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Wanted: A Recording of a 1965-era WWV Signal

Hey, radio history buffs! Here’s a note from a Radio World reader, maybe you can help.

Hey, radio history buffs! Here’s a note from a Radio World reader, maybe you can help.

Dear Mr. McLane,

I am hoping you can point me in the right direction to locate a recording I need for a documentary film we are producing about Robert Manry and his 1965 single-handed Atlantic crossing.

I need a recording of an authentic WWV time signal from that era (one he might have heard in 1965). It needs to be legible, but not necessarily clean; in other words, it can have a bit of static or hash, as long as it’s clear enough to understand.

I listened to a lot of shortwave radio on my Hallicrafters back then, and remember it well, but have not been able to find a vintage recording of the broadcast.

Manry did not carry a transceiver on his 1965 voyage, but there a few radio-related details that will add depth to the sound track. He used WWV and BBC time signals for setting his watches for navigation.

I also hope to find a recording of a “Victory Girl” distress transmitter — he demonstrates this at one point in the film he made; I haven’t yet determined if the SOS signal was automated or had to be keyed, but if there’s a recording I’d like to find one.

Interestingly, journalist Bill Jorgensen tracked Manry, a Cleveland Plain Dealer copy editor, down in mid-ocean and interviewed him, scooping Manry’s own colleagues. Manry had no idea that his little voyage had become an international news feeding frenzy and wasn’t aware that his paper’s reporters were awaiting his arrival in Falmouth. While racing back to England, Jorgensen made a ship-to-shore-to-phone patch call to Cleveland to send the news. So we’ll be constructing some sort of background sound track for that as well.

Anyone interested can find out more about the project at the Robert Manry Project website.

Thanks very much for any help you can give. A successful submission will receive a stock footage credit in the film.

Best regards,
Steve Wystrach