The threat of rain didn’t dull our spirits when waking up to greet the day on Saturday June 24th, 2023 because we knew that it doesn’t rain on the club, it reigns IN the club! And, what wonderful weather we ended up having!
This year brought 31 logged visitors, 28 of which were licensed. In addition, we had a small youth group attend to check out what we do.
The start was around 8:30am at the Randolph Park back shelter. Laptops, radio stations, antennas, and feedlines were deployed, as well as food stuffs and used equipment for the Radio Rummage. This year’s items included lots of donated items from Rick Barrow, K3IW, as well as the remainder of the estate of Larry Simpson, N8UVH (SK). We hope that others will consider donations of equipment to the club for the Rummage in future events! The items were much appreciated by the purchasers, and by the club for the donation of funds. Funding more than covered the event for this year.
Our antenna system this year was simplified. Making use if the multi-band DX Commander and the Low Band Systems Triplexer, we were able to share a single antenna with all three stations at the same time on 20, 40, and 80 meters. This system has now been deployed for three separate events and is working extremely well.
Stations this year were set up with our Yaesu FT-710 AESS, the Yaesu FT-991A, and the Kenwood TS-430S. The FT-710 gave us the added ability this year to project, on a larger screen, the radio display. This gave a wonderful illustration to talking points for visitors to the event, and shows how modern technology is used in today’s amateur radio hobby.
Lunch was served at 1pm from the grill of Christopher, K4HZ and friend Ron. Items from the club as well as individual members were appreciated and consumed with as much dignity as a hungry soul could muster. I distinctly remember homemade cookies and lemon cake, but there were other items to miss out on if you didn’t attend.
2pm marks the starting point for contacts, and the operating stations were manned to stir up the ether. Joining us again this year to round out the CW score was Randal, WB4BBF with a wonderful little camper that shows “I’m here to stay!”.
Roy, W4DFD, brought the Pulaski County Mobile Command Center trailer to show us what’s changed. (Note to self… we need one of these for the club – seek donations). This is a wonderful setup and shows dedication from the county toward providing equipment and resources to manage communications for emergency situations.
At 4pm, an education activity to build a dipole antenna was put on by Christopher, K4HZ. Here, 13 people attended to join in on the construction of a 10 meter resonant dipole. The dipole kit used was a donation from Kay Craigie, N3KN and Carter Craigie, N3AO. Members of a local youth group assisted in stripping wire, calculating lengths, and testing of the antenna. In the end, the antenna was given away as a door prize to John, KO4OUE.
As the evening removed the sun, 80 meters still didn’t seem to care as the band seemed to be more interested in the late night chatter of rag chews that put our operators to sleep. Certainly 40 meters was the bread winner for this year’s event.
As morning came, so did the operators, and two surprising 6 meters contacts! Cam, W4XXV brought a portable station for VHF work along with an experimental 6 meter moxon antenna. The station was set up to listen on 50.125 MHz (6 meter SSB calling frequency), activity was heard around 9:30am EST on Sunday morning. Jason, N4JHP heard the station calling CQ and worked the contact. It was with a station in Minnesota, around 840 miles away! The next contact was made by Mike, KE4RGY with an Iowa station around 680 miles away. I hope that this setup will help us in the future with our next VHF contest attempt!
Morning also brought us some contacts via our favorite park employee Kim. She was able to assist us in making a few contacts, but the reward for us was in seeing her enjoy our hobby! Big thanks go out to Randolph Park for providing such a wonderful venue for the event.
Teardown and packing up was completed around 11am, and the event was drawn to a close. We all had a great time, enjoying the company, food, and operations around the best hobby in the world. I’m looking forward to more events with our club.
Things That Worked Well
Other than having fun, I’d like to capture some of the things that I think went well.
- Randolph Park location
- New Yaesu FT-710 AESS rig with large monitor display
- DX Commander, and tree as end-points for 80 meter section
- Triplexer for 20, 40, 80 meters
- Computers/Logging software
- Rolling storage for equipment
- Radio Rummage/Donations
- Club owned equipment covered 90% of needs
Improvements for Next Year
Here are some suggestions to keep in mind as we plan the event for next year.
- Focal teams for setup
- More operators/modes
- VHF station for monitoring VHF contact possibilities and “talk-in”
- More night-shift ops and resting periods for those staying 24 hrs
- More “Butt in Seat” time
- Communication direct with news outlet contacts (personal contacts needed)
- Communication with other youth organizations about event
- Arborist line kit for club (donation submitted)
- Headphones for stations (donation submitted)
- Triplexer covering 10, 15, 20 meters for use during the day
See below for pictures and the slides from the debrief for the event.