WPA/Port Arthur Radio

Article by Tom Lizak/K1TL

The station WPA was located across from the Gulf refinery along the Sabine River channel.  All the HF antennas were ground planes (6/8/12MCs) with four elevated radials each. The 4MC antenna was a folded dipole, I believe.  The MF (500KC) antenna was a long wire.  The station did have a 200’ tower but was taken down due to a cracked base insulator…and never to be put back up again.  Real sad as we did  have a good signal on 500/416KCs when it was operating along with the 15KW TX.  I should have taken more pictures of the transmitter room back then.  Bill Prechtl (SK) and I took a walk to the MF antenna shack out in the swamp one winters day, watching out for alligators and snakes.  I couldn’t believe the hole in the side of the small building from a lightning strike.  The cracked insulator may have been caused by previous tropical storms/ hurricanes or from several lightning strikes.

We did get the 16MC TX up and running and used the folded dipole out in the swamp which was about 60’ above the swamp and a few hundred feet from the building.  It worked somewhat but due to the feed losses, most of the RF was wasted.  We later abandoned that frequency.

We had severe interference from SSB “National Guard Weekend Warriors” on 8.550MCs during some weekends.  The ships complained about this and we notified RCA…it only stopped for a couple of weeks then started up again.  This caused some loss of traffic.  Our permanent 3rd shift guy, Lloyd Moore (SK), used to use 4MCs in the evening/morning hours but the key clicks were so bad, I couldn’t understand how he could hear anybody calling him with the key clix pounding away in the AR-88’s…but he did pull in traffic on that shift.

We did have some good operators, notably, Leland “Skip” Agard.

The station had a direct link to Exxon via LL which WPA handled all Exxon vessels along the Eastern seaboard and Gulf of Mexico.  Also was a Western Union TTY and another LL TTY system which you see in the background in the picture below.

Alas, the station finally closed, I believe in early 1984, as I sent out the last “CQ”.


Above, is John Broussard (SK) hammering away at the mill…he is also famous for hammering away on the “hand pump” which would pretty much shake the table.  Some ship operators could not copy him due to his sending “technique” so the other ops here would take his traffic.


Here I am …I can’t believe how thin I was back then !


Above is Bill Prechtl (W3KO, SK) in foreground and I’m sitting in the HF position straining my ears for signals on the infamous RCA AR-88 RX’s.


Picture of the building along the Sabine River shipping channel.  All the HF antennas were ground planes with four elevated radials.  We did get the folded dipole for 16MCs working but we did not get much traffic on that band most likely due to feed line losses. Definitely had some sinking of the ground around the building as you can see. Pretty much like walking “uphill” inside the building.


…and finally here is my “mug shot” along with my “number”.  I lost more hair and is now “gray/white”.

73 Tom Lizak/K1TL


World of Mysteries – In Search of Amelia Earhart

A contribute of Geoff Powell – M1EDF

Amelia Mary Earhart (July 24, 1897 – disappeared July 2, 1937) was an American aviation pioneer and author. Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She received the U.S. Distinguished Flying Cross for this accomplishment. She set many other records, wrote best-selling books about her flying experiences and was instrumental in the formation of The Ninety-Nines, an organization for female pilots. In 1935 Earhart became a visiting faculty member at Purdue University as an advisor to aeronautical engineering and a career counselor to women students. She was also a member of the National Woman’s Party and an early supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment.

During an attempt to make a circumnavigational flight of the globe in 1937 in a Purdue-funded Lockheed Model 10 Electra, Earhart disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean near Howland Island. Fascination with her life, career and disappearance continues to this day.

In the second part of the clip below the work performed by a team of American radio amateurs in order to reconstruct the events of the last flight during which Amelia disappeared.



R/O Mike Gloistein from VP8ROT – Adelaide Island, AN-001

Source: http://dx-world.net/

Mike, GM0HCQ is now back on board the RRS James Clark Ross following a crew change today. The ship is now preparing to head south, initially to open the summer only base at Signy Island (part of the South Orkney Island group). This will be followed by a science cruise across the Drake Passage and then a run south into Antarctica and the first call of the season to Rothera Base, located on Adelaide Island.

There will be no radio activity from Signy Island, however a short period of operating may occur at the end of the month from Rothera Base.

73’s es GUD WATCH!


History of Polish coast radio stations (fourth part)

The Forms used in coast stations in Poland

As many of R/O remember there were many forms that had to be filled in during all the shifts. There was also a lot of accounting work involved. Every coast station had to keep a journal where every message, phone call and SITOR connection was logged. Messages were put down, words were counted, all charges written for collection. Some of the forms had the company logos (like popular and well known MARCONIGRAM). Polish form didn’t have any, only The Eagle – an emblem of the People’s Republic of Poland.

qtcformA standard QTC form used in Poland, especially on the vessel’s side.

For voice calls a special form was used, it was called ceduła (ceduła in Polish = stock exchange report or a list of goods being in transit while shipping; this word is quite old). Coast stations in Poland used two forms – „A” (NR 27) and „B” (ZR-28).

Form „A” – NR 27 was used to record information about every single call.


Form “A”

Then form „B” – ZR-28 was used to record information about all calls from/to a single vessel that was in a queue. Then the form with all corresponding “A” forms was delivered to accounting department in the coast station. Everything was logged.


Form “B”.

All filled forms were collected and delivered to an accounting center of Polish Post Office in Bydgoszcz. At this time The Post Office center sent invoices, collected money, paid some bills and did other accounting work.

Marcin Marciniak SP5XMI



KPH Returns Home and On The Air! The Full Report

KPH COMES HOME - Read the full report of the return of KPH to its 
ancestral home at Bolinas and Point Reyes in just issued Newsletter 
No. 58, complete with photos and a video!



Richard Dillman
Maritime Radio Historical Society