Reactivation of the USS Blueback Submarine Amateur Radio Station (W7SUB)

by Steve W7SRH on 2023-02-20

For those who may not already know, the USS Blueback submarine is part of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, located on the east side of the Willamette River just below the I-5 bridge here in Portland. The submarine is moored in the river right in front of the museum. The Blueback was decommissioned in 1990 and brought to the Museum in 1994.

The radio room on board the sub has been inactive for the past several years primarily due to the pandemic. The person in charge of the radio room (called the “CHOP” in the Navy) has decided to step back from that role. OMSI has been looking for new leadership to reactivate the station and carry on operations. Several MCARES members who have been working as volunteers at OMSI – Bob Cady W7JNM, Ken Cone K7BXI, and Steve Hall W7SRH – learned of the desire to reactivate the station and have decided to take this on.

Bob, Ken, and Steve recently met with the OMSI submarine staff and the outgoing “CHOP” (station manager). They were able to reactivate the station which included testing the antennas to ensure they were functioning properly, bringing power back to the radio equipment, and locating station documentation. They are also learning about how radio room operations might fit into or conflict with submarine tours.

The new radio team is in the process of developing an operations schedule to include several special events and some form of educational opportunities for those interested in amateur radio. If appropriate, the team will seek authorization for other MCARES members to visit the station and participate in these events. An update will be provided when the station operating schedule is finalized.

Photo credit: Steve Hall W7SRH

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