About the Blog:

Welcome to KF4LMT's Shack. I blog on scanning and monitoring, amateur radio, and motor sports. MilAir, Fire/EMS, and Search and Rescue communications are the focus of my scanning posts. Amateur Radio posts mostly focus on events I participate in and mobile operating, which is my primary means of getting on HF. Sports Car racing, IndyCar, and F1 racing are what most of my motor sports posts are about. Feel free to leave a comment or drop me a line at kf4lmt @ gmail.com. Sorry, but I don't program scanners – it has led to too many requests that I just don't have time to accommodate.
24 Hours of Le MansJune 13th, 2015
7 months to go.

Savannah Weather

Brunswick Weather

Upcoming Ham Radio Events

  • N1A Number One Alabama Crimson Tide Special Event 31 October 2014 – 3 November 2014 Oct 31-Nov 2, 2200Z-2200Z, N1A, Tuscaloosa, AL. W4UAL & Alu mni. 28.425 14.247 7.188 3.821. QSL. M.D. Smith WA4DXP, 307 Clinton Ave, Ste 100, Huntsville, AL 35801. Will also be on 2 meter repeater 145.21, IRLP Node # 4719 www.31alumni.com/ham
  • Stuart Air Show / 40th Anniversary of Martin County Amateur Radio A ssociation 31 October 2014 – 3 November 2014 Oct 31-Nov 2, 1300Z-2200Z, K4ZK, Stuart, FL. Martin County Amateur Radio Association. 21.280 14.280. Certificate. MCARA, PO Box 1901 , Stuart, FL 34996. Celebrating the 2014 Stuart Air Show and the 40th Anni versary of the Martin County Amateur Radio Association. www.mcaraweb.com
  • ARLHS Haunted Light Special Event 31 October 2014 – 2 November 2014
  • Remembering the Edmund Fitzgerald (Split Rock Lighthouse) 1 November 2014 – 3 November 2014 Nov 1-Nov 2, 1500Z-2345Z, W0JH , Two Harbors, MN. Stillwate r (MN) Amateur Radio Association, Courage Kenny Handiham System & Radio Ci ty. 14.260 7.260 21.360 3.860. Certificate. Stillwater Amateur Radio Assoc , W0JH, via, splitrock2014@radioham.org. Certificates will ONLY be sent v ia e-mail in PDF format. W0JH is operating SSB and digital modes from…
  • Georgia Tech Homecoming 1 November 2014 Nov 1, 1200Z-2359Z, AA4XG/W4AQL, Atlanta, GA. Georgia Tech Alumni Amateur Radio Club. 14.250 7.250. QSL. Sherman Banks, 2310 Kings Po int Dr, Atlanta, GA 30338. The Georgia Tech Student and Alumni Amateur Ra dio Clubs will be operating a special event station to celebrate Homecoming on campus. Students will activate W4AQL and alumni members AA4XG…
  • 106th Anniversary of the Berlin Treaty 1 November 2014 – 3 November 2014 Nov 1-Nov 2, 0000Z-2359Z, various, North America. 630/600-Me ter Operators. US: 465 to 480 kHz and 495 to 510 kHz; Canada: 472 to 429 k Hz. QSL. See, URL, North America. The Berlin Treaty created the internati onal distress frequency at 500 kHz. Event includes US experimental, Canadi an amateur and US heritage maritime stations.…
  • State of Nevada 150th Anniversary Celebration 1 November 2014 – 3 November 2014 Nov 1-Nov 2, 1500Z-0100Z, N7V, Reno, NV. Sierra Nevada Amat eur Radio Society . 7.240 14.270 21.370. QSL. Howard Holden, WB2AWQ, 7895 Plum Tree Ct, Reno, NV 89533. N7V Nevada Day Sesquicentennial Celebratio n of Statehood and sending of Nevada Constitution to Washington by telegrap h in1864. Carson City NV. Frequencies +/- QRM. Commemorative QSL…
  • 39th Anniversary Sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald 7 November 2014 – 10 November 2014 Nov 7-Nov 9, 0114Z-1401Z, W8F, Livonia, MI. Livonia Amateur Radio Club. 7.260 14.260 21.360. Certificate. Bruno Walczak, 16601 Golfvi ew, Livonia, MI 48154. LivoniaARC@yahoogroups.com or www.livoniaarc.com
  • Veteran's Day Commemoration 8 November 2014 Nov 8, 1500Z-2300Z, W9V, Hopedale, IL. Peoria Area Amateur Radio Club. 28.445 21.345 14.245 7.245. QSL. Peoria Amateur Radio Club, PO Box 3508, Peoria, IL 61612. QSL with SASE www.w9uvi.org
  • Veterans Day and USMC Birthday Special Event 8 November 2014 Nov 8, 1700Z-2359Z, NI6IW, San Diego, CA. USS Midway (CV-41 ) Museum Ship. 14.320 7.250; PSK31 14.070; D-STAR REF1C. QSL. USS Midway (CV-41) Museum Ship Radio Room, 910 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101.

2014 CQWW DX Contest

Savannah – Yesterday concluded the 2014 CQWW DX Contest; as I mentioned on Saturday there are HF antenna problems at the home station so I operated the mobile station during this year’s contest. On Saturday I was able to put 96 QSOs in the log and added some new DX entities to the mobile logbook. On Sunday, I didn’t operate near as much as I did on Saturday so I only had 16 QSOs for the day. Despite the lower number of QSOs, I still added a new DX entity to the mobile logbook – Saint Kitts and Nevis. Here’s a list of the countries/DX entities I worked over the weekend:

  • Alaska
  • Argentina
  • Aruba
  • Ascension Island
  • Belarus
  • Belgium
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Canary Island
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Cuba
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • El Salvador
  • England
  • European Russia
  • France
  • French Guiana
  • Germany
  • Guatemala
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Luxembourg
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • Nicaragua
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Puerto Rico
  • Saint Kitts & Nevis
  • Serbia
  • Slovak Republic
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • US Virgin Islands
  • Venezuela
  • Wales

For a very casual operation using a mobile station I don’t think it was a bad effort and I am very pleased with the results, especially considering that most of the QSOs came on the first day of the contest with a small antenna and relatively low power. Over the two days, I made a total of 112 QSOs with 103 stations from 44 DX entities and 17 CQ Zones. You might have noticed that I didn’t mention any points… To be honest I don’t keep up with points because I don’t really worry about the score. For me, the contests are an opportunity to add new DX to the logbook and see what I can do with my station; if I give out a few contest points in the process, that’s good for those serious about scores.

KF4LMT Mobile,  Antennas: ABSCANC on top, CHL-72S on left rear, HVT-400B on right rear

KF4LMT Mobile, Antennas: ABSCANC on top, CHL-72S on left rear, HVT-400B on right rear

The equipment I used was a Yaesu FT-857D, an LDG Z-11 ProII tuner, and an Opek HVT-400B antenna. The antenna isn’t even 6 feet tall. I am constantly amazed by what I can do with such a small and relatively inexpensive station when conditions are right. This weekend was once again proof that you don’t need an expensive super contest station with radios that cost as much as a car and huge antennas on tall towers just to have a bit of fun on the air. You really can get on the air and have a lot of fun with a budget station.

El Galeon Andalucia

Savannah – The Galeon class ship El Galeon Andalucia is currently docked along River Street near Rousakis Plaza; after church this morning, I drove up to River Street to see it because I’ve never had the chance to see a Galeon before. She’s a 170ft, 495 ton 1:1 replica of a Spanish Galeon of the 16th Century. Home ported in St. Augustine, FL, she’s making a tour of the US east coast and is visiting Savannah for 10 days as part of the tour. Ships like this plied the Atlantic and the Indies in Spanish service well before Georgia was founded, so it was very interesting to get an up close look at a recreation of a piece of history. Size-wise, it is dwarfed by modern warships and merchant vessels; I can’t imagine how it must be to cross the Atlantic in one of these, especially in stormy weather.

El Galeon Andalucia

El Galeon Andalucia

Closeup of El Galeon Andalucia's bow

Closeup of El Galeon Andalucia’s bow

Close up of the aft portion of El Galeon Andalucia

Close up of the aft portion of El Galeon Andalucia

As you can see from the photos above, a Galeon like this was very much a working vessel. Compared to some of the tall ships I saw a few years ago during the Tall Ships Challenge on River Street, this one isn’t nearly as fancy or decorated. There is a distinct lack of carvings, gilding, and exterior decoration with the noted example of a painting of the Virgin Mary on the stern (see below). Granted it’s an example of a much earlier vessel than those at the Tall Ships Challenge, but looking at this one, it’s clear that this was definitely a work horse vessel.

Profile of El Galeon Andalucia's stern and the massive rudder

Profile of El Galeon Andalucia’s stern and the massive rudder

Close up shot of where the rudder's control arm enters the ship

Close up shot of where the rudder’s control arm enters the ship

El Galeon Andalucia's stern

El Galeon Andalucia’s stern

Close up of the Virgin Mary on El Galeon Andalucia's stern; the latin inscription reads "Hail, Queen of the Sea" (Thanks to NR4CB for identification and translation of the Latin)

Close up of the Virgin Mary on El Galeon Andalucia’s stern; the latin inscription reads “Hail, Queen of the Sea” (Thanks to NR4CB for identification and translation of the Latin)

Cannon on El Galeon Andalucia's upper deck

Cannon on El Galeon Andalucia’s upper deck

Cannon below deck in El Galeon Andalucia

Cannon below deck in El Galeon Andalucia

How the gun doors are held open

How the gun doors are held open

A lot of the photos below are of details of the ship that really struck home. While looking at all of the rigging and rope-work on El Galeon Andalucia, I couldn’t help but think of Granddaddy. He was retired US Navy and handy with ropes and lines, could frequently be found making shrimp nets and nautical related items. I can’t help but think that something like t his would have been right up his alley.

El Galeon Andalucia's Fore Mast

El Galeon Andalucia’s Fore Mast

El Galeon Andalucia's Main Mast and Mizzen Mast

El Galeon Andalucia’s Main Mast and Mizzen Mast

El Galeon Andalucia's bowsprit

El Galeon Andalucia’s bowsprit

Semi-concealing some of El Galeon Andalucia's modern amenitites

Semi-concealing some of El Galeon Andalucia’s modern amenities

Close up of some of El Galeon Andalucia's rigging;  looking at rope work like this reminded me of Grandaddy

Close up of some of El Galeon Andalucia’s rigging; looking at rope work like this reminded me of Granddaddy

El Galeon Andalucia's anchor

El Galeon Andalucia’s anchor

Cross of Burgandy Flag on the Fore Mast

Cross of Burgandy Flag on the Fore Mast

Flag of Castile and Leon on the Mizzen Mast

Flag of Castile and Leon on the Mizzen Mast

Spanish flag on the stern

Spanish flag on the stern

As a history buff, I truly enjoyed getting to see this ship while I was in Savannah for a few days. It’s representative of a part of American history many overlook or forget.  It will be here through 2 November, so if you get a chance go out to River Street and pay it a visit; it’s docked right in front of Rousakis Plaza.

Mobile Ops in the 2014 CQWW DX Contest

Savannah – The amateur radio station at home has some antenna issues and I wanted to participate some in the 2014 CQ WW DX Contest this weekend, so I decided to operate from the mobile station off and on throughout the day. Operating with my mobile station on the first day of a big contest has never been easy but I was pleasantly surprised with what I was able to do today. To start the day, band conditions on 15 Meters and 10 Meters were pretty good. A solar flare degraded band conditions a bit in the early afternoon but the bands were still active and workable. During the evening I also used 20 Meters and it was its usual mess for a major contest. My sporadic efforts throughout the day yielded 96 QSOs to 40 DX entities, with Ascension Island, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, and Paraguay added as new DX entities to the mobile log.

I’ll have to work at least 4 stations on Sunday to make it a minimum of an even 100 for the weekend!


VMFAT-501 Frequency Update

Savannah – Back in August, I wrote a post on possible VMFAT-501 frequencies after I received a question about them. I offered up what I thought might be some possibilities and it turns out none of them were correct (so far)!  Today I was home in Savannah for the first time since the first F-35B class at MCAS Beaufort got underway and was able to catch a flight of VMFAT-501 F-35Bs working in SEALORD’s offshore airspace and at Townsend Range.  SWEDE 71/72 used 315.300 for air-to-air and checked up with BASE on 299.275 on their way home after working at Townsend. At least now we now know two of their squadron frequencies:

  • 299.275 – VMFAT-501 Base
  • 315.300 – VMFAT-501 Tac (Tac 1?)

If they follow the same practice as the rest of the squadrons at Beaufort, there will be two more Tac frequencies. I’m assuming that 315.300 is Tac 1, but I’m not ready to label it that yet.  It’s also worth mentioning that the first few F-35Bs I heard flying out of Beaufort used SWEDE 6# but they’re now using SWEDE 7#. This falls between the 6# callsigns that VMFA-312 uses and the 8# callsigns that VMFA(AW)-533 uses, so 7# may be their assigned callsign numbers. More listening will flesh it all out. Good Listening!

Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex Repeater System

Savannah – Propagation this morning has resulted in being able to hear all five (that I know of) Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex repeaters.  This repeater system is normally multicast and over the last several years they have been using digital voice. The system covers the Savannah NWR Complex along coastal South Carolina and Georgia composed of the Pinckney Island NWR, the Savannah NWR, the Tybee NWR, Harris Neck NWR, Blackbeard Island NWR, and Wolf Island NWR.

Savannah NWR Complex Map

Savannah NWR Complex Map

  • 169.8250 – Savannah NWR Complex Harris Neck Rptr (NAC 4A4)
  • 171.6500 –  Savannah NWR Complex Pinckney Rptr (NAC 555)
  • 171.7500 –  Savannah NWR Complex Rptr (NAC 5B6) (Multicast)
  • 172.4500 – Savannah NWR Complex Skidaway Rptr (NAC 68F)
  • 172.6500 – Savannah NWR Complex Onslow Rtpr (NAC 455)

Through monitoring in different areas and comparing signal strengths, I’ve been able to identify four of the five repeaters (as seen in the list above). What I heard this morning has led me to believe that the unidentified one, 171.750 (NAC 5B6) is a repeater for the Wolf Island NWR area around Darien. ARC536 Pro logged a signal strength of 190 for the Harris Neck Repeater on 169.825 (NAC 4A4) and 171.750 just a bit lower at 144. A repeater for Wolf Island would be located just a bit farther south of me than the Harris Neck repeater, so the received signal strengths could indicate that.  I’ve also heard 171.750 a few times in Brunswick which further backs that theory up. Hopefully a bit more monitoring will help confirm it.

While there normally isn’t anything thrilling to listen to on this system, it’s normally just administrative and maintenance related traffic, you can sometimes hear firefighting related traffic on it and during turtle nesting and hatching season, you can hear some research related traffic on it. If you’re interested in such things, it’s definitely something to keep in one of your scan banks or favorites lists.

Do Not Dumb Here


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