Amateur Radio and wireless history are proudly on display on Cape Cod with the dedication on August 1, 2010 of the Chatham Marconi Maritime Center (CMCC) in Chatham.
CMMC will be open this year for a preview of its exhibits until just before Labor Day. The Grand Opening will be in 2011.
The Center, situated on the receiving site of former Marconi/RCA coast station WCC features “numerous exhibits of radio receivers, teletype machines, a directional antenna, and a diorama” of radio station WCC. Morse code keys for interactives, videos and slide shows are being integrated into the exhibits.
During its heyday, the receiving station used six rhombic antennas supported by poles on 18 acres of land to communicate to and from ships all over the world. In addition to its commercial value, WCC was used by the military to intercept German communications during World War II. The station was the subject of the Mooncusser Films documentary Chatham Radio: WCC the Untold Story, narrated by Walter Cronkite, KB2GSD (Silent Key).
Amateur radio figures prominently at the Marconi Maritime Center. “Since Amateur Radio is the link between the station’s past and the present, it can show visitors what communication via radio was like in the midst of artifacts from the station’s past,” comments WCC Amateur Radio Association’s Rob Leiden, K1UI.
Prior to the Center’s renovation/rededication this month, WA1WCC was an active enterprise. “WA1WCC operated during the 100th anniversary of Marconi’s first transatlantic transmission. We’ve also been on the air for special anniversaries, like Marconi’s birthday,” adds Leiden.
WA1WCC features two complete HF stations, including a linear amplifier. At present, it sports a 70-foot loaded zepp and a 40 meter dipole, and more antennas are planned. Although the station isn’t regularly accessible to the public during business hours, Leiden says it is open to visitors “by appointment.”
Many local hams have contributed to the station’s efforts through their labor and donations of equipment. Membership in the WCC ARA currently numbers around a dozen members–many of whom are former WCC operators.