N7DLV's Field Day 2007 Activities!
Field Day is an emergency communications excercise sponsered by the American Radio Relay League occurring on the fourth full weekend in June and lasts for 24 hours. This year, Field Day was on June 23-24, 2007. The primary purpose of Field Day is to test the emergency communications skills and preparedness of Amateur Radio operators, or Hams under simulated emergency conditions. During Field Day, Ham Radio operators all accross the U.S.A. and Canada will set up portable radio stations in public areas. Other Hams will set up stations at home under emergency power. Others will operate from thier vehicles.
Numerous Ham Radio clubs will also set up stations to participate. Many of these clubs use Field Day as a social event and set up in schools, parks, campgrounds, shopping centers, etc. They will use Field Day to show the general public what it is to be a Ham Radio Operator and to show that Ham Radio is an important form of emergency communications, and why in some cases, it may be the only form of communications when disasters strike.
I take a different approach. During an actual emergency, it will be very unlikely that a large group of Hams will be able to get together and set up elaberate stations. More likely, it will be the individual Ham radio operator who will be providing emergency communications for his or her community at the local park, church, school or shopping center. Everything for continuous operating will have to be provided and packed into the family vehicle for transportation to and from the communications site. I believe this approach to Field Day most closely approximates it's intended purpose.
Here is my story!
Everything I will be using for this year's Field Day is packed up in the car and I'm ready to go. Everything I need for 3 days is there. The radios, antennas, coax cables, antenna masts, electrical power for the portable station, food, shelter, everything. This year I am doing things a little differently. In addition of taking 3 high frequency wire dipole antennas, I am taking the Cushcraft R5 HF vertical antenna and an Extended Douple Zepp for 20 meters. The 4 wire antennas will be raised and lowered using a pully system. This should make things easier on my injured wrist and shoulders.
My Field Day site is in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. This is a very popular recreational area that is open to the public and is close to Seattle and Tacoma.
This is a rare sight! Snow in the shady areas at 4500 feet near the end of June.
I have arrived! I have been using this primitive camp site since 1993 with the exception of one year when I operated as 1C in Eastern Washington. This site is located along Forest Service Road #70, located a bit South and East of Greenwater Washington. Just follow WA. Highway 410 South from Enumclaw and make a left when you reach FS Road #70. Follow FS Road #70 and it will take you to the site. Oh uh! Is that a pick up truck?
Drat! Some one is already here. This primitive camp site is available on a first come, first served basis. For the second time in 15 years, I won't be able to operate Field Day here. Time to implement plan B and operate mobile as class 1C.
My mobile set up includes a new antenna configuration that I built about a week prior to Field Day. The mobile antenna is a full sized CB whip antenna mounted on top of a loading coil made made out of a B&W air dux inductor. The coil is tapped for 15-40 meters. On 80 meters, I use the entire coil. The SWR on 80 is higher than I like, and I will make some minor modification to lower the SWR. On 10 meters, I remove the coil and place the whip directly on the mount. Though the antenna is tall, I have traveled on residential streets with it without problems. Additionally, I have traveled on the highways at speeds up to 70 MPH without any issues. Therefore, this setup does comply with Field Day rules for mobile operation.
Here I am ready to go just before Field Day is about to begin. Even though I won't get any bonus points, I did set up an information table with handouts and brochures. Everyone that drove by, slowed down to see what I was doing and several stopped to take a look at the mobile station and sign the visitor's log. Everyone that stopped had questions and was interested in the set up. I answered their questions and handed out brochures. I had a very memorable conversation with a retired Army verteran that served in the Korean War. He told me he was an ex-Ham and as a Ham, he ran phone patches when he was stationed in Korea and states side for his Army buddies. I told him I did the same when I was in the Navy. I told him that when I ran phone patches, it was on a first come first served basis, regardless of rank. Officers had to wait in line behind the enlisted men if they arrived later. He laughed and told me he had the same rule. We sat and chatted for what seemed like an hour, talking about our military experiences, ham radio, and running phone patches. When he told me he had to go, I gave him a couple of brochures.
This QSL card will be sent to all the Field Day contacts I need for Worked All States. If you worked N7DLV during Field Day and would like one, just send a self addressed stamped envelope to N7DLV. I'll confrm the contact and send one to you.
If you want an interesting challenge, go out on your own next Field Day! You will get a better understandng what it is like to plan, create, set up and operate a portable station without assistance. Who knows, you may actually enjoy it!
Questions? Comments? Send me an E-Mail
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Copyright (c) 2007 by Eric A. Snyder. All rights reserved