Thursday, May 26, 2016

Battleship Iowa "Original" Transmitter/Receiver Update For Museum Ships Weekend

Haven't done a specific post on this topic in a while, and since Museum Ships Weekend is coming up, I figured it was time to let everybody know what's been happening.

As of this time, we have three of the transmitters working. One only puts out a couple of hundred Watts (it has low exciter drive to the final amplifier) and the other two put out approx 1200 Watts PEP when running in SSB mode.

Some of the pix below are courtesy of the excellent Navy Radio website run by Nick, K4NYW.

Nick has been a GREAT help to us, and has visited the Iowa.



We have four operational R-1051 receivers, that have had the "chain belts" replaced with spares we received from the good folks on the USS Midway.

R-1051 Receiver aboard USS America:

If you ever get down to San Diego, please stop in and see the Midway. It's time well spent!

We also have three URR-74 receivers, which are the MILSPEC version of the Watkins-Johnson 8718 receiver. One of those works perfectly, one works but is low on sensitivity, and one works when it wants to.


For antennas on Museum Ships Weekend we'll be using the "Goal Post" or "Bull's Horns" antennas located on the starboard side by the #2 stack for transmitting, and the "Twin Whip" antennas mounted on the bridge deck for receiving.

We have two of the "Red Phones" manually patched through the "Coke Machine"; one on the bridge, and the other in FACCON, which is the correct name for what we call the Comm Center, or "Radio Room".

Red Phone:

Coke Machine:

We've trained up a crew of guys for the transmitter room that will set the transmit frequency and adjust the antenna coupler for minimum reflected power, and we'll have a guy in FACCON to tune the receiver if we have to "QSY", and another guy who will coordinate everybody, and keep the transmitter and receiver crews on the same page, and more importantly, on the same frequency!

Antenna Couplers:

"Goal Post" or "Bull's Horns" Transmit Antenna:

"Twin Whips" (to the right) Receiver Antennas:

We've tested all the gear on the air several times, and except for the fact that the 1051 receivers have a front-end "as wide as a barn door", and aren't the best to use on a crowded Amateur Radio band, everything is working well enough to hit the airwaves on Museum Ships Weekend, which is June 4th and 5th this year.

NI6BB will be on 17 Meters, at the upper end of the band around 18.164MHz, using this gear, which we refer to as the"legacy" equipment, and on the other ham bands using our commercial Ham Radio gear.

We'll be running SSB, CW, and PSK-31 this year, so hope we run into a few of you on the air!


  1. I've been able to contact 5 retired naval vessels so far on SSB, including the Iowa. Thanks from all the operators who like me get a kick from contacting historic ships. K0SIP in CO.

    1. Cool!

      Did you request a QSL from the Iowa?

    2. BTW....we'll be moving to Fort Collins in about a year or so.


Keep it civil, please....

A Bit Of Rearranging In The Electronics Shop

 Since I've been cranking away on projects, I decided to rearrange things on the bench a bit to make it easier to use my test equipment....