Road Trip Radio Report: Charleston, SC – 21/22 March 2021

As I mentioned in a previous post, I took an overnight trip to Charleston, SC on 21/22 to visit the Botany Bay WMA in Edisto Island and Patriot’s Point in Mount Pleasant. During the trip, I did some scanning with the mobile station while driving and with a portable setup in the motel, ran APRS with the FTM-400XDR in the mobile station, and listened to some of the area’s amateur radio repeaters with the FTM-400XDR and the Anytone AT-878UV. Even though I arrived in town on a Sunday afternoon, there was still plenty to listen to.

The 441.450 (PL 123.0) WA4USN repeater in Knightsville was quite active on Sunday afternoon while I visited the Botany Bay WMA and afterward as I was driving to the motel. While at the motel Sunday night, I listened to the Downtown Charleston DMR repeater on 443.0375 (CC1) with the AT-878UV’s dual slot monitor activated; I didn’t hear anything, so I put my callsign out on the Local 2 talkgroup but didn’t get a reply (it’s worth mentioning that I did monitor the repeater on my way out of town on Monday afternoon and it was active then). I was staying in the Comfort Inn and Suites Patriots Point (I could see the USS Yorktown from my window), so I switched over to the WA4USN USS Yorktown linked repeater on 146.790 (PL 123.0) and had a nice QSO with KB4GTY in Aiken, SC.

APRS plot of my travels around the Charleston area. While APRS coverage between Savannah and Charleston isn’t very good, there’s good coverage in Charleston.
BC125AT, BCD325P2, BCD436HP, and TRX-2 set up in the motel room for listening to Aviation/MilCom, Public Safety, and FedCom

One of the things I’m most interested in listening to when I visit the Charleston area is the USAF (57) TRS used by Joint Base Charleston. I never see much reported on it, so I listen and try to figure out the talkgroups whenever I visit. On this trip I was able to determine that talkgroup 941 is in use by Joint Base Charleston’s Forestry Department; they were using it to coordinate controlled burns on Monday morning. The 437th/315th Airlift Wing wasn’t too busy on Sunday evening and Monday morning, but I did catch a few C-17s arriving as well as a Boeing 747 LCF arriving for Boeing’s facility at Charleston IAP. I also enjoy listening to the Charleston area Fire Departments; it’s fun to hear how departments you’re not used to listening to on a regular basis operate and it keeps me in touch with where crashes and potential traffic trouble may be at when I’m driving. On Monday morning, there was a particularly interesting incident in Charleston Harbor where various agencies including the Charleston FD and USCG worked to rescue and treat a number of people that were injured when their boat crashed and/or overturned.

USAF (57) TRS Talkgroups (Naval Support Activity Charleston site)

TG 751 - JB Charleston FD Dispatch; enc/unenc
TG 754 - JB/NSA Charleston FD Tac?; enc/unenc
TG 787 - Unknown; unenc (Naval Support Activity docks?)
TG 834 - 437th/315th AW; enc
TG 836 - 437th/315th AW MOC 1; enc/unenc
TG 837 - 437th/315th AW MOC 2; enc/unenc
TG 840 - 437th/315th AW; enc/unenc
TG 881 - Unknown; enc/unenc (USN, not USAF based on jargon used)
TG 884 - Unknown; enc
TG 910 - Unknown; enc
TG 920 - Naval Nuclear Power Training Command; unenc
TG 941 - JB Charleston Forestry; enc/unenc
TG 950 - JB Charleston FD?; enc/unenc
TG 954 - Unknown; enc
TG 966 - Unknown; unenc

Joint Base Charleston/Charleston IAP

126.000/239.000 - Charleston Tower
   -VOLT 15 (C-17A, 88-0266, 437th/315th AW)
   -REACH 635 (C-17A, 96-0007, 172nd AW)
   -VOLT 14 (C-17A, 98-0054, 437th/315th AW)

120.700/306.925/135.800/379.925/119.300 - Charleston TRACON
   -VOLT 14 (C-17A, 98-0054, 437th/315th AW)
   -VOLT 15 (C-17A, 88-0266, 437th/315th AW)
   -REACH 635 (C-17A, 96-0007, 172nd AW)
   -GIANT 4536 (B747 LCF, N249BA, Atlas Air)

134.100/349.400 - "PALMETTO OPS"
   -VOLT 15 (C-17A, 88-0266, 437th/315th AW)
   -VOLT 14 (C-17A, 98-0054, 437th/315th AW)

FedCom (USCG)

156.800 - Marine VHF Ch 16
157.050 - Marine VHF Ch 1021
157.100 - Marine VHF Ch 1022
171.2375 ($293) - CG 127, Sector Charleston; enc
413.0000 ($293) - CG 410, Sector Charleston Air Ops; enc

Palmetto 800 TRS

TG 11 - SC Regional Government 6
TG 542 - Bluffton FD Admin (Beaufort Co)
TG 704 - Beaufort County FD Dispatch 1
TG 1040 - Berkeley County FD/EMS Dispatch
TG 1078 - Berkeley County FD/EMS Ops
TG 1398 - Goose Creek FD Dispatch (Berkeley Co)
TG 1399 - Goose Creek FD Fireground 1 (Berkeley Co)
TG 1413 - Hanahan FD (Berkeley Co)
TG 1628 - Charleston County Incident 7
TG 1631 - Charleston County Incident 10
TG 1661 - Charleston County Incident 32
TG 1721 - Mt Pleasant FD Ops (Charleston Co)
TG 1771 - St Paul FD Ops (Charleston Co)
TG 1805 - North Charleston FD Ops (Charleston Co)
TG 1871 - Sullivans Island FD Ops (Charleston Co)
TG 2030 - Charleston FD 1 Ops
TG 2049 - Johns Island/St Johns FD Ops (Charleston Co)
TG 2051 - Charleston County FD/EMS Dispatch
TG 2057 - Charleston County Incident 4
TG 2062 - Charleston County Incident 5
TG 2066 - Charleston County FDs Ops A
TG 2073 - St Andrews FD Training (Charleston Co)
TG 4165 - Dorchester County FD Dispatch
TG 6541 - Jasper County FD Dispatch
TG 10394 - Meducare Helo
TG 27423 - SC DNR Region 4
TG 32065 - Hampton Co FD Dispatch
TG 51704 - MedTrans SC

There are parts of the exhibits and tours at Patriot’s Point that may be of interest to those interested in both Radio and History. The tours of both the USS Yorktown (CV-10) and USS Laffey (DD-724) include some of the ships’ radio rooms and CICs. From the flight deck of the USS Yorktown, you also get a very good view of the USS Laffey‘s antennas. You can also see Vietnam-era military radio gear in Patriots Point’s Vietnam Experience exhibit.

I enjoyed some good lodging and food on this trip. I stayed in the Comfort Inn & Suites Patriots Point, which is right on Patriots Point Rd near the park. It’s very clean and comfortable and the showers have plenty of water pressure (not something you can say for every motel these days). It’s conveniently located and from the radio hobbyist’s perspective close to several amateur radio repeaters and right in the midst of plenty to listen to. On Sunday evening, I had a delicious lamb gyro with a tomato and cucumber salad from Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe in Mount Pleasant; it was the best gyro I’ve had in quite a while. On Monday, before heading back to Savannah I stopped by the Shem Creek Crab House for a crab cake sandwich; not only was the food good, the views were great as well – the restaurant is located right on Shem Creek in Mount Pleasant.

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