History Related Amateur Radio Special Event Stations for July 2018

The month of July sees a lot of Independence Day special event stations as well as the 13 Colonies Special Event (to be honest, it’s almost become more of a contest than a special event), but there are three History related amateur radio special event stations this July that stand out. The first commemorates the Battle of Gettysburg, the largest and probably most well-known battle of the American Civil war. It’s important that we remember the Civil War as an example of what happens when we are unable to govern ourselves and take up arms against each other as a result. The second commemorates the Whiskey Rebellion, one of the first tests of our new government following the American Revolution. Perhaps there was something to learn from the Whiskey Rebellion that both of our political parties overlooked in the years prior to the 2016 Presidential election. The third special event station commemorates the Maryland Slave Rebellion in 1845. The slave rebellion can remind us that even though our country was founded on the concept that “…all men are created equal…” some have always been more equal than others and that not all of us have been free. Independence Day is a time to celebrate our independence and our freedoms but we should also use it, particularly this year, to reflect on where we’ve been and where we’re going, what our Country has been, and what we want it to be.

Bob Hess, WO4L, is operating special event station W1G through 10 July 2018 in remembrance of the Battle of Gettysburg. The Battle of Gettysburg took place from 1 July 1863 to 3 July 1863 around the town of Gettysburg, PA and was not only the largest battle of the Civil War but the largest battle to have occurred in North America. On the first day of the battle, Union cavalry under General John Buford and infantry under General John Reynolds held the line against Confederate forces under General A.P. Hill, allowing Union forces to hold advantageous positions over the Confederates. Day two of the battle was long and bloody; throughout the day more units of the Union Army of the Potomac and the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia arrived on the field and were fed into the battle. On Day 3, the Confederates suffered from General Robert E. Lee’s overconfidence and aggressiveness. Over half of the troops he sent against strong Union lines on Cemetery Ridge didn’t return; it was a waste of perfectly good infantry. Both sides took heavy casualties, over 23,000 for the Union and over 28,000 for the Confederates; but the Confederates lost more percentage wise and most importantly lost too many experienced leaders. Along with the surrender of Vicksburg on 4 July 1863, Gettysburg proved to be a turning point in the Civil War. W1G will be active on or around 18.158, 14.288, 7.227, and 3.830. QSL via Robert J Hess, WO4L, 74 Curtis Dr, East Berlin, PA 17316.

From 3 July to 15 July 2018, Washington Amateur Communications in Washington, PA will be operating special event station W3R commemorating the Whiskey Rebellion. The Whiskey Rebellion lasted from 1791 to 1794 in response to a tax on whiskey instituted by the US Government. Suggested by Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, President George Washington was assured by local officials in Pennsylvania and Virginia that the tax wouldn’t meet much opposition so Washington, in turn, assured Congress that it wouldn’t be a problem. Unfortunately, it seems that those local officials didn’t know or weren’t concerned with the feelings of the western population of their states, because when the tax went into effect it was heavily opposed in the west. Tax officials were met with harassment, resistance, and violence. Hamilton called for troops to be sent in to enforce the tax, but Washington decided to try peace envoys first. The peace initiative failed, so Washington sent in troops under his leadership. As he led 13,000 militia into western Pennsylvania to put down the rebellion, the rebels melted away and only around twenty arrests were made. Most of those arrested were acquitted and those found guilty were pardoned by Washington. Although the Whiskey Tax eventually proved impossible to enforce and was repealed by Congress in 1802, the response to the Whiskey Rebellion was a critical test to the new United States Government. Washinton’s handling of the rebellion proved that the Federal Government could and would put down violent resistance to federal laws. One wonders if the government’s overlooking of the feelings and views of the western citizens before the Whiskey Rebellion was repeated in the overlooking in recent years of the working class that helped bring about the election of President Trump? W3R will be operating on or around 50.300, 18.160, 14.270, and 7.275. QSL for a certificate via William Steffey, Radio Hill, Bells Lake Rd, Prosperity, PA 15329.

On 7 July 2018, the Expatriate Marylanders Radio Club will be operating special event station N3APS to commemorate the Maryland Slave Rebellion of 7-8 July 1845. On 7 July 1845, a group of slaves from Charles County Maryland began moving by road in an attempt to reach freedom in Pennsylvania, approximately 110 miles away. As other slaves along the way joined in, the group became impossible not to notice and were eventually intercepted by a group known as the Montgomery Volunteers. The leaders of the slave group, armed only with a pistol, swords, clubs, and farm implements, decided to give battle. Outgunned, it wasn’t much of a battle, with most of the slaves being captured, some killed, and a few escaping. The Slave Rebellion struck fear into the citizens of the surrounding area, resulting in further restrictions on slaves, “Committees of Vigilance,” and more volunteers for organizations like the Montgomery Volunteers. N3APS will be operating on or near 50.150, 28.325, 14.325, and 7.290. QSL via Expatriate Marylanders Radio Club, P.O. Box 617, Orinda, CA 94563.

 

Warner Robins and Macon Road Trip Scanning Report; 11/12 June 2018

Since my nephew is thinking about joining the military after he graduates from high school, I took him on a trip to the Museum of Aviation at Robins AFB, the National Infantry Museum at Fort Benning, and the Andersonville National Historic Site/Cemetery on Monday and Tuesday. We went to the Museum of Aviation with a side trip to the big Bass Pro Shops in Macon on Monday, stayed overnight in Warner Robins and then went to the National Infantry Museum and Andersonville on Tuesday, driving back home to Savannah on Tuesday evening. Since I wasn’t traveling alone, I didn’t have as much radio time as usual, but I did let the Home Patrol 2 and TRX-2 in the mobile station and the BCD436HP and TRX-1 portables scan and log during the trip.

Of particular interest on the first day of the trip, was Robins AFB. I always enjoy listening to military aviation activity at Robins and on Monday I was able to hear the usual E-8 JSTARS and Air Logistics Center activity, but some P-8s from NAS Jacksonville doing pattern work as well. The USAF TRS site at Robins AFB is something I usually listen to as well.  During this trip, I was able to ascertain that the USAF TRS encrypted talkgroup that is listed as “Doghouse” on RadioReference seems to be associated with the 116th/461st ACW and that the encrypted talkgroup 56166 seems to be the 116th/461st ACW MOC net.

Robins AFB
133.225 – Tower
257.975 – Tower
121.850 – Ground
275.800 – Ground
134.100 – Base Ops
225.925 – Robins ALC Ops
293.525 – 116th/461st ACW “PEACHTREE Ops”
119.600 – Atlanta TRACON
124.200 – Atlanta TRACON
279.600 – Atlanta TRACON
134.500 – ZTL South Departure Low
360.750 – ZTL South Departure Low

USAF TRS
TG 56046 – unknown
TG 56070 – ALC MOC
TG 56082 – ALC
TG 56121 – Robins AFB Base Ops
TG 56122 – Robins AFB Tower
TG 56123 – Robins AFD FD Dispatch
TG 56141 – Doghouse (enc); related to 116th/46st ACW)
TG 56166 – 116th/461st ACW (enc) (suspect this is MOC net)
TG 56192 – unknown
TG 56193 – unknown
TG 56257 – unknown

Monday evening and night’s weather around Warner Robins wasn’t very good. so it delayed several E-8 JSTARS flights at Robins AFB and generated a good bit of traffic on MOC nets at the base. TIGER 04 (P-8A, 169007, VP-8) and TIGER 88 (P-8A, 168760, VP-8) got in some pattern work at Robins before the storms came and DRACO 06 (E-8C, 00-2000, 116th/461st ACW) and PEACH 99 (E-8C, 94-0284, 116th/461st ACW) finally took off late in the evening after having to delay takeoff for lightning in the area.

TIGER 88 TIGER 4 3
ADS-B plot of TIGER 04 (P-8A, 169007, VP-8) and TIGER 88 (P-8A, 168760, VP-8) in the pattern at Robins AFB on 11 June 2018
IMG_20180611_213050_resize
The laptop running with a RadarBox Micro ADS-B/Mode-S receiver, TRX-1 andBCD436HP scanners connected to the laptop, and a BC125AT at the motel room in Warner Robins

At the Museum of Aviation, a number of aircraft are under restoration, including their B-17G, HU-16, and VP-26B. All three are in the Scott Exhibit Hangar behind the Eagle Building (main building). Unfortunately, the EC-135 that used to be the CENTCOM command post aircraft is still out back behind the museum with parts of the aircraft removed. I hope they get some funding at some point to restore it. The last time I visited the museum, someone asked if John Travolta’s Gulfstream was still there; on this visit, I looked behind the hangars and it is still there.

 

 

After spending the night in Warner Robins, we left for Fort Benning and Andersonville on Tuesday morning. The morning was foggy and there were rain showers and thunderstorms throughout the day, so I didn’t hear all that much activity around Fort Benning. The radios did log some aviation activity from Lawson AAF and some land mobile traffic from the Fort Benning TRS, but nothing new was turned up since my last visit there in 2017.

Fort Benning
119.050 – Lawson AAF Tower
269.525 – Lawson AAF Tower
125.500 – Atlanta Approach/Departure
126.550 – Atlanta Approach/Departure
323.100 – Atlanta Approach/Departure
134.100 – Lawson AAF Base Ops
245.700 – Lawson AAF Base Ops
121.050 – Lawson AAF GCA
132.400 – Lawson AAF GCA
307.325 – Lawson AAF GCA

Fort Benning TRS
TG 3041 – unknown
TG 3255 – Bayonet Battalion
TG 3274 – unknown
TG 3389 – unknown
TG 3453 – Lawson AAF
TG 3517 – Transportation
TG 3636 – Ammunition
TG 3537 – unknown
TG 3567 – Range Control?
TG 3701 – E911
TG 3703 – Range Control

While my nephew, who is really interested in the Rangers, enjoyed seeing the Ranger related exhibits at the National Infantry Museum, I took particular interest in some of their World War I exhibits. I never get tired of seeing the Renault FT tanks there and the M1916 Armored Car. On this visit, they had the Global War on Terror memorial completed across from the Vietnam War memorial. Just as the Vietnam War memorial has all the names of those killed in action during the Vietnam War, the Global War on Terror memorial has all of the names of those killed in action during that conflict.

 

 

After we visited the National Infantry Museum, since it wasn’t very far away, I thought it was important that my nephew see the site of the Civil War prison camp, the Prisoner of War Museum, and the cemetery at the Andersonville National Historic Site. I felt that if he was going to see all of the “cool” stuff about military history at the National Infantry Museum, he should see the other side of military history at Andersonville. I wanted him to impress upon him that the military wasn’t always glamorous and that there was a downside to military history that we need to remember. Luckily we got there just as the afternoon guided tour was about to begin. Park Service intern Jessica gave the tour and did a magnificent job of it. She just didn’t point out was there and what happened there, but also encouraged us to think and contemplate upon what happened at Andersonville. It was something I’m glad my nephew was able to experience.

 

In the bottom left photo above, of the graves of Union prisoners of war who died at Andersonville, I’ll call your attention to the six gravestones that sit off to the right on their own. These are the graves of the Raiders, a group of POWs who robbed from and killed their fellow POWs. They were tried by a jury of the peers and hanged by their peers by permission of the Confederate camp commander. They are considered dishonorably discharged and aren’t honored on holidays as are the rest of the POWs buried at Andersonville.

On both Monday and Tuesday, we were within listening range of the Bulldog MOA in east/central Georgia and could hear F-16s from Shaw AFB and McEntire JNGB as well as F-35Bs from MCAS Beaufort operating in the MOA on 343.750. We could also hear them entering and exiting the MOA on 322.325 with Atlanta Center.

There was a lot of public safety radio traffic to hear during the trip. In addition to local agencies in Georgia, we could hear local public safety agencies in Alabama while around Fort Benning and Columbus. Given the mix of urban and rural areas we went through, there was a mix of conventional and trunked systems as well as a mix of analog and digital traffic.

Georgia Conventional Public Safety
154.3550 (PL 141.3) – Butts Co FD Dispatch
154.1750 (PL 88.5) – Crawford Co FD Dispatch
154.0700 (PL 186.2) – Laurens Co FD Dispatch (Analog)
155.4000 (PL 85.4) – Macon Co FD/EMS Dispatch
155.6475 (PL 110.9) – Schley FD Dispatch
155.5500 (PL 225.7) – Talbot Co VFD
154.2650 (PL 156.7) – Taylor Co FD Dispatch
160.6650 (PL 118.8) – Upson Co FD Dispatch
159.1950 (PL 100.0) – Upson Co EMS Dispatch

Georgia State Public Safety
159.2250 (PL 179.9) – GFC D2 Repeater
159.2250 (PL 123.0) – GFC D3 Macon Repeater
159.1200 (DCS 047) – GFC D4 Covington Repeater
159.2400 (PL 167.9) – GFC D6 Bleckley Repeater

Alabama Conventional Public Safety
159.4350 (PL 107.2) – Barbour Co, AL Fire 1
151.1150 (PL 167.9) – Lee Co, AL Common
155.1450 (PL 123.0) – Lee Co, AL FD East Dispatch
154.0250 (PL 167.9) – Lee Co, AL EMS 1
155.8950 (PL 107.2) – Lee Co, AL EMS 2
154.4000 (DCS 134) – Auburn FD (Lee Co, AL)
154.1900 (PL 123.0) – Russell Co, AL Fire North Dispatch
154.3250 (PL 123.0) – Russell Co, AL Fire West Dispatch
453.0750 (PL 151.4) – Phenix City FD 1 (Russell Co, AL)

Central Georgia Interoperable Regional Radio System (P25)
TG 132 – Macon-Bibb Co FD Dispatch 1
TG 134 – Macon-Bibb Co FD Scene 2
TG 135 – Macon-Bibb Co FD Scene 3
TG 136 – Macon-Bibb Co FD Scene 4
TG 151 – Macon-Bibb Co FD Event 1
TG 152 – Macon-Bibb Co FD Event 2

Houston/Peach TRS (P25)
TG 16 – Houston Co FD Dispatch
TG 17 – Houston Co FD FG 1
TG 61 – Warner Robins FD Dispatch
TG 64 – Warner Robins FD Training
TG 65 – Warner Robins FD Talk
TG 91 – Centerville FD Dispatch
TG 121 – Perry FD Dispatch

Muscogee County TRS (P25)
TG 71 – Columbus FD Dispatch

 

The President’s View on our History and Apologies

Last week, President Trump addressed Naval Academy graduates and made a statement about our History and apologizing for America.  About our History, he said: “They’ve forgotten that our ancestors trounced an empire, tamed a continent, and triumphed over the worst evils in history.”

“Our ancestors trounced an empire…” We didn’t gain our independence from the British Empire alone, nor did we do it in a vacuum. We did it with considerable assistance from other world powers, notably France and Spain. Furthermore, we did it within the context of a struggle between empires; Britain on one side and the Spanish and French on the other. In addition to fighting in the American Colonies, there was fighting in South America and Europe. If the British didn’t have to worry about the Spanish and French, and losing Gibraltar in particular, the American Revolution may not have been successful.

“…tamed a continent…” We didn’t so much as tame a continent as forcefully settle it and in some cases steal it. When the French, British, and Spanish began to colonize this continent, it wasn’t devoid of people; it was populated by Native Americans. Over the course of our Nation’s History, we treated Native Americans poorly and at time inhumanely. We forced them farther and farther west through the use of physical force and treaties, some of which were dishonest. The colonization of the east coast, the settling of the west, and Manifest Destiny weren’t always high points in our History.

“…triumphed over the worst evils in history.” Yes, we triumphed over evil, but we didn’t do that on our own and we also aligned ourselves with evil at times. World War II is an example. There is no doubt that Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in World War II were evil, but we did not and could not have defeated them alone. We were latecomers to the war, with the British and Russians standing against Germany after the fall of France. In our History, the war for Western Europe dominates the story, but it was the Russians who bled Germany white on the Eastern Front. It’s also worth mentioning here that Stalin was just as evil as Hitler; both were responsible for the death of millions.

This is not to take away from our accomplishments or to say that our History is all negative. It’s not! We’ve done great things and hopefully we’ll continue to do great things. We just need to have a more realistic and pragmatic view of what we’ve done. We need to take a balanced look at our History, recognize what we did right, acknowledge our mistakes and wrongdoings, and let those lessons learned influence how we move forward.

He later stated “We are not going to apologize for America. We are going to stand up for America.” It’s important to recognize that America has done wrong and made mistakes. Just a few examples are our treatment of Native Americans, Slavery, the Internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, and the dictators/strongmen we chose to back during the Cold War. We should not only acknowledge when we’ve done wrong, we should own up to it and learn from it. The honorable thing to do is to apologize when we’ve done the wrong thing or made the wrong decision. We can’t expect others to do the same to us when we’re not willing to make amends. We must also accept that we’ve done wrong, take it to heart, and learn from it so that we don’t make the same mistake in the future. Apologizing for our wrongs and standing up for our country are not mutually exclusive.

Those statements summarize how President Trump and his supporters view our History and how they believe we should conduct ourselves in the world. Those are simplistic views which negatively impact our decision making as a country. We need to realize we needed help from others and recognize we will continue to need it in the future. We must realize that just as we have done great things, we have also done wrong. We must keep a balanced view of our History, maintaining pride in our accomplishments while acknowledging and learning from our wrongs and our mistakes. The Cambridge English Dictionary defines hubris as “an extreme and unreasonable feeling of pride and confidence in yourself.” That is exactly what President Trump’s view of our History is. Hubris is not a strength, it is a weakness. The hubris of Trump’s America could very well harmful to our future.

Book Review: Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway: The Japanese Story of the Battle of Midway by Jonathan Parshall and Anthony Tully

18663139A few years ago, I read Craig L. Symond’s The Battle of Midway (Pivotal Moments in American History) and saw Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway: The Japanese Story of the Battle of Midway by Jonathan Parshall and Anthony Tully referenced in it. I took a look at the book on Amazon and it had a plain simple cover, giving it the feeling of an academic work, so I added it to my reading list but didn’t put it very high on the list. Recently, I finally got around to reading it.

Shattered Sword presents a new way of looking at the Battle of Midway. It is well researched and well documented with extensive endnotes and a lengthy bibliography. It is detailed yet captivating. Most of all, it presents strong arguments, backs up those arguments with documented sources, and effectively turns the traditional narrative of the Battle of Midway on its ear. The authors explore doctrine, strategy, planning, and tactics from the Japanese perspective; in doing so, they don’t just challenge the conventional wisdom about the battle and its after effects; to borrow from the title, it shatters them.

To put it mildly, this book is not what I thought it was. It is not a dry academic work, it is well written in a witty, conversational style. You’re not only getting a completely new understanding of the battle, you’re being entertained. It truly is hard to put this book down. Very seldom do you come across a book that presents an all-new way of looking at a historical event, but this book fits that bill. I’ve purposely not included any of Shattered Swords’ conclusions in order not to spoil the book. Buy it read it, you won’t be disappointed and you’ll come away with a whole new understanding of one of World War II’s important battles. I also think that those interested in military history can come away with important lessons, one of them being not to apply one side’s doctrine and operational practices to its opponent, analyze both sides’ actions in the light of their respective doctrines. It’s helpful to have about the Battle of Midway previously and have an understanding of how the US Navy fought the battle, but this truly is a five-star book and one that anyone interested in the Pacific Theater of World War II must read.

Book Review: The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763-1789 by Robert Middlekauff

51K0UIFOzgL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763-1789 by Robert Middlekauff is a long book, but well worth reading. It’s comprehensive and detailed. It is well documented with footnotes. It also has excellent bibliography section with information for further reading. It’s not a political history or a military history of the war, it incorporates both. It doesn’t just tell you what happened during the American Revolution, it tells you why it happened. A considerable portion of the book, almost 1/3 of it, covers the years preceding the Revolution and explains not only what brought British Colonists to come to the decision to break away from the British Empire, but what caused the British Government to make the decisions that pushed the colonists to the breaking point. Additionally, Middlekauff covers the years immediately after the Revolution, explaining the Constitutional Convention, the deliberations and negotiations within it, and the subsequent ratification process.

This is the best overview of the American Revolution that I’ve read. I don’t see how you could possibly get any more detailed without turning it into a multi-volume work (it’s already part of a multi-volume set – the Oxford History of the United States). The only thing I would have liked to have seen was bit more inclusion of the Spanish involvement in the American Revolution, but other than that it’s hard to find anything negative about this book. For anyone wanting an in-depth look at the why, what, and how of the American Revolution, this is the book. Anyone with an interest in US History should add it to their reading list.