Reports from NMO - A Typical Night

Copyright © 1994 by Jeffrey Herman - All Rights Reserved

This part differs from the previous in that what follows will be an actual log of signals copied during a typical one hour.

During our training at Coast Guard Radioman School (Petaluma, CA) we were advised to attempt to log *everything* we heard. Well, that was an impossible task due to the volume of calls passing over the seas nightly! (Keep in mind that only short calls were permitted on 500 - as soon as contact was made one was to quickly move to a working frequency). What you'll see in the following log consists of only about 10-25% of the signals transmitted.

The log consisted of 3 columns: The actual signals copied, the frequency, and the time. A slash: / was used to indicate a break between two transmissions, *except* when it was actually sent over the air to indicate two frequencies - you'll see ``454/440'' meaning ``you send on 454 kc and I'll send on 440 kc'' (the -..-. is actually sent).

Ships had a choice of using 425, 454, 468, or 480 kc as their working frequencies, while shore stations were only assigned one working freq, usually near one of the above, so in order to work duplex one of the above, which was closest to the shore's freq, would be used by a ship.

Everything you see will be actual transmissions except:

1. When preceeded by OPNOTE (= operator's note)

2. The BEGIN or END SILENT PERIOD entry.

3. The NO SIGS entry (meaning no signals heard in last 5 min.) Notice the generous use of `dit dit' (and us hams probably thought *we* invented it!). In the log it is indicated by `EE'.

RADIO LOG U.S. COAST GUARD COMMSTA HONOLULU: NMO

RADIO DAY: 17 JULY 1979

POSITION: MF CW (500KC / 600M)

OPNOTE: RM3 J.D. HERMAN ON WATCH, OPS NML 0800Z

OPNOTE: OBTAINED WWVH TIME TICK - CLOCK CORRECT 0801Z

VVV VVV TEST TEST DE NMO GE / GE / GE ... 500 0802Z

3WLM 3WLM 3WLM DE ZLW ZLW HW? / ZLW DE 3WLM QRU? / R 480/488 / OK UP / UP / EE / EE 500 0803Z

CQ CQ CQ DE VIA VIA VIA FOR TFC LIST QSW 446 AR 500 0804Z

KOK KOK KOK KOK KOK KOK KOK / DE / KOK KOK KOK KOK KOK / LID / KOK KOK KOK / DE / KOK DE FJNB FJNB DE KOK GE UP / R UP / EE / EE 500 0806Z

JKPN JKPN DE JLRT JLRT / JLRT DE JKPN QTH? / NW AM 1500 KM SAILING 153 DEG OUT OF TOKYO / JLRT DE NMO PSE QSY / SRI NMO / JKPN DE JLRT UP 512 / UP 500 0807Z

OPNOTE: STATIC CRASHES ARE EAR-SPLITTING TONIGHT 0810Z

CLA CLA CLA DE 7XMC 7XMC K / 7XMC DE CLA GE / GE OM DO U HV SOUTH PACIFIC WX BETWEEN 20 ES 30 S W OF 180? / NOT YET - WILL HV IN 30 MIN - LSN FER OUR CQ / OK TKS / SEEU / SU 500 0814Z

BEGIN SILENT PERIOD 500 0815Z VVV / SP / SRI 500 0816Z

TTT TTT TTT CQ DE VIM VIM VIM CYCLONE WRNG NR 17 QSW 428 UP / TTT TTT TTT CQ DE VIS VIS VIS CYCLONE WRNG NR 17 QSW 460 AR 500 0817-18Z

END SILENT PERIOD 500 0818Z

FUM FUM FUM DE KNLW KNLW OBS K / KNLW DE XSU FUM QRT TIL 0900 K / R HV OBS K / OK UP 480/488 K / R UP / EE / EE 500 0820Z

CQ CQ CQ DE ZDLK ZDLK BT ANI ONE HV 0700 HYDROPAC BCST? / ZDLK DE DJKV R UP 480 HW? / OK / EE / EE 500 0824Z

NMC NMC DE WRTY WRTY / WRTY DE NMC GE / GE I NEED NTM NR 12-384 K / R UP 425/428 K / R UP / EE / EE 500 0827Z

TTT TTT TTT DE KNLH KNLH KNLH BT HAZARD TO SHIPPING LOST CONTAINER OVERBOARD QSS 425 UP 500 0830Z

OPNOTE: SHIFTED TO 425 KC TO COPY KNLH'S MSG 0830Z

OPNOTE: KNLH LOST CONTAINER IN POSN 43.48N 135.81W - INFO PASSED TO RCC FOR DISTRICT 12 NTM 0831-33Z

KNLH DE NMO QSL WILL PASS UR MSG TO SAN FRAN K / NMO DE KNLH R TU OM NIL VA / DE NMO SU VA / EE / EE 500 0834Z

CQ CQ CQ DE CLA CLA CLA FOR SOUTH PAC WX ES NAV WRNGS QSW 470 AR 500 0835Z JNA JNA JNA DE JNTS JNTS NW ARR TOYKO K / JNTS DE JNA QSL QRU K / QRU VA / EE / EE 500 0837Z CQ CQ CQ DE KPH KPH KPH TFC LIST ES WX 512 AR 500 0840Z

BEGIN SILENT PERIOD 500 0845Z

XXX XXX XXX DE 9FJT 9FJT 9FJT BT ENGINE ROOM FIRE NOW EXTINGUISHED NO POWER DIW NEED ASSISTANCE 28.38S 28.38S 165.55W 165.55W / 9FJT 9FJT DE VIB VIB QSL UP 425/430 K / VIB DE 9FJT R UP / EE / EE 500 0847-49Z

OPNOTE: SPVR NOTIFIED OF 9FJT'S XXX 0849Z SILENT PERIOD ENDED AT 0848Z 0850Z

CQ CQ CQ DE NRV NRV NRV WX AND CG MARINE INFO BCST QSW 435 KC AR 500 0850Z

NMO NMO DE KPDR OBS K / KPDR DE NMO UP 454/440 K / R UP / EE / EE 500 0854Z

KPDR DE NMO GE K / NMO DE KPDR GE OBS QRV? / R AA 99 440/454 0855Z OPNOTE: RCVD OBS FROM KPDR 454 0856Z

KPDR DE NMO QSL QRU? K / NIL TU OM SU VA / SEEU VA / EE / EE 440/454 0856Z

CQ CQ CQ DE XJA XJA XJA FOR WESTERN PACIFIC WX QS / CQ CQ CQ DE 5JA 5JA 5JA TFC LIST AND WX QSW 4 / CQ CQ CQ DE KFS KFS KFS TFC LIST Q / CQ CQ CQ DE / 500 0900Z / LID / UR A LID / AM NOT / ARE TOO 500 0902Z

XXX XXX XXX CQ DE 7JN 7JN 7JN OVER DUE FISHING VSL QSW 441 AR 500 0905Z

5LVW 5LVW DE / ? / 5LVW DE / ? DE 5LVW SRI OM NO COPY / UP 8361 KHZ / R UP / EE / EE 500 0909Z

NPQM NPQM DE NOJ NOJ / NOJ DE NPQM 12 MHZ IS WASTED QSY 8 MHZ RTTY / NPQM DE NOJ OK / EE / EE 500 0912Z

BEGIN SILENT PERIOD 500 0915Z TTT TTT TTT CQ DE XSA XSA XSA UNMARKED SHOAL REPORTED QSW 448 KHZ AR 500 0917Z

XXX XXX XXX DE ONJK ONJK ONJK DH MEDICO CREWMAN WITH APPENDICITIS K / ONJK DE VIB UP 454/441 K / VIB DE ONJK R TKS UP / EE / EE 500 0917-18Z

END SILENT PERIOD 500 0918Z

What you see above is a typical one hour period of evening Pacific signals transcribed with, again, at most 25% of the transmissions logged. You noticed the exchanges were short (with operators quickly moving off 500 kHz to a working frequency) and informal with generous use of pleasantries such as TU = thank you, TKS = thanks, SU = SEEU = see you, OM = old man, GE = good evening and of course the ever present `dit dit'. Note the prosign VA is the ham's SK. The 0900 entry was typical for the top of the hour - a dozen CQ's being sent at once!

The idea of 500 kHz being an international calling *and* distress frequency was finalized at the 1932 Madrid Radio Conference (see Schroeder 1964). I find it a shame that amateurs never implemented the idea of a calling frequency on each band which everyone would monitor, in which short station-to-station calls and CQs could be made, with parties moving to another frequency for the QSO.

Two-meter repeaters come close to this idea but operators fail to QSY off the repeater to try to work simplex. Oh well - something about Old Dogs, New Tricks