500KHz Lives Again – 2014 Night of Nights

Courtesy: Maritime Radio Historical Society

This year's annual Maritime Radio Historical Society's event, to mark the anniversary of the end of maritime CW in 1999, will take place Sunday, July 13, from 0001Z until 0700Z (Saturday, July 12, from 1701 until midnight PDT). This year's event may be historic in itself in that it will likely be the final year for any of the U.S. Coast Guard stations to ever be heard again on CW, as the equipment and wiring for this mode is now being dismantled.

Courtesy: Maritime Radio Historical Society

Commercial CW land station transmitters from WLO (Mobile, AL), KLB (Seattle, WA), KFS (San Francisco, CA), KPH (Bolinas, CA) and KSM (Pt. Reyes, CA) should be active near 500KHz as well as on HF.

 (late update: due to operator illness, KLB will not be participating)

USCG stations NMC (Bolinas/Pt. Reyes), NMQ (Cambria /Pt. Reyes) and NMW (Astoria / Pt. Reyes) will also be transmitting below 500KHz as well as on HF. QSL's confirming reception of CG stations as well as for K6KPH and KSM will be available following the event.

K6KPH, the MRHS's amateur radio station located at the Pt. Reyes, CA site, will also be active on the HF bands during the event.

For a nice historical 'look back', the MRHS has some great stories associated with HF and MF maritime operations. Further details of the event detailing times and exact frequencies are available from MRHS newsletter #45.

Lastly, if you never had the opportunity to listen to '500' back in its heyday then you will surely enjoy this recording made by K2NP in March,1966 and presented with thanks to N1EA. Listening to this 500KHz action reminds me of 20m CW during the annual DX contest! What land stations can you identify in the pileups? Hopefully, when all North American amateurs gain access to the band, it will sound like this once again.

Steve McDonald, VE7SL, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from British Columbia, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

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