KH9 – Wake Island

Wake Island was added to the DXCC list in 1938 – when the FCC had first recognized US island possessions by granting callsign prefixes. KC6 was the original prefix for Wake Island. When I started DX-ing in 2001, my card checker (N6OJ – Chuck) told me to “Work everything in the Pacific that you can, soon, these entities will become very rare”. I did what he said, and now have everything in OC-PAC except Kingman Reef – which hasn’t been activated since 2000.


There have been so many stations fixed on Wake island – or visited by a DX-pedition over the years, that one stood out in my research, by Mary Garlow, R.N and K6QPG. She is mentioned in a neat NCDXC Newsletter from 1961 – on page 12:

Mary’s OM was Britt, W6PEU, and they were mentioned in this newletter:

Chuck, NI0C was kind enough to share this really cool Wake QSL from his collection:


And this background:

“Only a few weeks ago, I was copying a CW rag chew on 30 meters, and heard AE1N telling someone that when he was a youngster, he operated as KW6DG. I looked him up on and sure enough, his name was the same as the one on my QSL. I’m looking at the back of Layne’s QSL now. The  other operator was Bob, KW6DF. I seem to recall that Bob was Layne’s father, though I’m not 100 pct. sure about that. Layne was very active. Their station consisted of a Hallicrafters HT32A and HT33; using a Hammarlund HQ170 receiver with a “tri-bander” and vertical antennas.”

After a previous attempt to activate Wake Island had been denied in 2012, it looks like another group has been able to get permission:

Wake Island is one of the US Overseas Possessions in the Pacific, and besides a short stint serving Pan Am Airways in the 1930′s, has been mostly a military base:

And here are details of the Battle of Wake Island:

Many have decried that US Pacific Island Possessions – that are under control of the US F&W are all but dead in the ARRL DXCC program. I don’t think this is the case. Wake Island is still an active military base, so it is in an interesting situation – part of a protected area, but also still an active base.

In 2008, President George Bush added Wake to the US Marine Monument:

I’ve been very curious about any possible connection to the Pew Charitable Trusts efforts to effectively make many protected Marine Reserves all but off limits for DX-peditions (the cost of transportation plus preventing the ingress of foreign species adds greatly to the cost of a trip). I would imagine that you would need permission from both the US F&W and the US Navy.

Of course, Wake Island has an active runway – so with air traffic possible, maybe Wake Island isn’t as tricky to activate as some other US Posessions (i.e. Baker-Howland?).

Wake Island Activations – and I am sure there were more . . .

1947 – W6ONP/KW6

1948 – W1EEC/KW6

1949 – KH6LT/KW6AC

1951 – W6CIE/KW6, KW6AR

1957 – KW6CE

1958 – W0OWY/KW6

1959 – KW6CO, KW6CGA, K6QPG/KW6

1960 – K0SLD/KW6, KW6CS, K6QPG/KW6

1961 – KW6DG, K6QPG/KW6

1968 – KW6EJ

1970 – KW6DX

1979 – KH6GB/KH9

197? – WE5I/KH9, AD1S/KH9

1986 – KH9AC

1992 – WR1Z/KH9 (Jim Smith, VK9NS)

1998 – K8XP, N2WB, N6MZ and N2OO all signing /KH9

2002 – KH9/N4BQW

2003 – KH9/N4BQW, KH9/AH8A

2004 – KH9/AH8H

2005 – KH9/W0CN

Recent and active – KH9/WA2YUN


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6 responses to “KH9 – Wake Island

  1. Here are a couple of notes for this blog– KW6DG is now AE1N. Another activation was by Jim Smith, VK9NS, in 1992. He used the call WR1Z/KH9. I’ll e-mail you a .jpg of my KW6DG card from January 1961. -73-

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