NMO - Part 5 - A Minor Diplomatic Incident


Copyright 1994 by Jeffrey Herman
All Rights Reserved.

Part 5.  A minor diplomatic incident.

One evening while sitting the 500kc watch and daydreaming of those lucky
ops on board their ships scattered about the Pacific my pleasant thoughts
were shattered by a broadcast from a Soviet ship:

TTT TTT TTT CQ DE UBEX UBEX UBEX BT 170930Z ALL SHIPPING WITHIN 200 KM
RADIUS 030-060 DEG FROM 37.42N 174.11E USE CAUTION DUE TO MISSILE TESTING
DURING THE HOURS OF ...

Oh gad, he was going to send the entire text on 500 - that's a no-no
for just a safety broadcast. Okay, time to earn my pay as the Central 
Pacific 500kc cop - I'll just break in by sending a couple:

BT  BT

but he kept right on going.  Okay, I'll hold my key down for a few 
seconds (but not too long for long dashes will activate auto alarms on 
board ships):



ah, silence. I'll be nice:

UBEX DE NMO NMO GE OM PSE QRT ON 500  PSE QSY 512 OK IMI K

After a few seconds of silence he proceeded to send:

TTT TTT TTT CQ DE UBEX UBEX UBEX BT 170930Z ALL SHIPPING ...

Oh geez, this guy gets the Lid-Of-The-Night award. Now I'm not happy. 
The Cold War on 500. I send another:



and silence results. Let's try it again:

UBEX DE NMO QRT ON 500  QSY 512 K  only to be followed by:

TTT TTT TTT CQ DE UBEX UBEX UBEX BT 170930Z ALL SHIPPING ...

Now, with only 30 seconds until the silent period my concern for his
unlawful broadcast is quickly growing.  15 seconds, 10 seconds, 5 sec; 
my log:

BEGIN SILENT PERIOD                                          500    0945Z 
OPNOTE: UBEX CONTINUING TO SEND SAFETY BCST DURING SP. SPVR NTFD.   0945Z

Having told my supervisor, I proceeded to send:

QRT QR SP SP   

but the lid kept right on sending. Now my mates on the West Coast were
losing their patience too - first up is NMC (San Fran CG):

UBEX DE NMC QRT SP SP  

and he stops! But a few seconds later (still during the silent period):

TTT TTT TTT CQ DE UBEX ....

oh man, this nut's got seaweed for brains. In jumps NMQ (Long Beach CG):

DE NMQ QRT SP SP 

and even NOJ up in Alaska jumps in the brawl:

DE NOJ QRT SP            followed by Power House:

DE KPH QRT SP SP  
                    
but the kook kept right on sending his broadcast. Finally at minute :47 
(still within the silent period) he finished.  I, of course, logged 
everything; but one thing I didn't log was my `QSL' to him after the 
silent period:

UBEX UR A LID  

without my callsign, and in A1 (I always kept our 500 xmtr in A2, so 
with it in A1 no one would know it was me).  So much for diplomacy with 
the Soviets...

For the most part every ship and shore station worldwide followed the 
international procedures. The discipline on 500 around the world was 
amazing.  During Coast Guard Radioman school we were reminded that what 
was being taught to us were not Coast Guard nor US Govt. policies, but 
rather international rules set forth by the UN's ITU, and that every
shipboard operator, spanning many decades, had been taught the exact
procedures being presented to us. This instilled in us an unbroken chain
of tradition with those ship's radio operators since the beginning, and 
all of us felt a deep respect toward 500 kc;  there was a sense of
mystery felt towards this frequency - very difficult to put into words.

End of Part 5.

Jeff KH2PZ / KH6
jeffreyh@hawaii.edu