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Milwaukee Breakwater Lighthouse - USA 497
December 31, 2001
CQ Zone 4  ITU Zone 8

1659  KC2EVO   BOB      176     NJ   20M
1700  KG4AGI   ED       266     KY   20M
1701  VE3LDT   DAVE    1961     ON   20M
1702  KA2BZS   RON      388     NJ   20M
1702  W5PVE    JOE      126     LA   20M
1703  K5JIM    JIM      157     MS   20M
1705  K2JXW    JIM        1     NJ   20M
1706  W8ERV    ERV     1994     MI   20M
1706  N8GUV    HARRY    373     GA   20M
1707  W4KNB    JIM      209     NC   20M
1707  N2AQJ    ED       516     PA   20M
1709  KA2FES   BILL    1979     NY   20M
1709  W5IFP    JIM     1954     TX   20M
1710  N3LJS    ROB      341     MD   20M
1711  NC4RM/M  RUSTY   1995     NC   20M
1711  KD5MUY   LLOYD    492     OK   20M
1711  W1OS     RICHARD  203     NY   20M
1713  W2PXA    GENE     515     NY   20M
1713  W1MCE    DAVE     491     MA   20M
1714  K4DTB    DAVE     477     AL   20M
1715  W8TTS    TED      115     OH   20M
1716  KB5IQJ   DON     1989     TX   20M
1717  K1RKD    RON     2001     CT   20M
1718  W2UNS    DICK    1947     VA   20M
1719  WA8FXH   BILL    1964     WI   20M
1721  VA3RJ    DAVE    1967     ON   20M
1721  KC0LKG   ED      1998     MO   20M
1722  K8MEG    RICHARD  461     MI   20M
1723  WA8MEG   HELENE   462     MI   20M
1725  WA7OBH   LEE      155     FL   20M
1726  KA5PVB   CHUCK    133     TX   20M
1727  WB8BHU   ROB      426     OH   20M
1729  N8CPA    STEVE    193     OH   20M
1730  W5AZN    JIM      484     TX   20M
1729  N8DJX    BRUCE   1957     OH   20M
1729  WA4IVS   RICHARD  323     FL   20M
1731  W5AZO    PATTY    485     TX   20M
1732  WB3HML   BOB     1977     PA   20M
1733  W0SLL    JOE     1964     AZ   20M
1735  N6RND    NICK    1955     CA   20M
1736  WD8KRV   DAVE     505     MI   20M
1738  KC8SEV   DENNIS   173     DE   20M
1743  KB9IYO   DENNIS  1997     IL   20M
1744  K2KBT    JOE      225     VT   20M
1745  N3HON    MIKE     418     MD   20M
1745  N3HON    MIKE  USA198     MD   20M
1745  N3HON    MIKE  USA200     MD   20M
1745  N3HON    MIKE  USA201     MD   20M
1747  W3MTP    JOHN    2000     PA   20M
1748  WB2LEZ   DOUG    1977     FL   20M
1748  KC5ILO   TOM      574     TX   20M
1749  K8DEN    RAY      297     OH   20M
1750  KB0SWN   JODY    1995     MN   20M
1752  W3BBO    BOB      480     PA   20M
1752  K9HFA    CAROL    113     WI   20M
1753  K1KU     DARRLE   483     VT   20M
1759  KU4FP    RUSS    1996     VA   20M
1758  K5SIV    BOB     1957     TX   20M
1759  KB0PFV   JOHN    1994     MO   20M
1800  W4KFB    BILL    1946     KY   20M
1800  AE5B     JOHN     503     TX   20M
1803  VX3NQK   GORDON  1982     ON   20M
1803  W1PX     ALAN     444     RI   20M
1805  NX1Q     ANDY     510     CT   20M
1805  KC7CY    JIM     1979     CO   20M
1806  W9MH     MIKE     276     WI   20M
1832  K5PVB    CHUCK    133     TX   15M

via U.S.A. 9th Area QSL Bureau

29119 MANOR DR

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Historical Information:
Built in 1926, the Milwaukee Breakwater light was one of the last to be constructed on the Great Lakes. Unlike most pier and breakwater lights, which were serviced by a keeper who lived onshore and walked the pier to service the light, this structure was manned with a live-in crew.

The fifty-three-foot tall structure is situated in the approximate center of the four mile long Milwaukee breakwater. Built to endure the wave-pounding that such structures endure during Lake Michigan's angriest moments, the building is constructed from quarter-inch steel plates over a steel skeletal frame, and is equipped with windows and portholes with glass a full half inch in thickness. Originally painted red, the structure has been given a coat of white paint at some point in time during the ensuing years.

The lower two story section of the structure has a footprint of twenty-nine feet by forty-four feet, and stands twenty-two feet tall. The tower centered above the living quarters is fourteen feet square and stands twenty feet tall at the gallery. Centered in the gallery, a round cast iron lantern room features helical astragals and contains the Fourth Order Fresnel lens originally installed in the nearby Pierhead Light. With its' sixty one-foot focal plane, the red light flashed every ten seconds, and was visible for a distance of fourteen miles across the lake.

With the transfer of responsibility for navigational aids transferred to the Coast Guard in 1939, Coast Guard seamen were assigned to the Milwaukee Breakwater light. Four men manned the station, split into two man crews. Each crew working a rotating schedule consisting of three days "on" and three days "off." Each crew on the "on board" crew worked alternate twelve hour shifts to ensure that one seaman was awake at all times.

A large gray door located in the harbor side of the station's concrete base contained a winch crane on which the station's launch was raised and stored. While the door was located on the lee side of the breakwater, leaving the station for liberty or to re-supply could be a dangerous undertaking.

When a man was heading for shore leave, one of the keepers would come down from the station to operate the hoist. The crane would then lift the boat from the cradle, and then swing the boat away from the breakwater. The keeper going on liberty would get into the boat while it was alongside. As the boat was lowered, he would start the engine. The second the boat hit the water, he would step out of the cabin, unhook the ring from the heavy hook and sheave, and the man topside would get the hook out of the way as fast as possible.

The Breakwater light crews were also responsible for operating and maintaining all the harbor lights, which were acetylene powered. Thus, they made frequent runs in the station launch, carrying tanks of acetylene back and forth. Additionally, the crews were responsible for painting both the Breakwater Light and the North Point Lighthouse, which while automated in 1933, still required constant maintenance in order to keep it from deteriorating.

Finally automated in the 1960's, keepers were no longer needed, and today the Breakwater Light sits empty while its' original Fourth Order Fresnel continues to send its light across the surface of the lake, guiding mariners safely into the protection of Milwaukee Harbor.