In 2019, I had planned a vacation to visit three American Revolution Southern Campaign battlefields in northern South Carolina: Musgrove Mill, Cowpens, and Kings Mountain. Unfortunately, there was a government shutdown at the time, so Cowpens and Kings Mountain being national parks, were closed. I planned a road trip to visit Cowpens and Kings Mountain for just after Thanksgiving, but some work commitments caused me to reschedule it for this past weekend. It turned out to be a great weekend for it; the weather was wonderful – lows in the 50s and highs right around 80. After wandering around the north Georgia mountains in June, it was nice to be in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in South Carolina.
In addition to the battlefields, I visited the Rose Hill Plantation Historic Site near Union, SC and Kings Mountain State Park adjacent to Kings Mountain National Military Park. Neither park is directly related to the American Revolution Southern Campaign, but both have roots in the early 1800s just after the American Revolution. Visiting these two sites showed how different life was in the 19th century for the yeoman farmer compared to the affluent plantation owner.
On the way up on Saturday morning, I took I-95 to I-26, avoiding the Interstate after visiting Rose Hill Plantation. The drive through the Sumter National Forest on Saturday morning was beautiful; I even saw some wild turkeys on a hillside. The drive through the mountains to Cowpens and Kings Mountain also provided some lovely scenery. On the way back to Savannah early on Monday morning, I took I-85 to I-26, getting off of the Interstate in Columbia to take US-321 back to Hardeeville and US-17 into Savannah. The Interstates in South Carolina are a mess, not to mention the back roads provide a much more interesting drive.
For this road trip, I based out of Gaffney, SC, roughly halfway between Greenville and Spartanburg, SC to the west and Charlotte, NC to the east and three of the four historic sites/parks that I visited were right along the South Carolina/North Carolina border. There is a lot to listen to in that area. Aviation-wise, you can hear aircraft with three different ARTCCs: Atlanta, Jacksonville, and Washington Centers as well as aircraft with Greer TRACON, Charlotte TRACON, and Columbia approach. Public Safety-wise, there is a lot of traffic on the Palmetto 800 P25 TRS and the North Carolina VIPER P25 TRS as well as VHF conventional, the Charlotte UASI P25 TRS, and a NXDN regional TRS. Given that it was a weekend, there wasn’t much MilCom to listen to, but I did catch a few aircraft transiting through the area on air traffic control frequencies. On the federal side of things, I didn’t hear a lot, but I did finally hear some traffic from the Sumter National Forest (the Rose Hill Plantation Historic Site is within the national forest).
This trip was another opportunity to put the Nagoya NA-701 antenna I bought for my Uniden BCD436HP before my June North Georgia road trip through its paces. The more I use this antenna (as a scanner antenna instead of a dual band amateur radio antenna), the happier I am with it. It does a good job on VHF/UHF/700/800 as well as the VHF airband and UHF military band without being over a foot long. It’s also fairly flexible, so it doesn’t snag as bad as the stock antenna did.
Amateur Radio-wise, northern South Carolina was quite active as far as repeaters go. I heard a lot of activity on Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon, and Sunday afternoon. Early morning on Monday, before the normal rush hour times, a couple of repeaters in the Spartanburg area were already going. By the time I got to Columbia, rush hour was just getting started and several repeaters in that area were active as well. While there aren’t any repeaters in Gaffney itself, I noticed that several Gaston County, NC repeaters covered Gaffney quite well, particularly the 443.9125 Gastonia/Crowders Mountain DMR repeater; I was able to get into it from my hotel room with no problems. The repeater coverage around the Cowpens National Battlefield and the Kings Mountain National Military Park was pretty good; several repeaters seemed to cover both areas.
145.1500 - Union, SC (CSQ) 145.3500 - Dallas, NC (PL 82.5) 145.3700 - Greenville, SC (PL 123.0) 145.4700 - Marietta, SC (PL 91.5) 145.4800 - Green Pond, SC (DSTAR - KJ4LNJ-C) 146.6100 - Greenville, SC (CSQ) 146.6550 - Leesville, SC (CSQ) 146.6700 - St. Matthews, SC (PL 156.7) 146.7150 - Columbia, SC (PL 91.5) 146.7450 - Little Mountain, SC (DCS 315) 146.8800 - Blacksburg, SC (CSQ) 146.8800 - Orangeburg, SC (PL 123.) 146.9100 - Whitehall, SC (PL 156.700 146.9400 - Knightsville, SC (PL 123.0) 147.0900 - Neeses, SC (PL 156.7) 147.0900 - Spartanburg, SC (PL 162.2) 147.2100 - Little Mountain, SC PL 156.7) 147.3150 - Spartanburg, SC (PL 123.0) 147.3300 - Columbia, SC (PL 156.7) 441.5750 - Charleston, SC (PL 123.0) 441.6750 - Greenville, SC (PL 91.5) 442.0750 - Spartanburg, SC (PL 123.0) 442.3250 - Newport, SC (PL 110.9) 442.6250 - Blacksburg, SC (PL 107.2) 442.7000 - Gastonia, SC (PL 100.0) 442.8750 - Columbia, SC (DCS 315) 443.1750 - Laurens, SC (PL 146.2) 443.3000 - Sumter, SC (DCS 315) 443.3750 - York, SC (PL 110.9) 443.5000 - Leesville, SC (DSTAR - KC4GYM-B) 443.6500 - Blythewood, SC (DCS 315) 443.8000 - Rock Hill, SC (DCS 315) 443.9125 - Gastonia/Crowders Mountain (DMR CC1) -easily accessed in Gaffney, SC 444.4500 - Dallas, NC (PL 100.0) 444.8250 - Holly Hill, SC (PL 162.2) 443.8625 - Gastonia, NC (DSTAR - KK4JDH-B) 444.9250 - Landrum, SC (CSQ)
While in Gaffney and traveling between the historic sites and parks I was visiting, I was able to hear aircraft with Columbia Approach/Departure to the south, Greer TRACON for Greenville/Spartanburg to the west, and Charlotte, NC TRACON to the east. Charlotte-Douglas IAP, being a major hub, was VERY busy. Additionally, northern South Carolina is where Atlanta ARTCC, Jacksonville ARTCC, and Washington ARTCC areas all come together, so you could hear aircraft with all three of them.
Columbia/McEntire ANGB 124.150/133.400/285.600/338.200 - Columbia TRACON Greenville/Spartanburg 118.800/119.400 - Greer TRACON -CAP 3285 (C172, N99885, NC Civil Air Patrol) -OTIS 09 (KC-130J, 166514, VMGR-252) 120.600 - Atlanta ARTCC Approach/Departure 120.100 - Greer Tower 133.325 - Donaldson Field Tower 119.900 - Greenville Downtown Airport Tower Charlotte, NC 120.050/120.500/124.000/125.350/126.150/135.600 - Charlotte TRACON ARTCC 269.550/124.700 - Jax Center Columbia Low 290.350/132.425 - Jax Center Hunter Ultra High 317.550/134.375 - Jax Center Charleston Low 319.200/127.875 - Jax Center Aiken High -REACH 852 (C-17A, 07-7189, 437th/315th AW) -REACH 853 (C-17A, 07-7185, 437th/315th AW) 346.300/133.300 - Jax Center Moultrie Ultra High 239.025/132.625 - Atlanta Center Shine Low 251.100/133.150 - Atlanta Center Locas Low 263.125/135.350 - Atlanta Center Unarm Low 269.100/125.625 - Atlanta Center Spartanburg High 290.200/134.550 - Atlanta Center Moped Low 291.750/125.025 - Atlanta Center High Rock Ultra High -MARINE 714 (UC-35D, 166714, VMR-1) -MARINE 767 (UC-35D, 166767, MAW-4) -FORGE 63 (C-37A, 02-01863, USAPAT) 307.350/132.975 - Atlanta Center Pulaski High 323.025/124.425 - Atlanta Center Charlotte High 360.625/124.325 - Atlanta Center Clark Hill Ultra High 379.200/128.800 - Atlanta Center Leeon Low 322.450/118.925 - Washington Center Raleigh High -MARINE 714 (UC-35D, 166714, VMR-1) -MARINE 767 (UC-35D, 166767, MAW-4) 348.650/135.200 - Washington Center Liberty Low 360.650/118.825 - Washington Center Dixon Super High 363.225/132.225 - Washington Center Tar River High
Public Safety agencies in northern South Carolina and southern North Carolina, for the most part, use either the respective statewide P25 trunked repeater systems – Palmetto 800 for South Carolina and North Carolina VIPER for North Carolina – or VHF conventional. York County, SC has it’s own P25 trunked repeater system and some Gaston County agencies use the Charlotte UASI P25 trunked repeater system. A few agencies also use the Fleet Talk Carolinas NXDN trunked repeater system. From the area around Gaffney, you can hear traffic on all of these systems, so there is quite a lot to hear.
159.3300 (DCS 271) - SC Forestry Lake Murray 159.3450 (DCS 351) - SCFC Union 151.1600 ($205) - SC DNR Little Mountain P25 154.4000 (PL 123.0) - Cherokee County FD Dispatch 155.2200 (PL 123.0) - Cherokee County FD Landing Zone 155.0325 (DCS 51) - Cherokee County EMS Dispatch 154.2050 (PL 192.8) - Laurens County FD Dispatch 154.1750 (PL 91.5) - Orangeburg County FD East Dispatch 155.6250 (PL 91.5) - Orangeburg County FD Central Dispatch 155.7900 (PL 91.5) - Orangeburg County FD West Dispatch 154.3100 (PL 85.4) - Spartanburg County FD Dispatch 154.0250 (PL 85.4) - Spartanburg County FD Ops 155.8950 (PL 85.4) - Spartanburg County FD Tac 1 155.8200 (PL 127.3) - Union County FD Dispatch 158.7600 (PL 167.9) - Cleveland County NC FD 154.1600 (PL 167.9) - Shelby FD (Cleveland County NC) 151.4000 (PL 156.7) - Gaston County NC FD Palmetto 800 P25 TRS TG 4166 - Dorchester County FD Incident 1 TG 6541 - Jasper County FD Dispatch TG 20024 - SC Regional Government 8 TG 25053 - Orangeburg County FD Dispatch TG 25552 - Columbia FD Dispatch TG 25556 - Columbia FD Ops 4 TG 25557 - Columbia FD Ops 5 TG 26101 - Sumter County FD 1 TG 32065 - Hampton Co FD TG 40005 - SC Air 3 TG 40011 - SC Regional Government 3 TG 40012 - SC Regional Government 4 TG 44033 - Greenville County Central 1 TG 44041 - Greenville County FD Dispatch TG 44043 - Greenville County FD Ops 10 TG 44351 - Greenville FD Dispatch TG 44385 - Greer FD Dispatch (Greenville County) TG 44388 - Greer FD Tac (Greenville County) TG 44399 - Mauldin FD Dispatch (Greenville County) TG 44411 - Parker FD Tac (Greenville County) TG 44462 - South Greenville FD Dispatch (Greenville County) TG 44471 - Wade Hampton FD Dispatch (Greenville County) TG 44473 - Wade Hampton FD Alert (Greenville County) TG 46541 - Newberry County FD Dispatch TG 48642 - Spartanburg County Regional 1 TG 48650 - Spartanburg County Event 1 TG 50603 - SC DHEC Hospital Region 1 Piedmont TG 51206 - SC EMD Piedmont TG 51704 - MedTrans SC Helicopters TG 51705 - MedCenter Air TG 51712 - Prism MedTrans (Greenville County) York County P25 TRS TG 49601 - York County Fire/EMS Dispatch 2 TG 49756 - York County Fire/EMS Conference TG 49831 - York County Fire/EMS Dispatch 3 TG 50301 - York County Fire/EMS Tac 11 TG 50302 - York County Fire/EMS Tac 12 TG 50303 - York County Fire/EMS Tac 13 TG 50304 - York County Fire/EMS Tac 14 TG 50305 - York County Fire/EMS Tac 15 TG 50311 - York County Fire/EMS Tac 21 Fleet Talk Carolinas NXDN TRS TG 378 - Chester County EMS Dispatch (Chester County SC) TG 424 - Kings Mountain FD Dispatch (Cleveland County NC) TG 453 - Fairfield County EMS Dispatch (Fairfield County SC) NC VIPER P25 TRS TG 41002 - Rutherford County FD Dispatch TG 51532 - MedCenter Air Admin TG 51533 - MedCenter Air Dispatch TG 51535 - MedCenter Air Ground Dispatch TG 51583 - Mission RTS Dispatch TG 51967 - NC Statewide Event Delta 1 TG 51971 - NC Statewide Event Echo 1 TG 52107 - NC Wildlife Resources Commission District 8 TG 52109 - NC Wildlife Resources Commission District 9 TG 52255 - Statewide Calling Channel Charlotte UASI TRS TG 18533 - Gastonia FD 2
With it being the weekend, there wasn’t a lot of FedCom to hear. While there were park staff at the Cowpens National Battlefield on Saturday, I never heard any activity on their repeater frequency. On Sunday, the visitors center at Kings Mountain National Military Park was closed, but though I did see some maintenance personnel around, I didn’t hear anything on their repeater frequency, either. I’ve never heard anything from the Sumter National Forest on previous trips to the area, but on Saturday morning, I did hear one transmissions on the forest’s Whitmire repeater.
173.7750 (PL 131.8) - USFS Whitmire (Sumter National Forest)
I had three great meals during this road trip. The first was at Carolina Cafe (a steakhouse, actually) in Gaffney, SC. I had the Carolina Medallions, which was steak medallions smothered with jack cheese, onions, and mushrooms topped with sautéed shrimp with a baked potato and a salad. The meal was wonderful and the service was quick and friendly. They’re open from 4pm-10pm and when I got there about 5 minutes to opening, there was already a line at the door and it didn’t do anything but grow; it looks like they’re quite popular with the locals. The second, and the best meal I had on this trip, was at Carolina Crossing in Grover, NC – a homestyle southern/country restaurant. They had a number of Sunday specials and I chose the roast beef and gravy with macaroni and cheese, green beans and cornbread plus an extra vegetable – fried squash. It was magnificent southern country cooking; the roast beef was the best I’ve had since Yoder’s Deitsch House in Montezuma, GA. The third was at The Clock of Gaffney. The Clock has a wide variety of options, but I decided to try their lasagna with garlic bread and a salad. It was quite good and came out surprisingly quick. It’s conveniently located near several hotels, so it’s a good choice if you’re in Gaffney near I-85.