USNS Mercy Amateur Radio License Testing (Call Sign K6MRC)

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by KH6OWL, Mar 7, 2018.

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  1. KH6OWL

    KH6OWL Guest

    The USNS Mercy hospital ship docked in Honolulu on Saturday March 3 with a plan to conduct a VE session for 19 ship personnel at 10:00. It is a short stay in Honolulu as the ship departs on March 5th for a 5 month trip around the Pacific for medical engagement exercises, called Pacific Partnership 2018, with other countries. The ship departed San Diego on the 23rd of February and had two personnel on board who coordinated classes, twice a day for 4 hours each sessions. The sailors where so busy they had to conduct two sessions a day to fit into he schedule and were assisted enroute by Timothy Miller, AJ7UU & Douglas Smith, W7KF. Ed Stanwood (KH6GMB), Joseph Speroni, AH0A and Stacy Holbrook, KH6OWL, conducted a test session for the personal on board the ship.

    USNS Mercy website provides some statistics that are pretty impressive. 17 stories high, 894 feet long, fits through the panama canal by 6 inches on each side, has a blood bank capacity of 5000 units, and is a trauma level 1 hospital capable of holding 1000 patients.


    The VE Team meet at 9 AM and was escorted through the gate at Pearl Harbor and to the ship. Things were delayed a bit as the ship was a little late getting into port Operators who assisted were AH6VF, KH6GMB, KH6OWL, KH6WG, WH6FNE, W7KF/MM and AH0A.

    A total of 19 candidates registered for the session and got there FRN number so the paperwork could be printed before hand and so the VE’s didn’t have to worry about social security numbers. There were to be 16 Technician, 16 General and 2 Extra tests to score. We also had several walk-ins. A total of 34 exams were administered through the day based on walk ins. Seven candidates did not earn an upgrade or initial license at this session.

    The world of amateur radio has 12 new technicians and 2 new generals license operators.

    Amarture Radio Testing in the ICU – 2
    After the examination was complete the VE team took photos with the personal who tested, to include the ships Captain, WH6FIR. The Captain upgraded to general and we actually tested him for his technician license on board the USS Missouri as the first test session on that ship.


    The radio room on board just for the amateur operators was an impressive thing to behold. A Flex-6700, 2 ICOM IC-7200’s.sevearl UHF/VHF radios and 3 modems. When out to sea they run the RMS software and APRS, They find most places they go to use HF and have very little contact with the local population on UHF/VHF.

    Radio Rack on Board USNS Mercy
    Flex Radio System Software
    Our tour was led by Neil, K6NRT, who upgraded during the exam. Neil has been on board the ship for 12 years and is knows almost all their is to know about the ship and runs the IT systems.

    Neil, K6NRT, points out the antennas on top of the Shack.
    The exam was given in Pearl Harbor and from the top deck you can see the USS Missouri and the Pearl Harbor Memorial on the USS Arizona on to the port side.

    USS Missouri and Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, HI
    The Mercy was born out of an Oil Tanker, SS Worth, and converted in 1984 and 1985.

    USNS Mercy as the Oil Tanker, SS Worth
    The picture below is when it was under going the transformation. You can see to the right of the ship the hospital decks were being built and would be lifted into place once completed.




    Stacy Holbrook
    W1SRR, W5KV, AC7DD and 8 others like this.
  2. WU8Y

    WU8Y Ham Member QRZ Page

    Bravo Zulu!
    KH6OWL, DL6BCX and KG4BFR like this.
  3. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    KH6OWL likes this.
  4. AD5CA

    AD5CA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Nice write-up and great pictures!
    KH6OWL likes this.
  5. W6ERM

    W6ERM XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Cool story. Cool pictures. Great post!
    KH6OWL likes this.
  6. W5TPD

    W5TPD Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Awesome!!! 73's to the guys and gals de W5TPD retired AD1(AW)
    KH6OWL likes this.
  7. W1XQ

    W1XQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Great story!
    KH6OWL likes this.
  8. KI6PMD

    KI6PMD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Great story indeed ! Hope we can work them on H.F. ! My dad was in the Royal Navy in WW2 ! Go Navy !!! 73 all Phil KI6PMD ..:)
    KH6OWL likes this.
  9. KZ4USA

    KZ4USA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Nice story and pictures. Looks like they have a vertical dipole on the ladder??????
    KH6OWL likes this.
  10. K5TCJ

    K5TCJ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    The shaft in the middle of the ladder is climber safety gear. A ratcheting traveler slides up the shaft. The climbers harness is attached to the traveler.
    With this system you climb the ladder and are always attached so you don't need to stop and manually move your safety line up, as you go.
    If you fall, you don't fall more than 6 inches or so.
    The line hanging from the arm at the top is for hoisting flags or pennants.

    On another note, it would be interesting to know the rating (job specialty) of the shipmates who took the test.
    KH6OWL likes this.

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