Field Day 2023

This year, W4BXC was on the air for Field Day as a 1E SC station after we noticed one of the Field Day FAQs said

Convenient access across one’s backyard to their home station facilities is not in keeping with the spirit of Class A or Class B portable operations. Such convenient backyard operations on property of home stations remain either Class D (commercial power) or Class E (emergency power), even if home antenna structures are not used.

ARRL Field Day 2023 packet

Like last year, we had the radio running on three deep cycle batteries connected in series, and they had no problems providing enough power to keep the radio transmitting at 100W the entire time we were operating.

Radios and laptop set up for ARRL Field Day 2023
Radios and laptop set up for ARRL Field Day 2023
Antenna set up for ARRL Field Day 2023
Antenna set up for ARRL Field Day 2023

I also set up a recently acquired Kenwood TM-221A 2m radio to monitor repeater activity.

Kenwood TM-221A mobile radio set up for ARRL Field Day 2023
Kenwood TM-221A mobile radio set up for ARRL Field Day 2023

I noticed this computer speaker used a 9V DC power supply, so I decided to power it with a 9V battery and connect it to the radio. Worked out pretty nicely. Note: if you notice that the noise characteristics from the speaker have changed, it probably means the battery is going dead and needs to be replaced. Took me a while to figure out what was going on.

Computer speaker connected to a 9V battery for power
Computer speaker connected to a 9V battery for power

The bands were crowded but pretty mushy during the day on Saturday. Lots of noise, quiet stations fading in and out, and only a few really loud ones. Things started getting better into the late afternoon and early evening and stations out on the west coast in the LAX and SDG (San Diego) sections started coming in pretty well. We waited for the ARRL Field Day bulletin and copied it down before calling it a night.

The next morning I got back on the air and worked a bunch more stations. A nice mix of sections across the country and into Canada. All the contacts we made ended up being on the 20m and 40m bands. Made a few forays up to 10m, but heard absolutely nothing there which kind of surprised me.

Ended up with a total of 106 contacts in the log for a total of 212 QSO points. 350 bonus points brought our total score up to 562 points. Final score might end up being a bit higher, because this year we’ve got some of W4BXC’s non-local members participating as well.

Practicing with the Begali

Got my Begali Camelback straight key wired up with a standard 3.5mm TRS cable, and made up an adapter cable to connect it to the Heathkit HD-10 keyer.

Morse code keys and bug connected to a Heathkit HD-10 electronic keyer

I’ve been really enjoying practicing Morse code with the Camelback. The solid, weighty base gives it a super stable feel and a nice satisfying thunk-y sound as opposed to the more clack-y sound from the J-38 key. I’m sure if I mounted the J-38 on a more solid base, it might also have a nice thunk-y-er sound. I’ll have to look around for something heavy to attach the J-38 to now.

The Camelback is hefty enough that it doesn’t move around while I’m keying. The Vibroplex bug is also pretty hefty, but will slide around a bit while I’m using it. I probably need to replace the feet or put some grippy pads on them to keep it from sliding around.

USS Yorktown (CV-10) Commissioning 80th Anniversary

USS Yorktown (CV-10) aircraft carrier at Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum

The special event station to commemorate the Yorktown’s 80th anniversary went reasonably well. It was a nice day and good weather for operating on the ship. Ended up with a total of 5 other people joining me to run the station. Two of us were operating, and the others shared logging duties (two were new-ish hams and didn’t want to get on the air yet).

Ended up operating for just under 4 hours and got about 27 contacts in the log, all on 20m. Even had a bit of a pile-up going for a few minutes at one point.

Heard lots of POTA and Michigan QSO party stations while tuning around the band. It was an interesting day on 20m. The stations I heard and contacted were either super loud or really faint and hard to hear, without much in-between.

Even though we didn’t get as many contacts as I expected, it was still a fun day of operating. It’s been a while since I was last operating in the club room. I think I need to spend more time playing on the radio there.

Special Event: USS Yorktown (CV10) Commissioning 80th Anniversary

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the commissioning of the USS Yorktown (CV10). Like I did 5 years ago for the 75th anniversary, I’m planning to run a special event station from the club room (WA4USN) on the ship.

My current plan is to get started around 10AM or so, and operate probably until about 4 or 5PM. Activity will be on 10m, 20m, and 40m, depending on how the bands are behaving that day. We’ll also be listening on the 2m repeater.

Patriot’s Point will also be commemorating the occasion with reduced admission and events on the Yorktown throughout the day.

NC QSO Party 2023

Spent a few hours playing in the North Carolina QSO party, returning the favour for the NC stations that I got the previous day.

As usual with the nearby states, all the NCQP action I heard was on 40m, and all of them were coming in pretty loud.

Ended up the day with 47 contacts, 31 counties, and all but two of the bonus stations (N4[WRIGHT]) set up to commemorate the 120th anniversary of the Wright Brother’s first flight. I was just missing N4W and N4R. I did manage to work a W4W station though, but that was a different special event station.

 Band     QSOs     Pts  Mul  Pt/Q
     7      47      94   31   2.0
 Total      47      94   31   2.0
Score: 2,914
1 Mult = 1.5 Q's

Update 2023-05-30: The results for the 2023 NC QSO party were posted a few days ago and my 47 contacts got me 3114 points, including 200 bonus points. If I counted right, that put me at 31 out of 102 submitted logs in the out of state, phone, low power category.