Saturday, February 22, 2014

FiFi !! Last airworthy B-29 on the planet is in my logbook.

It's Saturday and Bambi has passed by again in search of something to eat. This has been a cold winter but not too snowy so I suppose there's enough out there to feed Bambi.

No luck yesterday connecting with Afghanistan. I'm just going to fire up the rig and leave it hooked to the laptop and run a JT-65 program today just for the hell of it.

Yesterday I made the contact of a lifetime. I QSO'd FiFi, the last airworthy B 29 on the planet. She was making a pre-air show season test flight yesterday afternoon and  the radio operator had the radios going and was taking calls. I busted through the mother of all pile ups and made the contact.

I THINK he picked my call out of the mess because I was using the WW2 phonetic alphabet which I use when calling WW2 memorial ships and stuff like that.

Log entry: K3NT/B29  2111Z  21Feb2014  18.150Mhz  5x9  FiFi/B29 OK/TX border.

I could clearly hear the radials in the background. I love the sound of a Pratt and Whitney radial engine and the 4 of them were loud. At one point I could hear them really roar as the pilot poured on the coal for a few minutes. Maybe he was climbing. If so the old bird must have climbed like a homesick angel.

I heard somewhere that the CAF (Commemorative Air Force, formerly the Confederate Air Force) was going to put a full-time radio operator on her to put her on the air.  

The radio operator told us between calls that the original government contractor had gone through a couple of the radios and replaced dried up parts. I just remembered something. They must have reworked them for SSB as if I recall they were originally AM sets.

He also explained they were dragging a longwire which they used to do back in the day for HF radio communications.

Incidentally right after the war a lot of hams bought a lot of surplus radios for civilian ham use and the sets from aircraft were popular. Recently I saw a complete set from a B-17 up for sale but I didn't bite. I don't have the skills to keep the old boat anchors up and running.

The request for a FiFi QSL card is in the mail already, you can bet on that.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

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