We had an almost “return to normal” field day this year, with people gathered, food served, and radio operations held. Our roster reflects 22 in attendance, only three of which were not already hams.
We started around 8:30am at the Randolph Park back shelter, unpacking items for field day and our Radio Rummage. Most items from our Radio Rummage were donated by the estate of Bill White, W3ERG (link to bio). We were very appreciative of the donated items and were pleased to get equipment recycled to give inspiration to new builds and ideas.
The antenna field was set up with 4 antennas including an 80 meter dipole, a 40 meter Carolina Windom, a 20 meter dipole, and our new DX Commander. Everything went up well with the aid of club members bringing their mast kits, throwing lines, and strong backs (well, maybe not so strong).
Len, KC5EJR, was on point with grill and spatula, keeping those hotdogs and hamburgers rolling for our 1pm feast. Others brought items such as potato salad, macaroni salad (we should rename as Marconi salad for the event right?), cookies, and blueberry dessert!
As 2pm came around, the generator was started, and we were off to man the stations. Three stations were set up to include primary operations on 20, 40, and 80 meters. We were joined by another ham, Randal, WB4BBF, who showed us what a good CW operator can do. Of our 354 contacts, 182 of them were by Randal!
One fun contact was made as happenstance during a monitoring session of 2 meter simplex where WB4UHC was calling “CQ Field Day” from an aeronautical station. We got our call sign out there and made the contact with the aircraft as it was flying over Daleville, VA, some 50 miles away.
For those that were there Saturday evening, we got a quick tour of the Pulaski County Mobile Command center. This trailer is used to provide on-site communications for a variety of needs in the county and is managed by Roy, W4DFD, a member of the club.
The overnight stay was fun and allowed some to concentrate on making contacts with much less distraction to divert our attention. As 80 meters came alive, 20 meters was still holding strong for most of the early night.
As morning dawned, there was a threat of bad weather. We decided to pack up early and make for home to avoid any need to dry out at home. We finished teardown and packing about 10am, just in time for the rain to start on the drive home.
Things That Worked Well
Other than having fun, I’d like to capture some of the things that I think went well.
- Shelter layout plan
- Antenna plan
- DX Commander (really happy with this thing!)
- Computers/Logging software
- Solar powered station (WB4BBF) added 100 points
- Trees as end-points for 40/20 dipoles
- Radio Rummage
- Smaller generator (Sans Coffee)
- Portable antenna tuner
- New club coax/power cables
Improvements for Next Year
Here are some suggestions to keep in mind as we plan the event for next year.
- Individual assignments for bonus point items, food, drinks, antenna erection, station setup
- VHF station for monitoring VHF contact possibilities and “talk-in”
- Sticking to schedule for “events”
- Official “coaches” for getting people on the air
- More night-shift ops and resting periods for those staying 24 hrs
- Digital contacts
- More “Butt in Seat” time
- Flagging off DX Commander radial field
- Laptop 3 needs a battery ($35)
- Station LED lighting for keyboard/notepad use (already covered)
- Portable fan for operating positions
- Consider dropping generator capacity requirements by getting a coffee carafe filled ($40 at Amazon)
- Purchase a Husky 37 in. Rolling Tool Box Utility Cart for cabling/antenna parts ($100)
- Kenwood TS-430s is showing its age – VFO issues ($ ??)
See below for pictures and the slides from the debrief for the event.