Military Vehicles and Radios MVCC/MRCG

2016 MVPA Rally
The 41st annual International Convention and rally of the Military Vehicle Preservation Association was held at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton CA on 11-13 August 2016. The event was hosted by the Military Vehicle Collectors of California as the biggest MV club in the western US.

The West Coast Military Radio Collectors Group (DET. ALPHA, FWD) also participated providing Comms displays and operations.

MRCG Banner

MRCG Banner at the 2016 MVPA Military Vehicles Rally

Every tactical military unit needs the ability to Move, Shoot and Communicate. The MVPA/MVCC had Move and Shoot covered; we provided the means to Communicate. And that we did. All equipment was in operable condition although a few were in static-display mode only as there were just so many radios we could operate at once.

So Paul, N6FEG gathered up 2 truckloads of his WWII military radio field sets and I provided the portable infantry gear, WWII through Korea and Vietnam eras.
We then established the Battalion Communications Center at the event.

Our deep appreciation for the invitation to participate and our recognition of all the work that went into this massive, well organized rally.
Like a really cool “car show” – in Olive Drab – with Artillery.  Well done MVPA / MVCC!

Battalion Communications Center - Open House

2016 MVPA Military Vehicles Rally – Battalion Communications Center

So a brief photo-recon tour is in order:

SCR-499 HF Set in operation

SCR-499 HF Set in operation

Paul hits the CW key while tuning the antenna system of the mighty SCR-499 set. He was pumping out 300 watts of high-level, plate modulated AM on 3985 kc. He worked numerous stations on the MRCG AM Net in California between 20 and 150 miles range using the correct 18 foot whip antenna. That transmitter, AKA the BC-610, weighed 400 pounds. “Portable” they called it…Receivers cooking, it sounded great!
Here is another view of that complete, accurate setup:

SCR-499 Receivers and Control

SCR-499 Receivers and Control

Below: Paul also had a complete SCR-543 (the BC-669 as the major component) set up as a static display:

SCR-543/BC-669

SCR-543/BC-669

Below: Would you believe a complete, rare Navy TBW set, also on static display. Sans the 800 cps power supply rotary siren!:
“I could just scream!” Captain Binghampton.

Navy TBW "Advanced Base" Set

Navy TBW “Advanced Base” Set

That type of set was used by the US Navy in the Pacific at “Advanced Bases” for coordination with both local shipping traffic and aircraft. And PT Boats.

Battalion Comm Center Area

Battalion Comm Center Area

The overall layout, early morning, Reveille just sounded. It was quite warm and sunny for all 3 days so that parachute was a very welcome addition. Plus it helped conceal our position.
From the Drone. Which was flying around….

Next we move on to the portable infantry-type gear based out of a WWII M-1942 Command Post tent. (Thanks John!) This included the VRC-10/RT-68, PRC-6, RS-6 in a period covert suitcase transit case, PRC-10, SCR-284/GN-45, PU-181 Genset, and a PRC-25. This gear was typical comms equipment used in WWII, Korea or Vietnam. Lots of visitor interest in it all. Except for the RS-6, which was just not plugged in, everything was operational and on the air.

Command Post Tent and gear

Command Post Tent and gear

Above, the overall infantry equipment display.
CHECKMATE KING 2 this is WHITE ROOK. Over

VHF and HF Field Sets

VHF and HF Field Sets

RS-6 Clandestine set

RS-6 Clandestine set

VRC-10 / RT-68 and EE-8 Field Phone

VRC-10 / RT-68 and EE-8 Field Phone

Those operational sets were tuned to 51.0 mc FM and 7050 kc CW. The GRC-9 was driving an AT-101 wire antenna strung high over the superb Long Range Desert Group display. I made several CW contacts on 40 meters with the Angry-9.

Part of the fun with a display like this is to have some live signals on the air for the visitors to hear on operating receivers. To this end, the following “behind the curtain” gear:

Military Radio Sound equipment

Military Radio Sound equipment

To get some very local signals “on the air”, I had a couple of CD’s playing into either a PRT-4 FM VHF transmitter, or later, a URM-25 signal generator working MCW on HF.

The Line output of the CD player was routed through a Radio Shack “amplified speaker” which provided the gain necessary to drive the PRT-4 or the URM 25 external modulation input. The speaker was inoperative. This is much more fun than a “boom box in an ammo box” sometimes seen at these events.

One CD played continuous 22 words-per-minute, 5 letter morse code cypher groups via the URM-25 for the SCR-284, GRC-9 and BC-312 receivers. The other CD had an 8 minute loop recording of a Vietnam-era combat extraction of a Special Forces team under fire. That one went to the PRC-6, PRC-25 and the VRC-10/RT-68 for authentic background sounds.

The SCR-284 signal was particularly effective for the kids who were cranking the GN-45 generator – they got some real feedback for their efforts. DAD! Come here, this is cool!

These otherwise weak signals were heard around the camp by nearby radio-equipped vehicles and in various “hootches”.

A dad and his 3 sons – all equipped with PRT-4/PRR-9 Squad Radio sets were exploring the event and wondering where the firefight was happening as they approached. And why they could hear it.
I ‘fessed up. “Really? WOW!”

SCR-284 and GN-45

SCR-284 and GN-45

Above: The SCR-284. We also had the PU-181 generator operating for sound effects and for mosquito repellent. Fortunately, we also had shore power available at the site.
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Above: The complete, rare SCR-177B which includes the BC-191 transmitter, antenna coupler and 2 receivers, all mounted in the proper operating/transit Chests.

Speaking of the ‘499, one of our fellow campers noticed some cool “Aircraft Nose Art” on the back of the wood transit case.

Water stain "nose art"

Water stain “nose art”

A water stain on the transit case. Thinking of home…..See her?

There were a lot of other radios at the event, many of them had cool military vehicles bolted to them:

Jeep bolted to an SCR-610 set

Jeep bolted to an SCR-610 set

Above: A nice SCR-610 FM set with a equally nice M-38 jeep bolted to it.

LRDG "Radio Truck"

LRDG “Radio Truck”

Above: A period Hallicrafters S-22R HF receiver with a great 1942 Chevrolet “Radio Truck” bolted to it. The Long Range Desert Group display. Great details! Note the simulated “desert sand” underneath the truck.

SCR-300 "Walkie Talkie"

SCR-300 “Walkie Talkie”

Above: Trivia Question: Did Sgt. Saunders ever operate any FM sets? Here the SCR-300 riding in a nice Jeep. Snap down those clips Soldier!

Speaking of military vehicles, there were over 240 MV’s at this event. They ranged from paratroopers’ folding bicycles, motorcycles with and without side cars, jeeps of every description, cargo trucks, helicopters, half tracks, aircraft tugs, a 36 foot LCVP landing craft, tank transporters. Oh and tanks, Many Tanks. At least 9 of them. There were many very cool “vignette” displays of all descriptions too.

Overall a great event. The Cool Meter was pegged for 3 full days.

Some notable G Rides:
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