2012 SummerFest - Field Day Planning/Discussion

We will plan our SummerFest activities and Amateur Radio Field Day Event here. This the weekend we contest for points on the HF air waves, camp, and wheel.
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2012 SummerFest - Field Day Planning/Discussion

#1

Post by DaveK » Thu Apr 12, 2012 2:41 pm

All of our event planning and general discussion will be here.

One of our first objectives will be to settle on a location. In that context, there will be several runs to our local mountains to come up with the best spot for a successful Field Day and Summer Fest. Generally, we are looking at a site that has elevation (mountains) and that is not immediately blocked by other mountains or hills. This will give us our best shot at making contacts during the official Field Day contest. We also will need a location that can accommodate 25 or so vehicles/campers.

If you have some ideas, let us know. Also, if you can, join us on one or more of the exploratory trips.

This year, Summer Fest will include three days of camping, an opportunity to obtain your first Amateur Radio license or to upgrade, and to participate in Field Day.

ARRL Field Day Overview

ARRL Field Day is the single most popular on-the-air event held annually in the US and Canada. Each year over 35,000 amateurs gather with their clubs, friends or simply by themselves to operate.

ARRL Field Day is not a fully adjudicated contest, which explains much of its popularity. It is a time where many aspects of Amateur Radio come together to highlight our many roles. While some will treat it as a contest, most groups use the opportunity to practice their emergency response capabilities. It is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate Amateur Radio to local elected community leaders, key individuals with the organizations that Amateur Radio might serve in an emergency, as well as the general public. For many clubs, ARRL Field Day is one of the highlights of their annual calendar.

Objective:
To work as many stations as possible on any and all amateur bands (excluding the 60, 30, 17, and 12-meter bands) and to learn to operate in abnormal situations in less than optimal conditions. Field Day is open to all amateurs in the areas covered by the ARRL/RAC Field Organizations and countries within IARU Region 2. DX stations residing in other regions may be contacted for credit, but are not eligible to submit entries.
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#2

Post by SP Jon M3 » Mon May 07, 2012 9:43 pm

On April 21 SteveO and I went to check out some possible sites for hosting the SummerFest/Field Day event. Here are the sites we found:

Table Mountain:

This site was probably the 2nd best solution that we found. There are 40 sites total. There are about a half-dozen sites with a max number of 16 people and one group site with a max number of 32 people. These sites can be reserved.

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Blue Ridge

This site has 8 campsites and is first come - first served.

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Entrance to Blue Ridge and Radio Tower - Click image for larger image file

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Radio Tower Primitive Site

This site was suggested to us by a guy who works on the radio towers. He suggested that we might look into getting a permit for camping in the area. Very primitive site, and not very large.

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Jackson Flats

This was probably my favorite site that we went to look at. There are 5 large group sites that can hold 30 or 40 people depending on the site. Site # 1 was a particular favorite, looking out to the north and east. The biggest drawback to the site is that it's a walk-in site. From the parking lot to the camping area is about 200 feet (very rough estimate). This might be an issue for people with RTTs and/or trailers. Sites can be reserved.

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Camp Layout

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Looking out from Camp Unit #1 - Click image for larger image file

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Looking into Camp Unit #1 - Click image for larger image file

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Fire Pit - Click image for larger image file

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Parking Lot - Click image for larger image file
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Re: 2012 SummerFest - Field Day Planning/Discussion

#3

Post by SteeevO » Mon May 07, 2012 10:02 pm

My thoughts on the sites we visited..

Table mountian is better than coon creek cabin however being that it isn't a group site we won't have that central main camp that is always good to have to keep the group together.
Radio coverage should be decent with minimal mountain propagation blockage.

Blue ridge is a really cool spot but is too small for our group... simple and sad truth.. :(

Jackson flat I think is absolutely awesome however, as you can see above.. we would have to carry in our radio and camping equipment from the camp parking lot. These sites are all really really cool and are high up on the mountain.
I did notice a gate that we may request to be opened for at least getting radio equipment set up but i doubt they'll let us keep numerous rigs back there which puts a damper on trailers and roof top tents...
The best site at Jackson Flat is less than a few hundred feet from the parking lot so the walk really isn't a big deal..

By far the best site I think that has been mentioned so far is the Campo Alto Campground in Fraizer park however my understanding is that the gate is still closed. I know jon has tried to get up there numerous times now to to get a closer look. the only drawback to campo alto is that it is first come first serve and can't be reserved for the group. Right now we're going off of what we see on google earth and pictured we've found online.

Please everyone post up your comments... Worst case scenario is that we fall back on coon creek cabin but lets not do that again... the more input and ideas on this the better!
Last edited by SteeevO on Tue May 08, 2012 10:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 2012 SummerFest - Field Day Planning/Discussion

#4

Post by Crismateski » Tue May 08, 2012 7:39 am

Thank you for the detailed info.

as far as Coon Creek Cabin, from what I understand it is already booked, so we can not use it as a safety net
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Re: 2012 SummerFest - Field Day Planning/Discussion

#5

Post by SteeevO » Tue May 08, 2012 10:02 am

yeah thats what I got in an e-mail last night as well.. bummer.

chris, what do you think we should do based on this info?

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Re: 2012 SummerFest - Field Day Planning/Discussion

#6

Post by DaveK » Tue May 08, 2012 11:39 am

Given the amount of time we have left, I think that the Jackson Flats site sounds best. 200 feet is not a bad walk and even those with RTTs should be able to be quite comfortable. Jon, the site looks like it would make for a terrific event. Any additional thoughts?

For us, the necessary prerequisites are:

1. they allow generators to run all night
2. there is enough room for 30 or so campers
3. they will allow us to set up antennas and masts
4. there is an open area where we can set up several masts
5. they take reservations (and it does not cost an arm and a leg)
6. it is relatively easy to access the site for those who may not have 4WD (such as Ham test takers and those who hear about the event and want to join us)
7. its about a two hour drive from LA/SB.

If we have these, it looks good.


Jon: can you look into reservations and the cost and get back to us? Thanks.
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Re: 2012 SummerFest - Field Day Planning/Discussion

#7

Post by Crismateski » Tue May 08, 2012 12:53 pm

Jackson Flats looks pretty nice, the only problem I see is there is not really much nearby for any trail runs.
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Re: 2012 SummerFest - Field Day Planning/Discussion

#8

Post by BigDave » Wed May 09, 2012 5:37 pm

If Jackson Flats is chosen, I will not attend. I am not able to walk very far due to a disability and the idea of camping in my pop up tent trailer in a parking lot away from everyone does not appeal to me and my son. Last year I worked the radio well into the night, I'm a night owl, while my 5 year old son slept but a few feet away in our trailer. I would not be able to do that given the needs of this location
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Re: 2012 SummerFest - Field Day Planning/Discussion

#9

Post by NotAMog » Wed May 09, 2012 6:26 pm

Will there be enough parking at Jackson Flat for those who do come? The description of the campground mentions very limited parking. I'll bring the motorcycle if I come to minimize the amount of stuff to haul in and out. Of course, that precludes bringing a lot of ham gear.
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Re: 2012 SummerFest - Field Day Planning/Discussion

#10

Post by DaveK » Wed May 09, 2012 8:38 pm

Well, we can scratch Jackson Flats off the list. Word just came in that it is booked for our weekend.

The search continues.
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