On Tuesday, June 24th, 1997, the SACMARC returned the historic Offutt Air Force Base amateur radio call sign, K0AIR, to the air from the Confederate Air Force's "Fifi". The last flyable B-29 Super fortress in the world, when it was on static display at Eppley Airfield in Omaha, Nebraska.

Amateur Radio Station KØAIR

KØAIR is the "call sign," of one of the station licenses of the Strategic Air Command Memorial Amateur Radio Club (SACMARC). The other one is KØGRL.

Originally assigned by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) sometime during the Cold War, KØAIR was a "military recreation station" located at "Building 305, Offutt Air Force Base." according to the 1963 Amateur Radio Callbook (Offutt, near Omaha Nebraska, was the Headquarters base for the former Strategic Air Command or SAC, 1946-1992, now reorganized into a unified command called USSTRATCOM). The station license was listed under "Elect. Maint. Section., 31st Comm. Sqdn., Bldg. 305, Offutt AFB" in the 1969 Callbook and "Elect. Maint. Section, 1911th Comm. Sqdn., Bldg. 305, Offutt AFB" according to the 1976 Callbook. Unfortunately, the license lapsed sometime afterwards (it does not appear in the 1980 Callbook), and the call sign was unassignable under FCC rules for two decades. Recent changes in FCC rules, including the adoption of a Vanity Call sign Program, offered the opportunity for SAC veterans, and other members of the local amateur radio community, to recover that call sign in memory of SAC and military communications history. KØAIR was taken down from history's attic, dusted off, and returned to active use in February of 1997.

KØAIR is a station in the amateur radio service. This is a special world-wide communications service, defined by international treaty, devoted to technical experimentation, public-service, and promoting international goodwill. KØAIR's original purpose as a military recreation station was to provide members of the armed forces assigned to Offutt AFB with off-duty recreation and training in communications and electronics. In its reincarnated form, KØAIR is a living exhibit of SAC and USAF military communications history, as well as modern amateur radio practice.

Having reactivated KØAIR and using it during special communications events (such as the one at the Confederate Air Force B-29 Static Display at Eppley Airfield in Omaha on June 24th and 25th, 1997, we've had the privilege of meeting (on the air) at least several other radio amateurs who are former military communicators and remember station KØAIR at Offutt AFB. One of them, Chuck Sudds, KØTVD, sent us an interesting personal account of his Vietnam-era (1967-1969) memories of running overseas telephone patches for the Military Affiliate Radio System (MARS). He served as one of the operators at KR6CF in Okinawa, Japan, and recalls not only KØAIR's strong signal into the Pacific Rim on HF, but also a frequent operator of that station, a helpful airman named "Al" (his full name, unfortunately, lost to history).

Return to the SACMARC Home Page

Copyright 1997 - 2021 SACMARC