I had this weekend off from work and it turned out to be a pretty good weekend to play radio. On Saturday, there was fun to be had with both the scanners and amateur radio and on Sunday, there was more scanner fun to be had.
As I posted previously, there was USN T-45 activity throughout the day on Saturday. The T-45s are currently working with the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) to do carrier qualifications. For some reason, instead of operating out of Cecil Field as they usually do for carrier quals, a number of CNATRA T-45s flew out of Savannah IAP. I don’t know how unusual it is for them, but there were at least four of the T-45s that came back from the USS Truman as emergency aircraft due to low fuel. They certainly kept the Air National Guard Crash/Fire units at the airport on their toes throughout the day.
On Saturday afternoon, Philip – KA4KOE was operating portable from the W.E. Honey Park in Thunderbolt, which isn’t but a few minutes drive from the house. I decided to drive over and join him and worked him on 17 Meters on the way over. Philip was operating a Plessey Clansman RT 320 military man-pack radio running 30 watts through a 9 ft portable antenna. Mostly on 17 Meters, but also on 20 Meters and 10 Meters, he worked Argentina, Jamaicia, Washington state, Iowa, Arkansas, Massachusetts, and New York. Not bad at all! While I was there, I also worked Philip’s friend Les – W8YCM/6Y5 in Jamaica, WA2FBN – Ken in New York, and N5W – the Wreath Laying Day special event station at the Fayetteville National Cemetery in Arkansas.
On Sunday, most of my radio time was taken up by monitoring some helicopter movement from Hunter AAF to Georgia Ports; there was plenty of activity on both Hunter Tower and the Fort Stewart/Hunter AAF trunked system. Marine VHF was also interesting to listen to yesterday. The Savannah River was apparently closed to shipping traffic until after lunch time due to heavy fog on parts of the river; Marine VHF Ch. 14 (156.700 MHz) was full of traffic between Savannah Pilots and ships waiting on the conditions clear as they jockeyed schedules. I also found some time to get on HF in the morning and made a couple of DX contacts on 17 Meters and 15 Meters; both bands seemed to be in pretty good condition.
After a week of not having much radio time, it certainly made for a fun weekend. It may also be the last opportunity I have for some extended radio time in 2012 so I’m glad I made good use of it.