Mobile Amateur Radio and Monitoring; 18 July 2011

Location: Brunswick, GA

This afternoon after having another excellent meal from Bubba Garcia’s on St. Simon’s Island (grilled shrimp burrito with black beans and rice and their most excellent homemade pico) I decided to blow the dust off of the mobile HF rig.  I went out to Jekyll Island and took a spot in the parking lot on S. Beachview just south of the new convention center construction and proceeded to “play radio” for an hour or so.

I set up the HVT-400B mobile antenna for 20 Meters and started looking for stations calling CQ.  The first station I heard was EA8UP from the Canary Islands on 14.307 USB, but with the mobile station I didn’t quite have the signal to get back to him.  That would have been a nice contact from the mobile station; I’ve worked the Canary Islands from home but I don’t think I ever have from the mobile station.  Next I found YW5LR calling CQ on 14.260 USB; I replied and got an answer on the first try!  I found out after the contact that YW5LR is a DXpedition on Los Roques Island off of Venezuela in the Caribbean Sea. Next I heard N4S, an STS-135 special event station, but he had a massive pileup that I could never have hoped to bust with the puny little mobile station at less than 100 watts.  Finally, I came across WA4NZD from the Marshall Space Station on 14.277 USB.  They are honoring the final space shuttle mission, STS-135, with a special event station. The signal wasn’t very strong, but they did answer my call and we began to exchange information; unfortunately after they copied my callsign, name, and location the band dropped out on me and I lost them.  Considering I haven’t charged up the battery that powers the FT-897 in probably a month or so, it wasn’t a bad way to blow the dust off of the mobile station!

As far as the scanning goes, there wasn’t a lot of MilCom activity.  First, I picked up an AWACS, DRAGNET, working the BEEFEATER ECM range near Shaw AFB in South Carolina, but after strong signals at first they faded out.  Also active were several P-3s including MAD FOX 11 and MAD FOX 12 from VP-16 and TIGER 44 from VP-8. Additionally, I heard SNAKE 51 going into Savannah IAP on 363.200 (Jax Center) and 371.875 (Savannah Approach/Departure). I received word this afternoon that the 157th FS from McEntire ANGB and a group of T-38s are at the Savannah CRTC so I’m wondering if SNAKE 51 was one of the T-38s (More on that tomorrow, I return to Savannah in the morning).

I had to find a new way to keep my monitoring notes today because I left my usual notepad behind.  I went on the Droid Marketplace and downloaded a notepad app called “InkPad” and used it to type in my what I was hearing so I wouldn’t forget it.  I don’t think I want to use it every time I play radio from the mobile, but it will come in handy when I don’t have a real notepad handy.

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