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First licensed in 1965 as WA1DRS, upgraded to Amateur Extra in 1967 to avoid the necessity of relearning all the subdivisions, obtained secondary call N1EA in 1978, and when FCC dropped secondary call sign assignments, kept N1EA. I Hold FCC First Class Radiotelegraph, and First Class Radio Telephone Licenses and worked in broadcast and at Marine Coast Stations. Also hold U.S. Coast Guard License as Radio Officer, and sailed from 1980 until 1993 on various ships.

In 1980 while serving on the USA flagged tanker "WILLIAMSBURGH" Jim Pfister, NS1L and myself answered the SOS from the passenger ship PRINSENDAM, a Holland-America cruiser bound for the Orient which was burning out of control south of Valdez, Alaska, in the Gulf of Alaska. All 535 Passengers and crewmenbers were rescued from lifeboats from the chilling waters of the Gulf. These Morse signals were heard throughout the Pacific Ocean - even as far away as New Zeland at ZLB. A 35 year vetern at RCA's San Francisco Radio/KPH was kind enough to comment that he had never heard such professional communications in all his years. I am glad that Mr. Pfister and myself held up the tradition of our many qualified Radio Officers who have given their skills to save lives at sea. There were over 300 logs kept by these Radio Officers who monitored our communications and stood by to assist us in any way. To any of them that read this I thank you.

The satelite communications on the Prinsendam failed during the SOS and all communications was carried on by a 40 watt battery transmitter and battery receiver. SSB and VHF-FM didn't attract any ships to help either! The only thing that got help was 500 kHz CW! Once again Morse got through! Later, the Coast Guard would try to say that the maximum distance that 500 kHz was 100 miles under any conditions. During the daylight hours, I passed traffic with Seattle Radio/KLB on that night and stations as far away as San Francisco copied our Distress traffic during the day. Radio Officers could under good conditions work 1200 nautical miles ship-to-ship in daylight hours on 500 kHz, and much longer at night. This was fascinating communication, one that is both an art and a science.

In 1988 I and Jim Pfister, NS1L, were awarded the "Marconi Gold Medal" for our work during this rescue.

I am interested in any recordings of Marine Stations for inclusion in a CW CD for history. If you have any a copy would be appreciated!


7781 Last modified: 2011-08-20 20:38:28, 2537 bytes

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