QSO Today interview Richard Dillman, W6AWO, on the Maritime Radio Historical Museum

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by 4Z1UG, Feb 12, 2019.

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  1. 4Z1UG

    4Z1UG Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Strowger Switch.PNG
    Richard Dillman, W6AWO, is the founding member of the Maritime Radio Historical Society, where they preserve the skills, traditions, and folklore of maritime telegraph operators, from the California Bay Area coastal station, KSM. The “Summer of Love” brought Richard to California, in the Sixties, to pursue broadcast engineering and a 30 year career with Greenpeace. W6AWO is my QSO Today.

    Show Notes: http://www.qsotoday.com/podcasts/W6AWO

    Podcast Link: http://traffic.libsyn.com/qsotoday/Episode_236_Richard_Dillman_W6AWO_Final.mp3

    iTunes Store: http://goo.gl/CvLNmV

    Stitcher: http://goo.gl/uhf1XZ

    Or say, “Alexa, play the QSO Today Podcast on TuneIn”

    Richard was an early "PhonePhreak". The picture is of a Strowger switch used in early telephone central office direct call systems. Richard and I discuss phone pheaking and Strowger switches in the episode. A link to more on Strowger switches at http://www.qsotoday.com/podcasts/W6AWO on Richard's show notes page.
    KQ6XA and K7PJP like this.
  2. KQ6XA

    KQ6XA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Fascinating interview with RD. (W6AWO)
    This episode of the podcast is highly recommended!

    It includes origin stories about the famous KPH station and the early days of Greenpeace HF radio operations.
  3. 4Z1UG

    4Z1UG Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    It does indeed. Thanks for listening.
    KQ6XA likes this.
  4. KQ6XA

    KQ6XA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hearing all the Greenpeace radio operating stories told by Richard W6AWO in this interview made me reminisce about my ham friends who were involved with Greenpeace. Two of the hams that I elmered, went on to become radio operators in the Atlantic campaigns on the first Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior vessel (yes that Rainbow Warrior ship that was sunk in a New Zealand harbour with a bomb by the government of France in Opération Satanique).

    We had many skeds with Greenpeace vessels in the Atlantic during the late 1970s - early 80s, on the ham bands. The skeds I remember were on 21332 kHz and 21442 kHz USB, but other frequencies on 20 meters were also utilised.

    Photo of Mark Long WA4LXC, G5DEM, Rainbow Warrior Radio Operator.

    Mark Long WA4LXC, my dear old friend and co-author. WA4LXC (aka Stringbean) was an early Radio Operator for Greenpeace aboard Rainbow Warrior in the 1970s. When the vessel's main radio room was seized and padlocked by Icelandic Coast Guard during an anti-whaling action, some of the the crew was taken to jail, and others were held on board under guard in their quarters. Before that mission, I had modified some Teaberry CB SSB transceivers over to the 15 metre ham band (20W PEP), and WA4LXC took one along as a spare radio in his sea bag. He ended up secretly dropping 11 feet of wire antenna out of his cabin porthole while they were captive in Reykjavik harbour, and we worked him on 21332 kHz... he gave us a firsthand report that we recorded on cassette, and relayed to AP wire service. Thus the news of Iceland capturing the Rainbow Warrior got out to the world.

    Stephen Skinner WA4PVQ (SK) - my friend and a Rainbow Warrior Radio Operator, passed away in 2009. He was a veteran of several Greenpeace campaigns. I also used to depend on WA4PVQ at his base station for HF SSB phone patches while I was working for an NGO in Guatemala or out in the mobile.
    Here is a photo taken during a Greenpeace anti-sealing campaign near eastern Canada.

    Photo of Stephen Skinner WA4PVQ (SK) Radio Operator, Rainbow Warrior (center bearded shouting guy at the G in Greenpeace sign)

    73 to all the Greenpeace Radio Ops out there :)
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019
    N0DET likes this.
  5. KQ6XA

    KQ6XA Ham Member QRZ Page

    The KPH and K6KPH stations "The Wireless Giant of the Pacific"
    really deserve the support of ham radio operators, especially with
    contributions and donations to the Maritime Radio Historical Society.


    KPH, KFS and K6KPH are on the air each Saturday transmitting from the 1914 Marconi site in Bolinas, CA and receiving at the 1930 RCA site at Point Reyes, CA.

    Hours - KPH and KFS press service begins at 1000 Pacific time. K6KPH begins operations at 1200 Pacific time. All stations continue on the air until about 1700 Pacific time.
    Frequencies -




    Support the MRHS
    It needs your help. It's as simple as that.
    The small group is now responsible for a facility that once required dozens to maintain.
    They have funded everything from the costs for rewinding transformers to purchasing power tubes for the transmitters from our own pockets - and feel privileged to do so.
    But the larger projects they now face, such as antenna restoration, are beyond personal means.
    Your donation is tax deductable and they promise to get the most out of every dollar they receive.
    Most important, you'll know you have helped keep the traditions of maritime radio alive.
    Just click on the button below or send a check to:

    Maritime Radio Historical Society
    PO Box 392
    Point Reyes Station, Ca 94956

    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019
    W5BIB and K7PJP like this.
  6. W4FEB

    W4FEB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Enjoyed the "Stroeger" story. My first 9 years with Bell here in New England was installing and maintaining Step-by-step or Stroeger. A noisy bunch of contraptions. I once had a friend ask me, "How can you work with all those woodpeckers clacking away. As a switchman I used to listen to the rhythm of the equipment, You could hear the rhythm change when something unusual happened and everyone picked up their phones at the same time, or someone dug up an underground cable. To a trained switchman the change in rhythm was like a seismic shock. Bell made a mint of money with those switches. They were worth the weight in gold when they were replaced by electronic switches. Even the relay contacts were worth $$ in recycled metals. They spared no expense making them. My office went on line in 1939 and had original equipment handling calls. In 1979, most of the retired switch was recovered for reuse in other exchanges. I have two of those retired switches in my basement. Why? I DUNNO.
    KQ6XA likes this.
  7. 4Z1UG

    4Z1UG Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Let me know when you put it up on ebay. hi hi
  8. N0DET

    N0DET Ham Member QRZ Page

    Great story - I took a break from college that summer and went to New Zealand - only spent a day in Aukland, but it was just days or weeks after the sinking. I remember it being really big news there - I wish I could have gone to the port to see it (probably not likely). I was a young ham then and got to operate with a temporary ZL license (ZL0AAE). Not sure many people remember that incident, but I certainly do. Wish I knew to listen for the Greenpeace Vessels back then.
    KQ6XA likes this.
  9. NN6A

    NN6A Ham Member QRZ Page

  10. NN6A

    NN6A Ham Member QRZ Page

    I believe your Strowger switch is a "line-finder".....In the late 70s, I worked for GTE at the Norwalk Central Office (NRWL-XF) in Norwalk CA. I couldn't believe the noise these switches made! I salvaged a "connector" switch that they'd thrown-away when they (finally) went-over to electronic switches....By the way, I don't have the "banks" for it. If anyone out there has some salvaged banks for connectors, I'm interested. 73.

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