Thursday, June 21, 2012
Field Day Preps
Well, I brought the 4'x6' U-Haul home tonight, and even managed to back it into the driveway without running off the concrete, or taking anything out.
Tomorrow I'll tip over the tower, and pull the VHF antenna off the cross-boom, and then pull the cross-boom out with the UHF antenna still bolted to it. This allows me to do the minimum of dis-assembly, which means the minimum of RE-assembly at the Field Day site on Saturday morning.
I tested all my gear last weekend (and had a ball doing it!), and it's all packed and staged in the garage, ready to put in the trailer tomorrow. Saturday morning I'll hop in the Jeep, and head down to the site. My son will meet me there with the tent and the other camping gear, and we should have everything running by 11am when the event officially starts.
We usually set up on Friday, 24 hours before the event starts, but this year we're down to about one-third our normal strength, and nobody is staying overnight at the site.
I'm NOT leaving my generator, radio, and other support stuff unattended there!
Our three most experienced operators, and all their equipment, will be operating with one of the other clubs they belong to, in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the other club.
We've been running category "5A" or "6A" the last several years, but we might be "3A" this year, if another club member decides to come out.
The number in the category refers to the total number of transmitters we have on-the-air, and the letter indicates our power class. "A" is for off-the-grid, generator operation.
Six transmitters might sound like a lot, but you can have multiple transmitters on the same band, as long as they operate different modes. We usually had one SSB, and one CW station on the three most popular bands, but things can change around quickly if there's a "Band Opening" with a lot of activity. One of the CW stations might decide to go operate SSB, say if 10 Meters gets hot, and the CW band he was operating in wasn't producing many contacts.
Field Day is NOT supposed to be a contest, but that's the way most clubs approach it these days. I think the record was a club operating something like "157A" ( !! ), but in reading about their operation, they kind of bent the rules by about 90*!
Field Day is supposed a simulated emergency test, where we all go out away from our normal stations, and operate with portable equipment and power sources, as a test of our preparedness. It's also a good opportunity the show the General Public what Amateur Radio is all about, and to (try) and introduce them to the fact that there are other ways to communicate besides using a cellphone or the Internet.
And it's a good test to see if all your radio junk that's been buried in the garage for the last 12 months still works!