Inland Marine History Archive - Logo

Collecting, preserving and presenting the
history of radio's use on the Great Lakes
and Mississippi River system

Sternwheeler Jason - B and W photo
One of the last Sternwheelers, the Jason's 1947 FCC call letters were ATRE
(or perhaps KTRE?) - Union Barge Line Photo


The Inland Marine Radio History Archive is a web-based cooperative research "organization" which one "joins" by contributing information to the Archive.  "Organization" and "joins" should be taken very loosely here as there are no dues, no roster of members, no officers, but contributors are recognized and credited.  It's strictly a non-profit project and monetary contributions are not sought.  

Our purpose here is to document and place in the Public Domain some of the 1930s to 1990s history of marine radio - the AM and SSB shortwave radiotelephone used for ship-to-shore communications with towboats on the Mississippi, Ohio and other inland rivers and with the bulk-carriers and freighters on the Great Lakes.  The emphasis will be on the 10 large Public Coast stations that provided this service.  Some attention will also be given to earlier CW operation, these stations' later VHF-FM systems, and to government and Canadian stations.  This project is being undertaken because this era should not be allowed pass into almost complete oblivion without some better recognition of these fine stations and the dedicated people ("The Crew") who manned them.  Much of the information about this use of radio has likely already been lost, but with the help of veterans of the era and knowledgeable visitors to the site some of what remains can be preserved and many sources of additional information can be identified. 

Note that this project is as much about the people involved in the era and their recollections of it as it is about buildings, radio gear and antennas.  Information for "The Crew" pages is very much desired and those pages are as important as any other information about the stations.

Update - 1/17/2009

The site is now 3.5 years old, and the slow but steady increase in content continues. There were 38 additions - some major, some minor - to the What's New Page in 2008.  My thanks to all who have contributed material.  Most of the stations have now had at least one person, who was associated with the station, contribute material.

The site is still a "work-in-progress," but there is now solid information content for all of the stations.  However, I still have many questions and requests (highlighted by green italics).  If you have applicable information,  your help would be appreciated.  While a few pages are still somewhat rough and unorganized the 2007 changeover to the fixed-width layout has allowed better layout control and helped standardize the page appearance no matter what width monitor is used.  Thanks to all the contributors, there's now much to view.  So click on some of the links on the drop-down menu, or in the index tables below, and enjoy!  Please come back often to follow our progress.   The What's New button at the top of this page makes it easy for returning visitors to find the new content, and the Site Search function at the bottom of this page should be helpful also.

Many of the images on this site have both a small version (on the page) and larger version (viewed by clicking on the smaller one) .  These Photo Viewing tips will help you get the most out of the images on the site.

The tables below duplicate the drop-down menu links and are provided for those who have disabled Java Script on their browser.  Many of the indexed pages have sub-pages, and there are links to other sites when appropriate.  The status columns are your guide to the completeness of the page's content with 1 being rough draft with little data and 9 being fairly complete.  Tables updated on 01/17/2009 to indicate the improved status of the pages.

Overviews and Other Information
----------TOPIC---------- STATUS
Inland Marine Communications 4
Great Lakes 4
Inland Rivers 4
People & Their Recollections  ("The Crew") 5
Shipboard Gear & Its Maintenance 5

The Great Lakes Stations
WAD Port Washington, WI 1939 1975 5
WAS Duluth, MN 1939 1975? 4
WAY Chicago, IL 1938 1978 8
WBL Buffalo, NY <1935 >1981 4
WLC Rogers City, Michigan 1922 1997 8
WMI Lorain, Ohio 1933 1980? 8
- Canadian Stations - - 1

The Inland Rivers Stations
WAY Chicago, IL 1943? 1978 8
WCM Pittsburgh, PA & Cincinnati, OH 1951 1995 8
WFN Louisville, KY 1944 <1987 7
WGK St. Louis, MO <1946 <1994 3
WJG Memphis, TN 1936 1994 7

Other Stations
----------TOPIC---------- STATUS
Government Stations 4
Marine HF Utility Stations (Company Stations) 4
Canadian Stations 1
List of and links to High Seas Stations (Little content for now) 3

All Other
----------TOPIC---------- STATUS
Contributing Information 8
What's New n/a
Credits and Kudos n/a
Links and Other Resources 5
Contacting Us 8

Please visit K4ZAD's Radio Information Site, a few pages of other radio/electronics related information on a  sub-domain of this site.

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