Posts Tagged ‘World War’

How I Reunited Two Devils Brigade Canadian and American Veterans of World War Two

In the 1990s while living in eastern Montana, I had the amazing experience of reuniting two soldiers that served in the Devil’s Brigade. They both trained near Helena, Montana.

One day, I was operating on the amateur radio shortwave Ten-Meter band, and a gentleman answered my, “CQ, CQ, CQ, this is N7PMS in Montana, Over”. I took notes of our conversation.

The next day, when again I called for any station to answer my call for a conversation, another fellow, from Canada, answered me. I learned something amazing: Both of these two men mentioned that, during World War Two, they both were in the same special forces unit, training near Helena, Montana.

One of these Veterans served in the Canadian Armed Forces, and the other in the American Armed Forces. Listen to my story, for the full details of this amazing experience I had as an amateur radio operator.

Jump to 3:22 if you wish to skip my introduction to the story, during which I give some background on when and so on:
https://youtu.be/YFMplHjxy6s?t=3m22s

This certainly was one of the most memorable moments in my amateur radio hobby experience! The joy of reuniting friends is good.

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Special_Service_Force:

The 1st Special Service Force (also called The Devil’s Brigade, The Black Devils, The Black Devils’ Brigade, and Freddie’s Freighters), was an elite American-Canadian commando unit in World War II, under command of the United States Fifth Army. The unit was organized in 1942 and trained at Fort William Henry Harrison near Helena, Montana in the United States. The Force served in the Aleutian Islands, and fought in Italy, and southern France before being disbanded in December 1944.

The modern American and Canadian special operations forces trace their heritage to this unit. In 2013, the United States Congress passed a bill to award the 1st Special Service Force the Congressional Gold Medal.

Thank you for watching, and sharing. Comments are welcome: do you have a memorable moment in your radio hobby experience on the air?

73 de NW7US

From Backblocks To High Seas

I came across this great piece of history via the Google+ page of Cristian YO8TNB and had to share it here for others to enjoy. I have a soft spot for New Zealand, being so close to my country of birth, and I particularly noticed the carefully cultured accent of the announcer. On a more serious note, this video is an invaluable record of the wired and wireless technology used in 1939 and the procedures for transmitting a message from land to sea.

Hellschreiber and microprocessors – Bridging more than 80 years

ZL1HIT (Bryan Rentoul) has bridged a gap of more than 80 years by combining the text transmission system developed by Rudolf Hell in the late 1920’s with current microprocessor technology.

A sample of received Hellschreiber test from Bryan’s beacon

Hellschreiber sends a line of text as a series of vertical columns. Each column is broken down vertically into a series of pixels, normally using a 7 by 7 pixel grid to represent characters. The data for a line is then sent as a series of on-off signals to the receiver, using a variety of formats depending on the medium, but normally at a rate of 112.5 baud.

This process was historically accomplished with mechanical equipment but there are very few examples of this equipment still in operation and it is now sent and received by computer. Hellschreiber is very tolerant of noise and interference and requires only simple transmitters and receivers to work effectively.

German Hellschreiber unit in operation

With a microprocessor generating the digital on-off signals a simple crystal oscillator transmitter can be used to form a beacon station, one that transmits a call sign and perhaps some other information over and over. Changing the transmitted message is as simple as reprogramming the microprocessor or having it respond to a connected input, for Eg. A thermometer, light sensor, switch, etc.

Receiving the signal and decoding requires a radio receiver capable of CW reception and a computer running any of several free software packages like FLdigi or Digital Master 780.

The ZL1HIT beacon using a PIC microprocessor and a simple crystal oscillator transmitter.

For more information and the PIC microprocessor source code please visit the web page of Bryan Rentoul here : ZL1HIT Hellschreiber / PIC Beacon


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