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HAM Operating on a Military Base

Discussion in 'On the Road' started by KJ6UFY, Jan 2, 2014.

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  1. KJ6UFY

    KJ6UFY Ham Member QRZ Page

    For those of us who’ve served, you know base security forces can be fussy. Worse yet is that famous civilian employee with a Two-way and a golf cart. At NAS New Orleans I encountered one of these Crusty/Rusty old souls while I was erecting my HF antennas. I strung a G5RV from the RV to a Tree, the vertical on the rear ladder. This expert in communications announced that my operation would interfere with the base’s communications and that I needed authorization from the Installation Commander via the Communications Commander. Having served in the military for three decades I knew this was huge BS.

    I won’t go into the conversation entirely but I quickly figured out that I was speaking to the village idiot. And then I remembered my dad’s advice; “Never argue with an idiot because he’ll drag you down to his level and then beat you with experience”. Unfortunately in this modern age an Extra class operator can defend his set up to someone oblivious to amateur radio and guess who’s going to win the debate?
    Needless to say I relied on a simple ham stick and my Dual Band mobile during my short stay. Anyone else have a similar experience?
  2. AJ4XL

    AJ4XL Ham Member QRZ Page

    If you ever come to Naval Air Station, Pensacola, FL no HAM radio be operated on the base due to old Ammo as they say. Living in Pensacola for 40 years now we have only been able operate a special event station a few times. We had to go through so much red tape you would not believe. Naval Station, Mayport, FL you can operate with a vertical no problem. When you put up a G5RV they will tell you to take it down for safety reason. I was a radio operator in the Navy for 21 years and have only a few problems explain what I was doing and I told
    them I know not to talk about the kind of ships in port etc for security reasons. The base police then left me to operate without any problem.

    Ken Williams, AJ4XL
    Pensacola, Fl.
  3. NC5P

    NC5P Ham Member QRZ Page

    At White Sands Missile Range amateur operations are restricted on some bands (primarily portions of the 440 band) but they do allow it otherwise. I think that you are encountering these civilian "police" that replaced MPs some years back and they don't know anything.
  4. KD4UMU

    KD4UMU Subscriber QRZ Page

    I operated from Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico from 1994 to 2003. The Base Comm Squadron had no problems as long as I stayed within the Amateur Bands. They even let me take my HAM gear to the old MARS site and hook up to the 6 MHz Log Periodic. That was a real treat because all my home HF operation was on a dipole antenna. I did have one event on base with the Local HAM Club at the Middle School. We set up a tri-bander on a mobile trailer. All of which was coordinated through the Comm Squadron, Public Affairs, and the Base Commander. We had some guy show up (high ranking military) and wanted to know why there was a large antenna on his base without him knowing about it. He was informed about PA, Comm, and the Base Commander. He had no reply. He just turned and walked away. I bet he got clued in when the Public Affairs printed the event in the base news paper. Holloman Middle School kids contact with NASA via HF. I had a lot of fun setting this up with K5LRW (Little Red Wagon) gang.

    Dan Jeffries KD4UMU
  5. K7KBN

    K7KBN Ham Member QRZ Page

    I don't know about current days, but at least through the 1980s, if you wanted to operate a private radio station (amateur, CB or whatever) within the real estate of a military installation, you HAD to have the written permission of the installation's Commanding Officer or Communications Officer. Period. That included stations in base housing units as well.
  6. K6CPO

    K6CPO Ham Member QRZ Page

    So, if you step outside the gate, you can operate all you want? Doesn't make sense... If they're worried about radio waves detonating old ammunition, then there should be a "radio quiet zone" surround the base for a substantial radius.
    KE0SBF likes this.
  7. KA0HCP

    KA0HCP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Of course the original poster is dead wrong. An FCC license does not grant absolute right to operate on military bases.

    Even military operators on the same base often face band and power restrictions, quiet hours, radio silence for ordnance handling and to avoid interference/desensing during tests and intercept work.

    A C.O. has absolute authority over his base. You operate only at his pleasure. No point in arguing, with them, because it' their base, their responsiblity, and we have no clue what sensitive operations may be going on. Policies vary all over the board. All Navy ships require specific approval from the Communications Officer or CO, even when in port, and may restrict cell phone usage. Other bases, may not have a policy or may be permissive, restricting operations by exception.

    If you want the bottom line go to the CO's office, or on Navy Bases 'Port Operations" on Naval Air Station "Ground Electronics Maintenance Division (GEM-D)" or on USAF base the Land Mobile Radio (LMR) shop, Communications Station or even the MARS Station. Ask to see the Base Regulations/Directives (USA/USAF) or Base Instructions (USN).

    Don't give us hams a black eye by making a scene. Restrictions on bases come out of past experience. Make trouble and your visit will be remembered for years, possibly closing the base to all amateurs in the future.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2014
    KE0SBF likes this.
  8. WC5B

    WC5B Ham Member QRZ Page

    I guess I had better luck. I operated from not only the base, but sometimes using base equipment. :p I guess it helps being a Radiomen. I never had much a problem and even had some encouragement in some cases. I operated from Sasebo, Japan CFAS, NCTAMS Hawaii, Norfolk Naval Station, and even was lucky enough to be one of two hams authorized to activate an active duty underway and deployed US Warship. (W4MDL/MMM).

    edit: I agree with the last post. It is important to not ruffle feathers because (at least when I was in) we had a pretty decent reputation. Military Hams are often some of the first free radio communication off of new DX Entities with the Military temporary governments or the UN's blessing. Its an important step for these countries so its important we keep a good rep to keep all of it spinning. Not to mention the relationship between each other in case of a REAL emergency.
  9. WG7X

    WG7X Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    If detonating "old ammo" was an actual problem, the military themselves could not use their own radios... A lot of the commonly used radios in use are pretty high power, usually more than a normal ham radio.

    I have operated in and around military bases for years. I even had a ham rig in my last office at Ft. Lewis, WA. Used surplus commo wire as an antenna. Made quite a few Q's from there too. The green-suiters were constantly amazed at how well my stuff worked, while their stuff always seemed not to work.

    The difference was that I knew how to make radio stuff work reliably while they had no clue. It was not their fault of course, because Uncle Sam would actually have a high power (400 watts) HF radio installed in the HUMVEE, and then give the "operators" no instructions on how to operate their new equipment. They came to me and we figured it out.

    In other words, just like the old saying... "It is sometimes better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission".

    The OP had the right of it, never argue with an idiot.

    73 Gary
  10. AD5MB

    AD5MB Ham Member QRZ Page

    optimum frequencies for ground penetrating RADAR: 409 - 432 MHz.
    biggest tract of land in America with a single landlord: WSMR
    WSMR is full of underground workings, all of which are well surveyed
    optimal place to test and calibrate ground penetrating RADAR: WSMR

    frequency band that controls drones: 902 - 928 MHz
    hams are secondary users of 70 CM and 33 CM.
    Ergo, no 70 CM east of the Rio, no 33 CM in a 2500 square mile hunk of real estate

    the military leaves big buffer zones around the edges of bases. any weapons firing is done far inside the base where the ammo can not possibly get off base. ergo, military bases end up being wildlife refuges. it is very common to see herds of 20 white tail deer, mule deer, pronghorn antelopes and oryx within 10 miles of the boundaries of WSMR. Bobcats were often spotted at the edge of Fort Irwin and USMC Logistics Base Yermo.

    There are many, many tests going on at WSMR. these tests have remote sensors that send date back to the test control sensor. The Frequency Coordinator has enough on his plate without having to deal with interference and intermod from some guy pursuing a hobby.

    People who make decisions have to deal with the consequences of their decision. NO is an inherently safe decision. NO results in NO unintended consequences. The Frequency Coordinators career and pension, versus your desire to talk to random strangers about nothing of consequence - NO, hell no, @#$% no, hell @#$%ing NO.

    in his place, you would make the same decision for the same reason.
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