President’s Notes June 2019 – Field Day Wrap Up

Did you attend the SLSRC Field Day or another Field Day in the area?  I’d like to take a moment to give my thoughts on the SLSRC Field Day 2019 and some of the highlights I observed.

The event started out many months in advance with hours of discussion and planning.  The SLSRC Field Day site has been at James McDonnell park at least 2 years in a row, with a break at Queeny Park three years ago.  Since this was our second year at the same location, it was very familiar where radios, antennas, coax, power and food needed to be setup.

The day started out with breakfast at Denny’s then I, with the help of Cliff (KCØSDV), pulled the tower trailer up to the site.  Alan (KD9DHX) helped with transporting much of the equipment out to the location in his van as the setup crew did the unloading. We had a huge amount of help setting up all the radios and antennas for the event.  Thanks to everybody who showed up to breakfast and then helped setup.  

Setup was a little wet.  The crew managed to get the power and data cables run for the logging PC’s and half of the generator power for the radios as the rain poured down.  Once mid morning hit, and the rain continued, a quick glance at the radar showed it was going to stop raining around noon, so we formulated a plan. We started setting up radios as the rain ended, and between raindrops, we strung the wire antennas as fast as we could.  By 2 p.m. all stations were on the air and making contacts! Success!  

As the day grew on, the rain stopped and the sun came out and we had quite the crowd show up.  With all 5 stations on the air, we counted around 55 people for dinner and a total of over 75 throughout the event.  Out of those 75 attendees, 17 were guests. Eliot (KEØTQM/AG), is 9 years old, and just passed his General on Tuesday before Field Day, came out and made his first HF contact!  He turned to his Dad, Tom (KEØTNX) with a huge grin after making a contact with a station in Louisiana and nodded his head. I think he was hooked! He went on to make many more contacts in the afternoon with other SLSRC members.  Thanks to everybody who made Eliot’s experience great!  

Eilot (KE0TQM/AG) making his first HF contact

The club had 5 stations setup for Field Day.  The club owned 4 of those stations. Three are ICOM IC-706s and an ICOM 7300.  Joe (WØFY) brought his 6m FT8 station that was a hit. The four SLSRC owned stations were positioned on 15m, 20m 40m and 80m.  We were hooked up to all wire antennas except for the 15m station which was connected to a Transworld antenna. We didn’t get a chance to put the tower up because of the weather, nor did we try and put together the 3 element beam due to time.  As we say in the mentoring classes, the best antenna you have is the one you are currently transmitting with and that was the case for Field Day. The wire antennas performed well as I believe we made a couple of contacts with Hawaii on 40m.

Tom (NØTJD) showed up around 3 p.m. with his satellite equipment and did a quick demonstration of satellite work.  Tom’s demo attracted quite the crowd as you can tell there is an interest in satellite work. Tom showed off his Kenwood radio that is full duplex, Arrow antenna and techniques to track and listen/work the satellites.  

The education event was a hit also with salt water dummy loads.  Mark (AEØME) pre-constructed most dummy loads before Field Day for easy setup and presented the last remaining steps to those who were interested.  

The club meeting started around 5:15 p.m. with some quick announcements and adjournment for dinner.  Hotdogs, brats and hamburgers were provided by the club, sides and desserts by the members. We had quite the spread of food, so I hope everybody who attended got something to eat, because there was plenty.  Thanks to Rebecca (KC9CIJ) who picked up all the food in the morning and transported it out to the site. Dinner wrapped up around 7 p.m. and as I made my rounds, I think everybody was in a food Field Day coma.  

As the night progressed, the overnight crew started to arrive and took their stations.  We had a total of 6 operators spend the night and work the radios. I think the bands got better as the night progressed, as I heard many of the operators logging California, Oregon, Maine and New York.

As daylight came upon us, looking at the radar, we noticed a storm front moving up the I-44 corridor, so we decided to pack up a little early.  Setting up while it rains is one thing, trying to tear down and put away wet equipment is something else. If I can remember, we had everything packed up by 8:30 a.m.  It was a good thing, as it started to rain around nine.  

Overall, SLSRC’s Field Day was a hit.  I want to thank everybody who helped plan, setup, operate, eat and tear down in making the event a success. We’ll do it again the 4th weekend in June 2020.