U.S.S. Constitution Turnaround: All Hams On Deck!

photo of Bob, W1QWT
W1QWT operating N1S

The weather was beautiful and Amateur Radio was very much in evidence at this weekend’s USS Constitution bi-annual “Turnaround” event at the Old Boston Navy Yard in Charlestown, October 11. The Amateur Radio activities, spearheaded by Bob Callahan, W1QWT, featured two special event stations, Amateur Radio stations aboard the three ships, as well as an operator situated at Castle Island. The USS Salem museum ship in Quincy was also active during the event.

On the Old Boston Navy Yard pier, station N1B was set up in the visitor’s kiosk in front of the USS Cassin Young. HF and VHF stations were operated on 17, 20 and 2 meters. N1B also acted as a net control station on .52 simplex, fielding “sitrep” (situation reports) from N1S, WW2DD and KS4E aboard the USS Constitution, USS Cassin Young, and USS Chaffee, respectively. Ironically, the Chaffee is the newest addition to the Navy’s fleet; the USS Constitution is, of course, the Navy’s oldest commissioned warship.

The Constitution Turnaround garnered good advance publicity in Amateur circles thanks to an article that appeared earlier on the ARRL Hq. web site. Some valuable publicity was obtained during the voyage when the Commander of the USS Constitution announced to everyone on board that Amateur Radio stations were operating from each of the ships and from the Navy Yard, making contact with other amateurs around the world. The former Commander of the USS Constitution visited N1B, chatting at length with amateurs about his days as a radioman.

USS Constitution
The USS Constitution, K9HI photo

Bob Callahan, W1QWT reports that the Constitution special events station N1S garnered over 300 contacts in 20 countries. Callahan was joined aboard the USS Constitution by K1RV and NS1N; K1RMC, KC1HO, W1USN and AA1M operated aboard the USS Cassin Young. At the Navy Yard, W1YR, N1BSO, KB1GIS and K9HI operated N1B. They also staffed a public display table with ham radio promotional materials.

Callahan intends to produce a DVD CDROM with images and video from the Turnaround event.

[Additional photos]

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