US warship collides with Japanese tug in latest incident

BBC News – 8 hours ago

A US warship has sustained minor damage after a collision with a Japanese tug off central Japan, the US Navy says.

The commercial tug lost propulsion and drifted into the guided-missile destroyer, the USS Benfold, during a towing exercise in Sagami Bay.

“No one was injured on either vessel,” the US Navy says, adding that an investigation is under way.

This is the latest in a series of incidents involving US warships in recent months.

In a statement, the US Navy says the warship “sustained minimal damage, including scrapes on its side”.

“Benfold remains at sea under her own power. The Japanese commercial tug is being towed by another vessel to a port in Yokosuka.”

In August, 10 US sailors were killed when the USS John S McCain collided with an oil tanker east of Singapore.

In June, seven US sailors died in a collision between the USS Fitzgerald and a container ship in Japanese waters near the port city of Yokosuka.

In May, a guided-missile cruiser collided with a South Korean fishing vessel, while in January another cruiser ran aground near the fleet base in Yokosuka.

The US has recently announced a series of reforms aimed at increasing naval skills and alertness at sea.




US Naval Weather Service: Story of a Storm 1972 US Navy

Dear Sparks,

from youtube channel: Jeff Quitney repropose a very interesting videos about old systems used to supply WX to Mariners:

Burl Ives narrates a film describing how the Navy Weather Service helps Navy and cargo ships to avoid adverse weather conditions. The Navy’s Weather Central. Includes classic fax machine, satellite and radar footage, and a row of Control Data Model 607 Magnetic Tape Drives.

US Navy film MN-11138




Abandoned maritime coast station in the arctic area

Article by OM Marcin MARCINIAK – SP5XMI

Nessun testo alternativo automatico disponibile.

As many of us know, coast stations were spread all over the world, including very remote areas. One of them was Uyedinenya Island/UCV. The station was built during the Cold War period especially for polar weather observation and signal intelligence. It was built with standard Russian setup then upgraded to main maritime shortwave transmitter KORVET („КОРВЕТ” – a corvette) with medium wave transmitter Musson-2 („МУССОН-2” – a monsoon) and two Shtorm (Шторм – a storm) receivers.

Nessun testo alternativo automatico disponibile.

There was also older Yorsh-R (Ёрш-Р – a ruffe) CW transmitter with famous R-250M receiver, probably used for signal intelligence rather than for general receiving. The station used also a Tembr ( Тембр – timbre) tape deck. The receivers and transmitter remote control panels were built into standard 4U console, quite popular on the other side of the pond as well. And the maritime radio clock of course was there.

Nessun testo alternativo automatico disponibile.

UCV wasn’t a busy station but it used to send some important messages regarding weather observations and could relay messages from vessels. As far as I was told, the station had its own traffic list during the busiest days.
In November 1996 the supply of fuel for the station’s diesels almost ran out and the operators sent a lot of telegrams asking for resupply. On 26th of November 1996 all the people were evacuated by a helicopter with only small personal luggage. Nobody lives there, the station is abandoned. All the equipment remained on site. It is probably damaged but some amateurs think it’s possible to repair it. The island is closed as a natural reserve, only automated weather station powered from nuclear thermal generator sends digital information via a satellite. The callsign UCV is used at Okhotsk station UCV-2 that broadcasts Navtex info on 518kcs in NAVAREA XIII.

The Russian radio amateurs organized great expedition to remote and abandoned arctic islands in 2001. The movie can be seen here:
– the UCV part starts from 29:27. I think the whole movie is worth watching. Have a free hour to watch it. Movie is in English with subtitles when Russian language is spoken.
And as a bonus – there is one QSO with aircraft mobile station and one with one very famous ham from VK. Watch the movie to hear it.

The pictures are taken from the movie.





In the occasion of Marconian Events the INORC (Italian Naval Old Rythmers Club) recalls the Atlantic cruise made by Italian Royal Cruiser “CARLO ALBERTO”   from October up to December 1902. On board, Guglielmo Marconi out of Azores Islands made experiments of transmission and reception on Morse code and Voice. The Cruiser “CARLO ALBERTO” was built in the Royal shipyard of La Spezia and entered service on 1 May 1898 until 1921. Displacment 6832 Tons, LOA 105.7 meters and large 18 meters, Draft 7.5 meters, STEAM PROPULSION fitted with 8 Boilers. Two propellers, Maximum speed 19.5 knots, crew 486 men. The “CARLO ALBERTO” was the first Italian war ship on which were installed, under supervision of Guglielmo Marconi, the Wireless System with  “DETECTOR SYSTEM” invented by the same Marconi.

Detector magnetico del tipo utilizzato sulla Carlo Alberto nel 1902

detector used on board Cruiser “CARLO ALBERTO”

“CARLO ALBERTO”, made many dimostrative cruises toward BRAZIL URUGUAY AND COLOMBIA. Two were the most celebrated , the first one in ENGLAND, on 10 July 1902, for the Coronation  of King EDOARDO VII and the other one in the Gulf of Finland (SAINT PETERSBURG) on 12 July 1902, where from the Island of KRONSTADT, with the presence of Italian King Vittorio Emanuele III, Guglielmo Marconi Meets the Zar Nicolay II showing him the capability of the radio to make radiotelegraphic connections over far distances entering in contact with Poldhu on a distance of 2,600 Kilometers.


reception of messages in the Gulf of Finland on board “CARLO ALBERTO”

The speciall callsign used during the Event will be IQ1NM/CA

from 12 up to 24 November




soviet trawlers

The Russian Trawlers

Dear Sparks,

many of us know that Russia trough the history of past century, when we called her Soviet Union, owned the large fishing fleet of the planet employed in all seas of the world in all seasons, many of these trawlers passed to the history as spies ships due to the large antenna systems observed but until the end of Cold War no images came us of russian ship’s radio rooms and many of us, during our past at sea, had not chance to stay on board a russian vessel visiting the radio station; nowadays thanks to internet we can catch some videos and pictures of these unknown ships and their radio stations. Surifing the web I found the following youtube clips recorded, I suppose for promotional duty, the fishing vessel owned to “Fedor Krainov” Class, was one of the largest one, ship was built in 1967 and remained in service since 1998, during the video are showed various aspect of life on board including some minutes in the radio room where the glory of USSR R/O’s is well represented by the very fast operator you can see, if some russian friends have more informations about these ships they are very welcome and shared on this website. In the clip the radio room it is showed starting from minute 4:31 but I suggest you to watch the entire clip, it is a very rare piece of history:





Dear Sparks,

please read carefully following News from ARRL website:

Communications Interoperability Training with Amateur Radio Community Set


Elements of the US Department of Defense (DOD) will conduct a “communications interoperability” training exercise November 4-6, once again simulating a “very bad day” scenario. Amateur Radio and MARS organizations will take part.

“This exercise will begin with a national massive coronal mass ejection event which will impact the national power grid as well as all forms of traditional communication, including landline telephone, cellphone, satellite, and Internet connectivity,” Army MARS Program Manager Paul English, WD8DBY, explained in an announcement.

During the exercise, a designated DOD Headquarters entity will request county-by-county status reports for the 3,143 US counties and county equivalents, in order to gain situational awareness and to determine the extent of impact of the scenario. Army and Air Force MARS organizations will work in conjunction with the Amateur Radio community, primarily on the 60-meter interoperability channels as well as on HF NVIS frequencies and local VHF and UHF, non-Internet linked Amateur Radio repeaters.

Again this year, a military station on the east coast and the Fort Huachuca, Arizona, HF station will conduct a high-power broadcast on 60-meter channel 1 (5330.5 kHz) on Saturday from 0300 to 0315 UTC. New this year will be an informational broadcast on Sunday, on 13,483.5 kHz USB from 1600 to 1615 UTC. Amateur Radio operators should monitor these broadcasts for more information about the exercise and how they can participate in this communications exercise, English said.

“We want to continue building on the outstanding cooperative working relationship with the ARRL and the Amateur Radio community,” English said. “We want to expand the use of the 60-meter interop channels between the military and amateur community for emergency communications, and we hope the Amateur Radio community will give us some good feedback on the use of both the 5-MHz interop and the new 13-MHz broadcast channels as a means of information dissemination during a very bad day scenario.




EMP – Electromagnetic Pulse

Dear Sparks,

What is EMP?

Here is a short excerpt from a presentation by Dr. Peter V. Pry on EMP – the Electromagnetic Pulse that could come from the sun or from a nuclear weapon. Either could wipe out our electrical grid for months or years, and either could ‘fry’ all unprotected electronic devices. For the full, clear, explanation and discussion.




Nations still using CW

Dear Sparks,

the following article by:





The following Nations are certainly still using CW:

  • Russia — several navy and military stations on a regular basis, some diplomatic missions
  • China — military stations, sending cut number code, 3 or 5 figure groups (plain text Chinese in CW is also 4 figures)
  • Israel — 4XZ military or intelligence agency station, was very active just ahead of, during and after Paris terror attacks
  • Indonesia — 7CJ/7CB (P5O) national resilience institute and/or Indonesian Navy broadcasts 6635, 9945, 12235, 18980kHz
  • Pakistan — AQP Navy Station (not heard lately? certainly was active in 2015 and maybe early 2016)
  • Korea — S. Korea coastal stations active on 8, 12, 16 and 22MHz maritime mobile bands for some remote fishing vessels
  • Japan — at least one coastal station active (16 or 22MHz marine band?) owned by a fishing company, heard sending telegrams
  • India (Port Visakhapatnam)— heard VTP6 on 8646.0 kHz.
  • Algerian Army (tactical callsigns) incl. 17991kHz C/S 6V10 QSO 6V11 etc… 6V18 QRK5/5 QRU? K
  • Central African Republic, Ministry of Interior (used C/S “130” simplex with “101” on 16301kHz 0639z

Russia sends some weather reports in Russian from the Naval Stations such as RCV. Much encrypted military traffic, a very active daily communication network around Russia.

China may have finally dropped 500kHz CW, and was one of the last to do so. There were still one or two, possibly three or four coastal stations using CW on other MF frequencies in recent years. CW appears to no longer be used on the HF Maritime bands, though in recent years it was still in use. Much military traffic can be heard around top end of 40m band in the evenings, recently heard 3 figure Chinese cut numbers on 7298kHz.

South Korea and Japan, the two most technologically advanced nations in Asia, and certainly more advanced than Australia (even China is more advanced than Australia), continue to use CW although only for a few fishing vessels. We keep hearing that CW marine radio is dead and gone, but that is not true, Japan and Korea, though in their own languages CW, continue to use it.

Israeli station 4XZ remains very active, with its characteristic “==” dah-di-di-di-dah dah-di-di-di-dah sending encrypted traffic. Some say it is a navy station, some say it is Mossad the intelligence agency with its motto “by way of deception”. It was active on many frequencies, including 7050kHz, HOURS AHEAD of, during and until just after the Paris terror attacks sending a large volume of urgent messages. As usual agencies seem to know of or be involved in such events.

Pakistan Navy was still to be heard on the 6MHz maritime mobile band, at least fairly recently, perhaps the last of the navies to send the traditional style tuning wheel, which now can otherwise only be heard from the South Korean stations HLW, HLO, HLF, HLG etc. Tune around 8, 12, 16, and/or 22 MHz marine bands and you will have no trouble hearing the Korean “wheels”, which are quite worn (holes in a tape presumably) as the automatic CW sent for tuning is no longer perfect, but still very readable.

Gone are the days when HF was full of signals from the ICRC, Interpol, police forces, militaries, navies, embassies, and others, but thanks especially to South Korea (I’ve heard them sending traffic lists, but haven’t listened long enough to hear any telegrams) and Japan (I’ve heard Japanese CW being sent to and from a Japanese ship), and the Indonesian and Russian authorities, CW is still in good use outside of the amateur radio bands with the latter two showing no signs of giving it up.

There are many in the west who regret the GMDSS having totally replaced CW and the Radio Officer, but money, expediency, profits and cost saving led to the demise of radio officers, like many other things in the west, without any union to defend them.

77 de Lou, VK5EEE



Service Radio Stations on HF

Dear Spraks,

while it seems MW and SW will be abandoned in future, our Russian friends seem to have intentions in opposite side than Western Countries considering the large territory of Russia and the easy and reliable way to communicate by radio from remote places…


The following clip has been recorded in Chukotka weather station Baimka while Radio Operator Selivanov Andrew transmits the WX data.