Participated in my first Winter Field Day this weekend with WA4USN (also the first one for the club), 1O SC. The event made for a good excuse to check out the HF capabilities of the CARS communications trailer (which I suppose is the whole point of Field Day). It’s a much more casual and far less involved day than Summer Field Day (no food, fewer operators, no overnight shift).
Started off Saturday (January 26) getting the trailer set up. By the time I got to the site, the trailer had already been pulled out of the building and the radios were getting set up. Apparently there was supposed to be an HF dipole in the trailer, but it couldn’t be found so we went with the Tarheel antenna that had been mounted to the roof of the trailer.
The Tarheel is an OK mobile antenna but for long distance HF, we found our signal just wasn’t getting out very well. We managed about a dozen contacts over the three hours or so that we were out.
The next day (January 27), I brought out my ZS6BKW antenna. By the time I got there, the others had already set up the trailer with a 20 m dipole hanging on the trailer’s pneumatic mast. We switched out the 20m dipole for my antenna and got back on the air.
The dipoles worked much better than the Tarheel, and with the ZS6BKW, we were able to operate on 40 m and 20 m.
Weather was fairly decent (especially compared to other sites further north). Sunday was a good bit colder than Saturday was though, and I was starting to get a bit on the stiff side by the time we wrapped things up.
Ended up the event with 69 contacts on 40 m and 20 m, mostly phone but a few digital (PSK) in there as well. It was a good exercise for myself and everybody else who came out on getting the trailer set up and operating from it.
I also think I want a pneumatic mast for the house like the one on the trailer.
There hasn’t been a whole lot of radio activity going on here lately since Field Day.
There were four state QSO parties going on this weekend (AZ, NV, PA, SD). After getting a SD station (W0SD), I decided to try to get at least one contact in the other three. I wasn’t able to find any more SD stations, but I did manage three contacts in AZ, three in NV, and eight in PA.
While tuning around the other bands (there wasn’t a whole lot), I scored contacts with hams in the Dominican Republic and Slovenia. There was also someone in Spain, but he had a bit of a pileup going that I wasn’t able to get through.
Started off doing the first hour of Field Day at home running the radio off battery power. With the radio running 25-50 W, I racked up a few good contacts tuning around 10m, mostly from up and down the east coast.
Then it was off to the usual Field Day on the USS Yorktown with the club. This year we were operating with 2 stations plus a GOTA station that appeared to attract some interest.
The GOTA station was run on battery that was being charged by a solar panel, and also featured a couple of VHF go kits and some Morse code keyers to play with.
At the usual operating locations, people were busy making Field Day contacts. I spent about an hour at the phone station operating, but listening to the band chaos wore me out pretty quickly, so I switched over to logging for a bit.
Spent another hour operating Field Day from home on Sunday morning and was able to score a bunch more contacts fairly easily. Then it was back to the Yorktown to finish off the last couple hours of Field Day and then pack everything away.
At home, I ended up with about 25 contacts over the two hours I was operating. On the Yorktown, the club ended up with 582 contacts spread out over 4 bands and 4 modes. Pretty good this year. Maybe it was the sacrifice of AJ4UQ’s HT to the ocean that helped this year.
Finally got around to replacing the old corroded soldered-in D cell in the RCA Voltohmyst with a new battery today.
Snipped the wires off the battery and into the trash it went. Had to drill out a rivet to remove the battery holder clip.
The battery holder is a little on the big side and just fits into the space vacated by the old battery and clip. Soldered the wires onto the battery holder and fastened it to the Voltohmyst using some double sided tape.
Now it’s got a new battery that can be replaced whenever it’s needed.
Next thing to do is go through the manual and read up on how to calibrate the meter.
I ended up being busier than originally anticipated and was only able to operate in Museum Ships Weekend for a few hours Saturday afternoon.
I started off with doing some logging. Band conditions on 20m were pretty crummy and there wasn’t a whole lot of activity we could hear, but we managed to hunt down about 6 other museum ships.
Then it was my turn on the radio and managed to nab a couple more museum ships. Found an open frequency to start calling on, made a few contacts into the Midwest and Northeast. Then a pileup happened and I was working stations as far as CA, and even a few DX stations (Austria, Belgium, and Italy). That lasted about 30 minutes, and then as quickly as the band opened, it shut down again. Towards the end, static crashes from thunderstorms rolling in from the west obliterated any signals we could make out on 20m.
I decided to call it a day around 6PM and turned things over to the evening crew, but I’m not sure they were able to dig up much more activity even after the thunderstorms went by.
There were about 48 contacts, including 10 museum ships (I think) by the time I left. I’ll find out later how the rest of the weekend went.