Prince William Forest Park – WWII Radio History

SSTR-1 suitcase radio

Jeff Fuller WB6UIE       Constructed by members of the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, the park was originally designed as a getaway for inner city youth during the Great Depression. Today its rustic cabins and idyllic trails are available for all to enjoy. There is another interesting and, until recently, little known slice of the park’s history – its role as a training site for OSS operatives during WWII.                     America entered WWII with no national agency responsible for coordinating intelligence and covert action. Before Pearl Harbor, such activities were conducted piecemeal by the individual military services. President Roosevelt addressed this deficiency by creating the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) under WWI Medal of Honor recipient Brigadier General … Read more >>

Club Nametags and Polos

It seems our recruiting efforts have been paying off with several new members joining the club recently. When you hear them on the Thursday club net, please take a minute to introduce yourself and welcome them to OVH. I had some questions at Tailgate about club nametags. You can order one directly from the link below.         http://www.thesignman.com/clubs/ovhcart.html We also have club polos (right). For details, contact Jeff at WB6UIE@gmail.com  

VP’s Corner

By Robert Havasy - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21953854

As we enter the new year, I’m reminded of a quote my faculty adviser kept posted on his wall: “We are surrounded by insurmountable opportunity.” Opportunities abound at OVH. Here are some of them for the coming year. How about a position on the OVH leadership team? We’ll put together the slate this month with voting to follow in February.         Unfortunately, it looks like the ongoing pandemic will curtail our traditional outdoor activities for a while. No worries. Ham radio also excels as an indoor sport.     I still have some sets of antenna books from the club lending library to be checked out (Thanks Art!). Winter weather may not be the best for putting up HF antennas. What about that new VHF design you’ve … Read more >>

VP’s Corner

Thanksgiving on Combat Outpost Cherkatah Khowst Province, Afghanistan (U.S. Army)

The approaching holiday season and year’s end are traditionally a time for reflection and giving thanks for our many blessings. This Veteran’s Day, lets take a moment to express thanks to our veterans – the young ones who are in harm’s way today defending our freedoms, and those who have gone before, sometimes giving all.   American servicemembers have a proud history of being able to adapt, innovate, and overcome during the most challenging of circumstances. This Veteran’s Day I’ll cover a fascinating but little known part of that history – radios built by front line combatants and prisoners of war eager for the latest war news. Known collectively as “Foxhole Radios” their circuits embody a unique combination of clever innovation and elegance. (“Foxhole” refers to the fighting holes used … Read more >>

VP’s Corner

Cooler temperatures of fall will soon be here and, along with them, the beginning of the holiday season. I’m sure your family, like mine, has some holiday traditions which have been passed down over the years. We carry them on, not necessarily for practical reasons, but as a means of bonding and connecting with past generations. Learning to communicate using Morse code or “CW” is one such tradition in the amateur radio community. I’m happy to see several of our new hams accepting the challenge. Here are some interesting Morse factoids to encourage you in your studies. Q.  Why do hams call it CW? A.  CW stands for Continuous Wave, meaning a sine wave produced by an electronic oscillator. The first radio signals from spark transmitters were known as “damped … Read more >>

VP’s Corner

2020 National Preparedness Month

WB6UIE   As we begin National Preparedness Month, Hurricane Laura has devastated portions of Louisiana and spawned systems of severe storms as it swept inland. Northern Virginia was fortunate to escape most of its wrath. We may not be so lucky next time. Now is a good time to check your emergency supplies. Do you have enough food and water for you and your family to last several days?   You can find information about recommended emergency kit contents at https://www.ready.gov Are your radios ready to go and programmed with local repeater frequencies? You can find this info along with the local ARES op plan and training schedule at http://pwcares.org/ In addition to the damage caused by their high winds and wind driven water, hurricanes often spawn tornadoes and systems … Read more >>

VP’s Corner

VP-2020-08-An amateur radio operator, Yvette Cendes, KB3HTS, at station W8EDU, 2005-Wikipedia

As 5G and other new commercial wireless systems deploy, competition for scarce radio spectrum will become intense. As stewards of a good chunk of that spectrum, it will be up to hams to justify our allocations. Some are saying that new technology will make our traditional emergency communications role obsolete. So, what else do we bring to the table? How about our long and proud history as a springboard for youngsters who went on to landmark careers as engineers, Nobel Laureates and astronauts? Here are some examples. Edwin H. “Howard” Armstrong, W2XMN Armstrong grew up in suburban New York at the turn of the century and was fascinated by wireless technology. By age 14 he had filled his bedroom with wireless gear and erected a 125 foot antenna on his … Read more >>

VP’s Corner

USCGC Eagle (WIX-327), formerly the Horst Wessel and also known as the Barque Eagle, is a 295-foot barque used as a training cutter for future officers of the United States Coast Guard. - Wikipedia

Hope everyone had a safe and happy Independence Day as we celebrated our nation’s birthday. August marks another important birthday – that of the U.S. Coast Guard, tasked with protecting our shores from smugglers and terrorists. As we honor that anniversary, here’s a sea story about one of that service’s epic battles. It began 100 years ago this year with the passage of the 18th Amendment.     Popularly known as Prohibition, the new law forbade the import or manufacture of alcoholic beverages in the U.S. Predictable results followed its opening kickoff. British and Canadian distilleries ramped up to full production and the smuggling race was on. Seagoing smugglers loaded up motherships for rendezvous with small speedboats just outside U.S. territorial waters. The Coast Guard’s task was a daunting one. … Read more >>