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Guam-Northern Mariana Radio Transmission (Y2K Cascade)

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HAM Radio Guam

The Radio used by the team in Guam to contact the Northern Mariana Islands. It is currently on display in the Y2K Museum in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The Guam-Northern Mariana Radio Transmission was the first documented contact with a foreign country after Y2K. On January 17, 2000, in a bunker two miles south of Hagatna, Guam, a small group of former operators of the KGUM-FM station met. After many hours of scanning through the signals of a long-range HAM Radio, they made contact with government officials in the Northern Mariana Islands.

Pre-Y2K

Previously, the operators of KGUM-FM had some experience with HAM Radios, but were mostly ill-equipped.

Y2K

After a Russian 125 kiloton bomb dropped on Santa Rita, Guam, the government of Guam, now independent from the US, rushed to get relief to the area. The January 2 Dededo Riots prompted the operators of KGUM-FM, a local radio station, to travel to a bunker one of the staff's brother's owned.

The Search

For 15 days, the faculty hid in the bunker, with shifts taking control of the HAM Radio to search for anyone. Henry Lowe, one of the operators, wrote in his memoir Searching for a signal:

Seconds went by like minutes, minutes going by like hours. Whenever static came around, it seemed as if the whole earth went quiet to listen. But then it faded, and you went back to doing whatever you were doing. You could faintly hear the sounds of the fading rioting back in Dededo, but as days turned into weeks, the whole land went silent.

Hello ... KGUM ... this is Governor Pedro Tonorio of Northern Mariana ...

On January 17, at 5:51:32 AM, Henry Lowe was operating the radio. As he turned the dial, he heard static. Stopping for a minute to listen, he heard unintelligible noises coming from the other line. "Hello, this is KGUM of Guam. Does anyone read?" No answer. "I repeat, this is KGUM of Guam. Does anyone read?" There was static for a few seconds. Before Henry could repeat his message, a very familiar voice came on the line.

"Hello ... KGUM ... This is Governor Pedro Tonoria of Northern Mariana ... does Guam copy?"

"Yes, Mr. Governor, sir, we copy."

It seems as though the entire room just erupted into harmony. People were dancing up on the couches, hugging each other, and dancing. We finally knew we weren't alone. And it was a very, very good feeling. -Henry Lowe, Searching for a signal

The complete transcript of the conservation follows:

Northern Mariana (NM): How many of you are there?

Guam (G): About nine, sir.

NM: Well, we should be able to send over supplies. How much food do you have left?

G: Not much, sir. The fallout from Santa Rita is starting to creep up over us.

NM: Santa Rita's gone? My god ......

{pause}

G: Sir?

NM: Oh, sorry. Has contact been made with other nations yet?

G: No, sir. It seems we may be the only ones left in the Pacific. Maybe even the world.

NM: Well, it seems we can't either. All contact with the USA has been halted. There are some rumors that Clinton died off the Atlantic, and that the President of the Senate is the new President.

G: According to the newspapers on January 5, the day before they stopped printing, a lot of nations are seceding from America. The country is essentially collapsing, sir.

NM: Good god ... so are we on our own?

G: It appears so. We are independent. All of us. Or at least until the US finds its way again ...

{signal cuts}

G: Sir, Sir? Damn it ....

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