OVARC Field Day at the Titan Missile Museum


Caught word that the Oro Valley Amateur Radio Club (OVARC) was operating from the Titan II Missile Museum in Sahuarita, AZ today. Owen and I decided to come check it out, not only to try and work some HF from the field but also to visit the Titan II ICBM Silo, which is the last of its kind remaining (in pristine condition, anyways). In 17 years of living in Arizona visiting this place has always been on my list but I hadn’t gotten around to visiting until today!

We operated from the truck for about 1.5 hours after arriving a little after 9; I would’ve gotten more photos but time flies when you’re having fun and chatting it up with other hams. Before we knew it it was time to take a break from operating and head over for a tour we had scheduled – for an hour long tour there sure was a ton of information to take in. We were guided through the entry portal, command center and finally ended at the silo itself which still carries the original Titan II rocket; the business end of the US nuclear arsenal at the height of the Cold War. The missiles, essentially spacecraft, could be launched within 50 seconds of receiving the order to do so, and could reach a target on the other side of the world in about 30 minutes; absolutely mind blowing. Owen peered his eyes out, after all – we were looking at the guts of a real life rocket ship!

After the tour, operations had started to wind down with the OVARC crew and others; I decided to stick around a little afterwards and operate using the HF discone antenna which is part of the original communications array that kept each Titan site connected to the rest of the world and has been made available for radio amateurs to use. At over 80’ in height – it’s by far the largest antenna I’ve ever connected to and it seemed to perform beautifully. Built by the Collins radio company, SWR was about as close as 1:1 as I can measure on the radio, and that was with the trans match disabled! Within minutes I worked stations in Germany, Italy and South Africa using FT8 on 20 meters – a breath of fresh air compared to my EFHW and HOA restricted neighborhood; where can I buy one of these!? Do you think the HOA would notice!?


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