Coast Station KSM

The call letters KSM were originally assigned to a station of the Robert Dollar Company.  The station was located near Los Angeles.  It operated on 500kc and eight frequencies in the HF band.  When the MRHS was granted its own commercial coast station license we were very pleased to find that we had been assigned this historic call sign.


Note: KSM may be contacted directly by phone when the station is in operation to file radiograms, provide signal reports or coordinate schedules.  Or to just say howdy!  The phone number is +1 415-669-9646.

KSM is a commercial, common carrier coast station in the grand tradition of KPH and the dozens of other such stations that once existed in the USA. When the license for KPH was sold to Globe Wireless the MRHS felt it needed its own coast station to carry on the traditions and preserve the skills of the art of maritime radio through actual use.

KSM uses the original transmitters, receivers and antennas of KPH. The station is licensed for communications with ships at sea using both CW and RTTY modes in the MF and HF marine bands. KSM accepts traffic from ships at sea for onward transmission to addressees ashore. No charge is made for this service.

KSM Frequencies (in kc)

CW:

426
500
4350.5
6474.0
8438.3
12993.0
16914.0
22445.8

RTTY:

6328.0

8433.0
12631.0

KSM uses two modes of "RTTY": Baudot and FEC. Baudot transmissions are at 170cps shift, 45 baud. FEC transmissions are at 170cps shift, 100 baud.

On CW, KSM broadcasts its "wheel" (a repeating message inviting ships to call and giving the frequencies being used). When working ships, the KSM operator will key all frequencies so listeners will be able to hear the shore side of the contact no matter what frequency they are monitoring. All maritime radio operations are duplex. Once the ship makes contact with KSM it will shift from the calling to a working frequency. The KSM operator will repeat this frequency so listeners can attempt to hear the ship. KSM sends high seas weather for the Pacific at 2130gmt at 25wpm.

On RTTY, KSM broadcasts marine weather and press information alternating between the two modes listed above.

Ship Calling Frequencies (in kc)

KSM operators monitor 500kc and ITU calling channel 3 in all HF bands.  Listeners who wish to monitor both sides of an exchange between KSM and a ship may wish to tune to the ship frequency as well as KSM. 

The ITU channel 3 frequencies used by ships are:

4184.0
6276.0
8368.0
12552.0
16736.0
22280.5

Hours of Operation

KSM is normally on the air each Saturday from 1700GMT to 2300GMT.

Press and Weather

KSM transmits free press and weather every Saturday on all HF Morse and RTTY frequencies and on 426kc MF.  Morse begin at 1700gmt, RTTY transmissions begin at 1800gmt.  KSM teleprinter broadcasts (press and then weather) are sent first on Baudot and then repeated using FEC (usually in the order weather and then press).  Pacific high seas weather is repeated on Morse only at 2130gmt.

Traffic List/Message Service

The KSM traffic list is broadcast each Saturday at 2100gmt on all HF Morse frequencies and on 426kc MF.  KSM will deliver your message to any email address free of charge.

Guest Operators/License Endorsement

Visitors holding a commercial radiotelegraph operator license of any class are welcome to "sit the circuit" at KSM.  You'll have the opportunity to send messages and announcements and work ships if you wish.  You can also have your license endorsed for having served as a radiotelegraph operator at a commercial coast station.  KSM is the last station in the US where this experience can be gained.  While current radiotelegraph licenses no longer have a space for endorsements on the reverse side, the MRHS Chief Operator will type your endorsement on the station mill and sign it.

Further Information

Updated schedule and frequency information is distributed via the MRHS mailing list. To join the list send an email message to Radiomarine-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

You can also contact KSM directly by email at: KSM@radiomarine.org

Reception Reports:

Send your KSM reception reports to:

MRHS

PO Box 392
Point Reyes Station, California 94956
USA

Normal Transmitting Equipment List

 

STATION   FREQ.   TRANSMITTER               ANTENNA 

                Kc/s 

 

CW Transmissions

KSM          426/500   A7 Henry MF-5000D       Marconi-T
KSM             4350.5  B1 Henry HF-5000D          EDZ*

KSM             6474     B2 Henry HF-5000D          EDZ
KSM             8438.3  B3 Henry HF-5000D         EDZ
KSM           12993     B4 Henry HF-5000D         H/2
KSM           16914     B6 Henry HF-5000D         H/2
KSM           22445.8  D3 Henry HF-5000D         H/2

For Special Occasions, Visitor Demo, as noted
KSM            6474     251 RCA ET-18A               EDZ

KSM          12993     KFS 12B  PW-15                H/2

K6KPH       7050      271 RCA ET-18A         EDZ  

KSM Teleprinter Transmissions

KSM             6328.0  A2 Henry HF-5000D         EDZ

KSM             8433.0  A3 Henry HF-5000D         EDZ
KSM           12631.0  A4 Henry HF-5000D         H/2

CW on Amateur frequencies

K6KPH       3550       A1 Henry HF-5000D   EDZ
K6KPH       7050       D2 Henry HF-5000D   EDZ
K6KPH     14050       D1 Henry HF-5000D   H/2
K6KPH     18097.5    B5 Henry HF-5000D   H/2
K6KPH     21050       D4 Henry HF-5000D   H/2

(Note- for Code Proficiency and Field Day Bulletin transmissions, K6KPH operates on the W1AW CW frequencies of: 3581.5, 7047.5, 14047.5, 18097.5 and 21067.5.)

 

Teleprinter on Amateur Frequencies

K6KPH         7095.0  A2 Henry HF-5000D         EDZ
K6KPH       14095.0  A4 Henry HF-5000D         H/2



*(EDZ = Extended Double Zepp).  All transmitter output power is 3-4kW, except PW-15 5kW and
K6KPH 1.5kW.

 

ALL TRANSMITTING AND RECEIVING GEAR IS ORIGINAL KPH OR KFS STATION EQUIPMENT LOVINGLY RESTORED AND MAINTAINED BY THE MRHS

 

sjh  051011

 

 


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KSM maintains the tradition of providing a press service by providing the Wheelhouse Weekly from the Masters Mates & Pilots and the Telex Times from the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association via its transmitters in Bolinas, CA.  This notice of a frequency change for the ARA press appeared in the January/February 1953 issue of The ARA Log union magazine.  We at one time broadcast the ARA press but sadly the ARA has discontinued that service.

The news of the world was transmitted to ships at sea on a subscription basis by stations like KPH.  Here's the front page of the Ocean Press as printed aboard SS MANHATTAN on 24 June 1934.  It is this tradition that KSM upholds today with its free press transmissions.  We hear great stories of ace operators copying press aboard ship at 40wpm with the pressman banging on the wireless cabin door demanding copy so he can meet his deadline for publication of the on board paper.  It's easy to picture that scene.