Gilbert Meet 2011
K4CHE and N3OD After Action Reports posted on the MRCA Reflector
was a great meet. . . it was easy to ignore the
rain(Friday) as there was so much going on in the Howard Building. We
are very lucky to have the use of the Howard Building and special thanks
to Steve, Dale, and Al for the coordination and set up. In many way the
rain enhanced the meet on Friday as it served as a reason for everyone
to stick around the building instead of wandering around in the flea market.We
had a great midnight SLS gathering Thursday night. You feather merchants
that stayed home because of a little rain in the forecast missed a great
It was refreshing to observe Rob and Eugene's sons(Martin and Max) blend in with everyone, and listening to the two boys and noted how polite the boys were- just like their fathers, and noting that Rob had the foresight and imagination to bring a set of Field Phones for the younger troops (and some of the older ones) to play with.
It was very interesting watching my 50 amp switching power supply blow two fuses and let out all the magic smoke late Friday evening and then I had to drag Ted's 45 pound JATO Retrorocket power supply over to power my ARC-3 display. It was scary just turning it on - - so . . . I will never make fun of Ted's Retro Rocket modified vehicle battery charger power supply ever, ever again.
It was absolutely marvelous waking up at o-dark thirty in my 86 War Wagon Suburban after having the roof being bombarded all night by falling hickory nuts, however it got me up ahead of my 0500 schedule so I could walk around the compound and then return to watch Ted check into the Old Military Radio Net. Standing there watching Ted on the 0500 net and wondering where are the Feather Merchants, all of them in their racks sleeping. Maybe we should have an MRCA reveille. - - - -but it was fun watching some of the early risers later slowly drift into the building with sleep in their eyes and slowly adapt to the light and the new day. Like rodents coming out of a hole?
It was not fun watching "Al Klase shrug off the lost of his hat and the Vietnamese Atomic Chicken Pin Award(Signal Corps term) that he earned and I hope that he finds it upon returning to his quarters. I hate the thought that there is a thief that infiltrated our area and stole something.
It was fun listening to Dave Kormanicki at 0530 in the morning , he was excited and all pumped up about the new day and remembering and spouting off more military radio nomenclature numbers items then is humanly possible. He was currently obsessed with finding "several CX-1334 headset extension cords with a U-77 connector on one end and a JJ-026 connector on the other end". Dave is a walking, talking, military radio encyclopedia.
Taking my Saturday morning 0430 constitutional walk out to the main highway, noticing that it was not raining and several stars could be seen peeking through the clouds and also noted that security guards were missing in action and that the gate was wide open, and then I thought we don't need any security, there must be a couple of hundred weapons inside the fairground compound - - -no gang or thieves would dare violate our space. And continuing with my walk around just before 0500 net and watching a vehicle collector open up his field kitchen which has 4 or 6 stoves, listening the the enthusiasm, talking about collecting and assembly an entire system.
Then walking around the all most empty building at 0510 Saturday when Ted was on the Old Military Radio Net, anyway walking and looking at the displays. Very modern HF and VHF sets contrasted by the older WWII equipment- - - all in all covering 70 years of military radio.
Then realizing later on Saturday afternoon that perhaps my biggest radio achievement was using my BC-611 that had Pat Lombardi's board inside my case that I had I had pulled my board out and used Pats "working" board in my old case. Pat told me the story that he purchased the board years ago on Radio Row where he pulled it out of a barrel of boards and with that board stuffed into my BC-611 case I heard several of the South East net members in North Carolina check into the Old Military Radio Net. Pats board had traveled many miles to make it this meet.Thinking that the board that left "radio row" and has been stored with Pat's spare parts for all these years was now back in operation after being stored, Anyway I knew that the BC-611 had a sensitive receiver but to pick up those South East stations inside the building was what I though an unusual "radio event". At first when I heard the stations I thought that perhaps I was getting some residue coupling from the open wire line feeding Ted's BC-669 but I got far away to the other side of the building and still picked up John in North Carolina and some of the other gang.
I did bivouac (park my war wagon) away from the big tree this year as I learned last year after listening to rain shake off the leaves all night but the this year the hickory nuts out foxed me they fell off the tree bounced off the roof of John's Commo truck continuing in flight and eventually landing on the roof of my sleeping quarters. The Nuts won.
I enjoyed it when one of the military vehicle people said that I needed " black out"reflectors for my "radio bike" Listening to the show and tell session and hearing the exuberance and interest flow everywhere over about some of the more exotic radios.
Enjoying the two evening dinners and seeing others come over to say hello after dinner in the bar. Maybe next year make the "Diner" the official MRCA head quarters each evening but still missing our gatherings at the famous Studebaker resturant but also missing John playing the "honky Tonk" piano at the pizza place.
Sitting in the cars of Pat one night going to dinner and Gene on the 2nd night and noted they have the cleanest and nicest cars in the world. Muco nicer than my 86 war wagon.
Talking with Lou and the twinkle in his eye as he filled me in about the mobile set up in his truck and the use of the Yaseu FT-817, and my thinking how much radio has changed and how small the sets are.
Giving my short " Flak Bait Obsession" presentation and looking out at the audience and only seeing two persons with their eyes either completely closed or rolled back and checking the upper interior of their sculls, I through hmmmm two out of 30 getting Z's isn't too bad. .
Listening to all the chatter after the presentations and the show and tell, the hesitation by the members as they delay packing up,lingering not wanting to end the event.
Watching Bob explain the mule and allowing others to drive it after careful instructions , his sharing with others what I am sure is a prized possession. A real Gentlemen.
Watching Al fiddle with an exotic radio one minute and then passing by his "maintenance complex" 15 minutes later and noting that he was adjusting a Korean War PRC-9. hmmmmm a 50 year spread. in a mere 15 minutes, Al will play and fix anything. BTW Ten meter FM is becoming popular at the meets.
Watching Lou camp out under the table, tired but secure in his mummy sleeping bag and then after he grabbed 4 hours of sleep he was up with the big boys at 0500 that morning bright eyed and bushy tailed. A real trooper.
And finally getting that URC-4 to URC-4 QSO with Pete as I walked the fair grounds. Playing with the low powered URC-4 and checking the directional abilities of the antenna. Many URC-4 stories to tell but not now.
Returning to my ARC-3 display Thursday and seeing a Federal Signal Life Boat Emergency Radio in a suit case sitting there, waiting for a mission, left by Jeff and his knowing that I liked that stuff. Watching Bill and noted his excitement as we discussed 160 meter coils for the HBR receiver and later watching him return with a FT mount for a Command Set control head, and thinking we all have so many projects, how do we ever finish?
Walking past Johns commo truck on my way to the necessary room and listening to 75 meters come alive late Friday night and on Saturday morning it was wide open.
But the most important lesson learned is that you can buy ice at the local grocery store for $1.89 but at the fair grounds snack bar it was going for a buck and you do not have to drive to the store. Next lesson - - - bring a back up 28 volt power supply, one that does not let out all the "magic smoke" Again it was a great event, so many names to try and remember.
N3OD, Lou's comments: It was great being able to attend the Gilbert meet again. I am finding out that this old body of mine is not as resilient as it once was. I really congratulate the people who went out on Friday's field exercise-The weather reminded me of the rainy season in the Republic of Korea-mud and all. They used to tell us that weather like that was "Good Training". I don't know about that but it is a good test to set up and maintain communications under less than ideal conditions. I am confident that the group that was there are more than ready for almost any emergency contingency.
It was great meeting face to face some of you who are old friends on the air. It was also great to find out that some of you and I had similar interests not related to radio. I wish to thank those of you who helped me troubleshoot my PRC 47 which although immaculate, did not transmit at all. Although, I enjoy the operating events and the displays-in my opinion the most important thing at least to me is the camaraderie of the hobby. I promise to come better prepared with sleeping gear next year. . I hope to see you all next year- the good LORD willing and the creek don't rise.