Battleship New Jersey Amateur Radio Station (BNJARS)
Status History 2000 - 2001
17 Dec - Panel covers were made for the back of the "Quality Monitoring System" rack in FACCON 1, which dresses up the appearance by hiding equipment stowed in that rack. In the make-shift radio repair room on the 02 level, John Saracen has been busy restoring the R-1051 and R-390 HF receivers, which should be ready to install back into their racks in FACCON-1 shortly. A 440 transceiver on loan has been hooked up in the ham shack, with directions for programming the frequencies nearby.
The past weekend was the ARRL 10-meter contest, and coordinator Harry Bryant reports that we made 392 CW QSO's with 52 countries, and 277 Phone QSO's with 53 countries. Operators AA2WN, WK2W, and WA2TVS put in 17.3 hours for a total point score of 443,040! And we finally got that elusive North Dakota for WAS.
10 Dec - The VHF antenna on the port yardarm is now working with excellent results on 2 meters, feeding the VHF Radio Room on the 02 level. The feedline to the starboard VHF antenna was found to be damaged. Repairs were effected and tests will be done when the antenna is repaired. A loaner 440 FM rig now resides on the VHF table in the ham shack. This rig is connected to the 440 J-pole antenna, which Ray built to replace the "quality monitoring" antenna that is on the upper stub mast (approximately 200 feet above waterline). The "grease board" was removed to access the SA-2112 "coke machine" wiring, revealing a complex patch panel. Photos are available on the Restoration Project pages.
03 Dec - The Chemical and Collision Alarm cards, donated by L-3 Communications, were installed in the 1MC system last week, and problems with alarm switches were resolved over the weekend. The General Alarm card is on back order. In the Radio Room, a small PA system was installed for use by the docents to overcome the poor acoustics and noise in that space. Up on the radar platform, problems with the VHF antennas were determined to be one faulty antenna and one bad feedline. Repair efforts will continue.
Repairs of the R-390 and R-1051 HF receivers continues with good progress, while the "antiques" down in Radio 2 provide hours of fun. The magnetic tape recorders now light up, adding to the realism, while Gene and Doug continue to wire Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) to bring the various status indicators to life. In the ham shack, Ted Katz checked into the MARS net on Saturday.
26 Nov - Thousands of visitors toured the ship over the Thanksgiving weekend, with over 2000 visitors on "Black Friday" alone. A sound recording has been added to the "red phone" in Radio Central (which caught docent Ted Katz by surprise!). Also in Radio Central, the remaining two NAVMACS terminals were restored, with TNC connections to provide live data displays (including DX Cluster, APRS and commercial RTTY traffic). Operators continue to operate NJ2BB from FACCON-2. Waiting visitors are surprised to see the "manikins" through the escape shuttle talking! Below decks, restoration of the HF transmitters and receivers continues, while document archiving proceeds.
19 Nov - With visitors averaging over 4000 per week, work in Radio Central has become difficult. Repair work has shifted to repair shops on the 02 level and Radio 2 off Broadway. On the 02 level, the R-390 and R-1051 HF receivers are being restored, while in the Radio 2 Transmitter Room, 3rd deck ("Stan's World"), the RDZ receiver and the T-368 and TDZ transmitters are being restored. In the ham shack, Ted fixed the computer network (bad connector on a network cable) so the computer network is operational again. Document sorting and cataloging continues below decks.
The station now consists of one permanent HF radio (plus a loaner as needed) and three 2-meter transceivers. On 2m rig is tuned to 146.52 (simplex) for talk-in, one set on the Camden 146.82- repeater (PL 131.8), and the third used for VHF contacts. Scanners provide live packet data feeds to the NAVMACS terminals. A multi-keyer adapter was designed for the Yaesu 757 HF rig so members can bring their own keyers in for CW operation. We're averaging 75-100 QSOs per week now. Check the BNJARS calendar for dates when operators are scheduled to be onboard.
05 Nov - With tour groups passing through the radio room on a steady basis since the ship's opening three weeks ago, work in Radio Central has slowed some what. Still, Ed Clark, with help from Gene, Dave and Ruben, brought a teleprinter back to life. Using a donated HAL ST-6 terminal controller and the R-390 receiver and loop supply in FACCON-1, the teleprinter is copying live weather reports off the air!
Below decks, Stan and Bob have been busy restoring the donated vintage transmitters back to life in Radio 2 (3rd Deck). Several members have signed up to help in this "off-Broadway" production. Other teams have been searching the ship for faulty 1MC speakers, and isolating noise on the 1MC system. Replacement alarm tone generator cards are now on order to enable the general, collision and chemical alarms.
Radio Central continues to be a popular point on the tour. With 15 members now authorized to run the radio shack, more contacts are being made, and guest operators will be brought in shortly. During October, 394 QSOs were made. We now have 49 states (need North Dakota) towards WAS and 70 countries towards DXCC. Although JOTA is over, Scouts continue to visit the radio room, and when possible, are permitted to make on-the-air contacts.
22 Oct - The first weekend of public operation saw almost 1000 visitors per day, keeping club members busy filling in as station docents to accommodate the crowds. In addition, several Scouts from the area, include Cub Scout Pack 75 from Marlton, NJ, got the opportunity to participate in "Jamboree On The Air" (JOTA), talking with other Scouts around the country. They also got to hear the astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) speak with other Scouts as it passed overhead.
Regular work also continued, including attachment of hardline connectors up on the radar platform, repairing of the NAVMACS terminals, and TTY repair (one of the reperforators is now restored).
Qualification of operators on station equipment started, with several members now authorized to be control operators on the station equipment. To get checked out, please contact the Chief Engineer, Dave Burgess.
The BNJARS Secretary, John Goheen, has received notification from the ARRL that BNJARS has been accepted as an ARRL Affiliated Club. A charter presentation ceremony will be held at the upcoming General Meeting, to be held on Friday, 2 November.
15 Oct - On Friday the Radio Room was cleaned up, and on Saturday, approximately 500 visitors, employees and families of the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) were the first visitors as the ship underwent "dry runs" of the ship's public operation. A steady stream of visitors streamed through Radio Central where, for much of the day, BNJARS member Ted Katz gave the visitors an introduction to radio communications aboard the battleship. Many thanks to Ted, plankowner Bob Westcott, and all other volunteers who acted as station docents Saturday.
Even as the visitors filed through Radio Central, Dave and Margaret Burgess, along with several other volunteers, were busy in the back room setting up the ham station in preparation for today's opening to the public. At the same time, work crews were aloft installing and connecting antennas.
On Sunday, 14 October, the ship was in great shape for its Grand Opening. Acting Gov. Donald DiFrancesco, New Jersey Senators and Congressmen, and other dignitaries were on hand for the ceremonies. Several members of the club assisted Ebe Helm in the ship's TV studio and on the deck working the cameras. Security was tight with city, county and state police along with secret service personnel providing security. Member Bob Jones kept an eye on the sharpshooter on the 011 level. See the Courier Post article of the events.
Monday morning was opening day, starting with a ribbon cutting ceremony with Camden Mayor Gwendolyn Faison cutting the ribbon along with members of the Home Port Alliance. Member Sam Kuncevich, who designed the BNJARS patch along with most of the ship's originals patches, was honored for his special first day cachet. NJ2BB was on the air again for the opening day festivities. Cadet member Ralph Foy came aboard for the first time, anxious to make some contacts after months of having to wait for opening day.
06 Oct - The big task of the day was getting the T-368 and TDZ transmitters, weighing hundreds of pounds, from the Ward Room to the Transmitter Room on 3rd deck. Not an easy task. Thanks to all those who helped. Next step is restoration for "Stan's World," the future radio museum.
Other work included continued construction of the VHF position in the ham shack, repairs on the TTYs, tracking donations, cable preparation and connector mounting, etc. Ebe Helm gave some members a quick tour of the Television Studio, and some members helped run video cables to the fantail. Ebe is also looking for 7-8 volunteers to help with taping of Sunday's ceremonies (he'll provide the training). So, did you always want to be a best boy or gaffer? Here's your chance to work in a real TV studio.
During the upcoming week, the radio room will be cleared and cleaned in preparation for Saturday's "dry run," Sunday's ceremonies, and Monday's ribbon cutting. We'll be on the air Monday to commemorate opening day. Check your e-mail for important dates and information regarding events starting this Thursday.
29 Sept - By 11:30 am Saturday, the radio room has been restored to it's 1989 state as best as possible, and is now ready for tours. The final equipment installed was a copy machine. The next step is to set up dynamic displays for visitors. And, of course, work on restoration and the ham shack will continue.
Work continued in other areas, from ham shack construction to cable tracing and documentation. Work will continue even after the ship is open to the public. Details on ship access and new bar-coded membership badges will be provided in the near future.
24 Sept - Work continued on the TTY equipment repair, while Ron Cohen and crew went aloft to attempt repair of the 7/8" hardline connectors. Missing pieces will require the purchase of new connectors. By 1400 hours, all volunteers were asked to leave the ship in preparation for the move of the ship to it's berth at the new pier, adjacent to the Tweeter Center. The ship was moved in the early hours of Sunday morning amidst tight security. By Monday the ship was open to volunteers again. Security will remain tight.
Docents (tour guides) are needed for ship tours and station guides in anticipation of the ship's opening in the near future. Any member willing to volunteer their time as a docent should contact the ship's curator. Training and uniforms are provided, along with other benefits.
17 Sept - The Discage antenna on the bow and the Fan Wire antenna between the masts were installed last week, and preliminary VSWR tests show good broadband performance on the HF bands. Cables were rerouted in order to get the feedlines for many of the antennas into the ham shack. The matching network for the twin-whip receive antennas mounted off the Bridge was installed, and found operational (even for transmit operation).
Work continued on getting the tape readers online and working. The SA-2112 "coke machine" got some new displays installed and is really impressive looking. Cleanup work continues in all the radio room areas. Work also continues on getting the NAVMACS printers lit up for appearance.
Members of the Region One Navy-Marine Corps MARS (New Jersey/Delaware) conference visited the ship this weekend. Efforts are underway to re-establish the New Jersey's old NNN0CNH MARS call sign. The Radio Central tour included simulated NAVMACS traffic with DX Cluster from the 2-meter radio and TNC.
10 Sept - The whip antennas are all installed now, and the discage antenna at the bow and the fan wire antennas are being installed this week. Antenna matching will be installed this weekend. The feedline for the fan wire antenna has been routed to the ham shack in FACCON-2.
Equipment racks in the radio room are being filled with equipment while the TTY repair operations continue. Some TTY equipment left behind in the old Flag Radio Room (SSES) were moved to the VHF radio room to make room for the CEC simulators in that space. The CEC is almost ready for tours. John Saracen and John Goheen got the windspeed indicator system operational.
The ship move is still scheduled for this Sunday, 16 September.
03 Sept - The wire antennas have been stretched out on the deck and inspected prior to installation. A couple of insulators needed some repair work which was completed. They should be mounted this week. Tests of the VHF antennas on the yardarm indicate problems with the antennas, feedlines or connections, and will be check out shortly.
In the ham shack, an antenna patch panel was installed (FACCON-2). Some feedlines were re-routed to the patch panel. Once the antennas are installed they will be check out. Work on repairing the TTYs continues, along with new monitors for the NAVMACS terminals. Meanwhile, the radio rooms are being cleaned in preparation for opening day. Batteries were brought onboard for radio operation during the move (date not yet scheduled).
Low voltage on the ship's mains have forced the telephone exchange to be shut down to prevent damage.
27 August - Most of the 35' whips are now installed, and the feedline for the fan wire antenna has been repaired. The fan wire and discage antenna wires were brought topside for installation, hopefully this week. The twin stub antennas have been reconnected and found to have a fairly flat SWR from 9 to 30 MHz.
Computer network cabling was run between the ham shack and Radio Central and TTY Repair (club office). Four TTYs are now connected to the timer which is tripped whenever a tour group passes through. An additional NAVMACS display received a new CRT. The ham shack operating table is nearly complete, and a tone board was installed in the 2-meter rig for PL operation. A cut cable caused some telephone outages, which gave the telephone guys plenty to do.
Plank Owner Bob Westcott, W2MAS, led a tour of the Radio 2 (Transmitter Room), related some "war stories" and showed members where he used to sleep in one of the few spaces on the ship which was air conditioned during in WWII.
Work on the pier continues, scheduled for completion on 02 September, but the stop-work order is still in effect on the visitors center while some permit issues get straightened out.
20 August - One of the 35' whip antennas, the twin-stub antennas, and some UHF mast-mounted antennas have been remounted on a freshly-painted New Jersey. The terminator box for the twin stubs was installed on Saturday. Members with safety harnesses climbed the mast platform and reported less damage than had been expected on the exposed coax feedlines.
Onboard the ship, Gene has been busy rigging up timers which will turn on the TTY's for background "music" in Radio Central whenever a tour group passes through. The TTY's continue to be repaired, while new CRT's are being installed in the NAVMACS terminals. The R390 was fired up, and live AM broadcast, WWV time signals and CW on 20-meters filled the air; next week the R-1051.
Ed Walker, KQ4DC, special events coordinator for the CV-10 USS Yorktown, DD-724 USS Laffey, SS-343 USS Clamagore, and USCGC-35 The Ingham, at Patriot's Point, NC, stopped up for a visit. Ed wrote "I was really impressed with what BNJARS has done and is planning to do for the restoration of the radio area. I am taking back more ideas than I left there." Ed also offered some insight with Scouting programs.
At the Gloucester County ARC Hamfest, in Mullica Hill, PAO Joe Cramer was busy pitching the BNJARS program to the many hams (and BNJARS members) present at the hamfest. Many new applications were handed out.
13 August - The donated T-368, RDZ and TDZ were brought aboard Saturday. The T-368 is a WWII-era HF transmitter, while the RDZ and TDZ are a 200 to 400 Mcs AM receiver and transmitter, respectively. A group of club members helped clean off the very heavy radios on the dock before being lifted onto the ship. Next step is the Transmitter Room on 3 Deck where they will await volunteers to help clean and restore them. Stan, WA2NPL, is still looking for the remainder of the RB series of receivers, the RBA (VLF), RBB (MF) and RBC (HF), along with a TBK transmitter or two.
Over the past week, the exterior of the ship has been repainted and the mast has been reinstalled, and the Phalanx Close-In Weapons Systems (CIWS, pronounced "sea whiz") have been mounted. About a mile up the river, construction of the pier and temporary visitor center is moving along for a mid-September opening.
Onboard, Ted Katz and his son have been busy setting up the club's computer network, while the TTY gang have been bringing the old Model 28's back to life. Relamping and rewiring work continues, and efforts to make the radio room sound alive (with digital recordings and timer-activated equipment) for the tour groups remains a priority. The phone crew now has 177 phone lines working on the ship. A phone directory will be available shortly. The antenna terminators, found last week, were cleaned up and prepared for reinstallation. Some antennas should be installed this week.
Docent tours are being held, and a manual is now available. If you are interested in serving as a docent (tour guide) or wish to man the radio room during tours, please contact Scott Kodger at the HPA.
Due to the extreme heat and humidity, members are asked to not work more than an hour inside the confines of the ship without taking an on-deck R&R break to prevent health problems. Also, drink plenty of water!
06 August - The donated T-368 made its way to the New Jersey from PA thanks to four of our members, Stan, Gene, Ed and Ruben. It is now stored in one of the boxes on the pier waiting to be put in "Stan's World" down in the transmitter room.
Despite some hot and sticky conditions onboard, members worked on getting a feedline attached to the new "quality monitoring" (disguised 440) antenna which is now ready to go when they put up the mast. The growler in the transmitter room has been replaced and is now working. Excess parts taken from the FACCON 2 area were stored in the TTY repair area. A new "sound box" was mounted over the TTY racks in Radio Central. Work was done on the Model 28 TTY machine in the corner, and it is now up and running (more or less). Next on the agenda is the loop supply.
The HPA announced that the ship will not open on Labor Day weekend as planned due to a late delivery of steel to be used for the ship anchorage (thanks to Tropical Storm Barry). The ship is now scheduled to be moved no earlier than 02 September (also the completion date for the pier). Pier and Visitor Center construction and dredging operations continue at a rapid pace. The Visitor Center steelwork is up and on-track for it's 40-day start-to-finish schedule.
30 July - Radio Central was packed with volunteers this weekend, and a lot was accomplished, while the painters were busy at work repainting the exterior. The HF whip antenna termination boxes appeared mysteriously during the past week, along with the yardarm-mounted VHF and 16 mast-mounted UHF antennas! The HF whips were cleaned and painted in preparation for reinstallation soon. Hardline connectors are being reinstalled on cable runs in anticipation.
The 1MC speakers which have been inoperative to date were brought back to life. Now all 1MC circuits are functional, and the search goes on for isolated dead speakers. Members have also been bringing additional sound powered phone circuits back online.
Ted Katz has been busy running network connections for the shack's PCs to permit them to be networked together. A rack was removed from the ham shack to make way for a VHF station. Gary Katona and helpers now have the last of the R-1051's modified with operational display lamps, while additional switch indicators have been repaired. Tape was loaded into the TTY perforator machines and members were surprised to find it still working! The NAVMACS printers, however, were demil'ed. Doug McCray installed speakers in the TD devices to improve audibility. And Frank Annaloro and his ever-busy telephone crew now report 170 phones operational, including all phones on the tour route. Gene Holben has been busy logging in donations, and will have a donations policy posted soon.
23 July - The Museum Ships Special Event brought the New Jersey's radio room back to life, with operations starting at 0001z on Friday, 20 July. By the time the event ended at 2359z on Sunday, NJ2BB racked up 1434 QSO's on HF, including 53 countries, 49 states (where was North Dakota?), 19 zones, and 526 counties. Some additional QSO's were made on 440 MHz. The club's first new ham, Nancy, KC2IEX, celebrated by providing a hot lunch to the Saturday volunteers. Congrats Nancy! And many thanks to Harry Bryant and Charlie Olinda for installing the antennas and setting up the station.
While all the QSO's were happening, restoration work did not stop. The door to FACCON-2 was installed, providing a secure ham shack. Work continued on lighting up display indicators and other projects.
16 July - Work continues on display indicators on the SA-2112 "Coke Machine," the R-1051 receivers, and various panels, switches and controllers. Also on the SA-2112, a DTMF tone pad is being activated. The cipher lock on the radio room door was rigged with a beep tone when the keys are pressed - a fancy doorbell! About 140 phones are working on the ship now, with outside lines provided to select HPA staff offices. In the transmitter room, cable connectors are being rebagged & tagged.
A group of visitors from the USS Torsk (Baltimore) was aboard at the invitation of Harry Bryant. They toured the radio rooms and were put to work as well! With them they brought a vintage TDZ transmitter, so large it had to be delivered in pieces, and still waits to be lifted onto the ship. Thanks guys!
Ray Schnapp's 440 antenna hidden inside the silhouette of the former AN/SSQ-88 Quality Monitoring System's antenna has been completed and mounted on the stub mast.
The efforts were called short due to asbestos removal operations, which also closed off Broadway before noon.
08 July - The telephone guys now have about 90 phones activated, and were able to replace the phone in the TTY repair room as well as getting the phone in the Transmitter room working. Thanks to Lou Priestly, we were able to get the crypto lock on the the main Radio Central door working. This was a necessary item to make the radio area more authentic for the tour groups once the ship opens to the public.
We finally found a door for use on FACCON 2 (the ham shack). This will enable us to leave the ham equipment permanently in the shack. Work will begin next week on getting the door installed. Rewiring more of the SA-2112 "Coke Machine" front panel continues, and the special sound effects over the TTY racks were a big hit with several of the visitors who popped into Radio Central. Work was started to replace a second NAVMACS monitor and the classified/unclassified indicator lights continue to be activated.
Inventory and recording of the donations that have been given to the radio group for the ship is progressing under Gene Holben. The two club radios have been out for maintenance to get them ready for the "Museum Ship" special event coming up on July 21-22.
02 July - Once again the hot weather shortened our work day but we still managed to get some things accomplished. There are now eight R-1051 radios lit up in FACCON 1. The "Coke Machine" front panel has been brought back to life, and the telephone guys have activated even more telephones, bringing the total up to about 76 lines. The TTY classification lights are now being worked on with several of them now activated. The Twinax cable leading to the 08 level antenna was converted to coax for use by the packet scanner. The packet receive station was brought online for a while with good results.
Those who attended the BBQ had a good time, and the weather cooled off enough for everyone to enjoy it.
25 June - Those who were not involved with Field Day over the weekend continued with their various projects on the ship. The 1MC crew was very grateful for their air conditioning and continued work on repairing connectors. Thanks to the telephone volunteers (also loving their air conditioning) there are now about 60 active phone extensions working on the ship. Doug McCray mounted two of his rebuilt controller boxes over the TTY racks and they are very impressive looking. Work also continued on the relamping of the "Coke Machine" and the R-1051 receivers.
Ebe Helm and Jim Esposito were in the CCTV space, which is now alive and working with two commercial 3/4" VCRs, a mixer and line amps. They started with nothing and have done a tremendous amount of work.
19 June - The heat and humidity kept the work hours short, but there was no shortage of progress. A 440 MHz J-pole antenna disguised as the Quality Monitoring Antenna, built by Ray Schnapp, was shown off to the members. It will be mounted on the forward mast soon. The SA-2112 "Coke Machine" secure voice switch is being relamped, and a clever digital recording, installed by Doug McCray, announces a security warning whenever the "red phone" is removed from the switch! After weeks of work, Gary Katona's efforts "came to light" when the R-1051G receiver rack was powered up and the displays glowed for the first time in 10 years. The club's electrician, Ralph Schwank, powered up the panels and fans. Cable and document inventory efforts continue, as does the re-racking of equipment. Progress also continues on the telephone system, as more phones return to life throughout the ship, thanks to the efforts of the Verizon volunteers. And the 1MC announcing has been operational continuously for one week now without problems, a testament to those who brought her back to life.
BNJARS will not participate in Field Day, so those of you who don't plan to operate field day (you're missing out on a wonderful experience!), Doug McCray will be heading up the work activities on the ship.
11 June - Work continues on getting the radio room in shape for opening day. Gary Katona is relamping the R-1051G receivers at a rate of about two per week. Rack panels are starting to "glow," and the packet station has been tried out. The 1MC Announcing System is operational and seeing heavy use now. Additional circuit checks will be done before we are confidant to leave the system on 24/7. The alarm system will require extensive work to make operational.
On the telephone circuit, more phones are being brought on-line weekly. Select phones will be operational and a connection to the PSTN will be made soon to allow emergency calls off-ship and provide phone service to HPA offices aboard the ship.
Another "ship raid" at the PNSY is scheduled for Tuesday, 12 June, following a successful visit last week. That visit emphasized the necessity for safety awareness - two team members were left behind after the lights were turned off. Always be aware of your team mates, and make sure everyone gets off the ship safely before leaving.
June 30th is Volunteer Appreciation Day. BNJARS members able to attend the barbecue should notify Margaret Burgess. It will be followed by the Waterfront's Independence Day fireworks display. This event is for volunteers only.
The next scheduled General Meeting will be on Monday, 16 July, at 7:00 pm. The exact location will be announced at a later date.
04 June - After many months of effort, the 1MC Announcing System was finally brought on-line. After some minor wiring changes, the 1MC speakers came to life as John Goheen made the first test. HPA Volunteer Director Joe Fillmyer made the first "official" announcement ship-wide. Some speakers were not working, and a speaker survey will be made to find and repair/replace non-working speakers. Bravo Zulu to all who helped in this effort, especially John Saracen, Stan Hojnacki, Bob Jones, and Ed Martino.
On the telephone front, the Verizon volunteers have powered up the new exchange and have working dial tones on some phones.
Work continues on converting the NAVMACS terminals to ham packet stations, relamping the R-1051G receivers and rack pilot lamps, running coax cables to the ham shack, and getting the recently acquired R-1051D and R-390 receivers operational. Data bases continue to be refined, and equipment is steadily getting mounted in the rack.
Additional ship raids will take place this week to recover tagged items.
31 May - The BNJARS "All Hams On Deck" Memorial Day Weekend Special Event was the highlight of the weekend for most club members. A large number of members showed up for a the Special Event and a tribute to the plankowners of the club, and the staff of the Home Port Alliance for their special contributions in helping make the club a reality.
About 628 contacts were made on the HF, 2-meters, and 440 MHz bands.
Bravo Zulu to all who help setting up the station and antennas, cable tracing, operating, logging, and just being there to celebrate renewed radio operations aboard the New Jersey, while at the same time remembering those who served and lost their lives in defense of freedom. Special thanks to Joe Cramer for creating this event, and to Harry Bryant and Ruben Kafenbaum for helping Joe iron out the details.
21 May - Joe Cramer did a great job setting up a display for the HPA day at the Burlington Center mall, including a PowerPoint slide show showing ongoing club activities. Pete Greene gave a brief presentation. Thanks to Chester Klabe and the Priestly's for helping out. Chester reported that Sam Kuncevich will have club logo proofs available shortly for review.
Meanwhile, back on the ship, the special event station is nearing completion in the FACCON-2 area. Harry Bryant reports that HF contacts were made using the club's donated HF station and a temporary mobile antenna using the Twin Stub antenna feedline (via the Transmitter room on the 3rd deck). Gordon, G3HQG, was worked on 17m. The trussed whip antenna still needs a connector before it can be used next weekend. Some members will be aboard this Friday afternoon to ensure everything is operational prior to going on the air.
On the Dayton, Ohio, front, the Burgess' reported several donations received from ham manufacturers, as well as miscellaneous parts procured.
14 May - The 1MC/22MC Announcing System was powered up over the weekend with no smoke! The preamps and power amps seem to be working OK, but some speakers are not functioning (need to check switchboards and wiring). Thanks to Ralph Schwank and Pat, the ship's electrician, for powering up the power panels in Forward IC.
Last Friday a work crew (Doug McCray, Tom Helvig, Ruben Kafenbaum, and Matt Call) returned to the PNSY to pick up the frame for the SA-2112 Secure Voice Switch (SVS), affectionately known as the "Coke Machine" because of it's Coke-red color. The crew spent hours disassembling the rack and removing it. Over the weekend, Lou Priestly and Jim Esposito put all the pieces back together, and the "Coke Machine" is on display in the FACCON area.
With a new connector from Fred Munzenmayer, the trussed whip antenna cable is now operational, with good signals on the receiver hooked up to the antenna on the aft deck.
Bill Bacon and Ruben Kafenbaum were busy Saturday installing a CRT from an old Wyse terminal into the AN/UYK-20 display (part of the NAVMACS system). It will be converted into a packet station with the addition of a donated TNC for amateur use and display.
Al Lynch continued his efforts relamping the panels for the bottom of the TTY racks, and Gary Katona continued his project of relamping the R-1051G receivers. Many other projects aimed at getting ready for the Memorial Day Weekend Special Event. Steve Bromhead et al continued the logging of documents in Radio 2.
08 May - Racks are being installed in Radio Central, with some equipment starting to be installed in them and pilot lights wired up. The cable inventory is continuing, coming to a close. Cataloging of manuals started up again. This is a major task which will provide critical reference data for our restoration efforts, and will provide needed support to the Curator. An operating position in FACCON 2 (back room) is being put in place. Routine operation will take place in an open area on the tour route, possibly in Radio Central.
1MC work is nearly done, with the next main effort awaiting AC power to fire up the unit. Missing connectors is the primary hold up. Some great work by John Saracen, Stan Hojnacki, Bob Jones, and Ed Martino. If you saw what the boards and wiring looked like at the start, you can appreciate the effort by these members and others.
Volunteers may be needed again for a return visit to the Philadelphia Shipyard to pick up some tagged items which were not already removed from the ship. Stay tuned.
The Home Port Alliance is also looking for qualified volunteers to help in ship's wiring (qualified electrician, preferably with Navy shipboard experience), and audio guru's to help wire up some displays for sound.
Next meeting will be held on Friday, 11 May, at 1900 (7:00 pm).
30 April - Cable inventories for Radio Central and FACCON 1 are complete, and FACCON 2 almost done. Including the Transmitter Room, over 1200 cable ends have been found and identified. A cable run from FACCON 2 was traced to the 011 Level, where a 2-meter mag mount antenna was placed on the side of the superstructure. Using an HT, we were able to hit repeaters on the Jersey shore and Valley Forge! Testing of the VHF antennas check out OK.
Garry Katona has been busy restoring the lamps on the R-1051G HF receivers to make them "glow." Efforts to obtain replacement parts for the R-1051G's continues. Some racks were obtained and bolted down in Radio Central. Rubin Kafenbaum and Bill Bacon are busy restoring the TTY's to be used as a packet station using donated parts.
The old demiled telephone PBX was removed, and a replacement broad onboard, by volunteers from Verizon. Telephone instrument and line checkout continues.
23 April - Clean-up work continued over the past weekend, while 1MC repair is coming to a close. All power amps have been restored, and one pre-amp is restored. Most wiring repair is completed, and replacement connectors are on the way courtesy of Dynalec Corp., the original manufacturer of the system. Cables will be buzzed out and dressed in preparation of firing the system up once AC power is made available. The remaining three pre-amps are being restored by John Saracen. The next effort will be to repair/replace the alarm oscillator boards (collision, general quarters, fire, etc.).
18 April - Several members showed up over the holiday weekend to help out. The truss antenna atop the helo maintenance shack on the aft main deck was installed. VSWR checks showed a bad connector which will be repaired. The power amps for the 1MC system are now rebuilt, and the 1MC system should be up and running shortly. Volunteers from "Ma Bell" under the direction of Doug McCray and Frank Annaloro started buzzing out the ship's telephone system. Each phone (of hundreds on board) will be check out, and the demil'ed Dimension 2000 PBX will be replaced.
Volunteer crews have been visiting several decommissioned ships of the Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility (NISMF) at the Philadelphia Navy Ship Yard (PNSY), pulling out equipment to be used aboard the New Jersey. Unfortunately, most equipment has been demil'ed (smashed with a hammer), but some are useable for spare parts. On one ship an intact SA-2112 "Coke Machine" secure voice switch (innards removed) was found, and an AN/SRA-49 antenna coupler suitable for "window dressing" was found. No useable radios were found, however.
10 April - The first General Meeting of the BNJARS was held aboard the New Jersey on Monday. Many thanks to the members who cleaned out the CPO mess over the weekend. HPA's Scott Kodger updated us the ship's activities. The Navy confirmed this week that the New Jersey actually earned 19 battle stars, more than originally thought, making it the unchallenged "most decorated" ship in the Navy. A storage facility will be provided for us to stow artifacts. All turrets will be "lit up" and included on the tour route when the ship opens to the public. A safety course will be provided to the members. Funding for equipment purchases has been authorized. Remember - don't move any documents or artifacts without properly documenting the move notification to the curator.
Chief Engineer Dave Burgess suggested a 440 antenna be installed on the mast disguised as an original (we must preserve the ship's profile including antennas when viewed from below). As a safety reminder, members are suggested to bring a flashlight and whistle along with proper footwear when working on the ship.
John Saracen reported that one of the 1MC mic pre-amps is now working fully. With the support of Dynalec Corp., it was ascertained that an ECN was not included in the documents we had. With a component change, the amps now work. The remaining pre-amps will be completed shortly.
04 April - The Home Port Alliance has allocated the CPO Mess on second deck for our General Meeting on Monday, 9 April. The meeting will start at 1900 (7:00 pm). Short tours of the the Radio/IC spaces will be provided. You must have a badge to attend. If you do not have one yet, check in at the Ward Room. You will need to fill out an HPA Release/Waiver. If you have not submitted an application yet, please bring it with you. See note below for volunteers needed to remove equipment from mothballed ships in the Philadelphia Navy Yard.
01 April - The Timonium Hamfest kept some from the ship this weekend, but the others were hard at work with cable surveys, clean-up and repairs. A table was installed in Radio Central where the photo copy machine once was. A TTY from the Transmitter Room was installed in FACCON-1 to replace a damaged one. Forward IC got new lamps. The fwd and aft deck offices were inspected. A 1MC microphone was found to have been removed. A catalog of tubes is available, and a team is testing each one. Work on 1MC continues, and the 21MC/22MC intercom system is about ready for firing up. Rick Conner, WC2K, has volunteered to help install the antennas (Rick is a professional antenna installer). Gary Katona (K2UQ) has donated Model 28 TTY maintenance and instruction manuals. The cable survey of Radio Central/FACCON area is nearly complete.
The trip to the PNSY Inactive Fleet the week of 16 April may have to be scaled back as far as participants (one BNJARS member per day). Additional people will be needed later in the week to remove equipment and transport it to the New Jersey.
26 March - Work on the 1MC is nearly done. The antennas were removed from Radio Central and stowed on deck. Cleaning of Radio Central can now start. A quick test of a coax line to the aft area of the deck shows a continuous coax which can be used for HF operations during the Memorial Day special event if the ship's antennas are not remounted in time. The new e-mail list is up and running. All members have been subscribed, and it looks like the final bugs have been ironed out. See the e-mail list FAQ for more details. The ship move is now scheduled for Wednesday, 3/28, at 1400 hrs.
23 March - The ship move was delayed once again. Access to the ship is being addressed. Sundays are no longer available. A lockable office is being sought, and should be available. New members must obtain a visitors badge from the HPA offices (Mon-Fri, 9am - 4 pm, Sat mornings before 10:30 am).
In an article in the Courier Post, it was noted that children are no longer permitted aboard the ship until further notice.
Keep 16-17 April (Mon-Tues) open for the Philadelphia Navy Inactive Fleet "open house." At least 12 members knowledgeable of Radio Room, CIC and related equipment are needed. Heavy lifters will also be needed on Thurs/Fri of that week to transport the heavy stuff. This will likely be during working hours, and we will be competing against other museum ships for the equipment.
19 March - The third and final meeting of the BNJARS Steering Committee met at the Camden County Communications Center. The Constitution and Bylaws were approved. Elections were held, with the following positions filled: President - Pete Greene (N2LVI), Vice President - Ruben Kafenbaum (WA2NBL), Secretary - John Goheen (KB2ADL), Treasurer - Lou Priestly (N2HQL), Chief Engineer - Dave Burgess (WA2TVS), Station License Trustee - Joe Duffin (W2ORA), and Public Affairs Officer - Joe Cramer. The elected Directors were Peter Butler (WB2B), Harry Bryant (AA2WN), and Eugene Holben (N2WFN). The next General Meeting was set for 9 April (tentatively on the New Jersey).
17 March - The revised Constitution and Bylaws have been posted on the web. The power amps on the 1MC system are nearly done, and the system could be operational the first week of April. The ship was scheduled to be moved last Thursday to an adjacent slip, but is now scheduled for this Thursday (22 March). A cabinet has been secured in Radio Central to support electronics for displays in that room. A team has been checking out all the 1MC speakers, removing covers as necessary. The Courier Post interviewed members and took photos of the group in action. The article will probably appear in about two weeks. Keep an eye out for it.
15 Mar 2001 - The HPA curator has asked for a list of equipment we would want for the New Jersey which might be found on other Navy ships. Please submit your wish-list NLT Monday's meeting, 19 March. We will consolidate the lists into a master list. Include any and all items which would be beneficial for the club and restoration work.
10 Mar 2001 - Members continued 1MC repair work and document sorting. Curator Scott Kodger will visit the USS North Carolina 12-13 March. Joe Cramer announced the Special Event scheduled for Memorial Day weekend aboard the New Jersey.
07 Mar 2001 - Members Tom Helvig, Pete Greene, and Ed Veres toured the USS Conolly, a 1970's vintage destroyer, with HPA curator Scott Kodger in hopes of finding compatible equipment in the radio room and CIC to photograph. The Conolly is on "museum hold." A list of antennas found on BB62 was generated.
03 Mar 2001 - Work on the 1MC system continues, almost ready to bring online with at least one of each module operational. Wiring harness work continues. A temporary PA system was installed in the Damage Control office (Main Deck) with limited announcing capability. Documents found in storage areas are being sorted and cataloged. Dave Burgess reproduced a copy of the Transmitter Room (Radio 2) layout from a sketch left behind. John Goheen has scanned the 1MC Speaker List and provided it in PDF format.
28 Feb 2001 - Pete Greene met with Scott Kodger, BB62 curator for a status update. Additional badges are now available for members needing them (see Pete). Pete generated a preliminary list of equipment in Radio Central based on circuit breaker name tags. A visit to the Phila Navy Yard to take photos of the radio room and CIC aboard the Conolly is scheduled for 7 March.
24 Feb 2001 - Dave & Margaret Burgess continued cataloging cables in radio rooms. Jean Priestly sorted and marked bags of vacuum tubes. John Goheen connected a 100W PA to some 1MC speakers in 1-103P. Not all speakers working. Stan Hojnacki, Bob Jones and John Saracen continued their repair of the 1MC wiring in the forward IC room. One power amp, one power supply and two pre-amps are repaired. Doug McCray is investigating antenna locations and options to mount antennas, clean Radio Central.
17 Feb 2001 - Members manned a table at the Echelon Mall during the HPA's exhibit this weekend. Many thanks to Joe Cramer (N2XYZ) for organizing things, and to all who helped out. Thanks also to Joe Cramer, John Goheen and Pete Greene for helping to put together a brochure for the mall event.
Dave Burgess (who is featured on the club's brochure given out at the mall) reports that the wires for the discage antenna were found. Also, Dave (WA2TVS) and Margaret (KB2BRR) Burgess report that over 400 cables have been inventoried!
The constitution and bylaws have been updated by Pete Greene (N2LVI) and are posted on the web.
10 Feb 2001 - Work continues on the 1MC. Stan Hojnacki and Bob Jones are repairing the wiring harnesses, while John Saracen is repairing the amplifier boards. John Saracen is also working to restore the fathometer in the bridge. The tech manual for the AM/SIC-4 was received from Dynalec on Saturday. A space has been secured for repair work on 2 deck. Doug McCray, Dave Burgess, et al, inventoried the transmitter and radio central spaces including coax cable runs. John Goheen and crew are continuing their documentation search, hitting a goldmine in one of the magazine spaces. Pete and Dane Greene located the VHF radio room (Radio III) and two other radio rooms (Radio IV and V) in the superstructure, and located the telephone exchange. The AN/WTC-3(V) Telephone Switch (Dimension 2000 PBX) was "demilitarized" and unusable.
07 Feb 2001 - The 1MC manufacturer, Dynalec, was contacted. A tech manual is available and will be shipped. John Saracen has located a source for replacement transistors. Tom Helvig has been in contact with Congressman Saxton's office regarding access to equipment on mothballed ships at the Philadelphia Shipyard. Work crews will return this Saturday, 10 Feb, to resume 1MC work, document searches, and surveys.
03 Feb 2001 - BNJARS members continued work to restore the 1MC (shipwide announcing system), fixed the Sound Powered Phone (SPP) system 1JV circuit (others not yet tested), continued a survey of radio room and related spaces, and met with the new curator, Scott Kodger, to discuss the club's plans.
27 Jan 2001 - BNJARS members visited the ship for the first survey of the radio rooms and to generate a list of equipment still aboard the ship. The 1MC/7MC shipwide announcing system was found to be "demilitarized" with cut wiring harnesses, missing connectors, and damaged circuit boards. The Sound Powered Phone (SPP) system was inoperative (despite its simplicity), and other interior communications (IC) systems were inoperative (e.g., telephone system, growlers, intercoms, etc.). Numerous boxes of documents were found along Broadway but there was insufficient time to sort through them all (and lighting was poor).
10 Jan 2000 - Representatives of several radio clubs met to create the Steering Committee, creating the Battleship New Jersey Amateur Radio Association (BNJARS). Interim elections results: President, Peter Greene N2LVI; Vice President, Joe Cramer, N2XYZ; Secretary/Treasurer, John Goheen, KB2ADL.
27 December 2000 - L-3 Communications (1 Federal Street, Camden, NJ) agrees to "adopt" the radio room on the New Jersey as a corporate sponsor.
November 2000 - Members of the Victor Amateur Radio Association (VARA) surveyed the New Jersey and found all antennas removed (many stowed below decks) and the Radio Rooms gutted except for some teletype equipment and HF receivers of 1980's vintage.
Oct 2000 - Joe Cramer of the South Jersey Radio Association (SJRA) presented plans for amateur radio aboard the USS New Jersey to radio clubs in the South Jersey area.
May 2000 - The Home Port Alliance was contacted by the Victor Amateur Radio Association (VARA) about getting amateur radio aboard the USS New Jersey.