The South Carolina State Museum is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 16 mission to the moon and South Carolinian Charlie Duke’s walk on the moon with an exhibit and planetarium presentation about the mission, so I took a road trip up US-321 to Columbia to see it on Sunday. Instead of coming back to Savannah that afternoon, I decided to stay overnight and visit the Riverbanks Zoo on Monday morning before heading home. During the trip, I listened to Amateur Radio, Aviation, MilCom, and Public Safety communications. The southern part of the trip on US-321 doesn’t offer much to hear, but activity increases once you get close to Orangeburg and only gets more active as you get closer to Columbia.
South Carolina State Museum
The South Carolina State Museum recently opened a new exhibit honoring the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 16 mission to the moon. Astronaut Charlie Duke is from South Carolina and he was one of the Apollo 16 astronauts who walked on the moon during the mission. Among the items in the exhibit are a space helmet and glove worn by Duke, one of Duke’s flight suits, a replica training moon rover, and a moon rock brought back by the Apollo 16 crew. The planetarium at the museum is also offering a presentation on the Apollo 16 mission that shows where Apollo 16 landed on the moon in relation to the rest of the Apollo missions and explains why they chose that landing site.
Radio enthusiasts would enjoy one of the museum’s permanent exhibits: amateur radio equipment that belonged to Cayce, SC amateur radio operator Charles Hafely, W4NZA. Among the items on display are a 1931 homebrew transmitter and a 1915 Wireless Specialty Co crystal detector, a 1921 Western Electric audio amplifier, a 1959 Hallicrafters Skyrider Defiant receiver, and some Heathkit equipment.
The museum sits along the Congaree River, so while I was there I took a walk along the river through an adjacent park. During my walk, I came across a small urban waterfall on a creek that runs into the Congaree. It was a pleasant Sunday afternoon and there were plenty of wading birds along the riverside and turtles sunning along the banks but unfortunately I didn’t have the DSLR with me at the time.
When I planned my trip to Columbia, I forgot that school would probably be out for a Spring/Easter break and it must have been – the Riverbanks Zoo was pretty busy for a Monday morning! The morning started out in the mid-40s, but once the sun came up it warmed up nicely, making it a beautiful morning for walking around the zoo. As usual, I enjoyed to listening to the zoo’s radio traffic while I was wandering around:
453.3125 (DCS 051) – Riverbanks Zoo Maintenance
453.3250 (DCS 071) – Riverbanks Zoo Ops
462.5250 (DCS 125) – Riverbanks Zoo Public Safety
The Zoo Ops channel, to me, is the most interesting one to listen to. You can hear keepers and veterinary staff talking about the animals and sometimes when animals are off exhibit, listening to it can give you a heads up about when they’re coming out.
Last month, while visiting Charleston, I didn’t hear much amateur radio activity but this trip to Columbia was different. I heard four DMR repeaters active and seven analog repeaters. Before I added DMR capability to KF4LMT mobile, the area between Garnett and Fairfax seemed to be a bit of a dead zone but on this trip I discovered that the Charleston South SCHEART DMR repeater seems to cover at least part of the area.
442.3875 (DMR CC1) – Charleston South
147.0300 (PL 156.7) – Barnwell
147.3750 (PL 91.5) – Barnwell
146.8800 (PL 123.0) – Orangeburg
440.5875 (DMR CC1) – Orangeburg
146.7150 (PL 91.5) – Columbia
147.3300 (PL 156.7) – Columbia
440.6125 (DMR CC1) – Columbia Downtown
442.5125 (DMR CC1) – Columbia East
442.8750 (DCS 315) – Columbia
444.8750 (PL 91.5) – Columbia
This trip turned out to be really uninteresting from the MilCom/Aviation point of view. I didn’t hear much except for an E-6, BOWEN 57, transiting near Columbia on Sunday evening and VIPER 2#, a flight of SC ANG F-16s on Monday. The Fort Jackson sites of the US Army TRS didn’t even seem to be as active as they have on previous visits. Perhaps it had something to do with the coming Easter holiday.
Columbia/McEntire JNGB 119.500/257.800 - Columbia Metro Airport Tower 123.075 - Unicom, Jim Hamilton-LB Owens Airport 132.400/253.500 - McEntire JNGB Tower 124.150/133.400/285.600/338.200 - Columbia TRACON 298.300 - 169th FW/157th FS Ops 140.125 - 169th FW/157th FS V15 US Army TRS (Fort Jackson sites) TG 555 - Fort Jackson Fire Control; enc TG 737 - Fort Jackson Range Control; unenc TG 770 - Fort Jackson DPW; unenc Sumter/Shaw AFB 125.400/318.100 - Shaw AFB TRACON Beaufort/MCAS Beaufort 125.125/292.125/123.700/269.125 - Beaufort App/Dep Charleston/Joint Base Charleston 120.700/306.925 - Charleston TRACON Jacksonville ARTCC 281.550/124.075 - Jax Center Summerville High 285.650/126.125 - Jax Center Statesboro High 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 363.200/132.925 - Jax Center Allendale/Savannah Low 370.950/133.625 - Jax Center Georgetown High Atlanta ARTCC 269.625/123.950 - Atlanta Center Sinca Low 307.050/126.425 - Atlanta Center Dublin High 322.325/128.100 - Atlanta Center Augusta Low
I don’t know what was in the water around Columbia on Sunday evening, but it sounded like there were an unusually high number of motor vehicle crashes compared to previous visits; they were keeping the medevac helicopters busy for sure. Columbia/Richland County and Lexington County were busy as always, but once you get south of Orangeburg, you’re in a more rural area and things just aren’t as busy. South of Orangeburg, don’t be surprised if your radio(s) don’t make much noise until you get closer to Hardeeville. One thing was generating some radio traffic on the southern end of the trip – on Monday afternoon there was a sizeable forest fire on the east side of US-321 near Garnett that generated some radio traffic on the SC Forestry Hampton repeater.
Palmetto 800 TG 550 - Hilton Head Island Fire/Rescue Dispatch TG 552 - Hilton Head Island Fire/Rescue Tac 1 (Beaufort Co) TG 704 - Beaufort County FD Dispatch 1 TG 6541 - Jasper County FD Dispatch TG 6542 - Jasper Co FD Tac 1 TG 6543 - Jasper County FD Tac 2 TG 20019 - SC Mutual Aid 9 TG 20020 - SC Mutual Aid 10 TG 23541 - Kershaw County FD Dispatch TG 23641 - Kershaw Co Air Ops TG 24531 - Lexington County FS Ops 1 TG 24532 - Lexington County FS Ops 2 TG 24539 - Lexington County FS Ops 9 TG 24542 - Lexington County FS Dispatch TG 24910 - Irmo FD Talk (Lexington Co) TG 25053 - Orangeburg County FD Dispatch TG 25057 - Orangeburg County FD Page TG 25552 - Columbia FD Dispatch (Richland Co) TG 25553 - Columbia FD Ops 1 (Richland Co) TG 25556 - Columbia FD Ops 4 (Richland Co) TG 25557 - Columbia FD Ops 5 (Richland Co) TG 25558 - Columbia FD Ops 6 (Richland Co) TG 25559 - Columbia FD Command 1 (Richland Co) TG 25569 - Richland County ESD 5 Hazmat/Fire Marshal/Coroner TG 25570 - Richland County ESD 6 Tac TG 26101 - Sumter County FD 1 TG 28106 - SC EMD Midlands TG 28181 - SC EMD Call TG 28609 - SC LifeNet (Medevac Helicopters) TG 27505 - DHEC Hospital Net Main TG 32065 - Hampton County FD TG 51704 - MedTrans SC Helicopters 155.9400 (PL 85.4) - Allendale County EMS Dispatch 159.2700 (PL 203.5) - SC Forestry Piedmont Ops 159.3300 (DCS 271) - SC Forestry Lake Murray 159.3750 (DPL 116) - SCFC Hampton
As always, no road trip is complete without good food and this trip was no different. On Sunday evening, I decided to try something different and went to a Caribbean restaurant. I went to Pon Di River Caribbean Bar and Bistro in Columbia and tried something I’d never had before: Ackee and Saltfish, which the menu said is the national dish of Jamaica. Ackee is a type of fruit I’d never had before and the combination with salted fish was unexpectedly delicious. On Monday, before heading back to Savannah I stopped by one of my favorite sandwich shops – the East Bay Deli in West Columbia and had one of their Charleston Phillies.
Ackee and Saltfish with Macaroni and Cheese at Pon Di River Caribbean Bar and Bistro in Columbia, SC
The Charleston Philly from the East Bay Deli in West Columbia, SC
I’m planning a week-long north Georgia road trip for June, so this is probably my last road trip until then. The Month of May should be an active radio month in the Savannah area, though. Georgia Air National Guard social media has been announcing a Sentry Savannah exercise in May, so I’ll be wanting to stay in town to hear some of it. If any of my my readers are familiar with DMR repeaters in the North Georgia area, particularly around Dahlonega, Helen, and Clayton, I’d love to hear which repeaters and talkgroups I should listen to while I’m up there.