Antenna Tower

Radio Repairs and Restoration

This week we're going to introduce another way that volunteers are working to maintain the ship. Normally we show what the crew is working on or events where the BROWN is involved.  Sometimes other crew members jump in and write things describing their actions to go with the pictures I've taken (because trust me, you don't want me trying to explain what the deck hands are doing, or worse, what the engineers are working on with 'thingy-ma-bobs' and 'do hickies'.  Before I go any further, I'll just remind our readers that those that volunteer on the ship, do so because they want to help preserve history.  The volunteers are the craziest, most talented bunch that come from all walks of life and have more perspectives than we can explain.  Some of our newest volunteers are very cerebral, amazingly talented, and very dedicated.   They have been working on the ship for the last 6 months making repairs and restorations of the Radio System as necessary - to make the system operational and retain it's originality as much as possible while at the same time, creating and integrate modern radio communication capability. 

I could try to explain what our wonderful friends are now doing, but instead, I'm going to let them do the explaining...(thanks guys, for the write up, it made the writing of this blog much easier!)


             I.      Assess the system configurations and modifications that have been made to the radio system over the ship’s history. Restore to the original configurations to the extent possible.

          II.      Repair the main receivers, and the Main Transmitter. Remove and retain the Marine Band transmit frequency crystals and retain for historical purposes.

       III.      Install Amateur Radio (HAM) band crystals into the transmitter so Licensed Ham Radio Operators will be able to operate the transmitter.

       IV.      To the extent necessary, the Emergency – Auto Alarm, Signaling and Direction Finding capabilities will not be repaired (made operational) at this time in order to prevent accidental Emergency transmissions. In all cases, to the extent possible the originality will be maintained.

          V.      Repair/Replace the Antenna Tower, Re-configure/Re-install the Long-Wire antennas as necessary.

       VI.      Install an Antenna Distribution system so that any of the Ham Radio antennas can be patched to any of the pre-defined Ham Radio operating locations on the ship or over-the-side for operation on a pier.

    VII.      Install a modern Ham Radio Transceiver in an obscure location near/in the Antique Radio so an operator can communicate via the Antique Radio equipment or the Modern Radio. 

It's been at least 10 years, but most likely more, since our radio system was used on a somewhat regular basis.  As with any historical thing (boats, buildings, aircraft...), there is a period of time that is needed to figure out what things have been modified, and to trace where wires and antennae are headed.  Add tubes, transmitters and receivers to the mix and you get a LOT of work for at least 3 volunteers who come on most Wednesdays and Saturdays to make headway with the system.  Currently they should have things working in a couple more weeks and are working on objectives 5 and 6 (Antennae tower and distribution system).  We can not wait to hear our  historical radio back working and we plan on some upcoming video to share with you all in a few weeks!    

Project Liberty Ship, Inc is a 501(c)3 non-profit, all volunteer organization engaged in the preservation and operation of the historic ship JOHN W. BROWN as a living memorial museum. Gifts to Project Liberty Ship are tax deductible.

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