Working K6KPH Maritime Radio Historical Society

Ring….. ring……. ring

“Talk to me.” Using the caller ID on his phone, my mentor Jim Cluett, W1PID, knew it was me calling.

“Jim, guess who I just worked! K6KPH!!! The Maritime Radio Historical Society!”

The Maritime Radio Historical Society has a rich heritage.

The Maritime Radio Historical Society has a rich heritage.

“Tim, that’s great! Congratulations. Many operators love to work them.”

I was just ten days into my CW (Morse code) journey whereas Jim has been doing it for over fifty years. This conversation with K6KPH was only my thirteenth CW QSO – that’s the q-sign acronym ham operators use to define a conversation between two radio operators.

When I first copied the call sign of the radio operator, K6KPH meant nothing to me. I went to to look up who he was. I thought I had made contact with some operator in Wisconsin or maybe Michigan. Or, it could have been someone in Pennsylvania or New York.

That’s who I’ve been snagging in my net for the past ten days.

Here's what I saw when I went to WOW!

Here’s what I saw when I went to WOW!

When I saw the name under the call sign at, I about jumped out of my chair!

I couldn’t push the redial button fast enough on my phone to tell Jim. He’s asked me to either email him or call him on the phone each time I make a contact using Morse code.

Jim is trying to teach me as fast as possible much of what he knows about this glorious method of communication. CW is pure, it’s universal and it’s fun. Many people roll their eyes about Morse code, but believe me, it’s alive and vibrant.

“It’s like drinking from a fire hose,” Jim will commonly say. There’s just so much to learn.

The past ten days I’ve had my ups and downs because I can’t copy the code – that means translate it as I hear it – as fast as I would like to. I get frustrated as you might imagine.

But this afternoon, the experienced operator picked out my CQ CQ CQ signal from 3,000 miles away and decided to answer me back. How cool was that? I’m sure many other stations were trying to do a QSO with him, and they were much more experienced.

Working K6KPH bolstered my confidence. It was one of the high spots for sure of the past ten days. I’ll be sending them a QSL card on Monday for sure!

Here’s the QSL card I received from them in February, 2014.

This is the official QSL card from K6KPH confirming my QSO. It was very exciting to see it in the mail!

This is the official QSL card from K6KPH confirming my QSO. It was very exciting to see it in the mail!

Night of Nights

The folks that keep K6KPH alive do an annual remembrance of the glory days of Maritime HF radio. It’s called the Night of Nights. Here’s Denice Stoops “DA” sending the closing message using a bug.

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