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“Spark” Behind Queen Mary W6RO Amateur Station Nate Brightman, K6OSC, SK


Nate Brightman, K6OSC, called the “spark” behind W6RO, the Amateur Radio station aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California, died on October 29. He was 99. An ARRL member, Brightman, who lived in Long Beach, had served as the W6RO Wireless Room Manager for 34 years, plus another 10 years arranging for the GB5QM “Last Voyage” Amateur Radio operation and establishing W6RO, which is licensed to the Associated Radio Amateurs of Long Beach.

In 2013, Brightman reluctantly resigned as W6RO Wireless Room Manager, citing recent illness and his advanced age as reasons for his decision. In his farewell statement, Brightman said ham radio operations now aboard some 90 museum ships such as the Queen Mary have introduced Amateur Radio to millions of people. “This means of introducing Amateur Radio to the public is the biggest publicity stunt ever for Amateur Radio, and we should be proud that it all started with W6RO!” he said.

In the process of spearheading Amateur Radio aboard the Queen Mary, Brightman balanced the tasks of recruiting hundreds of operators, garnering equipment donations from leading manufacturers, and maintaining excellent relations with “The Queen’s” management. He earned an ARRL Special Service Award for his efforts in 2004.

Brightman narrated the video The Story of the Queen Mary and W6RO. The former passenger liner now is on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2009, the ARRL Board of Directors bestowed the 2009 Philip J. McGan Memorial Silver Antenna Award on Brightman for excellence in public relations. In 2011, he was elected to the CQ Amateur Radio Hall of Fame.

A service is scheduled for Tuesday, November 1, at 10 AM PT, at Congregation Shir Chadesh, 6440 Del Amo Boulevard, Lakewood, California, with interment to follow. 



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