Calling All Amateurs, Calling All Amateurs, Calling All Amateurs,
The W8JXN Field Day activities were held on the Baker College campus. Setup began slightly before 9:00 a.m. (local). The canopy went up and then it was onto the antennas. Two of our club members volunteered to put up the 4BTV (with a little guidance from the technical coordinator). Others went off to put up the W8010 wire antenna. Diamond literature describes it as an “80m/40m/20m/15m/10m. Five Band Trap Dipole Antenna”. We (carefully) set up an extension ladder next to a light pole and (gingerly) climbed up to mount the antenna center support. With that in place, we raised the antenna center and then tied off one set of ends to another light pole and the other set to a “staked” 10’ length of metal conduit. With both antennas assembled and cabled back to the canopy, three (or was it six) people measured the VSWR of the antennas and reported them to be usable. The 4BTV was less than 1.6:1 on all bands with most bands in the 1.3: range. The W8010 is a compromise (read that, small space, short length) antenna so the band coverage was up to 2.6:1 on some bands and only a slice of the 80 meter band was below 3:1. The short length was apparent on the 80 meter band. Radios were unloaded and wired together. The generator was started and the radios checked out. All was pronounced ready about 12:30 p.m. (local) so everyone scattered for some lunch in anticipation of the 2:00 p.m. start.
2:00 p.m. (18:00 UTC) Tim (WD8PMD), Dick (KA8VLV), took off on the club radio and started making contacts. Dennis (KC8IJZ) was slower getting going but made a few contacts and then started getting the new Amateurs involved with the radio and the event. He found a good, clear station and had them listen to it and the exchanges when they were received. He then made the contact himself. He then dialed in the next possible contact and put the new operator on the mic. With help, the new ham made the contact and a smile spread across their face as they realized it wasn’t that hard, nor mysterious. One of the new hams, Jason (KE8TRO) made his first contact to a station operator in Manitoba, Canada. Another of the new hams, Stephanie (KE8TRN) took over operating the radio and making independent contacts (no close supervision) after a three or four training contacts.
3:00 p.m. (local) Gary (W8KM), Dick (KA8VLN), Leo (NR8L) started in with CW contacts. The dits and dahs were flying furiously. 21 contacts were made in about 30 minutes. It was like listening to music with Gary on the paddles. During the CW operation, the training radio fired up the 6 meter antenna and made a 6 meter contact. The band was not going to be open long so that was the only contact made. Voice operations resumed on both radios until about 9:00 when a unified contact database was established and the computers linked together. The file sharing operation did not operate due to computer issues so the TCP protocol was enabled. Network issues plagued the initial operation but diligence by Tim (KE8RDM) resolved them and we were back on the air and logging contacts.
2:00 a.m. (local) Dennis (KC8IJZ) hooked up his radio with digital interfaces and made a JT8 contact. That was the only one made as band conditions were changing.
2:30 a.m. (local) A radio phenomenon (surprise solar event) began to immerge as both radios began to fall silent on all the bands. One radio failure means hardware, but two radios doing the same thing on different antennas means an atmospheric action had taken place. After the event, other radio stations reported similar phenomenon so we were not unique. About 6:30, as the sun began to rise, radio activity began to be heard. We did hear a VK7 (Australia) station just before the bands became fully alive.
6:30 a.m. (local) Phone operations resumed. About 10:00 a.m. Tim (KE8RDM) took up the mic, found a place to camp out and became the focus of a pile up of operators trying to contact him. In the hour he worked the radio, out contact count jumped over 50 contacts in 20 minutes. Thank you, Tim. Normal operations continued until slightly after noon when the generator was shut off and the equipment disconnected, taken down and packed up. Field Day was finished for another year.
Below are data snippets from the contact logging software. The first figure was a summary of the contacts, mode and band. The second figure is one showing the sections contacted during the contest. The third is a time graph of the contacts and contact rate.
I want to thank all the Amateur Radio Operators that came out to Field Day to see the site and talk with the people there. A second thank you goes out to the operators that got on the air and made contacts. Phone, Digital, CW were all important modes that needed operators. Your effort was greatly appreciated. A third thank you goes out to the Amateurs that helped with set up and tear down the equipment. While not a fun as operating the radios, set up and tear down are the most important actions at Field Day because Field Day does not happen with out your help.
Field Day report submitted by Tim (WD8PMD, Field Day Assistant Chairperson) and Dennis (KC8IJZ, Field Day Chairperson)