47th Annual Blue and Gray Military Vehicle Show in Hagerstown Maryland

October 8,9 and 10th, 2021

Pictures from the show including some from the Aviation Museum

C-119 Flying Boxcar

Some of the show vehicles.

And the Vendor Spaces


The M151A1 MUTT operating position by the back fence.

The Radio equipment

Hagerstown AAR:

Blue and Gray MVPA Show (Hagerstown) AAR October8/9 2021

What was supposed to be achieved by this project?

Set up and Show M151 and other assorted Military Radio equipment along with operating both MMRCG and M&S Nets at the annual (47th) Blue and Gray Military Vehicle Association Military Vehicle Show now located in Hagerstown Maryland.

Available resources included my M151A1 mutt with AN/GRC-106A, VRC-524 and URC-110, along with PRC-77, PRC-108 and Russian R-107

 What was actually achieved?

Arrived around nine Friday morning. After some issues with locating an operating location set up next to the operations tent but between the noise from the MEP-025 and the lack of space for doing a large antenna set up relocated to the back row of the event next to the fence line.

In that location was able to set up inverted V antenna for forty and sixty meters and operate the MEP-025 without issue.

Had table with camo tabletop and PRC-77 and Russian R-107 set up for display. Used the 524 for local coordination on 51.0 with people who showed up and wanted to find my location and used the URC-110 for monitoring the tower on 120.80 so people were able to hear the air opps in the background. We had some Blackhawks show up on Friday and a number of historic aircraft on Saturday.

The 106 preformed without issue except for the time when I missed my turn on the net due to talking with people around the mutt.

What aspects of the project work?

The Washington Blue and Gray group were great, they were very supportive and great host allowing me to relocate and set up along the fence line where setting up antennas and the generator noise was not an issue. Saturdays nets were all successful being heard by everyone and hearing almost everyone.  The first net was the 7.296 MMRCG Net hosted by W6MP at 10:00 local and then at noon the 5.357 M&S Net run by KK1K

I did long transmission describing the location at the Hagerstown Aviation Museum and the event itself and along with Walt (KB3SBC) promoted the upcoming Able Archer 83 event next month. Was called by W1NZR but unfortunately had struck the inverted V and moved over to the whip antenna on the mutt and was not able to answer him after the net. Did QSY to 18.150 using the whip antenna to try to work Walt directly for the PA QSO Party but did not hear him. Did work W6MVT on 18.152 and his “Parks on the Air” event in California, usually Walt uses the 106 in the mutt on twenty to operate Beltsville Park as a Parks on the Air station but this time I was on the other end of one of those operations.

Had a table set up next to the mutt with a PRC-77 and a Russian R-107 and was surprised how many people wanted to come up and see the 77 and recalled all the stories on how they use to carry one or how that radio saved their life and the like. Also had a number of people who had similar stories and feeling about the mutt and its radios but the PRC-77 and its similarity to the 25 was a huge hit.

Most people in the military vehicle collector community who served were in during the sixties and beyond and have a direct connection to the radios from that era. Although many have WW2 GPW and other vehicles the equipment of the sixties, seventies and eighties are big items at these shows so you don’t get trapped into the weird cult of the WW2 re-enactors where it has to be WW2 only or they don’t want it around.

With all the vendors saw tons of accessories like antennas, intercom systems a couple 524 sets along with tons of mounts, speakers and microphones couple people selling RT-68, RT-70 stuff along with power supplies and lots of telephone equipment including lots of field wire.

Did buy a TA-838 analog telephone for $15 and a AT-803 beer can antenna for $40 that I will need to figure out how to mount it on the mutt for the 220 to 400 MHz monitoring.

 What didn't work and why?

The MEP-025 is loud. Worked without issue this time but was a real problem in first location in annoying the neighbors. Maybe a muffler can be added but have been told the noise is a result of the engine itself and not the exhaust. Bernie tells me he was able to clearly hear the generator running three rows over and a dozen spaces down from my location!  Discovered that the water pump on the mutt is beginning to fail so did not want to run that for the entire time while operating and running the external generator fifty feet from the mutt is way better then running the motor in the mutt but just need to resolve the noise issue.

Yes, I know that a modern generator would be less noise but the problem is that everything on the mutt is period correct but if I start using some Harbor Freight generator then why not just go ahead and use a modern radio and at what point why bother to do anything at all.

The generator was left on the car trailer that I use to carry the mutt and connected to the slave connector on the mutt by a fifty foot power cable with the mutt being maybe thirty feet from the trailer and generator and I parked my truck between the trailer and the mutt and that did a lot to cut down the noise in the mutt but do need to think up some form of period correct noise suppression for that unit.




MRCA Gilbert Red Ball Show


M151 at Beltsville State Park

Walt, KB3SBC at the controls


What was supposed to be achieved by this project?

 The annual MRCA Gilbert event in cooperation with Red Ball Military Vehicle Collectors event was this past weekend. Friday September 24th and Saturday the 25th. 

 This event includes both field exercises and setting up exhibits of military radio equipment in the Howell building.

 Friday’s exercise centers on field radios, Man pack portables and systems as large as my M151/GRC-106 operating around the Beltsville Lake State park and for a first time this year a night operation at the Gilbert Fairgrounds. 

 Several of us also wanted to take part in the MMRCG Net on 7.296 USB at the Fair Grounds on Saturday. 

Frequencies would include 3.57 MHz CW, 3.885MHz AM, 3.875 USB, 5.357MHz USB, 51.0MHz FM and 144.25MHz AM.

 What was actually achieved?

 I arrived Thursday afternoon. Set up the crew tent that I would be staying in while at the event. Many MRCA members arrive on Thursday and set up, the vendors are for the most part all set up on Thursday despite the rain earlier that day. 

On Friday morning I checked out the vendor’s stuff that was for sale at the event. Red Ball is not only a military vehicle show but also a military equipment sale and swap fest. A number of military radios were for sale that included VRC-12 family of radios, tons of accessories and things like intercom and field telephone equipment. Saw lots of field wire this year including a five thousand foot reel of two pair wire. Did see a WS-52 receiver that I would like to have had but it was a bit too much for my budget. Also saw couple PRC-1319 radios in unknown condition for $300 to 400 each along with someone else selling a known good one for $1,400

Did manage to give away the ARC-5 sets I bought and sold one of the two radios I had up for sale.

 Around eleven Walt (KB3SBC) and I transported the mutt from Gilbert to Beltsville and set up in advance of the day’s nets.  

Walt operated the GRC-106 on the mutt on 14.335 and activated Beltsville State Park as a “Parks on the Air” station from noon to around one local and did around thirty contacts including two European stations for another successful NOPA session.  

1400 to 1500 operated the 60 meter (5.357 USB) with at least a dozen or so stations around Beltsville Park.  Walt operated the mutt on the GRC-106 while I took the AN/PRC-108 and headed out for a remote location for pedestrian mobile.   

1500 to 1530 operated on the 3.885 AM Net, Walt ran the 106 with the vertical antenna on the mutt and I had the PRC-108 on my back with the whip antenna and a drag behind counterpoise and was able to work multiple stations on 60 and 80 meters without issue.

1530 to 1600 operated on the 3.875 USB Net, think we all QSY up to 3.885 being some of the stations were rock bound.

1600 to 1630 CW Net, did not take part being I have no CW skills and we did not have a Key onboard the mutt.

1630 to 1700 operated on 51.0 FM using the RT-524 on the mutt or the PRC-68 out of the mutt. Only about six people participated on this net.

Perhaps one of the greatest advantages of this exercise is that we have time to experiment with different antennas and antenna configurations while operating within a group. It’s amazing the things you discover doing this. It's also great to be able to net with other military field radios and see them working in their natural environment.

Upon return to the Howell building discovered that I had lost part of the FM antenna on the road.

Walt KB3SBC was appointed head cook for the group and proceeded to make us all Hamburgers, Cheeseburgers and Hot Dogs and proved he is not just a capable radio operator but also a good short order cook.

That night around nineteen hundred hours we had the first Night Net operation at the event. A number of stations dispersed around the Fair Grounds and the local community, and we all operated on first sixty meters using 5.371.5 (channel 4) with around six or seven stations, then 3.885 AM and finally some close in local operations on 144.250 AM with the URC-4 crowd.

We did have one BC-611 but it failed to transmit.

Saturday morning Walt produced quantities of sausage and egg biscuits for the group. He had a huge outdoor grill or cook top that was the source of all this stuff. We also had the usual donuts and coffee.

Using the GRC-106 and inverted V antenna set up about five hundred feet from the Howell building worked the MMRCG Net on 7.296 with solid copy of all stations.

K9WT as usual was booming in at forty over, Joe W4VAG checked into the net using his new “Mini Radio” that’s smaller than the battery packs for most small radios.

Did not see the Show and Tell operation this year but we did not have many showing stuff, almost all activity was in operating radios and not looking at them.   

What aspects of the project work?

The M151/GRC-106 set up worked great. Accomplished Parks on the Air activation worked all HF Nets without issue including Friday Night and Saturdays MMRCG Net using the inverted V antenna.

Used URC-110 for VHF AM and the RT-524 for FM communications from the mutt and the PRC-108 for backpack operation. 

What didn't work and why?

 My MEP-035 28 volt DC generator failed, the gasket on the glass fuel bowel dry rotted and leaked bad so did not try to get it running for fear of a fire.  Ended up running the engine in the mutt every now and then but discovered that the batteries on the mutt last about a net and a half before you end up having to push start the mutt to get the engine going again and charge the onboard batteries.

I also discovered that if you are not careful that things fall off during transit. And last but not least learned that the PRC-68 is piss week and useless for anything beyond line of sight. The huge Heavy PRC-108 worked good for HF but the PRC-68 was useless for anything beyond talking to someone who you can see.  

What would you change if given a second chance?

Tests run everything. Did run all the equipment on the mutt a couple weeks before the event but not the generator so ended up loading and unloading that for nothing being it was non operative.

Bring a better VHF/FM radio with a real antenna, not the duck. Did not imagine just how poorly the PRC with its duck antenna preformed.

Still need assistance from a good CW operator. Walt is great for doing the voice operations but would like to be able to support CW operations from Beltsville Lake.




The PRC-108 that I used as pedestrian Mobile.


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Oct 21