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History-Related Events Will Operate from Rare Grid in Cape Cod National Seashore


It is mere coincidence that the Titanic disaster in 1912 — one of the worst maritime disasters in history — and the birth of Guglielmo Marconi in 1874 — the developer of the wireless gear onboard the ill-fated ship — both occurred in April. Marconi Wireless Company radio operators onboard the Titanic transmitted the distress signal after the gigantic vessel struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic on its maiden voyage. Co-located Amateur Radio special events in April will commemorate both events.

ARRL International Grid Chase 2018 (IGC) enthusiasts take note: The special event operations will take place from FN51, a rare grid square that includes just a slip of land along the Atlantic side of Cape Cod’s lower arm; most of FN51 is water. Both events will be held at the Nauset Coast Guard Station in Eastham, Massachusetts.

The Titanic/Marconi Memorial Radio Association of Cape Cod operation will use W1MGY, in recognition of the Titanic’s MGY call sign. Operation will begin on Thursday, April 12, at 9 AM ET and continue until Sunday, April 15, at 1:27 AM ET (0527 UTC) — the time when the Virginian heard Titanic’s last radio message 106 years ago. The Titanic disaster claimed some 1,500 lives. The W1MGY operation will be open to the public only on April 14, 10 AM until 3 PM ET. According to W1MGY trustee Barry Hutchinson, KB1TLR, plans call for coverage on all bands, mostly within the General-class subbands, on CW and SSB. Two stations are planned.

Marconi’s wireless station in Wellfleet on Cape Cod played a role in the rescue of 740 survivors from the Titanic. Marconi’s wireless operator onboard the rescue ship Carpathia contacted the Titanic that fateful night to inform the wireless operator that the Cape Cod station was transmitting messages to the ill-fated ship. The Titanic’s Marconi wireless operator promptly replied, “Come at once. We have struck a berg,” initiating the rescue of survivors.

Today, the Wellfleet station site is listed as a National Landmark on the National Register of Historic Places (1975) and is now part of Cape Cod National Seashore.

The Saturday, April 21, International Marconi Day (IMD) operation by the Marconi Cape Cod Radio Club will use the call sign KM1CC, which recognizes the former WCC shore station on Cape Cod. Operation will be on CW, SSB, and digital modes.

KM1CC will be among many stations participating in IMD activities on April 21. The 24-hour event is typically held on the Saturday closest to Marconi’s birth date. During IMD, Amateur Radio enthusiasts around the world will attempt to make contact with various historic Marconi sites using communication techniques similar to those that Marconi used. Registered stations must operate from a site with some connection to Marconi.

Stations may register for International Marconi Day 2018 via e-mail. The list of stations already signed up for the 2018 IMD, along with their operating sites, is posted on the Cornish Radio Amateur Club website.