LST 325

LST 325 was visited by The FEZ and XYL Pat in April, 2001 in Mobile AL... It was the ship reclaimed, by a group known as USS LST  Memorial Association Inc., from the Greek Navy where it was known as SYROS (L-144). The crew's average age was 72! They rebuilt  and repaired the LST before sailing it across the South Atlantic to Mobile, AL.  Modifications made in 1964 in Norfolk made it impossible to find the original  Radio Shack or any of the equipment.. A temporary Radio Shack was on the top deck house and the crew used Amateur Radio for communication on the trip back to the USA.  To learn more about this  project check out

http://www.palosverdes.com/lst887/lst325.html  for the history of the trip
or
http://www.lstmemorial.org/ for the latest progress and pictures.
 


The ship when we saw it in April 2001 was ready to go into dry-dock to get a good scraping and wire brushing to remove the very evident RUST!  WOW! what a job and all by volunteers both men and women.  When visited in Jeffersonville, IN last summer, along with W8EAR, W8UKQ and  XYL's  it was  looking much better as shown in the above photo. We were accompanied by xyl Anne Ballinger, who came to retrieve  Perry W8AU, who had his fantasy trip on the Mississippi! See the smile on his face in the picture below.



Credit for all press releases, schedules & other info is to the LST-325 Newsletter and Homepage)

Click here for recent LST-325 news stories




                              LST 325 IN CINCINNATI                                            SS NATCHEZ


The triennial Cincinnati Tall Stacks Celebration took place earlier this month and what a show it was: 20 Steamboats/Paddlewheelers and ONE Navy LST ship...  Hey, anyone knows Navy ships do not use paddlewheels...so just call them the "odd duck."
October 3 thru 8 saw the shores of the Ohio revert back to 1850 (and 1943 for the WW2 veteran ship).  Extremely colorful and musical was the result as the steamboats graced the river and also treated us to concerts from their steam calliopes...morning, noon and evening.  And promptly at 7:45 p.m. each evening, the nightly fireworks would go off from barges in the middle of the river!

A real treat was eating breakfast on the upper deck (of the LST) at 7:30 a.m. and hearing "The World is Waiting for the Sunrise," the first tune out of SS Natchez from New Orleans.  After their 15 minutes of entertainment, another ship's calliope and pianist would take over, followed by another, etc.

The ship garnering the most tourists, however, was the USS LST325, and entry was up the bow ramp past the two huge bow doors, into the Tank Deck.  An extremely dramatic way to enter and leave a ship... the same as when tanks and vehicles did exactly the same during wartime amphibious invasions!  To cite a similar example, if you ever entered a huge C5A Air Force cargo plane (at an air show) by going up it's ramp, under the tilted up nose, into the cargo bay...this gives you an idea.  BUT, the LST's opening is bigger!

Over 18,000 visitors trod through the LST during the stay, marred only on Friday by high water that covered the gangway, causing the city of Covington, KY to close touring until the water went down.

But a glorious time it was, with the "grey Lady" being the "queen of the ball."  Radio Central (radio room) was active during the trip up and back, and during the festival as time permitted.  WW2LST conducted our club's Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday MRN CW net from there, plus issuing contacts on 20, 40 and 80, plus NavyMARS checkins and some calls and tests on the 500 kHz Marine band as NWVC.

For QCWA info:  An historic moment was captured during one of the MRN CW net sessions with NCS WW2LST... W8EAR checked in!  Gasp! I haven't had a CW QSO with Nels in 40 years...Wow!

Many hams from the area also toured the ship and got to spend time in the Radio room instead of just looking in.  Hopes of seeing some of the Stark County hams was not realized, but I know some plan to visit in the future.

As Credence Clearwater Revival belts out "Proud Mary," ("rollin' on the river") we also agree, as we change one key word from "rollin" to "hammin" ..  "Hammin' on the river...."

73,  from W8AU/WW2LST


VOYAGE 2005

NOTE: For a graphical display of LST-325's progress, go to http://www.shiptrak.org?callsign=WW2LST

(This is a terrific Link)



(This story was in the Chapter 21 August 2005 Newsletter)


         ANCHORS AWEIGH!

The Voyage of LST 325 with QCWA Chapter 21's W8AU Perry Ballinger in the Radio Shack.

The "anchors aweigh" function actually happened twice on the LST 325 cruise.  Normally this would not happen when going from a homeport dock to a distant city dock, but it did this time.  I'll explain further on.

Arriving at the ship one week in advance prepared to put the last touches on the restored TDE transmitter, I was inundated with "other requests" such as fixing the general alarms, the 1MC "sound powered" telephone circuits, bridge to engine room and engine room to bridge signalling alarms, the starboard side signal light, etc.  It wasn't until we had been underway from Mobile for 4 or 5 days that I got time to "finish" the TDE and begin tests.  Hooray... the 100+ hours of work (over 2.5 years) paid off!  It worked great!  It was on the air from the Florida east coast up to New England and then back.  HF and MF (500 kHz).  Although WLO radio (Mobile) promised to put their MF station back on for our trip, they did not get on until the Historical "night of nights" annual Coastal Station revival July 12, a week after the LST returned to homeport!  But thanks to battleship USS Massachusetts, we did exercise the 500 kHz channels with them while in the Atlantic.  This was done using the LST call of NWVC and USS Mass callsign NEPL.  Not ham radio, but just as much fun under the umbrella of "commercial maritime radio."  WLO, however, was our constant daily companion on HF marine channels, handling our HF Email, High Seas telephone calls, and other ship's business.

Lastly, mornings and evenings, and times between ship's comms, we did operate all ham bands, even 10 meter and 6 meter openings, using the ship's WW2 gear and the modern Marine and Ham gear.

Sea-wise, we had rough weather on the Florida SW coast, then on the Florida east coast on the upbound trip.  Rolls of 20-25 degrees and pitching that would cause us in the radio room to bounce up and down regularly.  After that it was smooth sailing the rest of the way north.

(Continued next column)

Even going through the Cape Hatteras area was smooth.  We had a 2 knot boost in speed from riding the Gulf Stream north and THIS is what caused the anchor to be used.... We were two days ahead of schedule for visiting Alexandria, VA (Wash, DC).  (Who ever heard of an LST going "too fast?"  :-)   We anchored out overnight at Cape Henry (VA Beach) and then up the Potomac River at Quantico Va, Marine base.  A lesson was learned at Cape Henry... don't let out too much anchor chain!  500 feet of anchor chain takes a long time to winch back in!  (over an hour because of snags)  It didn't happen again!

Passing by George Washington's home at Mt. Vernon is much more ceremonial from the river than when driving up to it from the highway!  The crew mans the rails, salutes for minute or so, the large American flag (ensign) is lowered and raised, and we proceed on... (On the way down river after leaving Alexandria it was dark, so no ceremony was held)  Also, on the way into Alexandria they did something unusual.
They raised the Interstate 495 river bridge to allow us to pass under!  And this was at 9 a.m. on a workday!  The traffic backup was huge!  Fortunately with our horn saluting, we could not hear the commuters swearing!  :-)   (The I-495 bridge is part of the "DC beltway.")

Leaving Alexandria, we went downbound on the Potomac and Chesapeake Bay to reach the Atlantic again, then upbound to Cape Cod for a week at Massachusetts Maritime Academy at the entrance to the Cape Cod Canal.
Very picturesque, but the tide changes there cause a fast current to flow through the Canal one way, then the other way...twice a day!  Up to 6 mph currents that reverse every 12 hours!  Even with triple mooring lines, the ship constantly moved around!

Next, through the canal to Massachusetts Bay and then Boston Harbor, where we docked 3 piers up from the USS Constitution, which we also accompanied on their annual "turn around" out in the Bay.  While there the Carnival cruise liner with Regis and Kelly docked for a day or so; six YP (yard patrol) ships from the Naval Academy (midshipman cruise) visited for about 4 days; the first of four Department of Defense WW2             
               
(Continued on Page 6.)
!
5 

 
Anchors's Aweigh continued.

60th Anniversary celebrations was held at the Constitution; and much more.  Boston is a busy place!

Leaving Beantown, we traveled about 20 miles to Gloucester, MA for 4 days, docking at the Coast Guard station.  The warm friendliness of Gloucester contrasted with the brusk, busy nature of Boston, as the Coast Guard hosts and the working folks of that famous fishing port could not have been friendlier!  The Coast Guard even gave us some great tours of the coastal area on their 47' fast Motor Life Boats!  At 27 knots they could run rings around our lumbering 10 knot LST!  Leaving Gloucester, we did a continuous 11 day run down the Atlantic, back around Florida and up to Mobile.  This time the Cape Hatteras area was not so kind.  30 degree rolls and pitching for over two days, plus the slower pace while bucking the Gulf Stream, caused some grief due to things constantly falling on the deck...not big things, of course.. (the radio gear is bolted down.)  What fell on deck was coffee cups, glass tea pots (broken) plus the usual pencils and paper.  The other radio op was the cause of the Tea mess and coffee spills... I was innocent, as I do not drink coffee, and I did not bring a tea pot!  :-)   Getting used to rough weather at sea was not a problem for me.  I had a lot of that 40+ years ago, and it's true.... just like riding a bicycle, you never forget how to do it!  :-)   I would tell the few younger crew members (who were never at sea before but "Grampa" or "Dad" had been) that it was just like a "cheap carnival ride."  It's just that it didn't stop!

All in all, 7 weeks of cruising, half in port and half at sea, acting as tour guide, helping conduct "at sea" church services, conducting a funeral service for an 81 year old  WW2 vet crewmate (who passed on at Cape Cod, not on the ship); serving as chief radioman, electronics technician, signalman, interior communications tech, electricians mate, and any other duty assigned, and even doing 11 hours of rolling, rocking Field Day as WW2LST/MM, class 1C, DX section!...was a lot of work.... AND a lot of fun!

Hey... when do we go again?   :-)

W8AU  Perry Ballinger


  Perry Ballinger W8AU and the TDE Transmitter on USS LST 325.

W1FEZ and XYL visited the USS LST 325 on its 2005 East Coast Cruise, while it was anchored at the Massachussetts Maritime Academy,  in Buzzards Bay, MA  on June 7th. We had a nice visit with our Chapter 21 crew memmber W8AU Perry Ballinger, who is one of the two radioman (and main radio tech). The photo above shows Perry alongside his "pet project",  the restoration of the Navy TDE Transmitter. From there the LST will proceed to Boston Harbor to participate in the once a year sail around the harbor of the USS Constitution, "Old Ironsides".
 

Perry had sent us an email  with a brief description of the voyage to date, but the email demons managed to lose it, so he will try again when the opportunity presents itself.  His experiences will certainly make very  good material for meeting programs when he returns.
You would have to "be there" to see all  the work Perry has done on the old radio gear and the seagoing antenna farm, including the foldover mast. 

Be sure to follow the LST voyage on our linked LST 325 page which has all the ships links identified.


Voyage Radio Background

LST-325 is now officially a cruising museum ship, but she still carries the USS LST 325 name and her original WW2 radio call NWVC.  

 Her radio room features functioning vintage receivers and transmitters that are true to the models she carried into battle during the 1942-1945 time period, including the RBB, RBC and TCS-12 receivers, plus the TDE and TCS transmitters. LST 325's radio room also carries modern marine and amateur radio transceivers for routine communications.  Her amateur radio call is WW2LST.  Her radiomen during the 2005 cruise will be Perry Ballinger (W8AU) and Tom Pendarvis (W0MTP).  Tom and Perry are US Navy veterans and Navy-Marine Corps MARS operators.  Both men also "worked the radios" during the LST-325's two-month 2003 cruise of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers.

After returning to Mobile, Al., LST 325 is expected to be moving northward to a "fresh water" home port on the Ohio River -- Evansville, Indiana -- where many LSTs and P40s were built during WW2, as well as ammunition and other war needs.

For those readers with "excess inventory," LST 325 is still looking for a TCS-12 power supply (remember those venerable WW2 transmitter/receiver workhorses?), and a modern 50 Amp, 12 Vdc metered power supply (non-switching).  The ship is also looking for the filters that cover the signal spotlights so they can conduct light contacts with other ships.  If you have any such items to contribute (tax-deductible), please contact our Operations Coordinator: Bob Wilder, AF2HD, phone: 251-653-5274 or email: bwils@bellsouth.net.



More information will be posted here as it becomes available.

Above information was copied from LST Memorial Web Page.
http://www.lstmemorial.org/voy2004.htm#radio



UPDATES ON RADIO SHACK COMING SOON. HERE TIS ONE.


W8AU Perry Balinger took time out from his equipment restoration duties to pose at one of the operator desks.  Also note W8EAR Nelson Caley in background, checking out the wheel house.

For late info on Radio Shack Restoration and overall status plus 2004 cruise schedule, go to:

 STATUS REPORT

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