On Friday, 4 November 2011, the Camden County Amateur Radio Society operated a special event station at the St. Mary’s Submarine Museum on the St. Mary’s, GA waterfront. The special event station was part of the weekend’s Subvets Memorial being held at Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base to honor submarine veterans on “eternal patrol.” I found out about the event via the CCARS Facebook Page and decided to run down after work on Friday morning to take part.
I arrived at the museum around 0830 and helped Pete – K4QHR, Frank – AK4LN, and Glenn – W4ULB get the antenna for the station set up. The antenna was an interesting setup made from an extendable fiberglass pole with the antenna wire run up through the middle to form a collapsible vertical. The wire ran to a switchable matching network with a very nicely constructed homemade ferrite bead balun then to coax to the transceiver. (If you look in the photo of the antenna, you can see the museum’s submarine periscope just to the right.) Due to some circumstances beyond their control, things didn’t quite get off the ground immediately, but they did get on the air quickly with Frank’s QRP station and moved onto to normal QRO operations later. By the time I had to leave to get back to Brunswick and get some sleep, only a few contacts had been made on 20 Meters but I understand things improved later in the day. I also fired up the mobile station and made a contact with them.
On the way back to Brunswick, I left the mobile rig on and listened to Frank calling CQ to see how far I could hear his 5 watt station on ground wave. Interestingly enough, I could still hear him all the way out to GA Highway 40 and I-95 (around 11 miles) but I lost him quickly as I headed back north on 95.
It was a great way for amateur radio to help honor the submarine veterans and I’m glad I got to help them get set up if not help operate. If you find yourself in the St. Marys area, take some time to drop by the Submarine Museum; it isn’t a big museum but it’s packed with excellent and historic displays. You won’t be sorry you visited!