News / USA

    Radio Hams Keep 'Queen Mary' Wireless on the Air

    Radio Hams Keep 'Queen Mary' Wireless on the Airi
    X
    April 30, 2014 2:13 AM
    The Queen Mary, an ocean liner that once sailed the North Atlantic, is now permanently berthed in Long Beach, California, where it's a tourist attraction and hotel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan tells us, there's a room aboard the ship that continues the tradition of ship-to-shore wireless operations, and introduces visitors to the hobby of ham radio
    The Queen Mary, an ocean liner that once sailed the North Atlantic, is now permanently berthed in Long Beach, California, where it's a tourist attraction and hotel. In one of the rooms aboard the ship, the tradition of ship-to-shore wireless operations is continued and visitors are introduced to the hobby of ham radio.
     
    A young visitor recently got an introduction to Morse code, the system of dots and dashes once used for wireless communication. Amateur radio operators, called "hams," still use it today.
     
    The Queen Mary was the pride of the Cunard Line after its 1936 launch, and is now a popular tourist attraction.
     
    The wireless room preserves the ocean liner's communications hub. Queen Mary Commodore Everette Hoard said it was a lifeline in emergencies, providing two-way messages -- ship to shore.
     
    “And not only did they carry several transmitters for transmitting the ship's business, they also, even in 1936, had radio-telephone service,” said Hoard.
     
    Today, volunteers from the local amateur radio club show off old equipment and operate new gear, as they talk to hams around the world.
     
    “Just chit-chat, back and forth, some of them for hours at a time, many on voice, some of them even on Morse code,” said wireless room manager David Akins.
     
    Volunteer Kurt Freitag said the wireless station is popular with visitors and hams overseas.
     
    “When we get out there and say, this is W6RO, our call letters, we get a pile up.  People go, that's the Queen Mary, and they all jump in, talk to me, talk to me, no talk to me,” said Frietag.
     
    Ham operators help with communications in disasters, from earthquakes and hurricanes to winter ski accidents.
     
    The man who helped create the ship's ham radio operation, Nate Brightman, said helping in emergencies is an important part of the hobby.
     
    “That's the big reason that the government is so nice to amateur radio operators and gives us all these frequencies to use, because we serve the public. It's a hobby and it's a lot of fun, but it's also very valuable to the country,” said Brightman.
     
    These volunteer radio operators are continuing the heritage of seaborne communication on board the Queen Mary, reaching out to visitors to the ship and radio enthusiasts worldwide.

    You May Like

    US Internet Giants, EU Reach Deal to Combat Online Hate Speech

    Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft commit to ‘quickly and efficiently’ act to clamp down on use of social media to incite violence, terror

    Video Tunisia’s Ennahda Party Begins a New Political Chapter

    Party now moves to separate its political and religious activities; change described by party members as pragmatic response to political and economic challenges facing Tunisia today

    Virtual Reality Fine-tuned at Asia Tech Show

    Microchip designers hope to improve resolution for users of systems that can turn your bedroom into the ocean floor

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conferencei
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    May 30, 2016 5:11 PM
    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora