MVCC-MRCG Camp Delta Comms AAR 2018

Update: 9/29/18

The Military Radio Collectors Group (DET A, FWD) had a small but operational display at Camp Delta during the September 20-23 rally of the Military Vehicle Collectors of California near Lodi CA.

Andy brought his MRC-56 Navy G/A comm trailer, Alex had his PRC-47 and GRR-5, I had a VRC-7 and an RT-68/VRC-10 (yeah, I know..), GRC-9, TRC-77, PRC-25 and Tom’s PRC-6 all online. Plus a TRC-88 and PRC-10 in non-op display. HF antennas were quarter wave, low inverted L’s on 3550, 3985 and 7050 kc.

A few Camp ham stations were up on 51.00 and we had lots of curious visitors over 4 days; the kids liked talking on the PRC-25. Jerry was up on 51.00 and had his SCR-284, BC-611 and GRC-9 going nearby and a nice TBY display as well.

Contacts included the MRCG AM net on Saturday night with the GRC-9; we had good signals into SOCAL, but the band was very long by 2000, we could barely even hear Jeff’s rock crusher WRT-2 signal closer-in, Mark (further away with 25 watts) was Q5, others about Q3.

We tried a post-AM net on 3985 USB but then realized we brought the wrong PRC-47 which was set up for LSB. Doh!! Otherwise it would have worked fine. Next time…

Another notable “out station” CW contact was with the “home station” KPH at the Maritime Radio Historical Society coast station (K6)KPH on the 3550 kc West Coast Agent Guard Channel. We received a 599 report from Op Mike at 1800 local time with the 10 watt TRC-77 and quarter wave wire; a 68 mile NVIS shot.

They “Rogered” our request for a standard resupply pallet airdrop at DZ (Drop Zone) Camp Delta for sunrise Sunday morning. Interestingly, two C-130’s overflew our site several hours later, probably out of Travis AFB. But no parachutes were seen, no loud thuds were heard. I had apparently failed to include my proper “not under duress” security code.

Among the military vehicles present was a prehistoric armored vehicle operating nearby…

Oh, and Alex’s fantastic chow was great! A good time was had by all..

The MVCC rally had lots of militaria, vehicle parts and quite a few Mil radios for sale. Always a good place to find interesting stuff for the pile back home. The Usual Suspects are always fun to hang out with, Sea Stories abound. “So there I was…..”.

Some pix attached:



MVCC Battalion Comm Center Sept 2018

Above: The overall setup in the campsite with a few civilian camp trailers scattered around as well. We had to keep it small this year as the venue was pretty cramped due to construction in the larger areas we usually occupy.

MRC-56 USN Air/Ground Comms Trailer

Above: Andy’s really cool AN/MRC-56 Navy Ground-Air communications station. It was found at a central valley farm junkyard, Andy has restored it to original operating condition. That includes a TCS, ARC-1, ARC-27 and VRC-32, a Navy-tagged commercial General Electric VHF FM set used for base operations communications. All equipment can be operated remotely via a modified TCS control head on a very long cable.

This particular MRC-56 was formerly providing Ground-Air comms at a US Navy auxilliary landing field in Monterrey California in the mid 1950’s. Fortunately the operators left interesting, pencilled notes inside on the yellow paint. Petroglyphs actually.

See Andy’s YouTube video on this set here: Andy’s MRC-56 HF Radio Test

MRC-56 28 VDC Generator

Above: The 28 VDC 90 Amp gas generator to power the entire system. The only thing not original besides the new batteries is the exhaust system as shown. Andy Improvised, Adapted, Overcame. The batteries will also operate the station dynamotors if needed. He also brought along a PP-4763 28 VDC AC power supply to keep the peace in the campground.

Tactical Operations Center

Above: Our simple Tactical Operations Center included a GRR-5 receiver, PRC-47 and a PRC-77 for local comms.  And a Red Light for General Quarters Ops at night.

RT-68, TRC-77, TRC-88

Our small TOC was based upon a VRC-10 (I know, no mount, accessories or manual), a TRC-77 for HF CW and a static-display, rare TRC-88. I have installed 12 Epson programmable oscillator chips in this radio as suitable transmit/receive crystals are currently unobtanium. They work great.
More on the TRC-88 here: AN/TRC-88 HF SSB/CW Transceiver

The 10 watt TRC-77 and “knee key” was used on CW to contact (K6)KPH to request a resupply airdrop via the expeditionary air logistics branch. Low power on 3550 kc into a quarter wave wire made it happen. That 68 mile shot is comparable to the distance from southern England to OSS operatives working in northern France back in the day. Still very viable comms at these low power levels. Thanks to the crew at the MRHS!
See: MRHS Website

More on the TRC-77 here: AN/TRC-77

US Navy AN/MRC-56 trailer with VHF portables

Above: We also had a PRC-25 and PRC-10 on display, the kids liked calling in target coordinates and hearing themselves coming out of the RT-68/VRC-10 speaker. We also had a VRC-7 and GRC-9 mounted in the Stealth Bronco. That was the GRC-9 we use for the west coast MRCG AM net on Saturdays.

We also posted the event communications FRAG Order for the education of visitors and participants alike.

Don’t be this guy – Late for chow

Above: Lots of fun military vehicle displays around. This trooper either missed – or ate – Alex’s Sausage and Peppers Friday night. GirlieMan steaks ( OMG!!) for dinner Saturday. We ate WELL!

Prehistoric Armored Vehicle in Garrison

Above: One of the MVCC Camp Delta regulars; a prehistoric armored vehicle at the Garrison chow hall. His Battle Buddy was holed up in the tent, chillin’ the shade…

The Military Vehicle Collectors of California is the largest MV club in “the west”. Their big annual rally in April draws nearly 200 military vehicles of all kinds including tanks, helo’s, motorcycles, landing craft, DUKW’s, jeeps, command cars, bicycles, Deuces/6X6’s of every description, fire engines, staff cars, mules, gamma goats and even a Navy PBR operating out in the Sacramento River delta. Flyby’s by warbirds are SOP.

The April 2019 rally will be held in Plymouth CA, watch the MVCC website for details. MVCC Club Website

Many thanks to those who participated and visited the MVCC Battalion Communications Center.

Expeditionary Navy Tactical Comms Center

Get out there, train and exercise your field gear. No Shelf Queens!!