Once again, the annual meeting of the Military Radio Collector’s Group was held at the Camp San Luis Obispo NCO’s club. The meeting was held on Friday, May 5 and Saturday, May 6, 2000. Friday was mostly dedicated to informal activities and display setup, along with some radio operating events and several really fun hidden transmitter hunts using 6m FM military radio gear. Cam Ogan, WA6VVC provided a fancy little hidden transmitter for us to find, and I bet it was funny to watch all of us guys running around with big, green radios and “rug-beater” direction-finding loop antennas! The swap meet, formal presentations, and David Ragsdale’s great barbecue were on Saturday. Unfortunately, I had to cut my visit short due to some engine trouble with my HMMWV, so I missed most of the fun on Saturday this year.
The transmitter hunt was a new event this year, and I hope that it will become a regular feature of the annual MRCG meeting. The transmitter frequency was set at 51.0 MC, because that’s a common crystal frequency for single-channel radio sets such as the AN/PRC-6 walkie-talkie. Cam’s transmitter contained a voice recording chip, allowing him to customize the transmitter ID for each hunt. Most of the hunters used AN/PRC-6 walkie-talkies with AT-339 or AT-340 loop antennas. A couple folks used AN/PRC-10 backpack sets, instead, but they had trouble getting bearings on the transmitter when they got close to it. Many of us theorized that the PRC-10 may be sensitive enough that the strong signal near the transmitter bypassed the loop and got into the receiver by some other path, such as that big antenna mount on the top of the set. It might have been possible to get around that by tuning the receivers off-channel a bit, but I don’t think anybody tried that. The PRC-6 sets did not seem to have that problem. Cam had good results with a newer radio with an AT-784 loop antenna. Jay Coward didn’t have a loop antenna for the first hunts (though somebody loaned him one for later hunts), so he resorted to using his PRC-6 with the regular tape antenna, getting bearings by shielding it with his body, and rolling it up to attenuate the signal. That doesn’t work as well as a DF loop, but he still managed to compete reasonably well.
A few military vehicles showed up this year, too. Hank Brown, W6DJX brought his 1942 GPW Jeep again, with an AN/VRC-7 and an AN/GRC-9 “Angry-9” installed. Patricia Gibbons, WA6UBE and Carla Satra arrived in an M37 3/4-ton truck with a well-equipped communications shelter; you might want to visit their Tactical Link Systems web page. I drove up in my 1986 M998 HMMWV, with an AN/VRC-47 radio set installed. Unfortunately, my truck appears to have developed a head gasket leak during the trip, and I had to cut my visit short to deal with that problem. Carla helped make the initial diagnosis, and many kind folks helped me deal with the situation. I ended up having the truck towed to the hangar of an expert HMMWV rebuilder in Santa Maria. I hope to be able to drive my truck back home soon!
I didn’t have a chance to take any pictures on Saturday, so I missed several of the radio sets which were displayed. The pictures below show most of the gear which was in place by Friday afternoon. Several other displays were set up on Friday evening and Saturday morning.
On to the pictures! Please comment if you find any errors in my descriptions, or if you can add any more information that I missed.
|Left picture: Dick Dillman, W6AWO talks to Tricia about her M37 in front of the NCO club.
Right picture: Another view of the M37.
|Quentyn Brown drives Hank’s 1942 GPW Jeep.|
|My HMMWV poses for a picture near the main entrance of the base, the evening before it checked into the truck hospital for head gasket surgery.|
|Tricia displayed an AN/PRC-70 HF/VHF backpack set in the NCO club, along with accessories which weren’t on the table yet when I snapped my picture…|
|Left: Hank brought this ARN-30D VOR/ILS/MKR aircraft navigation system, including an R-33A receiver, R-1021/ARN-30D receiver, B-13A converter, and R-31A receiver.
Right: Hank’s RU-18 receiver.
|Bjorn Forsberg, SM5UR/W6 operates an R-1082 receiver.|
|Here’s an Army teletype unit that chattered busily during the meet.|
|This AM-20B/TIQ-2 amplifier, along with a few new-fangled gadgets, made a nice PA system for the meet. I hope Dennis turns down the volume next year… my ears are still ringing! 🙂|
|This 1931 BC-148 transceiver was pressed into service for DX contacts between the NCO club and the adjacent parking lot.|
|Bjorn always brings some neat foreign radios which aren’t well-known in the US. Here we see an RA-122, an [insert Cyrillic text here], a US R-1518/UR receiver, and a PRC-361 from Denmark.|
|Dick Dillman, W6AWO displayed a “suitcase” radio that I don’t recognize, an RS-6 “spy” radio set, a WW-II BC-611-F walkie-talkie, and an M-209B cipher machine.|
|Left: A 250-watt C-146 851-class triode… they don’t make ’em like they used to!
Right: A 1943 morale and communications receiver.
|A DAG-1 direction finder set, a MAB transceiver and CRF-20221-A power supply.|
|Left to right: TBY-8 and TBX-8 transceivers.|
|A radio set made by Telefunken, and believed to be a Desert Storm war trophy.|
|My own indoor display included the AN/PRC-6 walkie-talkie and AT-339 loop antenna that I used in the hidden transmitter hunt, and my West-German SEM-25 transceiver.|
|Outside, I displayed the AN/VRC-47 set that I installed in my HMMWV.|
|Bjorn operates a BC-148 transceiver, providing vital communications between the parking lot and the NCO club.|
|Jay Coward displayed an ARB receiver.|