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Historic NSS Call Sign to be Reactivated for Naval Radio Station’s 100th Anniversary


Historic US Navy call sign NSS will be reactivated during the 100th anniversary of the former Naval Radio Station in Annapolis, Maryland. Members of the US Naval Academy Radio Club (W3ADO) and the Potomac Valley Radio Club (W3GRF) will return the historic call sign to the air during the Armed Forces Day Crossband Military/Amateur Radio Communications Test this coming weekend.

NSS operations from the site of the former Naval Radio Station on Greenbury Point will run from 1300 UTC on Saturday, May 12 to 0200 UTC on Sunday, May 13. Transmissions on CW and SSB will take place on 4,038.5; 5,330.5; 7,533.5; 9,447; 14,487, and 17,545 kHz. NSS will listen for callers on announced frequencies in adjacent Amateur Radio bands. Commemorative QSLs will be sent for all contacts.

NSS began operation in 1918 as the Annapolis High Power Radio Station using two Federal Telegraph Company 500 kW Poulson arc transmitters and four 600-foot towers, operating in the very low-frequency (VLF) region of the radio spectrum. At that time, VLF was believed to be the only part of the radio spectrum capable of supporting transoceanic radio communication; it would be a few more years before radio amateurs proved the major long-distance communications benefits of frequencies well above 1 MHz.

NSS began regular operation in the HF bands about 10 years later, and that continued until 1976, when the station’s HF mission was transferred to Naval Radio Station (call sign NAM) in Norfolk, Virginia. The 1,200-foot central tower and dozens of other towers and masts were demolished in 1999, although three iconic 600-foot Eiffel towers remain at the southern tip of Greenbury Point.

A brief video history of NSS is available on YouTube. The website of radio history buff Jim Hawkins, WA2WHV, also offers a virtual tour of NSS. 



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