YL USS Batfish Operation

The USS Batfish is a Balao-class submarine. The Batfish is named for the fish that is found off the coast of Peru. During WW2, the Batfish sunk three Japanese Navy submarines in a 76-hour timeframe. As a tribute to the 52 submarines and 3,505 US sailors that were lost during the war, Albert Kelly and a group of submarine veterans worked to bring the Batfish to the Muskogee War Memorial Park, at the port of Muskogee, OK in the early 1970’s.

On October 12th through the 14th of 2018, some of the YLs (Young Ladies) from Kansas, Texas, and Oklahoma were guests of the USS Batfish Radio Club and participated in honoring the memory of 75th anniversary of the lost 52 submarines event. Four of the YLs were from the South Canadian Amateur Radio Society (SCARS).

The members of the USS Batfish and USS Oklahoma Amateur Radio Club are working to remember and commemorate each of the United States Navy Submarines that were lost during the Second World War on the 75th Anniversary of their loss.

During this activation, there were two submarines that were honored. The USS Wahoo was sunk in October 1943 with 80 men on board. The USS Dorado was also sunk in October 1943 and had 77 men on board. The YLs made a total of more than 350 contacts during the 3-day event. QSL information is available on the WW2SUB club website.

They called CQ on board the Batfish from one of the three radios systems they had on board. They used the WW2SUB club gear that is located in the original radio room. And, with the assistance of their USS Batfish Club host Wade Harris KF5IF,  built temporary stations in the crew’s mess and in the operation area. They hung wire antennas and deployed the club’s portable tower in the rain. Many of the YLs slept overnight in the original crew quarters on the ship. They even got to experience a power outage on the sub. Propagation was short over the weekend, so many members of SCARS were able to make a contact!

Everyone was able to get some radio time over the three-day event.  It was the first time on HF for some of the YLs. After they set up antennas, radios, setup satellite systems, and mentored each other, they explored the nooks and crannies of the entire submarine.

To top the weekend off, Virginia NV5F gave a personal performance, playing her bagpipes.

The group wishes to thank USS Batfish Club host Wade Harris KF5IF and the Muskogee War Memorial Museum for hosting the event. On the way out the door, the YLs said: “let’s do this again next year”. So, October 5-6, 2019 is on the calendar and is coming soon.

Peter Khor AG5DB was able to capture a few minutes of the YL’s working the radio, as heard in Norman, OK.

YLs in attendance on the October 13th, 2018 weekend were:

  • Leah Ohse W3LEO
  • Patricia Liesenfeld W5UBI
  • Barbara Schlueter KD0WAU
  • Eva Knapple N5EVA
  • Vonnie Merritt KE5RKC
  • Beth Pearce KC5RWW
  • Donna Wohler N5DEE
  • Lynda Tuma KF5JUO
  • Virginia Smith NV5F
  • Mary Calkins AE6Q
  • Judi Voeller N5KUO
  • Annie Zhi KG5VGA
  • Christina Liu KG5VGB
  • Michelle Carey W5MQC