MRCA\ Gilbert Red Ball 2018 Pictures
The sales grounds.
Equipment and set up at Beltsville Lake field operation, I ran portable while Walt operated the MUTT
After Action Report of the event:
What was supposed to be achieved by this project?
The MRCA annual Gilbert event in cooperation with Red Ball Military Vehicle Collectors event was this past weekend. The event was scheduled for Friday the 21st and Saturday the 22nd.
This event included setting up several exhibits of military radio equipment in the Howell building, a frequency measurement contest and several field exercises.
Friday’s field exercise was planned for field and Man pack portables in and around the Beltsville Lake State park, Saturdays was more an informal event to take place at the Gilbert Fair grounds.
What was actually achieved?
As the day went on more of the MRCA members trickled into the site and started setting up the base stations for 51.0 and the HF base.
On Friday morning I spent much time looking at the vendors
and all the stuff that was for sale at the event. The Red Ball event itself is
not only a military vehicle show but also a equal size if not larger military
equipment sale and swap fest. A number of military radios were for sale that
included VRC-12 family of radios in the $200 to $400 range, tons of accessories
and things like intercom and field telephone equipment and several items like
GRR-5 receivers along with aircraft equipment like BC-348 receivers between $100
to complete with rack and dynamotor unmodified for $350
Around noon Walt (KB3SBC) and I loaded up the mutt and did the fifteen mile trip between Gilbert to Beltsville and set up the mutt in advance of the days nets. The goal as recommended by Mr. Starks (KB0SFP) was to operate using only the vertical antennas on the mutt. We did as his recommendation add an additional MS-118 to extend the vertical to 21ft as opposed to its original 17ft and we also put up the AS-2851Log Periodic for 51.0 back to the MRCA Base at Gilbert.
After unloading the mutt, setting up the antennas, ground
rod and connecting the MEP-025 generator to the mutt via the slave connector we
were ready for the day’s operations.
We used 51.0 FM to coordinate most of the stations located
on or around Beltsville Lake and in addition also had a 144.225 link directly
across the lake to the boat launch on that side.
Around 1530 the 3.875 AM net was established, 3.885 had
traffic so it was decided to migrate to 3.875. Once again Walt (KB3SBC) on the
GRC-106 was net control and the list of stations will be attached. Being my
PRC-108 is rock bound and only had 3.885 I was unable to participate but once
again from the stations active it appeared that everyone was able to work
without issues, although we did have a GRC-9 that never got up on the air in
time. There was also a CW net at 1600 hours at 3.570 but being my CW skills are
sadly lacking and I did not bring a CW key for use in the mutt we did not
After the day’s events a bunch of us gathered at the Boat ramp lot to help pack up the mutt and also some mutt driving around the parking lot, boat ramps and access road occurred.
On Saturday back at Gilbert drove the mutt to the far end
of the vendor sale section. All the sale spaces were not occupied so plenty of
space was available at the far end of the fairgrounds to park the mutt and drive
in a ground rod. Just using the twenty one foot vertical and the GRC-106 was
able to check into the MMRCG Net on 7.296 USB without issue. Copied most
stations and according to reports was not an issue with the remote stations
copying me. Did not use the generator being was only doing one net so everything
was powered by the mutts batteries during operation.
One of my goals was to also operate on ten meters and did do a short QSO on 29.1 FM back at the Howell building using the Russian R-107 field pack.
The LSB Net on Saturday was beyond my technical abilities,
and I do not see any point in the future where I would be modifying or changing
out the GRC-106 for a radio with LSB being the majority of Mill Radio operations
that I take part in are USB/AM.
Bring a CW key for the GRC-106, although my CW skills are lacking there are others who are proficient. Indeed there are any number of individuals who can perform the Net control, general radio operations and CW way beyond my capabilities and this is one of the events that we can all take advantage of others strengths and capabilities. Thanks again to Walt for doing net control.
Would be great to get more portable and man pack radios out in the field, we did have a large number this year but always can use more spread further apart. The ideal case would be assorted size and class of portable stations spread all the way up and down the Lehi Valley being that this is one of those rare places where you have plenty of locations to set up and work from. Future ideas may be a HF and VHF network that have to work not only up and down the gorge but across the surrounding mountains?
Don’t know what the solution is to the Saturday local net at the event, maybe some way of getting people to stay longer? One of the reasons that Joe W4VAG did not respond later in the MMRCG net was that the radio he was using got packed up before the net ended.
Friday Field Nets, KB3SBC was Net Control
5357 USB Net @ 1400 hours local.
@ 1400 hours local.
KW1I WA4VAG KK1K KD2GFN N3FRQ KA3EKH KA2GON WD8INC WB2JWU KA3TIN NN2K W1NZR KD3HT
@ 1530 hours local.
@ 1530 hours local.
KW1I WA4VAG KK1K KD2GFN WD8INC KA1JHN
51.0 FM Net @1630 hours local.
@1630 hours local.
KW1I WA4VAG KK1K KD2GFN N3FRQ KA3EKH KA2GON KA3TIN NN2K KA2JHN W1NZR
Thanks to MRCA and Red Ball for making this all possible. Already looking forward to next year!
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