48th Annual Blue and Gray Military Vehicle Show in Hagerstown Maryland

May 13 and 14th, 2022

Pictures from the show at the Hagerstown Aviation Museum

M151A1 Mutt

 

What was supposed to be achieved by this project?

The 48th Annual Blue and Gray Military Vehicle Show, at one time known as Aberdeen was this last weekend. Starting on Thursday and ending Saturday.

I have attended this show for around twenty years now. This year the show was hosted by the museum located at the old Fairchild/Republic plant at the Hagerstown airport.

What was actually achieved?

The plan for Saturday was to operate RTTY on 7.087 at 0900, MMRCG Net on 7.296 USB 1000 and MRCA M&S Net at 1200 local. And also knew that the annual Armed Forces Day (AFD) Cross-Band Test.

I arrived Friday and unloaded the mutt. With a laptop running MITTY software and the GRC-106 I set up a test beforehand Nick K4NYW and that all worked well. Did do a couple calls on 7.296 but no joy there.

All day Friday was misty and rain and a lot of the vendors decided to pack up and go home. Because of this I was able to relocate closer to the center of the event and packed up the mutt and relocated there.

 Saturday morning arrived on site at 0800 and started getting everything ready.

Checked into 7.087 RTTY Net just before 0900 with solid copy of K4NYW and some of the others but did not have good copy on Ron K3TZJ or Ken KD2GFM, the net went on for at least a half hour and by that time the battery for the laptop was just about flat.

The 7.296 MMRCG Net was a challenge with NCS being out in Colorado and I had week copy on him, but I did check in and was able to interact with just about everyone.

 After the MMRCG Net dropped the 40-meter inverted V and ran up the 60-meter V. Was monitoring 5.357 knowing that WAR at the pentagon would be operating and it was one of the handful of simplex channels they would be using. Worked three different operators at WAR and also had several Hams that were at the show operate the 106 so they were able to take part with the exchange along with working as control operator for a couple veterans who worked with radio in active duty and enjoyed the opportunity to work WAR. The operators at WAR were also happy to have contact with the MVPA Show and the veteran operators.

The 1200 5.357 M&S Net ran without issue having good contact with almost all stations and just about everyone hearing me.

 Had the URC-110 set up to monitor the Hagerstown tower on 122.30 and that was popular with people at the event.

 What aspects of the project work?

 All the radios worked. The GRC-106 with inverted V antennas for forty and sixty, the URC-110 for VHF/UHF, the big RT-524 along with the PRC-77 for 51.0 although did not hear anyone on that band. Think Tom was there and attempted to call me on 51.0 but had the generator and the 106 running and with all the noise did not hear the big VRC set.

The GRC-106 has no issue running extended duty cycle for RTTY and the only limiting factors were the internal battery on the laptop and the noise from the MEP-035 generator.

What didn't work and why?

 If you have never used a MEP-025 or 035 generator its hard to understand how loud they are. They start, run and make electricity just fine but they are perhaps the loudest generator ever built, not just exhaust noise but the 3600 RPM engine screams while it running. I always try to keep it fifty foot away from where I am but still itís an issue. Because of the noise I was told that I was not allowed to use it and if I ran it again would be told to never come back to this event!

The MEP-035 is a period correct generator to go along with the M151A1 MUTT so that why I have been using it but looks like it will not ever be at that show again.

Ended up having to run the engine in the MUTT to keep the batteries up for running all the radios.

The laptop that I used for RTTY was an old Dell that I had and after wiping decided to wipe all the programing on it and do a fresh install of XP, all the sound and video drivers and MITTY only. Its maybe ten years or twelve years old. The battery sucks due to its age but had a AC adapter and just came across a 24 to 120 volt inverter so assumed I was going to be able to use that. The two things that I did not count on were the wall wart for the laptop or the inverter generating huge amounts of radio noise and never expected the inverter to go crazy every time I transmitted so I was limited to what time I was able to get using a very old laptop battery.

What would you change if given a second chance?

 Not take the MEP-035. Test the RTTY set up before hand and work out system for powering the laptop or maybe best to think of how or what to use for field operated RTTY. Think a UGC-74 is just way to heavy to deal with. Do have enough parts to maybe throw together another UGC-129 and thatís half the weight and uses standard typewriter ribbons.

 

  

 

 

 

 

Delaware Goes to War, Cape Henlopen State Park

 April 22nd and 23rd, 2022

What was supposed to be achieved by this project?

 The Annual Delaware Goes to War event was last Saturday at Fort Miles, Cape Henlopen State Park Delaware.

The last two years it was canceled due to Covid, but they did have the event this year featuring a large group of WW2 reenactors that occupy the center of the complex along with a number of period correct vehicles and equipment. Outside of their perimeter we have a Military Vehicle show of M-38, M-151vehicles and other post war vehicles.

I always try to take every opportunity to drag out the mutt and operate from the field and the Fort Miles site is a favorite because its only a hour from home and also the site of the annual AA83 event in November.

 What was actually achieved?

 I arrived Friday and unloaded the mutt. Did not have anything scheduled for Friday but did set everything up and had a opportunity to test all the gear. Set up across the parking lot from normal location to try something different this year being the old location is right next to the 3-inch guns, they do a couple blank shots on Saturday and that requires having to leave the vehicle because of the proximity, also very loud!

The new location was not bad, was able to get local power from the bathroom building about sixty feet away but the new location did result in having all antennas in the trees.

Did try a couple CQ calls on forty and sixty meters but no success. Also monitored six and two meters while on site but no activity there.

On Saturday I did check into the MMRCG Net on 7.296 and talked with a couple stations before the Net, good copy on all stations on that net and looks like no one had any issues copying me.

After the Net was asked to move over to the old location with the rest of the post war vehicles, we only had four or so vehicles show up and think they wanted us to look like a larger group so they gave me a space right up next to the gate and I moved over to the other side of the parking lot. No big deal being I had to drop the inverted V that I use of forty and swap it out with a V cup for sixty anyway.

Worked the Moose & Squirrel Net on 5.357 without much issue although copy not as good as the early net on forty. After the net spent most time up on seventeen meters working Ham stations using the vertical on the mutt.

The event ended at four that afternoon and donít know why because Friday was warm to hot with lows in the seventies with Saturday being cooler and got cold later in the afternoon so that was a incentive to pack up and get out as soon as the event ended.

Packed up and was clear of the site by five thirty.

 What aspects of the project work?

 For once every radio worked. The GRC-106 with external inverted V antennas for forty and sixty and the onboard whip for seventeen. The big RT-524 along with the PRC-77 and the URC-110 for VHF/UHF all the power distribution and all that stuff along with the mutt running well. Did have to change the water pump over the winter and also installed a new rocker arm cover and think I have finally fixed the oil leak over the top of the engine.

Antenna mast, set up and tear down have gotten to be almost second nature and relocating from one location was both quick and easy.

 What didn't work and why?

 Think the biggest failure was not getting any contacts on Friday. Maybe if I played around with seventeen or twenty meters could have done some regular Ham QSO but would have been good to have some mill radio people active.

  What would you change if given a second chance?

 Work harder on getting others active. Try to develop a Coastal Fort, or Field Operation Net that operates when these events take place. Always a good turn out for the regular scheduled nets on sixty and forty but not much interest beyond that.

Also, I now know that need to set time and frequencies, have been told several times on Friday people were looking to work me but without setting a schedule in advance and just relaying on maybe nothing happens. So, for Hagerstown next month will try to do better.

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return to Home Page

May 22