, were sent to scrap storage for disposition by the curator.
All tools from the FACCON 1 red toolbox were transferred into the drawers recently mounted under the Model 15 teleprinter. The FACCON 1 aft walkway was cleaned of all loose items and equipment. Restoration of the transmitter control switchboard in FACCON 1 continued. Work continued on restoration of the AN/SRR-19 receiver in FACCON 1. Another R-1051 HF receiver came back to life thanks to parts from the former USS Farragut and USS Luce.
All of the items from the storage lockers beneath the NAVMACS printers were removed. Needed items went to Avionics while trash went to disposal. Contacts on the three in-service TDs (transmit distributors) used in the Teletype display were cleaned. This corrected the garbled print that started happening last week.
The cleanup of the TTY office and shop continues. Of note to some is that the refrigerator has been repositioned within the space.
Finally, an inventory/audit was performed of all ham-type equipment in the NJ2BB shack.
17 Nov - The early part of Saturday was devoted to the recovery of the TTY (teletype repair office) on the 01 level. As most of the regulars know, this space has long suffered from the effects of our not having a viable storage area for parts and equipment. By lunchtime the TTY Shop was starting to look like an office and after discovering a workbench in the compartment, TTY looks like a repair shop. Lunchtime also marked the end of the need for large work parties to move supplies between spaces.
Up front and visible restoration work performed Saturday includes the loading of equipment into the racks next to the "Coke Machine." These racks house two teletype machines, two audio switchboards, two voice coders (analog to digital converters), and associated interface equipment. To provide access to the rear of the "Coke Machine," several drawers (ex-USS John Rogers) have been installed under the Model 15 teleprinter. It takes only a minute to remove the drawers so someone can slip under the Model 15 and squeeze into the cable chase.
On the other end of FACCON 1, two more SB-2727 receiver switchboard modules went into service thanks to the handy work of new volunteer Dave, KB3JYG.
Out in the Message Handling Area, repairs to the red power panel were completed and the panel was reenergized. This panel can once again supply power to the NAVMACS equipment and allow the removal of some temporary power cords.
Work in the VHF room suffered a setback when Woody discovered that the dynamotor in the VRC-46 transceiver (6 meter FM to Hams) needs to be disassembled for some TLC.
10 Nov - After a weekend off, things got busy last Saturday. With the help of 18 volunteers, we moved approximately one ton of parts and pieces up two decks, across the ship, and slightly forward. Within four hours of starting the conga line, the "brown room," by the galley, was cleared of our stuff; the Captain's storeroom aft of TTY Office was emptied as was the 01 fan room (aft). Even some of the items in TTY found a new home in the former Avionics Storeroom. Once the aft spaces were empty the work party moved to Forward IC and cleaned out the associated motor generator room. After two years of stacking and stuffing spare parts and/or items awaiting restoration, we now have a top-notch storage area.
Other work accomplished the weekend includes the racking of equipment next to the "Coke machine" (SA-2112 Secure Voice Switch). The two demil'ed AN/SRR-19 LF receivers (30 to 300 kHz) from the shipyard have provided the needed parts to restore the Big-J's receiver (also demil'ed) resulting in a rig ready for power. They were pulled from the USS Farragut (DLG-6/DDG 37) and the USS Luce (DLG-7/DDG 38).
Scott Kodger, the ship's curator, has also provided us with some new spaces on 02 level for our use. One space may become the repair shop for ship's phones, intercoms, and sound powered equipment.
Finally, the antenna for the ATV station has been ordered and should arrive in a week or so. This means that we are once again on track toward two-way visual and audio communicators from the Battleship New Jersey.
27 Oct - Following a week of "ship raids" at the Philadelphia Navy Shipyard, our temporary storage space, about the size of a typical dining room, is knee deep and wall-to-wall with needed and usable supplies. Thanks to everyone who helped make this a successful adventure for BNJARS and the BB-62. Examples and status of some of the gear obtained is:
- AN/WRN-5 navigation receiver from the USS Farragut, though non-functional, now rests in the Chart House on 05 level. The AN/WRN-5 worked with the 1960's vintage TRANSIT navigation satellites, the predecessor of GPS, and operated on 150 MHz and 400 MHz.
- An RT-1107/WSC-3 UHF transceiver from the USS Luce, found in the Captain's Galley! "Big J" used 16 of these radios for line-of-sight PSK and UHF SATCOM communications.
- Three R-1051 HF receivers, with hammered front panels but all internals intact, will travel to the repair shop on 02 level. There they will be married with our current good front panels to create functional units.
- Two AN/SRR-19 HF receivers will undergo the same restoration as the R-1051s. The Big J had one of these large receivers installed beneath the R-390 receiver in FACCON 1.
- Numerous parts for the mechanical "wind speed integrator" now rest in the storage space as well as three replacements that utilize magnetic amplifiers.
- Ten roles of "perf tape" found inside a smashed teletype machine (ASR).
- The USS Barney provided a mint condition Model 28 RO printer, with speed transmission.
- The USS Farragut also provided the proper equipment rack for FACCON 1. On Saturday the last piece of open real estate, next to the "Coke Machine," was filled by an "A&J" rack. In the coming weeks this rack will be loaded with the voice encoder chassis that once lived on the rack. Now non-functional, these units will be used as "eye candy."
- The USS America gave us two signal generators, test equipment, which belong in the Quality Monitoring System cabinet in FACCON 1.
- The USS John Rodgers supplied 19" rack drawers that will be installed in FACCON 1 cabinets to provide "invisible" tool and parts storage.
- The USS Farragut gave up her WWII-style radioman's operating desk. Currently in pieces, this desk will move into the transmitter room for restoration and use as an operating station.
- Many other items, including phones, amplifiers, terminal blocks, bright brass 1MC speakers, etc. Even a replacement A&J rack, for the VHF Room, to replace one that was moved to the radio room almost three years ago when we first started this project.
20 Oct - The Scouting Jamboree on the Air (JOTA) event was a success. Thanks to Doug Gehring, WA2NPD, for running the event, all who supported it. We had 37 Scouts and Scouters (including six Girl Scouts) participate representing seven units in the immediate southern NJ area. Everyone successfully talked to at least one other participating JOTA radio station somewhere in the world and the Battleship provided many Scouts at the other stations the thrill of talking with someone aboard the "Big J."
Especially exciting was the time spent in the Battleship TV Studio, thanks to Ebe Helm and the Sea Cadets. The cadets went a little further and conducted a short interview with our very own Bob Westcott, W2MAS, who is a 1943 plank owner. At least two units also took the regular tour afterwards. Many photographs were taken to commemorate the day.
The ship's radio equipment (thanks to Harry and Dave) performed flawlessly and we had more than sufficient operators to handle the control operator chores. Margaret prepared Battleship JOTA Participation cards, and all participants received their completed cards. JOTA patches will be presented to each participant as soon as they arrive.
The URA-38 antenna coupler was re-installed after a week of on the bench undergoing pressure tests, and we will be checking it out again this coming weekend to make sure it is holding pressure after the repairs. If pressure has been maintained we will be filling it with nitrogen the following week.
Several members continued putting together more shelf units for the Tech Library until they once again ran out of parts. Welding on the platforms for the T-368 transmitter was completed and the transmitter is now sitting on its new home. Other equipment in the Transmitter room was rearranged to make for a more military appearance.
In the Message Handling Center, the third nixie display of the torn tape system came back to life.
13 Oct - Saturday saw a real flurry of activity:
The TS-440 amateur radio was returned to the HAM-2 position, while the TS-430 moved back to HAM-4
The MARS antenna, and inverted-V, was repaired
A fifth R-1051 HF receiver was brought back to life
The RS-232 patch panel processed its first signals
Plan "C" for repairing the port-side antenna coupler (URA-38) showed good results
A rack mounted UPS was installed at the NAVMACS terminals to protect them from power losses and spikes
A handset for the working VRC-46 (6 meter) rig was found in the VHF Room.
Several members participated Saturday in the ship's memorial service for departed volunteers. The memorial plaque is now located in the First Class Mess.
Representatives from BNJARS are taking part in the ship's four-night seminar about the Navy and the Battleship New Jersey. At least three members are known to have attended the seminars while two others gave lectures and provided handouts in Radio Central on Navy communications for attendees, many whom are local area educators.
06 Oct - BNJARS members assisted the ship's staff assembling shelving for the tech library until the supplies ran out. The move of the TDZ transmitter and RDZ receiver to the transmitter room was completed. Both TDZs and RDZs, a total of 4 units, now sit on the forward foundations in the transmitter room. They present quite a sight as one enters the space. The remaining transmitter patch panel module, obtained from the former USS Stark, has bee "un-demilled" and installed in the CA-1100 housing. A multi-conductor cable that once connected the AN/WSC-3 satellite gear to FACCON 2 has been redirected to the CA-1100 for use with the interlock circuits for NJ2BB. These circuits will attempt to keep the FACCON 2 operators from selecting an antenna that the transmitter room group may be using at the time, and vice versa.
The connectors needed to return to service the third NIXIE display in the message handling area arrived from Surplus Sales of Nebraska. Installation was started but the day ended before the work was completed. Restoration of the alarm panel in the message handling area is nearing completion. The next available workday may see the panel come to life.
Meanwhile, in the NJ2BB shack, the donated SB-200 HF amplifier was modified for use with the HF rigs we use. After some on-the-air testing, the amp now resides at HAM-2, reserved for use as part of the MARS station lineup. This amp is in a bypass mode when the AC power switch is in the off position, so it will not affect normal operations from HAM-2.
After more than two years of service the R-1051 receivers in FACCON 1 needed to be re-lamped. These pieces of equipment present quite a sight when viewed from a visitor's perspective.
29 Sept - Much of Saturday's manpower was spent on transferring the recently donated TDZ and RDZ to the transmitter room. Because visitors now use the XO's ladder during their tour, the equipment was moved to 2nd deck via a fantail hatch, then down to 3rd deck at the midship ladder by the Hull Tech shop.
Bob Walters, the ship's archivist, needs help to assemble bookshelves for the technical library on 2nd deck. This library is available for our use.
In the Ham Shack, the "new" TS-440 transceiver gave up the ghost during operations on Saturday. Ed has volunteered to see to the repairs. The good news is that two of the Ham antenna couplers have been repaired. The MFJ had a loose internal wire, while the Drake suffered from stray grease in the mode switch. The MFJ has been returned to its spot at Ham-2. The Drake will be used at HAM-4 once the TS-430, now serving as a replacement at HAM-2, is moved back to the starboard side of the shack.
Another step forward happened late in the day when the wind speed/direction repeater in the shack came to life. This unit will make monitoring the status of this ship's system easier, as well as giving the station operators an idea of the weather. Interestingly, when the repeater came to life, the quarterdeck set "Condition W," for foul weather. Wind speed crept up to 22 knots for several minutes then slowed to 5 knots.
Final good news is the installation of the dedicated phone line for MARS use. One of the classy phones obtained from the USS Inchon is used on this line.
15 Sept - The Saturday work party was abbreviated because of the general meeting and activities that followed. Saturday also saw several cleanup projects completed as well as some work on sponsored projects. Most notable is the increased types of sounds heard on the Navigation Bridge, and another is the Transmitter Room antenna patch panel reconstruction.
The big news of the day is the donation of a Kenwood TS-440 HF transceiver by Ed Clark, W2KP. The rig arrived modified for MARS use and with CW filters installed. A "soft key" card has been obtained so that the rig can key the SB-200 amplifier donated to the station about six weeks ago. The amp has been bench tested and seems functional. The operating position known as "VHF Table" has been renamed to "HAM-4" with the addition of a permanent HF rig to the former VHF table. It will also cause less confusion with the "VHF Room" on the 02 Level.
01 Sept - The turn out for Saturday's work party was expectedly small due to the holiday weekend but the day was very interesting anyway. Ed Clark was able to establish a phone line, using ship's existing phone cables, from the shack to the switch room off Broadway (3 Deck). This line is dedicated for the MARS station phone patch. Jack Shaw is seeing to the landline connection for this circuit.
Up on the Bridge, Ski, with help from Terry and Bill, has a second audio line in operation. As of now the visitors hear river traffic and air traffic control for Philly airport. After Ski had left, Chief Carlson reported that a third amp in the helo control hut is ready for connection to the "Coke machine."
Terry has taken sponsorship of the restoration of transmitter patch panel parts for the transmitter room. These items were rescued from the former USS Stark, but not before the de-mil hammer had been used.
At the end of the workday, sounds of 40 meter amateur and foreign broadcast signals came from the WWII RBC receiver donated five weeks ago. John still needs a couple of parts for the radio, namely a knob for the front panel VFO and both the audio and RF level meters. Help!
We had visits from two former 80's crewmen. First was Dave Salak, a Communications Tech who gave us a tour of SSES. Dave pointed out several changes that happened since his departure form the ship. Interestingly, Dave and his wife, who is also a former CT, live in nearby Lumberton and were on their second visit to the ship. Now that he knows of the interest in a possible restoration of these compartments, Dave promised to search his files for photos or other artifacts of his tour on the Big J.
Our second visit was by Mike DeJean, who in 1982 reported to the radio room directly from radioman school. Mike is stationed in North Jersey as a recruiter. The Senior Chief had numerous tidbits for us, and most importantly is very interested in making return trips to help with the restoration. I'll save the stories for the group meeting in two weeks.
One last item is that the trim for the Ham-2,3 table has been installed and looks good.
25 August - The leak in the AN/URA-38 antenna coupler insulator has been reduced by a very significant amount. Ed modified his repairs in order to eliminate the leak completely. If the unit passes the bubble test this Saturday, it will be left pressurized for another week before being evacuated and recharged with nitrogen.
Bob Westcott, W2MAS, has generously loaned us an RBA receiver with power supply and cable. It's awaiting its turn in "John's world" to be checked out. This receiver, which covers the frequencies 15-600 kHz, is a welcome addition to the RBB and RBC units already on hand.
Another milestone was passed Saturday, thanks to work by Al Lynch, Harry Carlson and Gene Furmanski. As of the end of the workday, the Pilot House/Bridge has live audio from receivers tuned to the Philadelphia airport air traffic control and the Delaware River marine frequencies. The audio adds to the realism of the compartment.
Another sign of success comes from the VHF compartment on 02 level. One on the AN/VRC-46 VHF low-band transceivers came to life with the audio of a 6 meter FM test signal. Late in the day a missing interconnect cable was located for use in the testing of the transmitter. On his next visit, Woody plans to test the transmitter using a dummy load. Thanks to Woody we now have to get busy repairing that defunct antenna up on the yardarm.
The batteries purchased at a recent hamfest were installed in the UPSs we have and some of the computers in the shack are now protected from losing power during short outages. Now there won't be blank screens on the NAVMACS terminals during the week if there is a power outage. Previously, if the ship lost power during the week, the screens would be blank until our people showed up on Saturdays to reset the system.
11 August - The URA-38 antenna coupler located on the port-side wing bridge, a pressurized coupler that feeds the port 35' vertical, has shown signs of a leak since installation. Numerous attempts to "snoop" the leak in place have failed, so Harry, Gene and Ed removed the coupler and carried it to the crew's galley for testing. After pressurizing the coupler with compressed air, the housing was submerged in one of the galley sinks filled with water. Air bubbles were immediately observed exiting via the "bee hive" insulator on the end of the unit. A replacement insulator was tested but with worse results. The original insulator was re-installed on the housing after some silicon sealant was applied to the inside of the "bee hive." Curing time requirements for the sealant prevented testing the repairs last Saturday but testing should be possible this coming weekend.
The often forgotten VHF room on the 02 level was visited by Woody, who has an interest in returning to operation the AN/VRC-46 VHF transceivers contained in that compartment. They had been demilled, but a similar unit obtained during a shipyard raid appears functional. The tech manuals have been located so the job of placing this rig on a 6 meter FM simplex channel is in progress.
The RBC receiver donated to the ship about four weeks ago came to life after some massaging by John. He reports that the radio needs more work but at least it is not a basket case.
Workers continued with the receiver audio switchboard, the transmitter control switchboard, and the red phone in FACCON-1, all with an eye on operating voice (SSB and AM) from FACCON-1.
Last Saturday's JSARS Hamfest netted new batteries for the shack UPS (un-interruptible power supply), and an AZ-EL (azimuth - elevation) mount needed for satellite contacts. This very well-built unit was basically donated by the owner of WYRS radio station, Bob, N2HM.
21 July - Well, Museum Ships Weekend is behind us now and what a great weekend it was. We had a total of 30 operators manning the various stations over the weekend. We were "spotted" on the worldwide packet cluster at least 18 times and the pile-ups were continuous in spite of the relatively poor band conditions.
Here is a breakdown of what we worked:
1004 contacts using 8 different modes
28 Museum ships 49 States - only missing North Dakota
Using all Navy equipment we contacted:
One AM station using RBC receiver and AN/URT-23
18 CW stations using the AN/URT-23 & Harris Receiver
We worked 1 SSB station using all Navy equipment - using R-390 & AN/URT-23
Among the military participants worked during this time was COMLANTFLT HQ in Norfolk VA, making it an all Navy contact. Saturday morning we had a visit from news crews for Channels 3, 6 and 10 from Philadelphia. An interview was conducted by the Courier Post prior to the event for publication during the weekend. For those of you that missed the great TV coverage of our operation, you can go to http://kyw.dayport.com/launcher/1523 to check it out. As you can see from the news film, the operating position set up outside of Radio Central was a big hit giving several children their first introduction to amateur radio. A number of the Boy Scouts and their fathers that visited us on Saturday before their overnight encampment came back on Sunday morning to learn more about the hobby.
During the month leading up to the Museum Ship Event, we've been very busy:
Work on sending live radio audio to the helo control station came to a halt when it was discovered that ship's AC power to that compartment is secured. The ship's electrician will try to have it restored ASAP.
The AN/URA-49 receiver antenna coupler is now fully functional and is used to supply RF to all HF receivers. The URA-49 also provides overload and band-pass filtering for each receiver.
The "bitch box" in the Ham Shack has passed final installation testing and is awaiting its new switch legend. The testing revealed that the TTY and VHF room units are broken and in need of repair.
A new police scanner has been installed in FACCON 1, and is feeding river and airport signals to selected points around the ship. Part of this installation involved repairing the scanner antenna located on the radar platform.
Wire verification of the new RS-232 patch panel has been completed with good results. Construction of RJ-11 to DB-25 adapters is next, followed by on-line testing.
Some cleanup of the TTY and VHF spaces was done with more to follow.
23 June - This past weekend saw the AN/URT-23 transmitter keyed (CW) from FACCON-1. Although a dummy load was used, we believe this is the first time this circuit was used since 1984. The restoration work took three workers about 40 man-hours to trace, repair, modify and test the circuit that runs between the FACCON-1 supervisor's desk and the transmitter via the transmitter control switchboard.
The receiver audio switchboards that reside next to the "coke machine" (SA-2112) are now in service. Though not part of the original BB-62 layout, these boards perform some of the function that the "coke machine" had provided during the 80's configuration, mainly directing radio audio to the numerous small audio amps located near each TA-970 "red phone." The Combat Engagement Center (CEC) Admin area now has sounds of WWV, North Atlantic Air Control, and a local AM broadcast station. OK, the AM station is a stretch, but the ship is in port, and maybe a crewman has a boom box at his work station. More important, notice that three HF receivers in FACCON-1 are in use. Thanks to one of our members, another antenna reaches the AN/SRA-49A coupler in FACCON-1.
Work continues on the internal wiring of the SB-2727 receiver audio switchboard. Several hundred wires down, a few hundred to go.
It appears that the attempts to end teletype tape breakage has worked. The current loops have lasted about five weeks and are still going strong. Obtaining maximum life from these loops is important to the continuing use of the live demonstrations of teletype machines.
"The Other Woman" has been updated with some more pictures.
16 June - The last few days have seen some unusual activity in the vicinity of the NJ2BB shack. First, we have received an Official Observer Report. For those not acquainted with the OO program, this is the self-policing arm of the amateur radio hobby that utilizes qualified amateurs to monitor the hobby's operations in an attempt to head off any negative actions by the Federal Communications Commission. In short, the observers are good guys helping others stay out of trouble. The report, as received by Joe Duffin, stated that on the day monitored, the NJ2BB signal was excellent and the operator was top notch. Further, it was a pleasure to listen to the ship do an excellent job. Well done to Harry Bryant, AA2WN, who was the operator at the time of the report!
Second, after talking with Jack Shaw and Eddie Stewart, the FACCON 1 and 2 cooling unit is being repaired. The word was maybe later this week we would see temperatures in the back rooms drop.
Third, Chris Nardi, curator for the Battleship Massachusetts stopped by for a chat while at the ship for a Naval Symposium. Bob Westcott provided Chris with lots of helpful information on the operation of a WWII radio room in general and some specifics on the BB-62. Before his departure, Chris mentioned a list of WWII equipment that might be available for use in our efforts.
Fourth, NJ2BB was honored by a visit by Paul Stillwell, author of the excellent book "Battleship New Jersey, An Illustrated History". Paul and his brother, also on board for the symposium, stopped by the shack to see our work and visit with his friend Bob Westcott, who is quoted several times in the book.
Fifth, workers managed to continue restoration on the three equipment switchboards in FACCON 1. Topside, Ed Clark traced some serious electrical noise to the speed controller for the chilled water heat exchanger located on the aft ABL deck. On his next visit to the ship, Ed will locate more sources of noise, then devise a plan of attack.
Sixth, during the next two weekends, the ship's maintenance crew plan to weld the T-368 pedestals in position so that the transmitter restoration work can continue.
09 June - Saturday's workforce, though small in number, kept quite busy continuing with the restoration of the receiver audio switchboards, AN/WSC-3 control switchboard, and the AN/FRR-59 HF receiver. One of our newer volunteers brought the second of three Nixie tube displays back to life, but this has left us with a small dilemma. As with the first Nixie display, the worker decides the value shown in the window. For the port-side reading, Bill chose the numerical portion of his original CB license!
Last Tuesday evening the workers from Clean Rite mopped, stripped and waxed the NJ2BB shack deck for us. Prior to the cleaning, all items stored on the deck were removed to other storage points. This cleanup/reorganization continued Saturday with the following results:
1) Tools and parts are no longer stored in the shack. Instead, available drawers in FACCON 1 are being used with locks to be installed or repaired as needed. Not only does this make the shack less cluttered, but it reduces the traffic in and out of the shack. This traffic often interfered with station operators.
2) The 2-door locker in the Message Handling Area no longer holds tools or parts; only cleaning supplies and some often needed equipment manuals or catalogs. Hopefully this change will reduce the "stress" of having to wait for visitors to leave the area before the workers can gain access to items once stored in the locker.
I am sure there will, for a short time, be some confusion as to where an item is now kept, but one look at the shack's new look should sooth the nerves.
At the HAM-2 and HAM-3 operating positions, antenna tuners have been installed at both positions and should be used whenever operating.
And just to show our multi talents, Gene ("Gadget Guy") was able to isolate a fault in the docent's coffee urn and repaired it, averting a crisis that would have occurred if the Joe wasn't flowing on a cold, rainy day.
02 June - The last three Saturdays have saw six new volunteer members, who have been quite busy. During May we had 18-20 workers show up each Saturday, and none of them were idle!
The switchboard modules obtained from the Philadelphia shipyard have been completely stripped of useable parts. While the unneeded leftovers are making their way to the dumpster, the useable items are being placed in their new home. The MD-900 fleet broadcast receiver is in it's proper rack location and appears functional, at least the power indicator and level meter are doing something. The AN/WSC-3 remote controls are lit, thanks to new guy Brian. The circuit from the FACCON-1 CW key to the transmitter room has been reestablish and is almost ready for "CW ops from FACCON-1."
A second Docent camera and monitor has been installed in the message handling area. This new ciruit was made neccesary by the recent change in tour routes. The transmitter room safety camera/monitor is up and running. This allows members in the Ham shack to keep an eye on happenings in the transmitter room.
"Woody" put some time and effort into the Marine backpack radio sitting in the comm center but discovered the internal damage was too extensive for restoration. He now has his eyes on another portable rig onboard. One change that affects operations at the VHF table is the keyboard/video/mouse (KVM) switch resting in front of the APRS monitor. This KVM allows one keyboard to control all four computers associated with the VHF positions. In the near future, this switch will also reduce the number of mice (computer, not four legged) from 4 to 1. Note that as used by NJ2BB, no video passes through the KVM switch.
12 May - The propagation gods were not with us this weekend, which really hampered the our Armed Forces Day operation. The combination of low solar flux and high geomagnetic activity made all contacts very difficult. We only managed to squeak out a couple of contacts with the Military operators from a couple of the U.S. bases. In the FISTS Spring Sprint we logged 40 QSO's for a score of 4032. This operation was also hurt by the very poor band conditions.
Last Saturday's work party was a big surprise, with a head count of 18, with time between the shack and restoration work. We had four new volunteers show up for job assignments. Three were part of the Salem group that operated NJ2BB several weeks ago and decided to make a return visit for a taste of work. The fourth is a new general volunteer who heard about the electronic restoration and stopped by for a peek, a four hour peek.
Work performed by the work party includes energizing the donated HRO receiver mentioned last week, rebuilding receiver and transmitter switchboards, testing two more sets of 1MC alarm cards, repowering the RT-1107 remote control modules, general cleanup of Comm Center, etc.
05 May - The equipment shelf from FACCON-1 was moved to the transmitter room – not an easy task when you realize that the rack had been built in place and weighed several hundred pounds. The ship's ladders, hatches, skyhooks, chainfalls and monorail system helped with the task but shear determination was the driving force. Good job to Ski, Harry, Rubin, Robin, Randy and Lou.
Nancy, Cal and Ralph worked on transferring the guts of receiver audio switchboard modules from shipyard units to those belonging to BB-62. Two down, 12 to go. Robin is nearly finished with the "hi comm" audio amp at the supervisor's desk. His project puts us one step closer to operating "all Navy, all Battleship" CW from FACCON-1. The rest of the guys worked small jobs that needed to be done but would take to many words to describe here.
During the day we took possession of a donated HRO-Sr. This 1940's National HF receiver appears to be in great condition and although not military in nature, should make a nice addition to the Ham side of our efforts onboard the ship.
28 April - Another milestone was achieved Saturday when members in the transmitter room operated CW using one of the AN/URT-23 transmitters and an R-390 receiver. While John monitored the rig, Ed made three contacts using the supervisor's desk as an operating position. Some RF feedback was noticed and attributed to the length of unshielded wire used for the keying circuit. Some members also participated in the "Submarines on the Air" weekend event.
Up in FACCON-1, the gray rack next to the coke machine was relocated, partially disassembled, and now awaits transport to the transmitter room. One of the A&J racks was installed next to the "coke machine" and then loaded with equipment. I must admit that the rack fought us all the way, but in the end it lost the battle.
Ralph finished preparing a transmitter switchboard module for installation in FACCON-1 and is now facing the splicing of 360 wires. Bill has been monitoring the Nitrogen pressure in the AN/URA-38 antenna coupler (portside 35' vertical) in case there is a leak in the housing. There is! Weather permitting we will be "soaping" the unit looking for the leak.
21 April - A very special thanks to all who helped with the shipyard raid this past week. The list of equipment obtained is long and includes circuit cards for the ship's dial telephone system, telephones, audio amps, 1MC alarm cards, receiver audio switchboard modules, transmitter control switchboard modules, equipment racks, 1MC control stations, etc. One item that will make a nice display item is a tube type 500- watt 1MC amplifier and power supply. Thank you to, Gene Furmanski, Dave Mull, Ed Clark, Harry Carlson, Pete Greene, Ebe Helm, Margaret Burgess and "Woody" Woodcock. The next raid is scheduled for October and will need an extra large turnout of BNJARS members.
This past Saturday heard the 1MC spread the word for all radio room crewmen to report to the transmitter room off Broadway. There, the AN/URT-23 transmitter had awakened from its years of sleep to provide W0OOG/5 with bragging rights as the first ham to work the "all Navy, all battleship" station. A few BNJARS members made contacts with the Sub Vets Net before operation was shutdown for the day. "Bravo Zulu" to all the transmitter room workers. A special thanks to John Saracen for his work. Ed Clark has declared next Saturday as the day for the first CW "all Navy, all battleship" contact.
07 April - On Saturday, 05 April, Dave and Margaret Burgess, represented BNJARS at the State's volunteer program recognizing volunteers in a dozen categories. Along with a group of 25 BB-62 crewmen, they accepted the State's award for Mobilization of Volunteers.
Meanwhile, back in the pits, the Broadway crew ran slotted feedline in three of the engineering spaces. One holdup is waiting for a hole to be bored in a bulkhead by ship personnel. In the Ham Shack, a 48-port patch panel was mounted for use as a serial data patch panel. The data will consist of the Packet, CT-network (used for contesting), NAVMACS display, etc., replacing the current rat's nest of wires. "Broken Knee" (Ralph) continued work on the transmitter patch panel module. Only 360 small wires to go!
Down in the transmitter room, some more bugs revealed themselves at the AN/FRR-59 receiver, but word has it that John and Bill are wearing their "Terminex" hats to rid us of the bugs!
31 March - The installation of slotted coax on Broadway continues. The "leaky coax" will permit use of handheld radios below decks. Thanks to a 3" socket, extension and breaker bar, a stubborn stuffing tube gland nut was removed and the cable installed. Work will continue this Saturday.
Up in the CEC Admin space, three more audio amps can now carry live radio room FACCON-1. Next week the rats nest of jumper wires by the Coke Machine will be corrected. Positive comments about the background audio is driving us to include two or three more spaces to the list of things to do.
Restoration of the transmitter switchboard has begun. Parts obtained during last October's one-day raid have been installed in one of the BB-62 modules. Now there are 360 wire ends to terminate inside the cabinet. Hopefully the upcoming raid will supply at least two more assemblies for the switchboard. These modules are part of the "all Navy, all BB-62" project for Museum Ship Weekend (19-20 July 2003).
The FRR-59 HF receiver was safely powered up, but there are still a few bugs to be worked out.
17 March - Two more audio amps now carry live radio audio, one in CEC and another in CEC Admin space next to the CEC. The current sounds are of the WWV time tick, but this will be soon joined by 11.175 MHz military communications as well as VHF river and airport traffic.
The escape scuttle for the shack has been repaired by the ship's maintenance volunteers. We no longer need to jam a section of pipe into the hand-wheel when securing the shack.
The ship's dial phone system repairs and service relocations are progressing. One request that required a couple of hours of labor waited three weeks until the space could be opened to our Saturday workers.
Work on the ship's passive VHF repeater antenna system started with the first pull of "slotted coax" into three sections of Broadway. When completed, this cable will reach into all fire and engine rooms as well as sick bay and have an extension to the weather deck. This system will permit improved VHF communications below deck.
On the operations side, NJ2BB was on air most of the day Saturday. At times, all three HF stations were humming away to the sounds of SSB, CW and PSK. A quick look at the logs show about 50 QSOs. On Sunday, the shack was visited by Salem County ARES/RACES. Rumor has it that the junior member of the group enjoyed his first ever HF contact, followed by the usual mass pileup that results when NJ2BB is spotted on the air waves (resulting in another 30 or so contacts).
10 March - Ed Clark arranged for a group from Southern Counties Amateur Radio Association (SCARA) to operate from NJ2BB the other weekend. They activated 3 HF stations for about 5 hours. They all had a good time and will be planning a return visit. (Check out the pictures on the "Shack" pages of the Other Woman)
For the first time in over 12 years, off-the-air audio from the ship's HF receivers filled the Message Handling Area. The restored audio amps, located above the supervisor's desk, worked the first time they were powered up. Work has moved towards sending audio to CEC, CEC Admin, and the Helo Control Booth.
At the old Quality Monitor System in FACCON 1, another audio amp has been restored to use. This amp and speaker is being used as a tuning aid for the receiver rack. Also back in service is the pair of headphones that have been hanging near the shack gate. These original, hard-wired headphones serve as signal monitoring/tuning aids. This brings the number of audio outputs in FACCON 1 to three. With each device set to a different frequency, the space now sounds like a radio room.
This past weekend BNJARS participated in the Delaware Valley VHF simplex contest. Three operators had to cancel their plans to be onboard for the event but we still had enough operators for the evening.
24 Feb - At the 24 February 2003 BNJARS meeting, the following officers were elected to serve for the next two years:
|President||Harry Bryant, AA2WN|
|Vice-President||Pete Greene, N2LVI|
|Secretary||John Goheen, KB2ADL|
|Treasurer||Lou Priestly, N2HQL|
|Chief Engineer||Dave Burgess, WA2TVS|
|Public Affairs||Joe Cramer, N2XYZ|
|Directors||Margaret Burgess, KB2BRR
Sam Bennett, K2SMB
Eugene Holben, N2WFN
10 Feb - Saturday was a dual-purpose day aboard ship. Harry, AA2WN, organized the participation in the FISTS CW Sprint between 1200 - 1600 EST. We had two stations on the air for the full 4-hour period and made a total of 84 contacts. These contacts included working over 2 dozen different states as well as a couple European FISTS members. Our total score was just under 11,000, which should place us well in the Club entry category. Special thanks to our outstanding operators: Chris WK2W, Dave K2UDA, Wayne WA2VOY.
Last summer, NJ2BB participated in the FISTS CW Club Summer Sprint event, and the FISTS newsletter, The Keynote, lists NJ2BB as the first place winner!
The second part of Saturday was, of course, the work parties. The weather kept the numbers of workers to a minimum but did not completely stop all work.
During the CW Sprint event, Ed noticed that the frequency of Ham-2 changed when both Ham-2 and Ham-3 were keyed at the same time. A quick check with a voltmeter showed line voltage fluctuating badly. Once Ham-2 was powered from a different outlet the problem disappeared. Permanent repairs were made after the event ended.
With the increasing number of NJ2BB (not BB-62) drawings being created, we need a way of storing them. We are looking for the "clamp bar" that was used to hang "E sheet" paper in a vertical position.
Doug McCray, a BNJARS member and Encampment Supervisor, has asked for our help in a project for his overnighters. He wishes to setup a CW demonstration system using code keys, code practice oscillators and speakers located in three separate compartments of the aft part of the ship. One possible setup would use three R-1051 chassis (demil'ed of course) to give a realistic feel to the demo. Someone to sponsor this task from beginning to end is needed. This job can be performed separate from the Saturday work parties; in fact this is a good job for someone who cannot join us on Saturdays. Contact Chief Engineer Dave Burgess if interested. Doug hopes to have this demo on line as soon as possible for the benefit of the overnighters.
Also of interest to someone who cannot make it to the ship on Saturdays is a request from Scott, the ship's curator. He is looking for help setting up the ship's technical library. Work includes sorting, cataloging and shelving the equipment manuals as well as other daily operations of a library. This could be of interest to a spouse who has an interest in the ship but not that "radio stuff."
03 Feb - Last Saturday's workday started off with the news of the Space Shuttle Columbia accident, which cast a dark shadow on the rest of the day. After watching some of the news reports we got to the work of the day.
Most activity revolved around the weekly sponsored jobs, namely 1MC, Red Phones and the receiver audio switchboard. Bob E. made his way to the ship, despite a broken foot, to begin the restoration of the equipment alarm panel that hangs on the aft bulkhead of the Message Handling Area of the radio room. This job is a small version of the 1MC work in that harnesses and circuit boards need rebuilding and will take several Saturday's to complete. When finished, this panel will once again monitor equipment and doors in the electronic spaces.
In the near future we have the rebuild of three audio amps that supply the monitoring speakers in FACCON 1 and the Message Handling Area.
20 Jan - Some needed repairs to the ships dial phones were completed, including one that was not on the original 2001 request list. Wiring changes to the 22MC intercom continued to the point that a test call between the Transmitter Room and the shack was made with good results. An interesting note is that in 1986 when the ET (Electronics Tech) shop was converted to junior officer berthing, the 22MC box was removed from the space and all references to the ET 22MC station became marked as SPARE. That empty slot in the wiring is now used by the Ham shack unit which brings to life a bit of humor. We all think we know what "spare" stands for but the Navy was thinking ahead because the term really stands for "Space Provided for Amateur Radio Equipment."
The Kenwood TS-430 that was donated by an estate but smoked during the 2001 Memorial Day event has been repaired onboard by BNJARS workers and returned to the shack. A quick call netted a Russian station who gave us a good signal report. The next couple of Saturdays will see this rig given a serious on air test session before being declared ready for general use. This rig will probably be used as the Ham-1 rig because of its easy setup/tear down. Remember that HAM-1 is in a non-lockable public area.
The AN/URT-23 is awaiting connection to a receiver and antenna prior to on-the-air testing. Most likely this first QSO will happen during the Feb 1 workday. An announcement will be made via the list if this is going to happen so all interested members can be present for this special, all ship/all Navy event.
13 Jan - The first two Saturday workdays of the new year had some faces not seen onboard for a while. We look forward to seeing you again, sooner than later. All the normal "sponsored jobs," such as the 1MC restoration, continue to make progress.
The reactivation of the red phones on the Bridge continues despite some errors in the ship's system drawings. While tracing cables on the Bridge, a piece of missing equipment was identified and located in our "storeroom." This empty spot on the bulkhead will soon be covered by the proper gear, which can then be awakened by "Gadget-Guy."
Parts have been collected for the re-lighting of the second and third Nixie tube character counters on the Teletype racks. Mounting of the tubes and their sockets should happen this weekend with the following Saturday seeing the friendly orange glow that Nixies are known for.
The T-368 transmitter was moved from the repair desk to an empty spot in the transmitter room. Discussions have begun on a suitable mount/stand for it. The time for putting this 50's vintage rig on the air is getting closer.
Work on the receiver audio switchboard continues. This Saturday may see the last of the switch modules installed. Next will be the rewiring of the internal jumpers.
The wind intensity integrator was found to have a seized shaft and a broken gear tooth. Ray logged the equipment off the ship to his home machine shop where repairs have been completed. Weather permitting he plans to reinstall and adjust the integrator this weekend.
The 22MC station in the shack was tested with the transmitter room unit with good results. The 22MC is a two-way communication system (intercom) that has units in locations of interest to the Radio Room. These include the Transmitter room, TTY shop, VHF room, FACCON 1, radar rooms, Bridge and Pilot House. There are other MC circuits such as the 18MC used for ship's control and the 21MC that has stations from both the 18MC and 22MC. The three intercom circuits are often referred to as "bitch boxes" because of their shape and the tone of voice that might be heard during calls on the circuit.
Other numbered circuits:
11MC #1 Main Battery (16" guns) internal communications
12MC #2 Main Battery (16" guns) internal communications
13MC #3 Main Battery (16" guns) internal communications