My road trip for July was an overnight trip from Savannah to Warner Robins to visit the Museum of Aviation at Robins AFB. I wanted to see how their B-17G restoration is progressing and see the AC-130 training airframe that they recently acquired. I left on Monday afternoon, stayed overnight in Warner Robins then visited the museum on Tuesday morning and returned home to Savannah. Due to Monday being the Independence Day holiday, there wasn’t a lot of MilCom to monitor and Tuesday started out slow as well, so it turned out to be the rare trip where there was more Amateur Radio activity than monitoring activity.
This was my first trip to Central Georgia with the Anytone AT-D578UVIII in the car, so I was interested in how well I-16 was covered by the Twin City, Vidalia, Dublin, and Cochran DMR repeaters. It turns out that I-16 west of Statesboro is well covered for DMR. There’s not much of, if any, gap between the repeaters, so if you’ve got a mobile DMR radio, you won’t have any problems with coverage once you get west of Statesboro. From where I was staying on the east side of Warner Robins, I could use three different DMR repeaters from hotel room with the AT-D878UVII handheld: the Cochran, Kathleen, and Macon repeaters.
444.7875+ (DMR CC1) - Dublin 444.8250+ (PL 123.0) - Dublin 444.9875+ (DMR CC1) - Vidalia 440.6500+ (DMR CC1) - Cochran 146.6700- (PL 82.5) - Warner Robins (Peach State Intertie) 146.8500- (CSQ) - Warner Robins 440.5750+ (DMR CC1) - Kathleen 442.9000+ (107.2) - Warner Robins 145.4300- (PL 88.5) - Macon 146.7750- (CSQ) - Macon 146.8950- (PL 88.5) - Macon (Peach State Intertie) 442.2750+ (PL 123.0) - Macon 443.0750+ (DMR CC7) - Macon Note: 146.670 & 146.895 linked for ARES Net
I didn’t hear any MilCom on the way to Warner Robins or in Warner Robins on Monday afternoon and evening (no surprise since it was a holiday) except for some thunderstorm warnings on the Robins ALC MOC talkgroup of the USAF (157) TRS (the only unencrypted traffic I heard on the system). More on the thunderstorms later… Tuesday morning wasn’t very active either, although I did catch an ALC F-15 test flight and a 374th AW C-130J departing Robins AFB before I left the area around lunchtime. There was also some activity in the Bulldog MOA during the morning and some aerial refueling from a Joint Base Charleston C-17 and a MacDill AFB KC-135 in AR-207 in the early afternoon.
Robins AFB 133.225/257.975 - Robins AFB Tower 121.850/275.800 - Robins AFB Ground 119.600/124.200/279.600 - Atlanta TRACON 311.000 - BLACK KNIGHT Ops ROGUE 01 (F-15, Robins ALC) KANTO 81 (C-130J, 08-8604, 374th AW) USAF (157) TRS TG 56070 - Robins ALC MOC; unenc 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 56124 - Robins AFB Unknown; enc TG 56193 - Robins AFB Unknown; enc Bulldog MOA 343.750 - Bulldog MOA 141.825 - 169th FW/157th FS V14 140.125 - 169th FW/157th FS V15 MACE ## (F-16CM, 157th FS) VIPER ## (F-16CM, 157th FS) Atlanta ARTCC 269.625/123.950 - Atlanta Center Sinca Low 269.625/123.950 - Atlanta Center Sinca Low
On Monday evening, some thunderstorms passed through the Warner Robins area with a lot of lightning. It kept the fire departments in Houston County pretty busy and I heard at least one structure fire that Warner Robins FD handled that sounded like it was caused by lightning. Jones County FD was also active on their NXDN VHF repeater.
159.2250 (PL 123.0) - Georgia Forestry D3 Macon Repeater 159.4500 (NXDN48 RAN 45) - Jones County FD Dispatch 156.1350 (TS1 CC1 TG 100) - Laurens County EMS Dispatch Houston Peach Regional Radio System (P25 TRS) TG 16 - Houston County FD Dispatch TG 17 - Houston County FD Fireground 1 TG 31 - Houston EMS Dispatch TG 61 - Warner Robins FD Dispatch TG 62 - Warner Robins FD Fireground 1 TG 63 - Warner Robins FD Fireground 2? (WRFD 3 in RadioReference) TG 91 - Centerville FD Dispatch TG 121 - Perry FD Dispatch TG 122 - Perry FD 2 TG 147 - Unknown
Museum of Aviation at Robins AFB
I last visited the Museum of Aviation in October. Since then, I knew that they had acquired an AC-130 training airframe, but I didn’t know that they had acquired an MQ-1B Predator. With the addition of the Predator, they now have a nice collection of ISR aircraft in the Century of Flight Hangar.
The AC-130 training airframe is 56-0460. Originally an AC-130A, it served as a ground instructional airframe at Sheppard AFB and as an AC-130U Armament Systems Trainer at Hurlburt Field. It is still equipped with its 25mm GAU-12/U Gatling gun, 40mm L/60 Bofors cannon, and M102 105mm howitzer. It’s an impressive sight. The MQ-1B Predator is 08-3243 and is displayed with two AGM-114 Hellfire missiles on its hardpoints. It’s the first time I’ve seen a Predator in person and I wasn’t aware just how small it is; it’s dwarfed by the RQ-4 Global Hawk displayed in the same hangar.
It may not look like there has been much progress on the museum’s B-17G since I was there in October, but it looks like they may have been working more on it’s interior than exterior lately. On this visit, the aircraft’s interior was lit and it appeared that there was working going on inside.
When I took a walk behind the hangars, the A-7D Corsair II was no longer out back, so I’m assuming it has been moved inside one of the restoration buildings (I hope so, because I’m really looking forward to seeing it restored). Parked where it had been was an F-15 fuselage minus its wings marked 78-479 (I’m assuming it’s 78-0479, which showed with the Oregon ANG in 2018).
While I was in the museum’s main building, I took photos of two pieces of nose from historic C-141s. The first is from 61-2777 – The Gambler, the third of three C-141 prototype and service test C-141s built. It served as a test aircraft with the 4950th Test Wing at Wright-Patterson AFB and with the 418th Test Wing at Edwards AFB. Its tail was modified with a structure called the “Beer Can” to test avionics and electronic warfare systems. Note the cards in the nose art… The second is from 61-2776 – Desert Rat, the second of three C-141 prototype and service test C-141s. It also served as a test aircraft with the 4950th Test Wing at Wright-Patterson AFB and with the 418th Test Wing at Edwards AFB. One of the programs that Desert Rat was involved with was the first use of GPS for aircraft navigation.
Finally, you can’t leave the Museum of Aviation without admiring their B-52D. This time, I’ve included some photos of the “antenna farm” under it’s aft section.
I had two meals worth mentioning on this road trip. The first was Monday evening’s supper at Dai Ichi Japanese Steakhouse in Warner Robins. The service was friendly, the food was delicious, and it was a good value, too – the portions were generous. I had the Shrimp and Scallops Teppan Yaki with fried rice and enjoyed it. The grill is visible from part of the dining area, so depending on where you’re sitting, you can watch them cook you meal.
I stopped at the Taco Shed on GA-247/US-129 just south of the Museum of Aviation (see the map for the Museum of Aviation above) for lunch before heading back to Savannah. I’ve passed it plenty of times and finally decided to stop and try them. I had a two-taco combination with a Northside chicken taco (Fajita – onions and peppers, cheddar jack, pico de gallo, and jalapeño garlic sauce) and a Fromm-Inator (Surf & Turf- Fajita steak, blackened shrimp, serrano pico de gallo, romaine, queso fresco, and tomatillo salsa). They were both delicious – I enjoyed it and plan on stopping in again on future visits to Warner Robins.