MRCA At The York PA MVPA Convention 2019
The show grounds.
Live fire and Vehicle displays
The flame thrower was a Big Hit with the crowd.
Inside the buildings were the other show vehicles and the indoor vendors
Along with the outdoor Vendors and the Living History People
MRCA was there with the M151A1 "mutt" and a table
Where we operated the AN/GRC-106, AN/VRC-43 and several other radios
The AAR for the event:
What was supposed to be achieved by this project?
The event was the MVPA (Military Vehicle Preservation Association) annual convention that was held in York PA. The convention features multiple classes of military vehicles that are shown, judged and displayed along with a large vendor flea market located both indoors and outdoors along with a living history reenactment encampment. Not just a static display but also an opportunity to see history in motion, the flame thrower demo were a big hit!
The MRCA was allowed to set up and operate a display alongside the living history section. I would attempt to set up the M151 with the GRC-106 and VRC-43 and operate from that location.
This would include the MMRCG net on 7.396 and the Moose & Squirrel net on 5.357
Along with any local operation on the fair grounds on 51.0 FM or 3.885 AM.
What was actually achieved?
I arrived on site around nine in the morning Thursday. Thursday is reserved for MVPA members only and not open to the public. I was allowed great latitude in determining where to set up and selected a location right on the edge of the Living History displays between that and the Bathrooms and First Aid center. Set up the mutt with all its antennas including a fiberglass set of poles for supporting inverted V antennas for the two nets, the pop up tent for the table with the MAK AM Set and a couple select Russian field radios and further back the crew tent that I camped out in during the event.
Had electric provided by the event so did not bring the MEP-025 generator but did bring an AC power supply that was used to feed the mutt via the slave connector.
Attempted to check into the M&S net on Thursday but did not have good signals from net control so did not go any further. Did play around with the vertical on the mutt and twenty meters.
Next to me was the “Iffy Lube” Motor Pool Maintenance display. They observed that I had shore power and then piggybacked to it and blew out one of the two circuits so we were down to just one circuit.
Spent the rest of the day walking the market and looking at all the vehicles including the Bell UH-1 “Huey” that was flown in that morning.
The flea market was mostly vehicle parts but there were radios there also, but the prices were a bit on the high side. I did pick up a ME-61for $40 that looked NOS and traded for items yet to be determined with Jeff for a VHF antenna base.
Friday the majority of the day was spent talking to the public, showing radios and promoting the use of Military Radios on the Ham bands. Several Hams were surprised to find that there were people doing this and many of the people who came by to look at the mutt were amazed that everything on board works and can be used today.
I saw a Gama Goat being towed in and went over to where it was being unloaded and got the opportunity to drive it around the parking lot, Its huge, heavy and ugly and I loved everything about it except that my car trailer cannot carry it.
Friday afternoon it was windy. The Iffy Lube crew had a number of lights attached to their tent and one of the zip cord extension cables they were using caught on fire. Fortunately they did not set their tent on fire but they did manage to kill the last AC circuit that we were sharing. So no more shore power and now had to result to running the engine on the mutt periodically to keep the batteries charged. Also limited the use of the GRC-106 until needed. Left the receiver - exciter on most of the day Thursday so passersby would hear CHU on 7.85 but with no shore power stopped monitoring HF, 51.0 on the VRC-43 but did keep the URC-110 running monitoring the local repeater (146.37/97).
Saturday morning checked into the MMRCG net on 7.296 with week copy of many stations. Do not know if it was bad conditions or due to the food trucks located just across the street from my location. Same poor reception conditions on M&S net at noon on 5.357 but did check into both nets. Monitored both 51.0 and 3.885 several times along with keeping the VRC-43 running most of the day but no local activity at the event.
Was told that many people there were using 51.6 for local communications.
Several MRCA members attended along with other friends but no one was wanting to do anything like a back pack net.
I did promote MRCA Gilbert and the nets that will take place there and will be interested to see if any of the people show up to play around with their PRC-25 and 77 sets.
What aspects of the project work?
Despite the heat Thursday the radios worked. Do not know if it was bad band conditions or what but did get both nets in Saturday. Lots of local interest in both the mutt and the radios onboard. Always fun to interact with people epically Hams about using the radios.
What didn't work and why?
Relying on shore power has its limitations. Iffy Lube proved that. When radios get real hot they tend to not function properly. Will have to look at both sets of radios and try to discover what caused some issues that are not there unless they run all day in hot weather.
Also no activity with MAK AM radio or anyone at the event itself.
What would you change if given a second chance?
Bring generator. Also bring more fiberglass poles. Had six but could have used more for antenna support on far ends of dipoles.
Don’t bring the Russian Radios being there was not that much interest in them. Everyone appeared to be attracted by the mutt and wanted to talk about the radios on that and not what’s on the table.
Bring out my Vietnam era uniform. Being right on the edge of the reenactors they were all dressed in period uniforms for their displays and was getting the hairy eyeball from them for being in camo shorts and green MVPA tee shirt.
Ray Fantini KA3EKH
And what I thought would look real good at home, just did not know hoe to go about transporting it!
Paying for it may have been an issue but at $7,000.00 you get a lot for the money
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