Field Day 2018

This year’s Field Day was a pretty good one.

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.

Field Day antenna setup at the house
Field Day antenna setup at the house

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.

WA4USN CW/digital station
WA4USN CW/digital station
WA4USN phone station
WA4USN phone station

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.

We were lucky enough to have a couple of CW operators who were going at a pretty steady pace both days. It was fun to watch them operating. Some day I hope to be there doing CW.

Sunday CW operating for Field Day
Sunday CW operating for Field Day

Special Event: USS Yorktown (CV10) Commissioning 75th Anniversary Day 1

The special event station for the Yorktown’s 75th commissioning anniversary went fairly well. Operations started off with one of the club members operating the Waterway Net on 40m from the club room, and then we got set up to start calling on 20 m. I spent a couple hours or so working stations on 20 m, moving around occasionally because of QRM. Many stations were coming in pretty loud and clear, although at times the fading got a bit deep.

We tried to move down to 40 m after noon, but got a report that our audio had a lot of RF noise in it, so we spent some time trying to figure out where it was coming from. We ended up narrowing it down to a few culprits: noisy laptops and a noisy power supply built into the FT-897. Something we’ll have to troubleshoot further.

We ended up spending the rest of the afternoon up on 20 m doing a mix of SSB and digital, but with storms moving in, there were loud static crashes all over the place, and we only made a few more contacts. With the band dead, storms getting closer, and a tornado watch issued by the weather service, we decided to call it a day around 3ish.

Finished the day with 55 contacts in the log. Not bad for a few hours of casual operating.

 Band   Mode  QSOs 
     7  LSB     10
     7  PSK3     2
    14  OLIV     1 
    14  RTTY     5
    14  USB     37
 Total  Both    55

Special Event: USS Yorktown (CV10) Commissioning 75th Anniversary Day 0

Even though tomorrow is the actual day of the USS Yorktown’s commissioning, I thought I’d spend the afternoon in the club room activating WA4USN and get a few more contacts in for the special event. I was joined by two other hams for the afternoon.

Things didn’t quite go exactly as planned, but still went fairly well.

After spending some time figuring out the Yaesu FT-897 that was sitting where I expected the Kenwood 570 to be, I started calling CQ on 20 m. After a few calls, we (WA4USN) got a call over the repeater from a ham at a radio station set up at a nearby Boy Scout camp asking if he could put some Cub Scouts on the air with us for the special event.

Always a good thing to get on the air with Scouts, so we talked with a group of Cub Scouts (Webelos) and then got back to HF. Spent some time calling, and then another call on the repeater with another group of Scouts. Rinse and repeat.

After the third group or so, we decided to just give up on HF and spent the rest of the afternoon talking to Cub Scouts (I was too lazy to break out the headphones).

So even though there were no HF contacts today, I still consider it to be a pretty good day on the radio. Talked to 21 Scouts in total, mostly Cub Scouts. Many weren’t terribly talkative, but a few were downright chatty. Some of them learned about the Yorktown. All got exposed to radio and it seemed to have generated some interested at the camp.

Tomorrow will be all HF though.

Special Event: USS Yorktown (CV10) Commissioning 75th Anniversary

Update: I’ll be running the special event activation for a few hours in the afternoon on April 14 starting around 1PM-ish (1700 UTC). Most of the activity will happen on April 15 where we’ll be starting around 9AM (1300 UTC) or so, and going until we run out of steam (maybe into the evening). We’ll probably be operating mainly on 20m and 40m, depending on band conditions and operator preference. There might also  be some digital or CW thrown in as well, depending on whoever happens to be operating the radio at the time.

The 75th anniversary of the commissioning of the USS Yorktown (CV-10) is coming up on April 15, so I’m planning on doing a special event activation of WA4USN from the club radio room on board the ship, along with any other club members who want to join in the fun.

My current plan is to be on the air in the afternoon from about 1-5ish on April 14 and 15. Start times may change depending on who decides to join in the fun. I won’t be able to start much earlier than 1 on each day though.

WA4USN QSL Card (Back)
WA4USN QSL Card (Back)

WA4USN QSL cards

One of the club‘s older members was clearing out some old stuff and offered up a stack of WA4USN QSL cards to anybody who wanted them, so I grabbed a couple of them.

Years ago he had been given a stack of postcards and information cards by the USS Yorktown Association, so he turned them into QSL cards.

One card features a drawing of the USS Yorktown from before it was modified to enclose the bow portion of the ship. The reverse side lists some interesting statistics about the Yorktown during WW II.

The other card (formerly a USS Yorktown Association “Pay your dues” reminder postcard) has a Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat on the flight deck of the Yorktown, in front of the island.

While they aren’t old cards, I think they are a nice use of some cards that probably would have ended up in the dumpster.