The VA3VGC call sign was selected to commemorate the 'original' Maritime Radio three letter call sign that the SS Keewatin operated with during her early tenure on the Great Lakes. Ship and coastal stations used two letter call signs until the end of 1907, and then three letter callsigns started on January 1, 1908. The Keewatin's service commenced in 1908. Documents of the Department of Naval Services dated 1910-11, show a listing with "licenses granted for the installation and operation of Radio-Telegraph stations on the following ships: -", the SS Keewatin is listed as one of the vessels. Canadian calls issued after the Radio Act of 1912 were considered accurate because the government regulated and assigned them.
During the early years of wireless onboard Great Lake vessels, there were only 87 vessels listed in 1915 with radio apparatus and licenses. SS Keewatin and the SS Assiniboia were recorded in that list with the calls VGC and VGI respectively. After 1923, maritime stations began using four letter call signs.
Restored to its original condition and glory, here are views of the Wireless Shack on board the
The equipment is from her sister ship the SS Assiniboia, on loan from the Toronto Museum Services.
During the 'Kee's' stay in Michigan. R.J. Peterson had the forethought to build
a new wireless room on the Sun Deck to house the station.
The radio equipment is currently in Toronto being checked and refurbished. We hope to have it back on board in the not too distant future. The Marconi radio room will be used as temporary quarters for the VA3VGC radio station. See the Event Calendar page for details.