Battleship Missouri Amateur Radio Club QSLs

Editor’s Note: Every month, DX Engineering features QSL cards from our team members’ personal collections. Usually we showcase ones from entities that are currently active or will soon be QRV. However, with so many DXers homebound these days and the number of DXpeditions reaching all-time lows, we’ve altered the rules. Until things change, you can expect a bit of everything from our stockpiles of QSL cards, including the rarest of the rare, personal favorites, and recent QSLs of historical significance.

KH6BB, Battleship Missouri Amateur Radio Club

In any collection of QSL cards, there are perhaps a handful that transcend the other slips of paper filling bureau drawers or decorating our shacks. These QSL cards give us pause to reflect on our past, recall times of hardship and sacrifice, and ponder what the future may bring. This blog is about one of those cards.

It was almost 75 years ago (September 2, 1945) that the USS Missouri (BB-63) was the site of the World War II Surrender Ceremony, in which Allied and Axis representatives stood on the battleship’s deck in Tokyo Bay to solemnly “conclude an agreement by which peace can be restored.”

Far from retirement, the ship, known as “Mighty Mo,” went on to see duty in the Korean War and the Gulf War. It was decommissioned as the world’s last active battleship in 1992 and found a permanent home in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, where visitors to the Battleship Missouri Memorial can experience this floating monument firsthand, pay their respects to the men and women who served in the U.S. Armed Forces, and learn about the important role radio communications plays in times of conflict. You can take a virtual tour of the USS Missouri here.

Volunteer Hams from the Battleship Missouri Memorial’s Amateur Radio Club operate station KH6BB located in the principal radio compartment on the main deck of the USS Missouri. KH6BB is one of several amateur stations operated on board historic ships, including NJ2BB, Battleship New Jersey Amateur Radio Station, which sponsors an annual Museum Ships Weekend (canceled this year); the Battleship IOWA Amateur Radio Association, NI6BB; and WA4USN on the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier at Patriot’s Point, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. 

Over many years of operation, KH6BB has been contacted by past crew members, people who were present at the 1945 Surrender Ceremony, and many thousands of Hams who recognize the battleship’s enduring historical significance. Dave Fairbanks, N8NB, DX Engineering technical support specialist and member of the DXCC Honor Roll, received this QSL card from KH6BB back in 2005.

“It was a thrill to contact this station, but it was more of a thrill to operate from the radio room on board when I visited Hawaii,” he recalled.

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