Saturday, November 12, 2011

Veterans Day Special Event Station WW2COS Day 2

Had another great day at the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum celebrating Veterans Day.  Several of us met for breakfast at the Cracker Barrel before heading over to the museum to handle communications support for the 2nd Annual "Flying Fortress 5k" run.  Steve-K4SDJ acted as our net control station and several other radio operators positioned along the race route to report position of lead and trail runners and to notify of any injuries or accidents.  The race was a great success and the museum now has more funds to spend on restoring the B-17 "City of Savannah".

While the rest of the team was helping with the race I went ahead and started getting the radio compartment ready for our special event.  Got the antennas connected, aircraft powered up, and radio equipment up and running.  Also set up the webcam for the video feed so that folks could watch us across the Internet.  Everything was working great and I was able to start making contacts on 20 meters well before 0900.  Enjoyed making contacts with other hams all across the country and telling them about the B-17 restoration project. 

When the race ended several of the hams that helped came inside and stuck around for a little while as well as many of the runners.  This gave all of us a great opportunity to interact and explain to folks what we were doing in the the radio compartment.  As usual we had the audio set up to be heard by everyone in the combat gallery.  This really generates alot of interest around the aircraft. 

As the day wore on I had some great opportunities to take several of my friends and thier families on tours of the aircraft.  I'm getting pretty good at telling the "City of Savannah" story!  And I love it.  Right around noon Kevin-KW4B took over on the radio station so I could get a break.  Right around that time my old Air Force buddy and former tech school instructor arrived at the museum.  Tony flew in for the day from his home near Washington DC just to tour the museum and spend some time on the aircraft with us.  It was great to grab some lunch with Tony and give him the grand tour of the aircraft and show off all the great things that the team has done over the last three years.  Before you know it, it was time for Tony to head back to the airport.  Sure was great to see him after all these years.  He is a true patriot.

Kevin took off around that time too and I took over on the radio station again.  Made several more contacts and just spent the rest of the time listing to some shortwave broadcasts on the 70 year old BC-348 Reciever.  Boy that thing sure sounds good.  I started shutting things down around 4:45 or so.  Shut the radios down, turned the video feed off, killed the aircraft power, disconnected the battery charger, disconnected the external antennas, and packed up all my stuff.  Basically ran the "post flight checklist". 

Sure was a great day playing radio and celebrating Veterans Day.  Looking forward to our next event.....perhaps Pearl Harbor Day?


The race crew....Don-KK4AMD, Paul-KJ4FAV, Fred-KK4AMB, Mac-AF4KL, Irene-KF4RFF, Caleb, Lester-KF4JBQ, Steve-KD4HDQ, Ken-W4JKG, Peter-KJ4FAW, and taking the picture is Steve-K4SDJ

Kevin-KW4B and the radio operator position

My old Air Force buddy Tony in the radio compartment

Tony at the radio operator position

Tony and me in front of the "City of Savannah"
Laptop on the floor of the radio compartment providing video feed to the Internet

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans Day Special Event Station WW2COS Day 1

We had a great time at the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum today operating amateur radio station WW2COS from the radio compartment of the B-17 "City of Savannah".  Steve-K4SDJ and I arrived onsite around 0800 and promptly connected our exteranl antennas for HF and VHF/UHF.  Jeff Hoopes arrived shortly thereafter and we got the 12v and 24v distribution up.  Double checked all electrical and RF connections then fired up the BC-348 and the Kenwood ham station.  Steve setup the information area outside the aft hatch and and spent most of the day interacting with museum visitors.

I got some good comm checks on the HF rig and the dual bander and then turned my attention to the 70 year old BC-348 Reciever.  Uh oh, trouble.  The tuning knob will not turn and frequency indicator wheel is blank.  Hmm....time to open it up and see what's going on.  I pulled the case off and was able to get a good look at the tuning knob gears.  There is a leaver of some kind that locks the gear if the tuning knob goes past a certain point in the frequency band.  I freed up the leaver and tuned the knob back into the band.  Tuning knob now turning freely and the frequency range is now visible in the window.  Whew!  Slid the unit back in the case and powered it back up.  Good to go. 

Takes a good hour or so for the tubes to warm up and the occilator to stabilize so I began to make some contacts on the ham station.  The bands were in pretty good shape and the station performed pretty well today.  After several local radio operators came through for a visit I got streaming video feed up and running so folks good see us operating in the compartment.  Had the feed streaming here to my blog.  Seemed to work real well.

Spent the rest of the day making contact with hams all across the country and talking with visitors to the museum.  Toward the end of the day Henry Skipper, the CEO of the museum asked me if I would do a quick interview with the local ESPN Radio affiliate who was doing a live broadcast from the museum for Veterans Day.  It was fun.  Got to talk about our involvement with the restoration project and what it's been like to work with 70 year old radio equipment. 

Radio interview complete, it was time to shut things down for the day.  Powered everything down, killed the video feed and packed things up.  Looking forward to doing it all over again tomorrow.  We'll be at the museum early in the morning to provide communications support for the "Flying Fortress 5K" race that raises funds for the project.  After the race, we'll be back on the air with WW2COS.

WW2COS ready to go with our new callsign plate

BC-348 out of it's case to troubleshoot and repair tuning knob

Not how you want to start the day......with a broken radio!

2nd Annual "Flying Fortress 5K"

Monday, November 7, 2011

B-17 "City of Savannah" Veterans Day Special Event Station WW2COS

The Coastal Amateur Radio Society in Savannah will be operating special event station WW2COS from the radio compartment of the B-17 "City of Savannah" to commemorate Veterans Day. We will be operating a combination of vintage and modern radio gear and will be streaming live video from the compartment. QSL information and link for video stream can be found at our entry for WW2COS.

Date: Nov 11, 0900 til 1700 est
         Nov 12, 0900 til 1700 est

Freqs: 28.375 MHz
           14.265 MHz
             7.290 MHz