Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Emmet Counties Public Service Communications Organization

2001 Old Mackinaw Road


Icebreaker Mackinaw Museum Ship – W8AGB

Ham Radio Station W8AGB

The CCECPSCO under agreement with the Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum Ship organization to establish and operate a Ham Radio station from the area of the chart and crypto rooms just aft of the pilothouse, to assist with maintenance and updates to electrical, electronic, and navigation systems, and to help promote the ship through our activities.

W8AGB Operations

Station is staffed randomly by CCECPSCO members throughout the season.
Visiting Hams are asked to pay the museum admission.
Visiting Hams with a copy of their license may operate the station when a CCECPSCO member is present.
Visiting Hams may contact the CCECPSCO by E-Mail or call on the 146.680 110.9 PL, 442.375 107.2 PL or the ship’s repeaters on 145.110 103.5 PL  or 444.375 107.2 PL

W8AGB and W8CCE QSL Cards

Those who have made contact with the Icebreaker Mackinaw W8AGB, including during Museum Ships Weekend or other icebreaker contacts, or with other CCECPSCO operations using the W8CCE call may request a QSL card by sending an SASE along with your QSL card for the contact to the following address.

Via N8ZVT, Doug at his address

Ship Statistics
Launch Date March 4, 1944
Length 290 feet
Beam 74 feet 4 inches
Power Six Fairbanks Morse 10-cylinder diesel engines with generators
Propulsion Two 14-foot stern propellers with electric drive
One 12-foot front propeller with electric drive
Total shaft horsepower 10,000
Maximum speed 19 Knots (22 miles/hr)
Gross Displacement 5,252.4 Tons
Side to Side heeling system 112,000 gallons of ballast in 90 seconds
Decommissioned June 10, 2006
Current Location Chief Wawatam ferry dock, Mackinaw City, MI


 Members of the CCECPSCO and   affiliated organizations at the   Icebreaker Mackinaw

From left to right: John Wilcox KC8OAZ, Bill Dunstan KD8CNS, Chuck Brew N8NXP, Rick Jersey KC8TU, Bob Still KD8CYQ, Chuck Scott N8DNX, Tom Swiger WA8AA, Ralph Mueller WB8TBL, Mike Cleary W8VPC.

Note the ship’s designation WAGB-83. Surprisingly, the call letters W8AGB became available some time ago and we were able to secure that as a vanity call for use on the ship. If you hear W8AGB on the air, it will be from the Icebreaker Mackinaw, so give us a call!

Gathering in the Mackinaw’s Wardroom prior to the April CCECPSCO Meeting

From left to right: Chuck Brew N8NXP, Bill Dunstan KD8CNS, Ralph Mueller WB8TBL, Tom Swiger WA8AA, Mike Cleary W8VPC, John Wilcox KC8OAZ (sk), Dale Noble KG8GGX, Bob Still KD8CYQ, Ron Peterka WA8OOH, Marv DeWitt KC8MLD

“Captain” Bob

Bob Still KD8CYQ took this moment to reflect on W8AGB operations from the captains chair in the Wheelhouse. (Kind of that Captain Ahab look!)

Restoring power to systems in the Chart Room

Bill Dunstan KD8CNS looks on as Rick Jersey KC8TU works on restoring power distribution to the various equipment above the chart table in the Chart Room. The Chart Room is located just aft of the Wheelhouse. The next room aft of the Chart Room is the Crypto and Radio Room which is where the RT-9000’s, the W8AGB VHF and UHF repeaters, DC supplies and power distribution for much of the ships communications and navigation equipment, and other equipment are being installed and restored.

KD8CNS testing one of the ship’s Sunair RT-9000 HF radios

Bill Dunstan KD8CNS, sitting at what will become the W8AGB main operating position, is shown testing one of the two Sunair RT-9000 HF radios that belong to the ship. One of these very robust 125 Watt HF radios was connected to the ship’s crypto equipment and the other was for voice communications. The CCECPSCO is looking for at least one of the RCU-9310 remote control panels and a pair of Sunair F-9800 Pre/Post Selectors to permit full use of these radios. Both radios were originally connected to 125 Watt antenna couplers and vertical antennas. The CCECPSCO has restored operation of one coupler and antenna and is hoping to complete the second this summer.

KC8TU and N8NXP take a break in the Chart Room

Equipment for the radar Chuck is leaning on has been removed from the ship. Other smaller radar and much of the ships communications and navigation equipment is still on-board. CCECPSCO members are assisting the museum with restoration and operation of the those systems. The CCECPSCO is also researching communications equipment that had been used on the ship in years past and will be working to acquire and restore examples of that equipment.

Members of the CCECPSCO take a break in the Wheelhouse

From left to right: Ralph Mueller WB8TBL, John Wilcox KC8OAZ (sk), Chuck Brew N8NXP, Bill Dunstan KD8CNS, Bob Still KD8CYQ, Tom Swiger WA8AA, Chuck Scott N8DNX, Mike Cleary W8VPC, Rick Jersey KC8TU

Retired Icebreaker Mackinaw sitting at the aging Chief Wawatam railroad ferry dock in Mackinaw City,

It’s hard to see in this image, but there’s a 160-40 Meter Dipole swung from the end of the Starboard end of the lower horizontal arm. Also at each of the spot-lights on the upper deck are the antenna couplers and vertical antennas linked to the two Sunair RT-9000 transceivers. Additional antennas planned for this year are VHF and UHF repeater antennas at the top of the mast and a KC8TU customized wire antenna for the Port side.