Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by N1BCG, Jul 3, 2021.

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  1. N1BCG

    N1BCG Ham Member QRZ Page

    I was going though some old reel to reel recordings I made back in the 70s and came across this CW transmission from a SW dial scan (kids record the darndest things). For fun, I thought I'd try my ear at copying the message, but it didn't seem to make any sense:



    Slowing it down didn't help at all:


    The QR sounds like a prosign but I couldn't find any record of this. It could be QRU which would make sense with the ? that follows.

    Anyone have any idea what this was?
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2021
    WB4BIN likes this.
  2. K5DH

    K5DH Ham Member QRZ Page

    QRU? is a standard prosign which means, "Do you have anything for me?".
  3. N0NC

    N0NC Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    You must have been listening on the maratime bands. COMMCOM Chesapeake, Virginia: call sign NMN.
    Sending there callsign and asking for traffic would be my guess. Maybe @W5BIB could probably explain further.

    73, Chuck
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  4. W5BIB

    W5BIB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    That's what it was. Automatic Morse (The "Wheel") @ about 27wpm with proper spacing.
    NMN NMN GM QRU? NMN NMN NMN K - ie; "This is (NMN) Coast Guard Radio Chesapeake, Va. (GM) good morning (QRU?) does anyone have any traffic IMI (?) //repeats until a ship calls him//

    //From Wikipedia//
    History of Coast Guard shore stations
    The first Coast Guard shore stations were established after 1924, when the Coast Guard's mission expanded. The first shore station was at Rockaway Point Coast Guard Station, located at Fort Tilden, New York; and the network expanded to Nahant, Massachusetts; New London, Connecticut; Cape May, New Jersey; Cape Henry, Virginia (with the call sign NMN); Fernandina, Florida; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Mobile, Alabama; San Francisco, California; San Pedro, California; Port Angeles, Washington; and Anacortes, Washington in the 1930s.

    The network expanded even further in the 1940s, adding radio station NMH in Washington, D.C, among others. However, in the 1970s, the increasing use of automation caused the number of stations to contract. In 1976, for example, NMN (then at Communication Station (COMMSTA) Portsmouth) assumed the duties of NMH in Washington, and took over remote operations from Miami in 1993, Boston (NMF) in 1996, and New Orleans in 1998.

    With the introduction of the computer-assisted Rescue 21 system, the ability of the Coast Guard to provide coverage on the marine VHF band in marginal areas has increased.

    Assignments [Before the USCG ceased Morse Radio Operations in 1996]
    There are several Coast Guard radio stations responsible for operating more than one station or with a wide area of responsibility.

    Communication Command (COMMCOM) is located on the site of U.S. Naval Security Group Northwest (near Newport News, Virginia), and has a staff of approximately 100 people. COMMCOM provides technical communications assistance and training to other Coast Guard units. It operates the following stations:

    • COMMCOM Chesapeake, Virginia: call sign NMN (directly)
    • RCF Miami, Florida: call sign NMA (remotely)
    • RCF Boston, Massachusetts: call sign NMF (remotely)
    • RCF New Orleans, Louisiana: call sign NMG (remotely)
    • RCF Point Reyes, California: call sign NMC (directly)
    • RCF Honolulu, HI: call sign NMO (remotely)
    Communication Command Detachment Kodiak (COMMDET Kodiak) reports to COMMCOM and is responsible for communications in the Alaska area of operation and operates

    • COMMDET Kodiak, AK: call sign NOJ (directly)
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2021
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  5. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Aliens trying to contact Earthlings.:):p
  6. K8JD

    K8JD Ham Member QRZ Page

    At First glance it sounded like a hamfisted ham breaking up his letters (like "NN MA...NN MA" supposed to be a CQ CQ call) !
  7. K1LKP

    K1LKP Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    HATS OFF.jpg

    write THANK TOU.gif
  8. WA1GXC

    WA1GXC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Late 60s, 70s, early 80s the active Coast Guard radio stations on East Coast engaged with commercial shipping would
    be CG Radio Stations Boston/NMF, Norfolk/NMN, and Miami/NMA. NMH-- CGRADSTA WASHDC was Headquarters
    and was not tasked with nor communicated with merchant ships--only communications to CG ships and units, and foreign
    military ships of the International Ice Patrol and military ships assigned duty as Ocean Station Vessels. I used to copy their broadcasts
    regularly, 100 WPM radioteletype [military 'RATT'] 850 Hz shift. Iceberg warnings to all CG/OSV and operational messages to the N.Atlantic
    Ocean Station Vessels[O S V]--Callsigns 4YB, 4YC, 4YD, 4YE (If I remember, it went all the way to 4YF). The OSV were an obsolete legacy of early
    post-WW II aviation where engine failures and just having a bad day was part-and-parcel of flying across the Atlantic. Both Atlantic and Pacific oceans
    had ships sitting in a 20 nautical mile or so "box" which underlay the typical North Atlantic aircraft routes to-and-from Europe (and Pacific). The Ocean
    Station and Int'l Ice Patrol task usually rotated year-t0-year among countries, but around here it was usually USCG and Canadian Forces
    manning the jobs.

    As far as the CG radio stations--Most traffic handled on M/F (500kHz calling freq. to establish, then move-off to working freqs)
    and 8 MHz, usually good for much of the North Atlantic for most of the 24 hours. The CG stations were sending their marker tape to solicit
    messages from merchantmen, specifically Weather Observer messages (OBS) and AMVER messages. AMVER (A utomated M utual-assistance
    VE ssel R escue System) was a voluntary, then compulsory system whereby the ship filed a 'float-plan'. Useful for sending other vessels to aid
    in distress but more commonly with medical emergencies. Participation also allowed the ship to breeze-through cumbersome US regulations
    requiring ship Master to certify no crewmembers had communicable diseases--The Coast Guard would accept a message without charge and forward
    to the Port Captain for a "Free Pratique"-- Clearance for unrestricted passage to port.

    Callsign prefix 4-YANKEE is assigned to International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) of the UN--Although these were military ships of
    the US and Canada, in that role they were acting as agents of the UN and CG Headquarters addressed them in that manner.


    Last edited: Jul 4, 2021
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  9. N1BCG

    N1BCG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thank you for the inspiring answers! They led to hours of reading about maritime communications back in the day. It's great to solve mysteries especially when they unlock a trove of interesting additional information.

    Not only was it fun to hear those recordings for the first time since my pre-teens, but to now know what some of those mesmerizing sounds were... priceless.
  10. WA1GXC

    WA1GXC Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm pleased it piqued your interest to read more. That always makes me happier than anything...

    This being the Fourth of July, not to be too heavy-handed but to suggest we all read more about our history and sadly, generally unknown
    sacrifices of others......

    During WW II [and prior to the US entry into the War] the men who crewed the US Merchant Marine ships in convoy duty across the
    North Atlantic and Pacific were all volunteers, and by War's end suffered death and injury at a higher rate per-capita than any of the US Armed
    Forces including the US Marine Corps . They were afforded no government death benefits, no Federal disability credits on their taxes, no G.I. Bill
    benefits--No nothing. Paid-off the ship for a train-ticket home.

    I was honored to have worked with a gentleman, now gone, named Evon Higgins - Sine "HG". . He signed-on to the US Maritime Service
    at the beginning of WW II and was sent to the USMS Station on Gallup's Island, Boston, to be trained as a ship Radio Officer. He subsequently
    made a number of passages of the N. Atlantic. He, like many of his generation, didn't talk about it very much and certainly didn't call attention
    to his part in the big picture. But I often think about, and well-up, when I recall a casual mention of his one day during a coffee break, talking of his
    days in the War, when he said, "At night on 500 [kHz], you could hear the Auto-Alarms [signal sent prior to executing a SOS transmission]
    all the way across to the Med. Guys getting torpedoed."

    In addition to SOS, there were a number of special additional 4-letter groups attached to warn others in the convoy.

    MMMM- Mines
    QQQQ- Disguised enemy merchant raider- - "Q" Ship


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