The twenty-first annual muster of the West Coast Military Radio Collectors group was held 5-7 May, 2016 at the National Guard base in San Luis Obispo. It included a good swap meet, a field operating exercise, great technical talks and a fun Fox Hunt on 51.0 mc. The hilltop exercise ran an SCR-694, PRC-6, A.R.C. Type 12 and a Swedish manufactured PRC-10A set. Good comms on all circuits back to base which was running an SCR-522, PRC-25 and a TCS set. This old gear still works great.
For the 2016 Fox hunt, Mark modified a PRT-4 transmitter with internal voice ID, tone keying and 2 different duty cycle modes (beginner and expert). The hunters used PRC-6 and PRC-25 radios with their associated AT-339 and AT-1082 DF loop antennas. We were not experts!
Careful – it might be booby-trapped. Testing the “Swedish PRC-10A”. That radio is an interesting, licensed-built set known in the Swedish Army as the Ra-105. External primary battery power, but it worked great.
Some photos of recent activities with the West Coast Military Radio Collectors Group at Camp San Luis Obispo on the central California coast. The meets usually include indoor and outdoor operational displays plus local field ops to test and evaluate this old gear in its intended configurations. (minus the P-51 Mustang, see below).
“Oscar the Octopus” Cartoon from “Know Your PT Boat”, crewman’s handbook. Technical Publication No.9, NAVSHIPS 250-222-1, U.S. Navy, 1945.
We also participated in “Camp Delta” the annual spring rally of the Military Vehicle Collectors of California. This included a “Battalion Communications Center” using period equipment. Plus various Field Training Exercises. Some pix below.
MRCG 2014 at Camp San Luis Obispo:
Above: Working a distant PRC-6 with the PRC-10 on the High Ground from Guard Hill overlooking the base. That’s the Pacific in the background. Seen here is the “Electric Chair” outfitted with a PRC-25, PRT-4, PRR-9, BC-611 and PRC-6 for VHF – HF relay. We were working Tom and Andy at their distant location using their TBX-8, MAB and PRC-6. Good comms. We also worked Craig as he drove his M-38A1 around with its GRC-9 on 3885 Kc.
Below: John’s beautifully restored SCR-522 operating tailgate portable on 144.450 Mc. John had just provided another restored SCR-522 for a P-51 Mustang project, the “Sierra Sue II”. That aircraft will be the most accurately restored Mustang flying when it is finished. They even contracted with a wire manufacturer to fabricate all new wire to the original WWII specifications. Everything will be original – including its SCR-522 set. Here he is listening to an ARC-1 back at the base NCO club, our meeting location.
Above: Another of John’s restored SCR-522’s seen here under the canopy of the beautifully restored P-51 Mustang Sierra Sue II.
Some of the usual suspects marveling at the sound of the SCR-522 Autotune: Stand Back !!
Your typical “candid, action” photo…..That’s the base in the background. Everything was working!
Above: In the display area we find Chuck’s GRC-109 system with the elusive UGP-12 generator and GRA-71 code burst keyer. Chuck fired up the Genny and it was very quiet – and little smoke. It had been painted white along with its transit case sometime in the past. Prior service at Ice Station Zebra perhaps?
More indoor operating displays:
Above: My trusty GRC-109 with its new 12 Volt DC-DC power supply. Also set up was the ARC Type 12 for 2 Meters AM but the 12 V DC power supply power feed developed a problem; receive only today. (Don’t use cigarette lighter plugs for this application!) Also, many THANKS to the fellow who left me the two spare NIB 2E26 transmitter PA tubes at this display. I didn’t catch your name!
Above: The ARC-1 serving as Base Ops on 144.450 Mc AM used to work the SCR-522. AM on 2 meters sounds great!
The MAW’s stayed home on that trip.
Above: MRCG Hilltop comms exercise at Camp San Luis Obispo in May 2015. Here operating the AN/TRC-77 field set on 80 meters CW to the Net Control station down on the base. We were also running an ARC Type 12 set on 144.450 Mc AM and the PRC-25 on 51.00 Mc FM. Good comms all around from this great location. Photo: K6FWT.
We had a 4-way QSO between the ARC Type-12, an ARC-1, an MAW and an SCR-522 all on 144.450 Mc AM. HF Net Control was running a TCS mounted inside KD6TKX’s MRC-56 Radio Trailer which also included an ARC-1 and an ART-13. And no monthly service charges!
The self-powered MRC-56 with its 90 amp, 28 VDC generator.
Above: The Modified trailer has temporarily replaced the AN/ARC-27 UHF AM set with an ART-13. The VRC-32 VHF FM set (6 meters) is under restoration but the issued control head is here. The AN/ARC-1 VHF AM set is in the upper left and the TCS occupies the lower shelf. All sets can be remotely operated.
Another fun operating event we did at MRCG-SLO was an on-the-air radio/crypto exercise. Coast Station KSM (Maritime Historical Radio Society) transmitted actual WWII messages that were newly-encrypted into 5-letter cypher groups with an M-209 convertor. They transmitted the messages on both CW and RATT on their licensed commercial frequencies (it’s legal there). We received them at the MRCG operating displays and had Mark decrypt them using his M-209 and the pre-arranged keylist. It worked fine – good fun. Some details here:
KSM-MRCG Radio/Crypto exercise
A few Pix from the Military Vehicle Collectors of California Camp Delta rally in April 2014:
Above: Some of the many visitors to the MRCG Battalion Comm Center at Camp Delta. Checking out BC-611’s and a Pogo Stick with the help of the GRC-9.
Also present were a couple of classic military radios with cool military vehicles bolted to them:
A beautifully restored Half Track bolted to a nice SCR-508 FM set..
Above: A pristine M50 Ontos restoration, complete with six 106 mm recoiless rifles and their .50 cal spotting rifle. This vehicle was bolted to its issued-PRC-10 as its installed commo equipment. We helped the owner find some needed accessories to get the set complete. (AM-598, AM-65 and an LS-166)
Ummmm, I would not stand right there…..
The Business End
The MVCC / MRCG Battalion Comm Center:
Again, Many thanks to The Chief for providing appropriate billeting in Camp Patriot’s GP Medium tent!
Above: The VHF position with a VRC-10 set, BC-683, PRC 10 and PRC-25. Rigged to a Jungle Antenna the VRC-10 worked well. A cross-era mashup of equipment.
Above: The HF position for Naval Gunfire liaison utilizing an SCR-284, GRC-9 and GRC-109 (in transit case). Also an EE-8 phone to the Fire Direction Center. With the exception of the PRC-10 (due to no battery) all the equipment was operational and on line during the event. As usual, the kids liked cranking the GN-45 and hearing the receiver light up for their efforts.
We worked lots of the MRCG guys on 3985 in the evenings using the GRC-9 on AM and CW with both its whip and also horizontal wire antennas. I also worked several CW stations on 7050 Kc CW including K6KPH at their Marconi Memorial Station event in the Marin County headlands at coast station KSM (now KPH).
This is a fun Military Radio event in conjunction with the MVCC vehicle guys. We had lots of visitors, provided radio checks for many vehicular radios and even taught a class on military tactical comms to a Boy Scout Venture group in attendance. Good fun.
Mt Diablo Recon Mission, FTX 6-15, 12-14 June 2015
Oh, and the Chow was good!
The MRCG DET Alpha (fwd) had a fun Military Field Day up on Mt Diablo this weekend. We were running a TRC-77 on 80/40 CW, an ARC Type 12 set and a PRC-25. Had good comms with Andy on multiple sked times on both 80 and 40 meters CW, night and day. We worked Bart on the PRC-25 and also a long QSO with him using the Type 12 on 144.450 Mc AM (and no interference from the &#*&% APRS repeaters this time!). That little set sounds Great!
The ARC Type 12 was running either a mag-mount 5/8 whip or a J-Pole hanging up in the trees. Site elevation 3210 ft AMSL. The PRC-25 was just using the standard 1 meter flex tape whip.
We were equipped to coordinate Ground Operations with the PRC-25, coordinate Close Air Support with the ARC Type 12 and receive task orders or report on BDA via the long range TRC-77 HF CW net.
I wanted to test the TRC-77 with the “per the book” slant wire antenna of 50 and 25 feet on 80/40 respectively, including 2 radial ground wires. (Well described by Andy as a Bush Antenna)…Worked well, made all the skeds with Andy but best reports were around 459. It’s not a rock-crusher, a dipole would have worked much better over that 78 mile NVIS shot. Keepin’ it Stock this time out.
We also worked “Agent Control” once again at KSM/K6KPH in the Marin Headlands – they dominate the freq (7050) when “on”. They asked for my airdrop resupply requisition – I asked for a Field Air Conditioner Set which they forwarded to Supply and the expeditionary air wing. Amazingly, a C-17 out of Travis flew directly over Mt Diablo, very low, about 45 minutes later, but alas no pallet with said air conditioner…(the next day we were entertained by a nice P-40 flying overhead)
We are using 7050 kc as the West Coast Agent Guard Channel with Comm Windows between 1700 and 2300Z Saturdays with Control.
A good shakedown cruise for the TRC-77 in the ALICE Pack and it worked Andy with his TRC-77 and also his TDE/RBB combo. It is a very good field rig, here running off internal SLA batteries for 3 days in a fairly stock field configuration. Receiver was “On” for around 35 hours continuous, no recharging necessary. Worked lots of stations, 10 watts goes a long way. It is a very RF quiet location….
Some recent, off grid MRCG Det Alpha Recon Pix:
The basic field stations. Among the MRCG CW crew we are usually available for casual CW contacts on 3550/7050; nights/days. That is our Agent Guard Channel. No formal nets with a time schedule, just leave a receiver on freq to copy the mail; have a transmitter in warm standby. Call “CQ MR” (Calling any Military Radio station) can often snag a contact from one of us.
Stay well grounded my friends!
Get your Mil radio gear out in the field and do some training and Ops.
No Shelf Queens!
For some more photos of the MRCG operations at the MVCC rally and the National Military Vehicle Preservation Association convention and rally in Pleasanton CA 2016, look here:
MRCG Ops at the MVPA National Rally
MRCG Battalion Communications Center
Above: John’s SCR-522 seen here under the canopy of the beautifully restored P-51 Mustang Sierra Sue II. This aircraft is probably the best originally restored Mustang in the world, it saw service in WWII.