HAM Operating on a Military Base

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

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  1. N4AAB

    N4AAB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    There are several ham clubs in the area, one or more of their members might be retired military and might know who to contact out there.
  2. KD0PEZ

    KD0PEZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am a ham who not only operates on a military base, but I also live on base as well. Many folks have wondered how I am able to pull this off.

    For HF I run an Terlin Outbacker on a tripod mount. I can move it inside the house when not in use, or I can move it out when i want to use it.

    For VHF/UHF I run a tri bander on a tripod I found in the trash, and the feed point is only 15 ft. up. Like the Outbacker, I can move the tri pod around if needed as it's not permanently affixed to the house.

    Granted my set up is by no means the best, but it does work ok and I can make contacts with it. No one bothers me about it.

    Also a friend of mine who is a ham, also lived on base, and had a discone on a 20 ft. fence post in his yard, and was never bothered about it.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2014
  3. K0HB

    K0HB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    What are Base Commanders rules regarding radio transmissions from his installation?

    in my Navy days it was allowed, but you needed to register your station and in some cases (aboard communications stations, for example), submit to an inspection by the base communications staff before you could go on the air. Getting caught with a "stealth" station would likely subject you to a discussion about "failure to obey a lawful regulation".
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2014
  4. N3AWS

    N3AWS Ham Member QRZ Page

    This surprises me. During my 24 years (and counting) in the USAF I have operated on many USAF and USN bases including: Andrews, Bethesda, Langley, Dover, Keesler, Lackland, MacDill, Patrick, Eglin, Hurlburt Field, Mayport, JAX NAS, and Gulfport Seabee Base. I've operated mobile and portable and never, ever had an issue. We operated K5TYP at the club shack and portable at the Marina at Keesler for years. VHF, UHF, Satellites, HF, SSB, CW, digi modes, etc.

    Do commanders really make an issue of this? I have never experienced anything but curiosity for what I was doing.

    NOTE: Although I am currently stationed at Goodfellow, I have not operated from the Fella' up till now--but it wouldn;t be a problem if I did.


    Jim N3AWS
  5. N4AAB

    N4AAB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    KARA, the Keesler Amateur Radio Association is still there as of last winter.
  6. K4PIH

    K4PIH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Good to see the OP was from P'cola, my home! Anyway here's my take. It depends on the branch of the service and the frequency manager responsible for the base. When I was stationed at Offutt AFB in Omaha, the base com squadron helped me install my trap vertical in front of my base residence. They provided the ground rod, cement base and helped me run my coax. Their reasoning was if they helped me it would be properly done and present no danger to the other houses or my house. Great bunch of folks. Same in Korea, the base comm squadron helped me get my HL9 call and provided me with coax and I lived off base! Fast forward to the Coast Guard birthday this past weekend. As president of Mount Vernon Amateur Radio Club, I had been working with Ft. Belvoir (I retired in the DC area) to allow us to operate on base for the CG birthday event. About 10 days out, I was on the base to secure an operating area and was told by the MWR (Parks and Rec for non-mil folks) that we as a group could not transmit from the base. Not letting MWR tell me about radio, I went to the base frequency manager and was informed that there was no way we could transmit anything from base. Said it would interfere with sensitive operations going on. This after we were assured that it was ok a month prior to the 2 Aug event. So it all depends on the base, service branch, and local frequency manager. Sometimes it's easier to just say no.

  7. K0HB

    K0HB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    It isn't just a matter of being "easier to say no".

    I spent 21 years as a Navy Radioman.

    If you think restrictions on transmitting are bad news, try this on for size. In my day (60's-70's), bases near communications sites did not allow entry to motor vehicles until they were cleared by a receiver "DC-to-daylight" scan for ignition noise. If some milli-watt ignition noise is enough for concern, imagine a ham KW with key-clicks or SSB splatter.

    In many cases there are good and valid operational reasons for the regulation of radio emissions.
  8. K4PIH

    K4PIH Ham Member QRZ Page


    I hear ya! There were other circumstances with the issue at Ft. Belvoir. We only run 100 watts into wire antennas. But moving on ... When I was Air Force we used to monitor everything that transmitted including vocal, person to person, go to the local "establishments" and listen to people talk after too many beers, then we would tap the phones, computer networks, and any local base radio nets. We called it dirt-to-daylight and I found it interesting that you said DC to Daylight. Some thigns never change.

    73 de Jack
  9. KF6JG

    KF6JG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi this is kf6jg, when I was on a military base back in the fifties u where required to in fom the base comm center that u were put up a amature radio station, but since then the rules have been relaxed
    73 john
  10. W9AFB

    W9AFB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Everyone has a cellphone these days, delivery vehicles have 2 way radios, there are WiFi hubs all over bases, etc. Local fire and law enforcement can go on base and use their radios. I think a lot has changed since most of you have been in. In addition, many bases are right up against populated areas. RF doesn't stop at the barbed wire fence...
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