Ground Station Dallas

FIFI's aeronautical mobile team now has ground station capability too.


Ground Station antenna











by Loney Duncan W0GZV


Just a brief rundown on events last week at Springfield, Missouri. I flew commercially to Springfield Wednesday morning to meet with Bob Heil, K9EID, CEO of Heil Sound, for video recording. FiFi was supposed to have arrived from the Chicago area Monday evening, but due to weather and battery problems, did not until late Tuesday morning. As a result, cockpit tours and flights were bunched up and hectic for Tuesday and Wednesday. Bob finally did get to go on a late flight Tuesday, bombardier seat, and thoroughly enjoyed it. He did some video recording for HamNation on the flight.

There were two morning flights and an afternoon one on Wednesday, and 500 people to go through the cockpit tour, so it was hard to access the plane. As a result, we decided to video in the terminal, discussing the radio installation and the plane, and then do a short recording at the radio position in the plane when the last person had completed the tour.

All in all, I think that Bob got some pretty good recordings for a HamNation broadcast. We met several people Wednesday that had come to see the plane as a result of a previous HamNation broadcast where Bob had interviewed me on Skype. As you know, Bob has an internet audience of at least 30,000 on that broadcast.

Thursday morning, Bob and a mutual Springfield friend and ham, Dean Prull, KH6BGW, set up a digital stereo recorder to record the engines on the warm-up. He told me that he got some good ones with that set-up.

As a result of a Missouri ham, Bob, KC0VEA, having previously contacted me as to the flight schedule and frequency, there was a whole 75 meter net shifted to my announced 40 meter 7200 kHz frequency. So there was no lack of contacts for the entire trip home. That shifted net definitely kept the frequency open! Bob's friend, Jim, WA0FBQ, was my first contact, and our first ART-13 to ART-13 QSO. I was fortunate to have Jim, KJ9T, in Illinois with a 1942 Collins 16E-5 transmitter and a 40 meter phased, two element, rotary dipole, become anchor and relay for the entire trip. His was a solid signal the entire time.

The deliberate strategy on the flight was to sell history. I allowed for multiple transmissions for a contact if there were questions about the plane and the radio equipment. And there were, plenty of them. There were also questions about Collins. There were responses from Pennsylvania and Kentucky, as well as the mid-west and Texas. And with all of these, there was an obvious fascination with FiFI and the old radios. I took the opportunity to tell the story.

Friday I contacted a few individuals that had participated during the flight, Bob Heil being one. They all said that our signal held up well and that the audio was excellent. The statement was made that when I talked there was no engine noise, but when I paused there was some, but not much. Obviously, our David Clark noise cancelling mic is doing well, and our gain setting is about right.

Bob said that for the rest of the day Thursday and far into the night, that there was a considerable buzz on the ham bands about the flight. There definitely was a high level of interest, and Bob said that the history aspect went over extremely well. This was very encouraging to me, and underscored that we were on the right approach for our mission to the CAF.




Note: If you have audio/video of recent "FIFI" ham operations that you would like to share, please contact b29radio.com.