I took an overnight road trip on Sunday, 24 October and Monday 25 October to visit the Jarrell Plantation Historic Site in Juliette, GA, the Ocmulgee National Historic Park in Macon, GA, and the Museum of Aviation at Robins AFB in Warner Robins, GA. I visited Jarrell Plantation on Sunday morning, had lunch, and visited Ocmulgee National Historic Park in the afternoon before heading down to Warner Robins to spend the night. On Monday morning, I visited the Museum of Aviation and headed over to Perry, GA for lunch before heading back to Savannah. Sunday’s weather was perfect for walking around Jarrell Plantation and walking the trails at Ocmulgee; the weather on Monday morning wasn’t quite as good – I was hoping to get some photos of aircraft working the pattern at Robins AFB but the sky was overcast and there wasn’t anything in the pattern until after I left. All was not lost, however, as I saw some new additions to the museum, saw one in new paint, and was surprised to see one back in one piece after sitting in multiple pieces for a few years.
Given that one of the days I was traveling was a Sunday, I didn’t expect to hear much, but I was pleasantly surprised. The early morning portion of the drive was predictably bereft of radio traffic, but things began to improve when I got to Dublin, where I stopped for breakfast. From there on, public safety radio systems in the more populated counties were fairly active. Later in the day, I heard some VMFAT-502 F-35Bs working in the Bulldog MOA over east central Georgia from Macon and when I got to Warner Robins, I caught a USMC UC-12 going into Robins AFB. On Monday, of course, things picked up with a couple of aircraft working the pattern at Robins AFB and a lot of encrypted traffic on the base’s site of the USAF 157 TRS. On Sunday morning and afternoon, some of the Amateur Radio repeaters in the Macon area were more active than I expected
On both Sunday and Monday, I noted that the 147.150+ (PL 123.0) repeater in Cedar Grove (Laurens County) was fairly active and covered I-16 pretty well. It’s one you’ll definitely want to keep an ear on while travelling the I-16 corridor near Dublin. The Macon repeaters seemed to cover the Juliette area in Jones and Monroe counties fairly well; once I was north of Dublin, it seemed that I was almost always within range of a repeater.
145.1800- (DStar - KY4YNR-C) - Dublin 145.3400- (DStar - WX4EMA-C) - Macon 145.4300- (PL 88.5) - Macon (Cherry Blossom Intertie System) 146.7750- (CSQ) - Macon 146.8350- (PL 77.0) - Bollingbroke (Peach State Intertie System) 146.8500- (CSQ) - Warner Robins 146.8950- (PL 88.5) - Macon (Peach State Intertie System) 147.0750+ (PL 123.0) - Claxton 147.1500+ (PL 123.0) - Cedar Grove (Peach State Intertie System) 147.3000+ (PL 107.2) - Centerville 147.3300+ (PL 77.0) - Dublin 442.9000+ (PL 107.2) - Warner Robins 443.1500+ (PL 82.5) - Warner Robins
Monitoring MilCom is fairly easy from the Macon and Warner Robins area. Besides the obvious – Robins AFB in Warner Robins, you can also hear activity in the Bulldog MOA in east central Georgia and some traffic from Moody AFB down in Valdosta. Multiple air routes go over or near the Macon and Warner Robins area, so it’s not too difficult to catch military aircraft transiting through the central Georgia area.
It goes without saying that the VHF airband in the Macon area is VERY busy given that it isn’t far from the crowded airspace of Atlanta. I could have heard a lot more than what I did, but I intentionally didn’t program much from the Atlanta area; if I’d have done so, that’s all I would have heard. I still heard quite a bit; from Macon you can hear traffic from the south with Jacksonville Center and from the north with Atlanta Center.
Robins AFB 133.225/257.975 - Robins AFB Tower 119.600/124.200/124.800/279.600 - Atlanta TRACON 293.525 - 116th/461st ACW "PEACHTREE OPS" USAF (157) TRS (Robins AFB site) TG 56110 - Robins AFB Unknown; enc TG 56121 - Robins AFB Base Ops; enc TG 56122 - Robins AFB Tower; enc TG 56123 - Robins AFB Crash/Fire; enc TG 56141 - 116th/461st ACW; enc TG 56166 - 116th/461st ACW MOC; enc TG 56193 - Robins AFB Unknown; enc MCAS Beaufort 326.700 - VMFAT-501 Tac 1 225.325 - VMFAT-502 Tac 2 McEntire JNGB 298.300 - 169th FW/157th FS Ops "SWAMP FOX OPS" 141.825 - 169th FW/157th FS V14 140.125 - 169th FWF/157th FS V15 MOAs 343.750 - Bulldog MOA Callsigns PEACH 99 (E-8C, 116th/461st ACW); didn't take off EASY 61 (UC-12F, 163561, H&HS New Orleans) NAVY LL 14 (P-3C, 161404, VP-30) NAVY LL 877 (P-8A, ??????, VP-30) NIGHTMARE 1# (F-35B, VMFAT-502) SWEDE ## (F-35B, VMFAT-501) MACE ## (F-16CM, 157th FS) VIPER ## (F-16CM, 157th FS) N14NG (BE20, N14NG, Northrop Grumman) N239AE (Bell 206L-1, N239AE, AirEvac) ARTCC 269.625/123.950 - Atlanta Center Sinca Low 290.375/125.825 - Atlanta Center Hampton Ultra High 298.850/120.450 - Atlanta Center Tiroe Low 307.050/126.425 - Atlanta Center Dublin High 322.325/128.100 - Atlanta Center Augusta Low 327.150/120.425 - Atlanta Center Georgia High 353.925/124.375 - Atlanta Center Lanier High 353.950/125.575 - Atlanta Center Lagrange High 360.625/124.325 - Atlanta Center Clark Hill Ultra High 360.750/134.500 - Atlanta South Departure Low 371.950/119.375 - Atlanta Center Macon High 132.475 - Atlanta Center Athens Approach 269.025/127.575 - Jax Center Waycross Low 282.300/135.975 - Jax Center Alma High 285.650/126.125 - Jax Center Statesboro High 290.350/132.425 - Jax Center Hunter Ultra High 319.200/127.875 - Jax Center Aiken High 346.300/133.300 - Jax Center Moultrie Ultra High 351.700/124.075 - Jax Center Summerville High 370.950/133.625 - Jax Center Georgetown High
The counties of central Georgia use a variety of communications systems. The urban areas around Warner Robins and Macon are uniformly P25 trunked, but the rural counties use analog, DMR digital, and NXDN digital systems. There are two counties worth contemplating, though:
- Laurens County: RadioReference lists the DMR frequencies in use by Laurens County public safety as conventional frequencies, but I’ve thought for a while now that they’re actually a multi-site DMR trunked system. If you look at the licenses, the frequencies are grouped at different locations, three to a site. When you listen to the frequencies, they “act” like a trunked system, too. I’ve got them programmed in my TRX-2 as sites as noted below and it seems to work. It’s worth noting that Laurens SO and Dublin PD are now encrypted; the last time I went through Laurens County they weren’t.
- Twiggs County: RadioReference has 158.8350 listed as Twiggs County FD Fireground 2, but I have a suspicion that it’s Twiggs County FD Dispatch instead. It’s encrypted, so there’s no way to tell, but I never heard anything on the listed dispatch frequency. On the other hand, 158.8350 was quite active with one Radio ID that seemed to be dispatch (RID 101) and others (RID 8####) that seemed to be units responding to dispatch.
Conventional 154.3550 (PL 141.3) - Butts Co FD Dispatch 151.4300 (PL 173.8) - Emanuel County EMS Dispatch 159.4500 (NXDN RAN 45) - Jones County FD Dispatch 155.3850 (PL 94.8) - Lamar County EMS Dispatch 154.0700 (PL 186.2) - Laurens County FD Dispatch 154.2500 (PL 192.8) - Treutlen County FD Dispatch 158.8350 (DMR S1, C7, TG 8000) - Twiggs County FD; enc 160.6650 (PL 118.8) - Upson Co FD Dispatch 159.2250 (PL 123.0) - Georgia Forestry District 3 Repeater Laurens County DMR TRS TG 100 (S1 C1) - Laurens County EMS Dispatch TG 200 (S2 C6) - Laurens County SO Dispatch; enc TG 300 (S1 C1) - Laurens County FD Dispatch TG 400 (S1 C4) - Dublin PD Dispatch; enc Laurens County DMR TRS sites South Laurens: 154.1900, 154.9950, 155.0850 East Laurens: 155.6250, 155.8350, 156.1275 West Laurens: 154.4000, 154.8225, 156.2400 Central Laurens: 154.1150, 155.3550, 156.1350 Dublin: 154.3100, 154.3850, 155.5500 East Dublin: 153.9650, 154.7550, 158.8500 Houston-Peach Regional Radio System (HPRRS) TG 16 - Houston County FD Dispatch TG 17 - Houston County FD Fireground 1 TG 61 - Warner Robins FD Dispatch TG 91 - Centerville FD Dispatch TG 121 - Perry FD Dispatch Central Georgia Interoperability Regional Radio System (CGIRRS) TG 132 - Macon-Bibb County FD Dispatch 1 TG 134 - Macon-Bibb County FD Scene 2 TG 135 - Macon-Bibb County FD Scene 3 TG 151 - Macon-Bibb County Event 1 TG 152 - Macon-Bibb County FD Event 2 TG 1101 - Monroe County FD Dispatch Tatnall County NXDN TRS TG 12 - Tattnall Fire/EMS Dispatch
Juliette Park on Ocumulgee River
While on my way from the Jarrell Plantation Historic Site in Juliette to lunch in Macon on Sunday, I came across a beautiful local county park on the Ocmulgee River in Juliette. It’s located on the south side of Juliette Rd just off of GA Highway 87. From the park, you can see the Ocmulgee’s waters just before they spill over a dam going downstream. Up-water of the dam, the water is still and smooth as glass, perfectly reflecting the sky. Beyond the dam, you can see the river flowing around and over rocks. I’m glad I decided to pull in and check it out, because it yielded some beautiful photos!
I had three great meals on this road trip. The first was Sunday’s lunch at Medi’s Mediterranean Fusion on Bass Rd in Macon. They offer a menu of Mediterranean and Indian food; I tried their Beef and Lamb Shawarma wrap and Falafel and it was amazing. The service is equally as good. If you try Medi’s, you won’t be disappointed. The second was Sunday’s supper at the Metropolis Grill on GA Highway 96 in Warner Robins. They serve Greek, Mediterranean, and Indian food; I’d never tried Indian food before, so I decided to try their Karahi Shrimp. Since it was my first time trying Indian food, I’m in no place to rate it, but I loved it. I’ll definitely be trying more Indian food in the future. The third was Monday’s lunch at The Oil Lamp Restaurant in Perry, which I tried on recommendation. I’m glad I followed up on that recommendation because the food was excellent; the Oil Lamp serves homestyle country cooking in a cafeteria like setting. I had the roast beef with loaded baked potato casserole, butterbeans, cornbread, and a slice of red velvet cake.