1919 - In 1919
a location for a remote receiving and control
station was chosen
about seven miles east of
Honolulu, close to the Marconi station at
was stationed at Wailupe from
1922. His story
of the establishment of
station was published in the
Station, Honolulu, "Trade Winds"
issue of 25 June 1970.
"When we entered World War I, the Navy simply moved a recruiting crew to the commercial station and signed up the entire crew in various ratings in the Naval Reserve, put uniforms on them, and continued to utilize their communication skills under Navy supervision.
The temporary station at Wailupe was probably built around the first part of 1919 and NPM moved there to allow the Kahuku and Koko Head stations to be remodeled. Almost the entire crew of operators at Koko Head was sent to Wailupe as USNR, supplemented by such regular Navy radiomen available. In those days not too many Navy operators had experience in handling commercial traffic.
The Navy purchased a piece of land at Wailupe for the temporary station and it was very temporary as plans were in the making for a permanent station at Wailupe. There were three booths, more like chicken coops, scattered on the beach. Each booth. of crude construction, had room for two circuits. The roofs leaked and some of the operators had to sit under an umbrella suspended from the ceiling to keep water off the equipment. Or we would search around the yard for a scrap of tarpaper or some boards to lead the water off the operating position. There were no signals piped in. Receiving antennas were strung between trees and poles. All control wires were very haywire, no soldered connections and very few even taped, which brought on intermittent wire trouble, rain or shine.
There was an old house on the land. It was one big room, no doors, windows or screens. This housed the office, file rooms, ship to shore circuit and the land wire to the Honolulu city office (HU) and the office in Pearl Harbor (PH). Anyone working in this house after dusk had to put rubber bands around the bottom of their trousers and have several sticks of mosquito punk under their chair to be able to stay there. If they forgot to bring their punk or couldn't find someone else's cache they would stuff an old rag in a can and light it off. Anything was better than those mosquitoes.
We stood a three section watch, seven days a week, no rotation of watches, no days off. Straight 8 on and 16 off, and that's the way it was at the start of NPM at Wailupe as a Government and commercial traffic station.
When I went there in August of 1919, NPM had schedules with NPL (San Diego), NPU (Tutuila, Samoa), NPN (Guam), and NPO (Cavite). There was no direct daylight communication with NPO or JJC (Japan). NPO broadcast to NPM at midnight. NPU broadcast to NPM at 2 a.m. and NPM broadcast to NPU at 9 a.m. None of those circuits were reliable at all times due to static and fading periods. We just kept the traffic moving as best we could, all by hand, on low frequencies. Practically all traffic for Cavite and the Asiatic Fleet was relayed through NPN.
The Navy had been searching around for a piece of land for the permanent station and finally had found some school land that was suitable, for which they traded the temporary site, and started construction of the permanent. buildings. The new site also gave room for expansion up the hill in back of the reservation. The station was completed early in 1921. It was built over the water to provide more land space for the proposed DCOs quarters, two duplex CPO quarters, and the single men's barracks. These were completed late in '21 or early in 1922."
|Naval Radio Station Wailupe -1921 -
photos by Harold B. "Skinny" Phelps
Brian Phelps writes - "My Grandfather was a wireless operator on Wailupe during 1921. His name was Harold Bartle Phelps Sr. His Navy buddies called him “Skinny”. After Hawaii, he served in Samoa, Bremerton, WA, and other places. He was recalled to active duty during World War II where he served as a wireless operator again, this time in Alaska on Woody Island among other places."
At right, one of the original huts >>
|1919 - L to R - E.L. Harris, W.G. Tichenor, O.H. Scott, H.B.
"Skinny" Phelps, all CRM
Naval Radio Station Wailupe - 1920's
1923 - From LT George Todd, USN RET:
"In the fall of 1923, I was transferred to the Naval Radio Receiving and Control Station at Wailupe.. There was a shortage of high speed operators at that time. The permanent buildings at Wailupe had been completed only two years earlier. As described by Mr. Phelps, the operating building was located over water on the shore of the bay. (Waialae Bay extends from Diamond Head to Koko Head ) . It. was a rectangular, one story building on pilings in the water.
The building was divided into compartments or booths, seven on each side separated by a hallway extending the full length of the building. The front of the building contained the wireroom and the Traffic Chief's booth on the left; the office of the District Communication Officer, Lt. Comdr. Frank Loftin, and the office of the Chief Radioman in Charge, D. A. Chauncey, on the right. The wireroom had Morse code landline circuits to the Old Naval Station in Honolulu (HU) for transmission of commercial, other government department traffic, and press news dispatches for the Honolulu newspapers; and a circuit to the Communication Office in the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard (AD). All message traffic was processed through the Traffic Chief's booth for circuit routing and filing.
Despite improvement in equipment, reception was still difficult at times due to static, and fading signals. Separate booths were provided for operators on each circuit to minimize the additional distractions from outside noises. Prior to and during WWI, receiving equipment had been vastly improved. The Navy had designed the Models A, B and C receivers and later the SE-143, SE-1120, SE-1530, SE-1899 and others, and separate units such as the acceptor-rejector and the ultra-audion. I found all of these types in use at Wailupe. The Baldwin type headphones were standard, with their hard bakelite earpieces which could be adjusted to the ear by sliding the earpiece up and down on metal rods attached to the canvas covered headpiece."
1934 - From LT George Todd, USN RET:
December 1941 move from Wailupe to Wahiawa - From Lt. C. A. Porter, Communications Officer at Wahiawa
Wailupe was taken over by the USCG in 1942 - Photos and Info
Pearl Harbor Transmitter Site presumably
|Federal Arc Converter