Thursday, March 11, 2010

March 10th B-17 Radio Work

On March 10th, Carroll-WX4Y, Mac-KF4LMT, and I went over to the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum to do a closer inspection of some of the radio gear that came with the B-17 that is currently undergoing restoration.  We met Jerry, Marshall, and Jim and got our official "City of Savannah" t-shirts and volunteer name tags.  We're now official!  We only had a couple of hours so we went over to the equipment store room and got right to work.  We opened up the case on the BC-348 Receiver and were pleasantly surprised at just how clean and well preserved everything looked.  Wow, what a beautiful piece of equipment!  No sign of damage or age whatsoever.  Amazing how well this 65+ year old radio looks!  Carroll seems to think that this radio will be no problem at all to get running.  After some photos and documenting, we closed the case and moved on to an RT-18/ARC-1 VHF transceiver.  This particular radio was not in quite the condition that the reciever is in.  But, everything appears to be in place and "fixable".  Took some more photos and made some more notes then put the case back on this one.  After we cleaned things back up a bit we talked about some next steps.  Carroll is going to try to find a service manual and schematic diagrams of the radios.  Mac is going to find some articles on BC-348 restorations for future reference, and I'm going to research the RT-18 and find out the best way to clean the exterior cases and control panels.  On our next visit we plan to bring some of Carroll's test equipment to test the tubes and capacitors.  It was a great visit and we are on our way!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Mar 5-7 ARRL International DX Contest

Boy did we have a great time as a club participating in the ARRL International DX Contest as a club entry this year.  We operated our very fine club station at the Southside Fire Department with the new addition of a Icom 756 ProIII transciever that once belonged to Mr. Ed Bigbie-W4MMQ.  I was honored to operate his radio.  At about 4:30, Kevin-KW4B, John-N2DRL, and I arrive at the station to put up dipoles for 80 and 40 meters.  We used Kevin's air powered line launcher "canon" to get the lines up in the tress and used the pulleys on our tower for the other ends.  Got the antennas up, feed line run, and tested with the analyzer before dark.  Jere-KT4ZB arrived about 5:30 and setup the logging program on the computer and made sure everything was good to go.  Steve-K4SDJ arrived and helped with the final touches.  When 7:00pm rolled around we were on the air.  Jere made the first run of contacts and Kevin, John, Steve, and I ran out to grab some some dinner.  Once we had our strength back, we began to take turns on the radio.  Several operators began to show up as the evening wore on and many got an opportunity to operate the station.  Ken-W4JKG showed up at about midnight and operated till about 0400 making quite a few contacts on 40 meters.  I decided to stay overnight and worked a seperate radio on 80 meters under my callsign.  I made about 30 contacts till Ken left at 0400.  Then I jumped on the club station till 0530 when Kevin came back in.  Kevin relieved me and I ran home to shower and change then went over and met the normal crownd for breakfast at SunnySide Up.  After breakfast we went back to the station and many more HAMs began to show up.  I had the opportunity to give some "new operator training" to one of our new HAMs, Fred Kuhn-KJ4PST.  Helped Fred setup his handheld for all of the local repeaters and tested it.  Fred got to make his first radio contact with his friend, Ra-N4RVM, and was quite thrilled.  Operateors came and went throughout the day and we have a total of 10 HAMs that made contacts in the contest.  Once dinner time came around, Ra-N4RVM had pizza delievered for us all.  Thanks Ra!  As the nght wore on we were really racking up the contacts.  The bands were in really good shape and our very nice rotatable beam antenna was doing a great job.  We even had a handful of contacts on 10 meters.  Going on 40 hours with no sleep I decided to stay as loong as I could Saturday night to keep the station in operation.  I finally called it quits at around 0200 and locked things up and headed home for a few hours of sleep.  Steve and Kevin were back at the station at around 0700 and things were rolling again.  We only had about 5 hours out of the 48 where the station was not in operation!  Nice feat!  Once again we operated with several HAMs throughout the day on Sunday.  Kevin really had some nice runs and had well over half of our total of 451 contacts.  Great job Kevin!  Kevin made contact number 451 with about 30 seconds left in the contest.  What great fun.  At about 1800, Steve and I started getting things ready to stow and took down the 40 and 80 meter antennas.  Byt he time Kevin and completed the final contact, we had things just about packed away.  What a sense of accomplishment when 1900 arrived and we looked at our final tally!  I want to personally thank Jere-KT4ZB for his idea and for his guidance and expertise in the contest.  What a tresure he is.  And to Steve for his logistics and coordination support.  To Ra for the pizza.  And of course to all of the HAMs who operated and assisted with this effort.  Here is a list of those who operated the station followed by an list of all who participated in some way.

- KT4ZB, Jere
- KW4B, Kevin
- N2DRL, John
- K4GTM, Guy
- KJ4EGZ, Ted
- W4JKG, Ken
- N4RVM, Ra
- KA4CID, Mark
- KG3Z, Tom
- K4WP, Bill

- K4SDJ, Steve
- KI4DZD, Edward
- KF4JBQ, Lester
- W4REQ, Ralph
- KJ4PTP, Kirk
- KJ4FAV, Paul
- KJ4PSU, Will
- KJ4HAI, Melissa
- KJ4PST, Fred
- KD4LUG, Andy
- KJ4SMW, Arthur
- KG4NKE, Matthew
- W4SWJ, Sue

Mar 3rd CARS Club Mtg at the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum

On Mar 3rd we held our monthly club meeting at the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum where we are assisting with the restoration of the radio compartment of the B-17 "City of Savannah".  With almost 30 club members in attendance, we held a short club meeting in one of the very nice conference rooms then we heard from Jerry McLaughlin who is the Project Manager for the B-17 restoration.  Jerry gave us a short history of the aircraft and how it came to become part of this fine museum.  Next we went downstairs to actually get an up close and personal look at the aircraft.  Jerry introduced us to the Wed night crew of volunteers who were working on the aircraft and we were able to actually climb into the plane and look at the bomb bay, cockpit, and of course the radio compartment.  What a treat.  We spent a good hour in awe over this mighty machine.  Took alot of pictures and talked about our plans for the radio gear.  What a huge success the meeting was and what a great group of hosts that Jerry and his team were.  We are looking forward to getting started!

March 2nd, 2010 Air Force One Visit To Hunter Army Airfield

Had a rare opportunity to observe and monitor Air Force One as it arrived and departed Hunter AAF in Savannah on March 2nd, 2010.  I positioned myself at the north end of the runway 10 at Hunter around 0900 on Tuesday.  I had a pair of binoculars and observed ground activities on Hunter as they prepared for the arrival.  I was also monitoring the Hunter Security Forces on my scanner and was able to feed updates to my friend Ann Lindholm who was positioned along the motorcade route with other Tea Party patriots.  My friend Mac-KF4LMT relayed to me when he heard Air Force One transition into Savannah airspace so I tuned over to the Hunter tower frequency to hear Air Force One contact tower and recieve clearance to land.  Aircraft 28000 touched down around 1135 and taxied to the terminal where it was still visible from my vantage point.  Most of the comm that I monitored was of the tower and ground control and then of local security.  Of course all Secret Service comms were encrypted.  Once POTUS was in the limo and on his way to Savannah Tech, I broke off and met Mac for some lunch.  Later in the afternoon I went back to the same location to monitor and observe departure.  Not much comms until Air Force One requested clearance for engine start from ground control.  As Air Force One taxied to the active runway 10 they switched over to Hunter Tower where they requested and recieved clearance for takeoff.  Air Force One began takeoff roll and rotated at around 1530.  I snapped this photo just before they dissappeared into the low cloud deck and switched over to departure.  What a great time.  I so appreciate all of the airmen that operate that fine aircraft.......especially the comm crew!  Sorry, I'm partial!