Warner Robins, GA – After I woke up this morning, I made a last-minute decision to drive up to Warner Robins today and visit the Museum of Aviation at Robins AFB. I had planned to go a few weeks back to see the newly restored F-100 and the progress on their B-17, but I got sick enough to make an emergency room visit and that canceled out the trip. Another purpose of the trip was to see how well the camera in the Google Pixel phone I bought earlier this year worked in the indoor low light of the museum. As it turned out, my last-minute, spur of the moment decision was a good one.
Even though I took the Canon with me, the only photos I took today were with the camera in the Google Pixel. A lot of the displays in the museum and hangars are somewhat dim and even with the external flash I was never happy with the results when I took photos with the Canon. I was really impressed today with the photos I took inside; as you can see in the examples below, it handled the low light really well.
As for the B-17, the fuselage is in half and they have been working on stripping the exterior and have done interior paint work. A dome turret and the ball turret have been restored and are looking great. There’s still a lot of work to do, though and I look forward to make more visits to see their progress!
A few years ago, the Museum of Aviation swapped F-100s with another museum in order to obtain one with a combat history. That new F-100D Super Sabre was restored to how it looked when it saw service in Vietnam and was recently moved into Hangar One with the other Vietnam-era aircraft; it’s the first thing you see now when you walk in to Hangar One. It looks great and as you walk in and turn left you follow the progression of the F-100 to the F-105 to the F-4 with a MiG-15 sitting opposite the F-105 and F-4.
The best part of my day, however, was when I walked out of the Century of Flight Hangar. As I walked out I heard what sounded like a jet fighter taking off from Robins AFB; I thought that certainly they wouldn’t be flight testing a F-15 out of the Robins ALC on a Sunday morning and sure enough the white aircraft I could see climbing out in the distance definitely wasn’t the shape of an F-15. It continued to climb and made a turn to the south that brought it almost over the museum grounds. It was too high to take a picture of even if I had brought the Canon out of the car, but there was no mistaking the profile of a U-2! It was NASA 809, one of NASA’s research ER-2s. I’ve heard the ER-2s on several occasions, but this was my first time seeing an ER-2/U-2 in flight, so watching 809 depart made my day.
Another project during my trip was monitoring Laurens County’s DRM Fire and EMS frequencies to try to learn more about the system and what I need to program in for them. I stopped in Dublin and listened to what I found on RadioReference with my Uniden BCD436HP and came to the conclusion that it seems that they’re multicasting on DMR repeaters placed at different locations with the county in order to have good coverage in what’s a fairly large county. I noticed that the traffic was being multicast on at least 3 frequencies for both Fire and EMS and the signal strength of each varied; sure enough, when I got home and checked the license (WSL511), each frequency was licensed for a different site (hence the L# after each frequency below). Based on what I heard, if you you’re just passing through the county, you’re good just programming in the frequencies licensed at Location/Site 11, but if you live in Laurens County or travel through other parts of it, you’ll want to program them all in. Without a doubt, there is more to figure out, but in the short time I had this is what I’ve got:
154.1900 – Laurens County FD Dispatch (Slot 1/Color 1) (multicast) – L5
154.4000 – Laurens County FD Dispatch (Slot 1/Color 1) (multicast) – L2
155.3550 – Laurens County FD Dispatch (Slot 1/Color 1) (multicast) – L11
154.8225 – Laurens County EMS Dispatch (Slot 1/Color 1) (multicast) – L9
154.9950 – Laurens County EMS Dispatch (Slot 1/Color 1) (multicast) – L5
156.1350 – Laurens County EMS Dispatch (Slot 1/Color 1) (multicast) – L11
L2 = 200 Industrial Blvd
L5 = 1411 S. Poplar Springs Church Rd
L9 = US 80/3rd St
L11 = Tower at Laurens County 911 Center (near I-16)