Amateur Radio on a World War II Submarine!

This blog is a little out of chronological order.  It happened before Field Day, yet I am writing about it after Field Day.  This kind of thing shouldn’t happen once the blog is well underway, but after making my first entry, I realised I wanted to talk about this, so here we go.

The weekend of June 6th and 7th was the annual Museum Ships On The air event in which historic vessels take to the amateur bands. I met Bill KF6RMK on the Mount Diablo repeater the day before the event began and he invited me to take a look at their event station aboard the USS Pampanito. Well, I had never seen a WWII-era submarine, so the next day, my friend Antoinette and I took Bart to San Francisco to take a look at this sub which is anchored at Pier 45 at Fisherman’s Wharf in the city.

Bill KF6RMK in the operating position of the radio room aboard the USS Pampanito.
Dennis K6ZJU in the radio room aboard the USS Pampanito.

At the back of both pictures, you can see the original equipment (all I understand in working order – and it is fired up from time to time).

To the left, hidden away in a cabinet is the more modern amateur radio equipment that is used to put the Pampanito on the amateur bands.

Antoinette was sufficiently interested that she is now thinking about getting her tech license. Go Antoinette – and talking of Antoinette (also known as Mixtress 9 of KALX Berkeley), here she is on the sub as well:


A most interesting afternoon. Thank you Bill and Dennis – and make sure to look out for the USS Pampanito, NJ6VT. They operate on the second Saturday of every month, and during special events.


2 thoughts on “Amateur Radio on a World War II Submarine!

  1. New hams or those interested should be aware of a generational change taking place in ham radio. The old guard is being rolled over by the blistering pace of technological change and the new generation

  2. Isn’t that always the way “ham radio for sale” (it would be nice to have a name or callsign for you). Ever since amateur radio began in the first part of the 20th century, it has been constantly evolving. It’s interesting to me that there are many hams who are involved with the cutting edge as well as having an interest in what you might call the more traditional side of our hobby. It doesn’t have to be one or the other; it can be both.

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