Operation from B-29 "Fifi" at Omaha's Eppley Airfield
|The SACMARC had
the fortuitous opportunity to operate from the B-29 "Fifi" on Tuesday, June 24th
and Wednesday, June 25th, 1997, and use amateur radio communications to educate
the amateur radio community about the Confederate Air Force, the SACMARC, and
the last flyable B-29 Superfortress in the world, "Fifi."
- Paul, K3FU
- John, N4OWG
- Peggy, NØUEA
- John, NØTJQ
- John, KA2NIC
- Fred, KØFG
- Ray, N5SEZ
- Larry, WØPYA
- Clay, WA6LBU
The Confederate Air Force and General Urschler were very enthusiastic about
our presence. We had good media coverage, with cameramen from WOWT, Channel 6, and KPTM, Channel 42, coming
out specifically to talk with us. We got some footage on 6, and a lot more
footage on 42 (neither ran interviews with us, oh well...).
We chose to reactivate the former HQ SAC military recreation callsign KØAIR for this operation. We had HF
in the tail section (next to the observer's bubbles), and VHF voice/data under
the starboard wing, and made about 50 contacts on 7.29, 14.29, 28.329, 28.429,
146.52, 147.48, and 146.94(-) MHz, operating both days. Furthest contact was
Saskatchewan on 10 meters. We also had the opportunity to speak with many SAC
veterans, some of whom remember the original KØAIR. A few people took our
literature and expressed interest in becoming amateurs.
A lot of volunteer operation effort, and donation of equipment, made this
possible. In addition to the individuals above, N9XTN lent his full portable
packet station, WCØR donated some "soft," but still quite usable, deep-cycle
marine batteries, and KGØAR lent us some nice sturdy mil-spec folding tables. We
had just enough equipment and manpower to make a good go of it. If we had had
just a bit more, we could have been that much more effective. Of course, if we
had much less than what we had, we probably could not have made it happen.
Thanks to everyone who made this possible, and put KØAIR back on the air, preserving
USAF and SAC communications history, publicizing the CAF B-29, and putting a
good public face (including in the local mass media) on amateur radio.
Because of our effort (and the one by the individuals in North Carolina at
the National Experimental Aircraft Association's "Young Eagles Day" last summer,
see April QST), it's very
possible that in the foreseeable future, the CAF planes will fly with a
dedicated volunteer amateur radio operator on board (this according to one of
the CAF pilots, KB5RTY).