The Jimmy Carter National Historical Park, Andersonville, a Space Fence, a Matador Missile, and the Little Ocmulgee State Park – Road Trip Radio Report; 30 July – 1 August 2022

After some of the events of July, I needed to take a break and relax, so I took a road trip to Plains, GA to visit the Jimmy Carter National Historical Park and to Andersonville, GA to visit the Andersonville National Historic Site on Saturday and spent the rest of the weekend relaxing by the lake at Little Ocmulgee State Park in Helena-McRae, GA. It was my first time visiting Plains and the Jimmy Carter National Historical Park; it’s a nice little town and the Historical Park does a great job at giving insight into Carter’s background and Presidency. Radio-wise, it was uneventful; little was heard on amateur radio repeaters along the way and there weren’t any major incidents heard on public safety radio systems. The most activity I heard was on civilian air traffic control frequencies.

Amateur Radio

I didn’t hear a lot of Amateur Radio activity on the repeaters over the weekend, although I did scare up a couple of QSOs on the Vidalia (Brandmeister TG 310592 and First Coast DMR (Brandmeister TG 31121) talkgroups. The only repeaters I heard any activity on in the Plains/Americus/Andersonville area were the Montezuma 146.610 and Dawson DMR repeaters. Around the Little Ocmulgee State Park area I heard some activity on some of the Dublin area repeaters.

147.3300+ (PL 77.0) - Dublin
444.7875+ (DMR CC1) - Dublin
147.1500+ (PL 123.0) - Cedar Grove 
440.6500+ (DMR CC1) - Cochran
443.1500+ (PL 82.5) - Warner Robins
146.8950- (PL 88.5) - Macon 
146.6100- (PL 97.4) - Montezuma
444.4875+ (DMR CC1) - Dawson

MilCom/Aviation

It was a weekend, so I didn’t expect to hear much MilCom, but on Saturday I didn’t hear a bit. On Sunday, I did hear a few military aircraft on Jacksonville and Atlanta Center frequencies from Little Ocmulgee State Park. If you’re an aviation enthusiast, particularly civilian aviation, Central Georgia isn’t a bad spot for aviation listening. It’s along the border of the Jacksonville and Atlanta Center areas of responsibility and you can hear a lot of traffic heading for Atlanta. The state park also happens to be across the highway from Telfair-Wheeler Airport, so you can hear aircraft coming and going from it as well as some airports in surrounding counties.

122.700 - Dublin Airport (KDBN) Unicom
122.800 - Hazlehurst Airport (KAZE) Unicom
122.900 - Telfair-Wheeler Airport (KMQW) Unicom
122.950 - Heart of Georgia (Eastman) Airport (KEZM) Unicom
123.000 - Fitzgerald Airport (KFZG) Unicom

124.200 - Atlanta TRACON

127.575 - Jax Center Waycross Low
127.875 - Jax Center Aiken High
132.425 - Jax Center Hunter Ultra High
132.925 - Jax Center Allendale/Savannah Low
133.300 - Jax Center Moultrie Ultra High
133.700 - Jax Center Baxley Low
135.975 - Jax Center Alma High

119.375 - Atlanta Center Macon High
123.950 - Atlanta Center Sinca Low
124.325 - Atlanta Center Clark Hill Ultra High
125.825 - Atlanta Center Hampton Ultra High
126.425 - Atlanta Center Dublin High
128.100 - Atlanta Center Augusta Low
134.500 - Atlanta South Departure Low

GUARD 20302 (HH-60M, 10-20302, 1-111 AVN GA ARNG)
KATT 70 (T-6A, 165983, VT-10)
PROPS 92 (C-130H, 89-1185, 154th TRS)

Public Safety

I was really surprised not to hear any Fire Department or EMS traffic from Telfair County or Wheeler County while I was at the Little Ocmulgee State Park over the weekend. The park is right near the Telfair/Wheeler line, so I figured that I would be able to hear both. The park isn’t that far from Laurens County, so some Laurens County and Dublin traffic could be heard on their DMR repeaters. On a more positive note, I was surprised at how wide the coverage of the Houston-Peach Regional Radio System was, I could easily hear it in the counties just south of Houston and Peach Counties while going to and from the Plains area. NXDN seems to be the favored digital voice mode over that way, as I heard it in use by Dodge County and Dooly County.

159.2400 (PL 167.9) - GFC D6 Bleckley Repeater

158.8425 (NXDN48 RAN 32) - Dodge County Fire Association; enc
154.1600 (NXDN48 RAN 32) - Eastman FD (Dodge County); enc
155.1000 (NXDN96 RAN 1) - Dooly County EMS Disptach
154.0700 (PL 186.2) - Laurens County FD Dispatch
155.3550 (DMR CC1 SL2 TG 300) - Laurens County FD Dispatch
156.1350 (DMR CC1 SL 1 TG 100) - Laurens County EMS Dispatch
154.3850 (DMR CC1 SL2 TG 500) - Dublin FD Dispatch (Laurens County)
155.4000 (PL 85.4) - Macon County EMS Dispatch
155.3850 (DCS 054) - Sumter County EMS Dispatch
154.3850 (PL 127.3) - Americus FD Dispatch (Sumter County)
154.1600 (PL 131.8) - Americus FD? (Sumter County)
154.0550 (PL 110.9) - Wilcox County Fire/EMS Dispatch

Houston-Peach Regional Radio System (HPRRS) P25 TRS
 TG 16 - Houston County FD Dispatch
 TG 17 - Houston County FD Fireground 1
 TG 18 - Houston County FD Fireground 2
 TG 61 - Warner Robins FD Dispatch
 TG 62 - Warner Robins FD Fireground 1
 TG 121 - Perry FD Dispatch

151.8500 (DCS 047) - AirEvac 102, Dublin

Jimmy Carter National Historical Park

The Jimmy Carter National Historical Park was a late addition to the road trip’s itinerary but it became the main reason for the trip because it was one of Georgia’s National Park System sites that I hadn’t visited before. It consists of a visitors center and museum at the old Plains High School where both Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter went to school, the Carter Farm where Jimmy Carter grew up, and the Plains Train Depot where Carter’s campaign headquarters was set up for the 1976 election. I’m truly glad I visited, because it gave me some more insight into one of our past Presidents and what influenced his beliefs and decision making.

The slideshow below is composed of some photos from the Jimmy Carter National Historical Park. The first three photos are of the museum and visitors center at the old Plains High School, including a photo of the desk used by Jimmy Carter and the rocking chair used by his mother Lillian Carter in the campaign headquarters. The next four photos are of downtown Plains, including the warehouse and offices that were owned by Jimmy Carter’s father, the Depot used as his presidential campaign headquarters, and his brother Billy’s service station. The rest of the photos are from the farm where Jimmy Carter grew up; the white farmhouse was the Carter’s house and the green farmhouse was where Tyler “Jack” Clark, the farm’s African American supervisor lived. Additionally, there are photos of the farm store, blacksmith shop, and barns.

Andersonville National Historic Site

Whenever I find myself west of I-75 in Central Georgia, I make a point of visiting the Andersonville National Historic Site, which is home to the National POW Museum and the Andersonville National Cemetery. It’s a way to remember and honor the Civil War soldiers who suffered and died at the Andersonville POW Camp. It and the POW Museum a reminder of one of the ugliest sides of war.

The slideshow below is composed of photos from the Andersonville National Historic site. The first photo is of the park’s visitors center and the National POW Museum. The next four photos should be of interest to both history and radio enthusiasts: crystal radio sets by US World War II prisoners of war in German POW camps. The sixth photo was taken from the back of the prison camp site looking back toward the visitors center and museum. The last three photos are from the Andersonville National Cemetery, where the Union POWs were buried. The cemetery is also used for the burial of Veterans from other eras, but you can’t help but be struck by how close together the many headstones of the Union POWs are. The cemetery is also home to one of my favorite statues, depicting three POWs helping each other and bearing the scripture “Turn you to the stronghold ye prisoners of hope” (Zechariah 9:12).

Cold War Relics

On my way from Andersonville to the Little Ocmulgee State Park, I came across two relics of the Cold War. The first, I knew about, and planned to stop by: the Air Force Space Command Hawkinsville Field Site on GA-26 just west of Hawkinsville. The field site was part of the AN/FPS-133 Air Force Space Surveillance System, also known as the Space Fence. Originally built in the late 1950s and early 1960s for the US Navy, it was a receive site for signals on 108.5 MHz and then 216.980 MHz and used to track objects in space. In 2004, it was turned over to the Air Force and it was shut down in 2013. It’s still there and fenced/gated, but you can see part of the antenna system from the highway. While not interesting to most folks, if you’re interested in radio, space, or the Cold War, it’s worth stopping for a few minutes and taking a look. There’s also a receive site near Claxton, GA but I’m saving that for a visit in Autumn when it’s a bit cooler.

I had never seen the second relic, and to be honest never expected to see it where it was. While driving past the Hawkinsville-Pulaski County Airport just east of Hawkinsville on US-341, I saw what looked like the tail of an old jet fighter on a pedestal on the access road to the airport. I turned around at the first opportunity and drove back to see what it was. It turned out that it was an old MGM-61 (52-1872) Matador missile (the Matador was the first operational US cruise missile, in service from 1952-1962). What a curious thing to find at a rural airport! I have no idea why it’s there, so if anyone knows the story behind it, I would love to hear it.

Little Ocmulgee State Park and Lodge

I stayed in a lodge room at the Little Ocmulgee State Park and Lodge in Helena-McRae, GA from Saturday evening to Monday morning. It was a wonderful place to just get away from it all and relax in a rural setting (the only problem was finding places to eat in Helena-McRae on a Sunday besides fast food!). The park has a lodge, cabins, golf course, and lake (for kids, it also has a playground and splash pad). The room I stayed in was just as good as any hotel, with a comfortable bed, TV, refrigerator, and WiFi. It could have used a microwave, but there was one nearby with the ice machine and snack/drink machines. There is also a restaurant/bar at the Lodge, but it too is closed on Sundays. I did eat there on Saturday evening and it wasn’t too bad. The lake is beautiful and there is a nature trail that winds through the sandhills beside it with a boardwalk into a cypress swamp.

Food

Over the course of this trip, I had a good cheeseburger at the Buffalo Cafe and great peanut ice cream at Plain Penauts in Plains, good tacos at the restaurant at the Little Ocmulgee Lodge, and a good burrito at El Aguila in Helena-McRae, but the best meal of the trip was on Sunday at Company Supply in Dublin, GA (most of the restaurants in Helena-McRae were closed so I decided to try something in Dublin). Located in one of downtown Dublin’s historic buildings on W Jackson St, it serves Cajun/Creole style food. I had the Crawfish Pasta Bienville and it was wonderful. It’s great food at a good price with friendly service – definitely worth driving into downtown Dublin for if you’re in the area.

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