Battleship New Jersey Amateur Radio Station (BNJARS)

World War II Radio Room


    It was way back in January 2001 that BNJARS made their first major assault on the BB-62 and found places called Message Handling Area, FACCON, Transmitter Room, Fwd IC and CEC. It was a few weeks later that the location of the first Radio Central was found, near Sick Bay.

     Much to our disappointment the former Radio Room had been stripped of all it's radios, desks, switchboards and other things that made this compartment a Battleship Radio Room. In their place was a series of large cabinets that comprised the 400 Hz power generators needed by the ships fire control systems. These cabinets meant that restoration of the space to its former use would never happen.

     But then along about April or May of 2001 the Navy made a sudden appearance at the ship to remove these cabinets and in their wake left a very empty compartment. So now we had an empty compartment but no equipment. The compartment stayed empty over the next several years as shown by the picture shown below. 

       

     Our next calendar stop is during the summer of 2006 when we and dozens of other museum ships were granted "raiders rights" to the former USS Des Moines. This last of the heavy crusiers provided us with much of the stuff needed for our quest to restore our compartment near Sick Bay.

     Over the next several months work was performed on the gear acquired from the shipyard, rigs were repaired, equipment placed in a mock-up fashion and our dreams continued. But the location of the compartment meant that visitors would not see the space nor could operation of the equipment begin because the 1982 modernization had removed all the radio related cables from the compartment.

     Then in the summer of 2008 the ship opened the "City at Sea Tour" which included the Sick Bay area. A quick discussion with the ship's staff resulted in a fresh coat of paint and an open door policy for our dream filled compartment. Hey, things were really starting to look good for the Radio 1 of 1943. Since the opening of the new route hundreds of visitors have viewed the Radio 1 compartment, which also has the sounds of CW in the background.

     In December 2008 the Saturday gang had managed to install a coax cable (275 ft) from the Transmitter Room to what has become known as WWII Radio and that much work remained before the compartment can wake up from its long slumber.

     In early Janurary 2009 we managed to install the future control cable (300 ft) that someday will allow us to operate the ship's transmitters from WWII Radio. THANKS to everyone involved in the two cable pulls that got us to within a couple of steps of fulfilling one of BNJARS biggest dreams, waking up the real voice of the Battleship New Jersey.

     But wait!! After the general membership meeting of February 2009, a small group of members convinced our plankowner Bob, W2MAS, to visit his old duty station one more time. Once in the compartment and being instructed to turn on an RBC receiver he realize that something was afoot.

 

     Yep, for the first time since 1945 Bob was tuning in stations
from his Radio 1. And for the first time since the Viet Nam cruise,
the compartment was filled with the sounds of real HF radio.

    Ahead of us lies the installation of switchboards, cable
testing and pre-operational testing. We have a long, though shorter,
way to go, but things are looking up.

To view a slide show of the restoration progress
click here

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