History Related Amateur Radio Special Events Stations for August 2018

Each month, there are always some History related Amateur Radio Special Event Stations; I picked three to write about for August 2018. To be more accurate, two of them are organizations which are being commemorated by multiple stations: the US Coast Guard’s (USCG) Anniversary and the Citizens Conservation Corps (CCC). Many are familiar with the USCG and its lifesaving role on the coasts and waterways of the nation (among other roles), but I imagine more than a few aren’t familiar with the CCC; it was a program that helped put people to work during the Great Depression and is just as deserving of recognition as one of our military services is. The third event that is being commemorated by a special event station this month is the flight of a US Navy blimp to the Arctic. It was part of a dual mission utilizing the latest technology of the era and some of the oldest aviation technology.

On the weekend of 4/5 August, a number of amateur radio stations and groups will be operating special event stations in honor of the US Coast Guard’s 228th Anniversary. On 4 August 1790, Congress authorized the Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton to form the United States Revenue Cutter Service, charged with enforcing customs laws. Since there was no United States Navy at the time (it wasn’t re-established until 1798), the Cutter Service also took on additional duties (some of which they still carry out today) as coastal defense, rescue, government transport, and mail transport. In 1915, the Cutter Revenue Service was merged with the United States Lifesaving Service to create the United States Coast Guard. In 1939, the Coast Guard took on additional duties when United States Lighthouse Service was brought under its control. In 1942, the Coast Guard picked up more responsibilities when the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation was put under their control. As a result of these mergers and transfers, the Coast Guard became a multi-role agency with search and rescue, regulatory, and law enforcement duties. Because it can be transferred to military control during wartime, the Coast Guard is also considered one of the nation’s armed forces. During both World War I and World War II, it was transferred to the control of Navy Department and transferred back to the Treasury Department after the wars. After the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001, the Coast Guard was transferred from the Treasury Department to the Department of Homeland Security. The Coast Guard has a significant presence in coastal Georgia, with stations in Savannah and Brunswick, at the port facilities in Savannah and Brunswick, and with Coast Guard Air Station Savannah at Hunter AAF in Savannah.

Citizens Conservation Corps on the Air (CCC on the Air) is 11/12 August (it takes place each year on the second full weekend of August). Amateur radio operators and groups across the country will be setting up and operating from the sites CCC camps and public works projects built by the CCC to honor the work of the Corps and the men it employed. The CCC was was one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal work relief programs. Between the years of 1933 and 1942, the CCC employed men between the ages of 17 and 28 as unskilled manual laborers to conserve and improve local, state, and federal government owned lands. It served two purposes; it put many unemployed men back to work and improved government lands for the public. One of the most popular of the New Deal programs to relieve unemployment caused by the Great Depression, it also had a lasting impact on the country. Many of the state and federal parks and historic sites we have today are here because of the work the CCC did in reforestation, building programs, and infrastructure improvements. In coastal Georgia, CCC projects included (among many others) Fort Stewart, Fort Pulaski, McKinnon St. Simons Island Airport, the St. Simons Island Coast Guard Station, and the Okefenokee NWR. Look for participating stations on or around 3.550 CW and 3.950 LSB, 7.050 CW and 7.250 LSB, 14.050 CW and 14.250 USB, 21.050 CW and 21.250 USB, and 28.050 CW and 28.350 USB.

On 18 August 2018, the Shea Naval Aviation Museum Amateur Radio Club, W1NAS in South Weymouth, MA will be commemorating the 60th anniversary of the flight of the US Navy blimp Snow Goose from Naval Air Station South Weymouth to Resolute Bay on the Arctic Circle. Prior to finding the listing for this special event station, I didn’t know anything about this flight; while researching it online, I didn’t find much and what I did find seems to conflict with some of the information in the listing on the ARRL’s website (see next paragraph). In late July and August 1958, the ZPG-2 Airship Snow Goose and its crew made the flight for the purpose of evaluating lighter-than-air craft for supporting Arctic science and military missions. The flight took Snow Goose and crew from South Weymouth to Akron, OH to Fort Churchill in Manitoba, Canada to Resolute Bay where they then flew to Ice Island T-3. It was the first airship to fly into the Arctic Circle since it was done by the Graf Zeppelin in July 1931. The flight was 4,700 miles long and the airship never went above 2,100 ft. above sea level. Snow Goose‘s mission was successful, but ultimately it was for naught because the Navy ended that era of airship operations in 1961. W1NAS will be operating on or near 14.250 USB and 7.250 LSB. QSL via Steve Cohn, W1OD, 10 Hemlock Terrace, Randolph, MA 02368.

Both the ARRL listing and one of the sources I found indicate that the Snow Goose‘s mission was concurrent with the USS Nautilus‘s Arctic mission in August 1958. The conflict comes in where the ARRL listing states that the Snow Goose and USS Nautilus maintained communications with each other. Multiple book reviews of Arctic Mission: 90 North by Airship and Submarine by William Althoff, however, state that the two missions were not aware of each other because the Nautilus’ mission was secret whereas the Snow Goose‘s was public (just because the public was told the two missions weren’t’ aware of each, however, doesn’t mean they weren’t – it wouldn’t surprise me if they did maintain communications). The reviews of Arctic Mission also indicate that both missions were a response to the Soviet Union’s Sputnik launch. If you’re interested, the Lighter Than Air Society has a wonderful account of the flight by one of the crew members.  I’m really interested in trying to find out more about this flight, including getting a copy of Althoff’s book if I can find an inexpensive one!

On 25/26 August, KD7ZDO, Clackamas County Amateur Radio Emergency Services in Oregon City, OR will be commemorating the End of the Oregon Trail’s 175th Anniversary.

In addition to these special events, the weekend of 18/19 August is International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend (ILLW), which along with Museum Ships on the Air Weekend, is one of my favorite amateur radio events of the year. It isn’t unusual for lighthouses and lightships to be landmarks, historic sites, or museums, so ILLW is also a History related event. There is a huge list of participants in this event, so you’re likely to be able to add more than one lighthouse or lightship to you log over the weekend.

Charleston, SC Road Trip Scanning Report; 21 February 2018

Charleston, SC – Yesterday, I had to make a quick day trip to Charleston, SC and although I didn’t make the trip in my vehicle, I did bring along the Uniden Home Patrol 2, the Uniden BCD436HP, and a mag mount scanner antenna. Radio-wise, it was an interesting trip; there’s a lot to listen to in the Charleston area including public safety, military, aviation, and marine/maritime communications.

 

Notes:

  • While in Charleston, I caught a NAS Jacksvonille P-8A using a callsign I’ve never hear them use before. RIDER 02 was in the pattern at Charleston AFB and when I had the chance to check my Mode-S/ADS-B logs at home, RIDER 02 was 168852, a P-8A most recently used by VP-30.
  • The last time I visited Charleston, in 2016, I heard Naval Weapons Station Charleston and Charleston AFB using 28### talkgroups on the US Department of Defense TRS; on this trip, I was hearing 7##, 8##, and 9## talkgroups. I wasn’t in the area long so I didn’t have the chance to check the control channels to see if there was a new or different system ID to determine if they’ve switched to a different system. It’s definitely something I’ll be looking into the next time I go to Charleston.
  • In October 2017, it was reported that USCGC Willow (WLB-202) changed homeport from Newport, RI to Charleston, SC to pick up navaid maintenance duties from the NC/SC state line down to the Caribbean. I haven’t heard her in the Savannah or Brunswick areas yet, but I did hear her on Marine VHF Channel 13 and Channel 16 while I was in Charleston. (USCGC Willow replaces USCGC Oak, which was homeported in Charleston until 2015)

 

South Carolina Forestry
159.2325 (DCS 131) – SC Forestry Huger
159.3750 (DCS 116) – SC Forestry Hampton
159.4050 (DCS 155) – SC Forestry Cottageville
159.4500 (DCS 114) – SC Forestry Beaufort

 

Palmetto 25 TRS
TG 550 – Hilton Head Fire Rescue Dispatch (Beaufort Co)
TG 575 – Parris Island FD/EMS (Beaufort Co)
TG 704 – Beaufort County FD Dispatch 1
TG 1627 – Charleston County Incident 7
TG 1721 – Mount Pleasant FD Ops (Charleston Co)
TG 1739 – Mount Pleasant Meeting
TG 1765 – Lincolnville FD (Charleston Co)
TG 1805 – North Charleston FD Ops
TG 1809 – North Charleston FD Training
TG 1811 – North Charleston FD Night
TG 2030 – Charleston City FD 1 Ops
TG 2051 – Charleston County Zone Dispatch – Charleston County Dispatch
TG 2053 – Charleston County Zone Dispatch – Charleston County West Ops
TG 2056 – Charleston County Incident 3
TG 2062 – Charleston County Incident 5
TG 2066 – St. Paul FD Ops (Charleston Co)
TG 6541 – Jasper County FD Dispatch
TG 6542 – Jasper County FD Tac 1
TG 6543 – Jasper County FD Tac 2
TG 10392 – Meducare
TG 10394 – Meducare Helicopter
TG 51704 – MedTrans SC

 

US DOD TRS
TG 751 – unknown
TG 804 – unknown
TG 836 – unknown
TG 837 – 437th/315th AW?
TG 838 – unknown
TG 841 – unknown
TG 860 – unknown
TG 884 – unknown
TG 950 – unknown

 

USMC TRS
TG 2401 – encrypted

 

Beaufort Aviation/MilCom
123.700/269.125 – Beaufort Approach/Departure
125.125/292.125 – Beaufort Approach/Departure
225.675 – VMFA-115 Tac 2
258.900 – VMFA(AW)-224 Tac 2
299.300 – VMFA(AW)-533 Tac 2
348.825 – VMFA(AW)-533 Tac 3
326.700 – VMFAT-501 Tac 1
349.225 – VMFAT-501 Tac 2
341.825 – VMFAT-501 Tac 3

 

Charleston Aviation/MilCom
119.300/379.925 – Charleston Approach/Departure
120.700/306.925 – Charleston Approach/Departure
126.000/239.000 – Charleston AFB Tower
349.400/134.100 – Charleston AFB “PALMETTO Ops”

 

Shaw AFB
141.675 – 55th FS Air-to-Air
141.900 – 55th FS Air-to-Air
138.150 – 79th FS Air-to-Air

 

McEntire JNGB
141.825 – 169th FW V14
140.125 – 169th FW V15
143.250 – 169th FW V16

 

Ranges
228.400 – Townsend Range
254.350 – Gamecock MOA
264.700 – Poinsett Range
343.750 – Bulldog MOA

 

SEALORD SUAs
120.950/284.500 – SEALORD North Primary
376.900 – W-137 Discrete

 

DOUBLESHOT SUAs
127.725/228.725 – DOUBLESHOT Primary
258.400 – DOUBLESHOT Discrete
279.725 – DOUBLESHOT Discrete

 

Miscellaneous
348.900 – AR-600
381.300 – REACH 022 clg FAME Ops

 

ARTCC
124.075/351.700 – ZJX Summerville High
124.675/282.200 – ZJX Jekyll Low
126.125/285.650 – ZJX Statesboro High
126.750/277.400 – ZJX Brunswick Low
132.425/290.350 – ZJX Hunter Ultra High
132.925/363.200 – ZJX Allendale/Savannah Low
133.625/370.975 – ZJX Georgetown High
134.375/317.550 – ZJX Charleston Low
128.100/322.325 – ZTL Augusta Low

 

USCG
157.0500 – Marine VHF Ch 21
413.0000 ($293) – CG 410; Sector Charleston Air Ops

 

Marine VHF
156.650 – Marine VHF Ch. 13
156.700 – Marine VHF Ch. 14
156.800 – Marine VHF Ch. 16

 

Changes at Coast Guard Air Station Savannah

Savannah – As I wrote last week, Coast Guard Air Station Savannah swapped out some aircraft. At the time, I wasn’t sure of exactly which aircraft were swapped, but another week of monitoring has confirmed which ones are now based at the Air Station.

CGAS Savannah Aircraft
MH-65D, 6516 (AE266A)
MH-65D, 6531 (AE2679)
MH-65D, 6544 (AE509F)
MH-65D, 6550 (AE2688)
MH-65D, 6567 (AE2699)

6516 and 6550 have been at Air Station Savannah for awhile. 6544 is a more recent addition and also happens to have the white heritage paint scheme for 100 years of Coast Guard aviation. 6531 and 6567 are the two aircraft that just arrived this month.

While I’m on the subject of Air Station Savannah, I thought I’d mention that they’ve also recently changed how the helicopters are communicating with the Air Station. Since shortly after the Sector Charleston area began using the Rescue 21 radio system, Air Station Savannah began using CG 107 (150.300, P25 digital voice) as their Ops frequency. I’m not sure why, but over the last couple of months, they’ve gone back to using 345.000 (AM) as their Ops frequency.

 

USCGC Eagle Visits Savannah for St. Patrick’s Day

Savannah – Not long after I woke up on Wednesday morning, I heard Savannah Pilots call “Cutter Eagle” (USCGC Eagle, WIX-327) on Marine VHF Ch. 14. There was no reply to that call, but a couple of calls, later Savannah Pilots got a reply (they could hear Eagle at the time, I couldn’t). Based on the one side of the conversation I heard, Eagle was to meet the river pilot at the Racon Bouy and come in to Savannah after a cargo ship. Yesterday, I made some plans to give my nephew a ride over to the Savannah NWR around 0900, so I wasn’t sure I’d have the chance to catch some photos of the Eagle‘s arrival later in the morning. Luckily, after I picked him up, he was interested in seeing it as well, so we ended up at Old Fort Jackson with the plan of touring the fort and catching the Eagle. After a bit, we hung out on the top level of the fort and kept watch for the ship to come around the bend near Elba Island.

The top level of Fort Jackson was a nice place to watch the river from. While we waited, we saw the cargo ship that I heard Savannah Pilots talking about earlier, the CMA CGM Moliere. Not long after that, Savannah Fire and Emergency Services new fireboat MARINE 1, “Courageous” passed by going upriver toward downtown but came back later and hung around just upriver from Fort Jackson waiting for the Eagle. An interesting sight during the wait was the tug John Parrish towing some pipeline (I’m guessing that it is probably related to the dredging operations on the Savannah River) up the river with assistance from the tug Kelly Anne at the rear of the pipeline.

CMA CGM Moliere, the container ship that USCGC Eagle followed into Savannah later in the morning
CMA CGM Moliere, the container ship that USCGC Eagle followed into Savannah later in the morning
Savannah Fire and Emergency Services' new fireboat MARINE 1, "Courageous"
Savannah Fire and Emergency Services’ new fireboat MARINE 1, “Courageous”
Tug John Parrish...
Tug John Parrish…
pulling pipeline up the Savannah River prior to the Eagle coming upriver...
pulling pipeline up the Savannah River prior to the Eagle coming upriver…
with Tug Kelly Anne bringing up the rear to help control the end of the pipeline
with Tug Kelly Anne bringing up the rear to help control the end of the pipeline

Shortly after 1100, COAST GUARD 6555, one of the MH-65Ds out of Coast Guard Air Station Savannah flew up the river to downtown then came down toward Elba Island and orbiting around. I figured that it was a sign that the Eagle wasn’t very far away and it turned out to be the case. Sure enough, I heard them tell the Air Station on 345.000 that the Eagle was at Elba Island, about 15 minutes from Fort Jackson (I think that was for 6530, which I heard later with Eagle on Marine VHF Ch. 21 regarding some PIO photos). The Eagle soon came into sight with an escort from 6555, Coast Guard Auxiliary 578, and Coast Guard 29200. As she passed by Fort Jackson, one of the fort’s interpreters fired a salute from their cannon. The only lens I had was a borrowed 150-500mm zoom lens and I couldn’t get the ship and the salute in a photo together (next time I’ll remember to bring the camera bag and a smaller lens).

COAST GUARD 6555 (MH-65D) escorting the USCGC Eagle up the Savannah River
COAST GUARD 6555 (MH-65D) escorting the USCGC Eagle up the Savannah River
USCGC Eagle downriver from Fort Jackson, one of Fort Jackson's interpreters standing by to fire a salute when she passed by
USCGC Eagle downriver from Fort Jackson, one of Fort Jackson’s interpreters standing by to fire a salute when she passed by
USCGC Eagle approaching Fort Jackson, Coast Guard Auxiliary Vessel 578 is in the foreground, Coast Guard Vessel 29200 is in the background
USCGC Eagle approaching Fort Jackson, Coast Guard Auxiliary 578 is in the foreground, Coast Guard 29200 is in the background
Fort Jackson's interpreter loading the cannon for the salute as USCGC Eagle draws near
Fort Jackson’s interpreter loading the cannon for the salute as USCGC Eagle draws near
Getting ready to fire the cannon as the USCGC Eagle passes by Fort Jackson
Getting ready to fire the cannon as the USCGC Eagle passes by Fort Jackson
Coast Guard Vessel 29200 escorting USCGC Eagle up the Savannah River
Coast Guard Vessel 29200 escorting USCGC Eagle up the Savannah River
USCGC Eagle, WIX-327 as it passed by Fort Jackson
USCGC Eagle, WIX-327 as it passed by Fort Jackson
USCGC Eagle, WIX-327 passing by Fort Jackson
USCGC Eagle, WIX-327 passing by Fort Jackson

Throughout the morning, I kept an ear on Marine VHF channels and the Coast Guard Station Tybee and Air Station Savannah Rescue 21 frequencies. Both of the Rescue 21 channels, CG 113 and CG 410 were encrypted, but there was also traffic from Eagle, Savannah Pilots, 6555, 6530, Auxiliary 578, 29200, and Savannah Fire MARINE 1 on various Marine VHF channels. Channel 13 was also active with the ships and working boats traveling the river. These are always good frequencies to keep an ear on if you’re watching traffic on the Savannah River:

  • Marine VHF Ch. 16 – 156.800
  • Marine VHF Ch. 13 – 156.650
  • Marine VHF Ch. 14 – 156.700
  • Marine VHF Ch. 21 – 157.050
  • CG 113 – 150.300 (P25 NAC 293)
  • CG 410 – 413.000 (P25 NAC 293)

Getting to see the USCGC Eagle is always a treat and this time I’m glad I was able to give my nephew the opportunity to see it, it was his first time seeing the United States’ majestic tall ship. It will be in Savannah through 19 March; River Street will be an awful mess during the St. Patrick’s Day Weekend, but if you want to brave the madness, it might be worth it for a look at the Eagle if you’ve never seen her before.

Hurricane Hunters Update and Coast Guard MH-65D Flights to Charleston; 5 October 2015

Savannah – Yesterday, the Hurricane Hunter WC-130Js from the 53rd WRS continued to fly missions to Hurricane Joaquin as it neared Bermuda. TEAL 72 (WC-130J, 97-5303, 53 WRS), TEAL 73 (WC-130J, 97-5305, 53 WRS), and TEAL 71 (WC-130J, 97-5304, 53 WRS) flew Hurricane Joaquin missions from and returning to Hunter AAF. Along with the previously reported frequencies, I could hear some interplane traffic between the WC-130Js on 123.050 while they were on the ground yesterday. Thanks to Larry Van Horn for the heads up on 53rd WRS frequencies. With yesterday’s weather a bit nicer compared to the previous few days, I was finally able to get some photographs of one of the WC-130Js; these two are of TEAL 73 returning yesterday afternoon from the morning flight Joaquin.

TEAL 73 (WC-130J, 97-5305, 53 WRS) on approach to Hunter AAF on 4 October 2015 after flying a morning mission to Hurricane Joaquin out in the Atlantic Ocean.
TEAL 73 (WC-130J, 97-5305, 53 WRS) on approach to Hunter AAF on 4 October 2015 after flying a morning mission to Hurricane Joaquin out in the Atlantic Ocean.
TEAL 73 (WC-130J, 97-5305, 53 WRS) on approach to Hunter AAF on 4 October 2015 after flying a morning mission to Hurricane Joaquin out in the Atlantic Ocean.
TEAL 73 (WC-130J, 97-5305, 53 WRS) on approach to Hunter AAF on 4 October 2015 after flying a morning mission to Hurricane Joaquin out in the Atlantic Ocean.

In addition to WC-130J flights, NASA 928 (WB-57, N928NA, NASA) flew a research mission to Hurricane Joaquin. Due to the high altitude NASA 928 was flying at (almost 50,000 ft when it went out of range), I was able to hear the WB-57 from not long after it took off from Robins AFB until it after it went offshore over the Atlantic Ocean. The frequency sequence for the outbound leg to the Hurricane was:

126.425 – Atlanta Center Dublin High
133.300 – Jax Center Moultrie Ultra High
132.425 – Jax Center Hunter Ultra High
135.050 – Jax Center Meta Low/High

The inbound leg used mostly the same set of frequencies with Jax Center Ridgeway Ultra High added and Jax Center Moultrie Ultra High and Meta Low/High dropped:

134.975 – Jax Center Ridgeway Ultra High
132.425 – Jax Center Hunter Ultra High
126.425 – Atlanta Center Dublin High

Based on the Hurricane Hunters Schedule on the National Hurricane Center’s website, no WC-130J flights are scheduled for Joaquin today, but there is a WB-57 flight scheduled for the Monday at the same time as the Sunday flight.

    1. NEGATIVE RECONNAISSANCE REQUIREMENTS.
    2. OUTLOOK FOR SUCCEEDING DAY.....NEGATIVE. 
    3. REMARKS:
       A. NASA WB-57(NASA 928) WILL FLY A 6HR RESEARCH MISSION
       AROUND JOAQUIN MONDAY. TAKEOFF FROM WARNER-ROBINS
       WILL BE AT 05/1500Z. FLIGHT LEVELS 55,000-65,000FT.
       ANTICIPATING 82 DROPS.

Depending on the flight plan NASA 928 uses, it could use some of the same frequencies as yesterday. Throughout the flight, I was able to track its progress on FlightRadar24, and FlightAware, which was a great help in knowing when it took off and when it was headed back to Robins. It just so happens I’ll be in Warner Robins today visiting the Museum of Aviation; if I catch the WB-57s takeoff, I’ll tweet out a heads up.


In other severe weather news, I’m sure many of you are familiar with the historic rain and flooding that is causing so much trouble in South Carolina. While monitoring the Joaquin related flights yesterday, I caught US Coast Guard MH-65Ds from Coast Guard Air Station Savannah going up to the Charleston area. While a daily rotation flight is normal, three of the went to Charleston yesterday: 6516, 6562, and 6550. When 6516 went, it went as RESCUE 6516, which indicated it was a on a SAR mission. Based on tweets from the South Carolina National Guard, Coast Guard helicopters were helping in search and rescue efforts in flooded areas, so it’s quite possible at least one if not all of the three were involved. Although much of the communications on the CG ### frequencies could be encrypted, if the Coast Guard flies rescue missions in Charleston today, possible frequencies are:

345.000 – USCG Air Station Savannah Ops
150.300 – CG 107 (P25), Air Station Savannah Ops (NAC 293)

171.2375 – CG 127 (P25), Sector Charleston
413.000 – CG 410 (P25), Sector Charleston Air Ops (NAC 293); enc
156.800 – Marine VHF Ch. 16
157.050 – Marine VHF Ch. 21
157.100 – Marine VHF Ch. 22