Field day?

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KX6D
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Re: Field day?

#31

Post by KX6D » Thu May 13, 2010 5:20 pm

I love Field Day! For many years I created and maintained the Southwestern Division Field Day Site List under my old call, K6RIX. It listed just about every Field Day site in the Southwestern Division for years, until the ARRL took my idea and ran with it beginning in 2007.

In addition to that, almost every year I was Field Day Chairman (or asst chair) for either N6ME or W6ZE, we won our Section (Orange) and Division (Southwestern) (97-04 and 06-09). Out of all clubs and all categories NATION WIDE, my groups placed in the TOP-10...

2009 3rd place overall (W6ZE)
2007 2nd place overall (W6ZE)
2006 10th place overall (N6ME)
2005 (we took this year off!)
2004 9th place overall (N6ME)
(the rest of the years aren't posted online)

I share this with you not to brag (I didn't do it alone!), but to point out that I have a wealth of information and experience to share.

To begin with, you have to ask yourself what kind of Field Day do you want? There is no wrong answer! Do you want to run it like a contest and win? Do you want to focus on the emergency scenario? Or are you looking for a social good time that also happens to include radio. Again, NO WRONG ANSWERS!

I ran my Field Days as contests. Its what the majority of the people in the club wanted and its fun to see your callsign in the top 10! This is NOT for everyone! One group in Costa Mesa would play radio until dinner, shut everything off, then watch a movie being projected on the side of motorhome before heading home to their warm beds. That's not for me, but it worked for them! Some groups want to play it just like a real emergency. Those efforts usually fail and I can go into detail later if you want.

Here is one thing though; no matter what field day effort you want to do, the RADIO part is always the same! Radios don't know if its an emergency or a contest. Radios don't care! So, decide what you want to do for Field Day and put forth a plan to meet those goals!

Based on what I've read so far, I'd like to give you a couple of suggestions...

1. LEAVE THE HF VERTICALS AT HOME! HF verticals radiate equally poor in ALL directions! VHF/UHF FM is an exception; you need verticals for them!

2. Wire antennas in trees work real well. The higher the better! Buy one of those cool launchers and a lot of twine! Yes, TWINE! Its only a 24-hour event people (48 if you set up on Friday)! You can buy huge rolls of twine at any hardware store. I'm not talking about pretty colored rope, I'm talking about the really crappy looking tan colored string stuff! When Field Day is over, you cut it, ball it up, and throw it away! It did its job!

3. If you have enough wire antennas and twine, orient your main antennas toward New York (its a domestic event and everyone is EAST of you!), and a second set DUE NORTH! You don't want to forget those contacts up the coast and in Canada!

4. 20-meters is the money band! 40 and 80 play at night. 10 and 15 are usually good throughout the day and into the early evening. Don't depend on 15 being there for you...it usually ISN'T! We would run 20 for all 24 hours. Station 2 was 15 in the day and 40 at night! Be prepared to run both bands with the flick of a switch! 80 and 10 followed suit. 10 has been lousy for a long time! Put your money and your effort into 20-meters!!!

5. 6-meters SSB will AMAZE you! When its in you are working the whole US! Put some effort into a 6-meter station!

6. Plan on some horizontal antennas for VHF and UHF SSB! You can buy a $40.00 M2 loop from HRO and have a horizontal omni signal! All the new HF radios have 2 meter and 440 SSB! With your altitude, you will ROCK!

7. Put someone in charge of the generator(s)! Make that their only job all weekend. Have plenty of fuel in approved containers and a fire extinguisher at the generator location.

8. Find someone to run the "chuck wagon"! Its not a party without food! Again, make this their ONLY responsibility for Field Day! If you plan to operate 24-hours, there is nothing like hot soup at midnight (mid-rats!)

9. Have a meeting and make a list! You will be surprised what you forget and leave behind! A checkoff sheet will help eliminate forgotten equipment (like black tape, the power cord, or my favorite, the MICROPHONE!)

10. Band Captains! Make them responsible for their entire station. Get someone who WILL do the job! To many times someone has the best intentions, but no experience to actually get the job done (sounds like some president of some country I know)!

If you don't have CW operators (you won't win), you can always pick up points by running PSK31 and/or RTTY! 2 points per contact!

If you have any specific questions for me, all you have to do is ask! No, I can't join you. But, I may stop by if I can get off work (I work in a power plant with 24/7 rotating shifts and scheduled to work that weekend...darn it).

Have fun out there!

Dino - KX6D
Dino - KX6D
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xtatik
Posts: 295
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2008 7:58 pm
Call Sign: K6ARW

Re: Field day?

#32

Post by xtatik » Fri May 14, 2010 2:35 pm

KX6D wrote:I love Field Day! For many years I created and maintained the Southwestern Division Field Day Site List under my old call, K6RIX. It listed just about every Field Day site in the Southwestern Division for years, until the ARRL took my idea and ran with it beginning in 2007.

In addition to that, almost every year I was Field Day Chairman (or asst chair) for either N6ME or W6ZE, we won our Section (Orange) and Division (Southwestern) (97-04 and 06-09). Out of all clubs and all categories NATION WIDE, my groups placed in the TOP-10...

2009 3rd place overall (W6ZE)
2007 2nd place overall (W6ZE)
2006 10th place overall (N6ME)
2005 (we took this year off!)
2004 9th place overall (N6ME)
(the rest of the years aren't posted online)

I share this with you not to brag (I didn't do it alone!), but to point out that I have a wealth of information and experience to share.

To begin with, you have to ask yourself what kind of Field Day do you want? There is no wrong answer! Do you want to run it like a contest and win? Do you want to focus on the emergency scenario? Or are you looking for a social good time that also happens to include radio. Again, NO WRONG ANSWERS!

I ran my Field Days as contests. Its what the majority of the people in the club wanted and its fun to see your callsign in the top 10! This is NOT for everyone! One group in Costa Mesa would play radio until dinner, shut everything off, then watch a movie being projected on the side of motorhome before heading home to their warm beds. That's not for me, but it worked for them! Some groups want to play it just like a real emergency. Those efforts usually fail and I can go into detail later if you want.

Here is one thing though; no matter what field day effort you want to do, the RADIO part is always the same! Radios don't know if its an emergency or a contest. Radios don't care! So, decide what you want to do for Field Day and put forth a plan to meet those goals!

Based on what I've read so far, I'd like to give you a couple of suggestions...

1. LEAVE THE HF VERTICALS AT HOME! HF verticals radiate equally poor in ALL directions! VHF/UHF FM is an exception; you need verticals for them!

2. Wire antennas in trees work real well. The higher the better! Buy one of those cool launchers and a lot of twine! Yes, TWINE! Its only a 24-hour event people (48 if you set up on Friday)! You can buy huge rolls of twine at any hardware store. I'm not talking about pretty colored rope, I'm talking about the really crappy looking tan colored string stuff! When Field Day is over, you cut it, ball it up, and throw it away! It did its job!

3. If you have enough wire antennas and twine, orient your main antennas toward New York (its a domestic event and everyone is EAST of you!), and a second set DUE NORTH! You don't want to forget those contacts up the coast and in Canada!

4. 20-meters is the money band! 40 and 80 play at night. 10 and 15 are usually good throughout the day and into the early evening. Don't depend on 15 being there for you...it usually ISN'T! We would run 20 for all 24 hours. Station 2 was 15 in the day and 40 at night! Be prepared to run both bands with the flick of a switch! 80 and 10 followed suit. 10 has been lousy for a long time! Put your money and your effort into 20-meters!!!

5. 6-meters SSB will AMAZE you! When its in you are working the whole US! Put some effort into a 6-meter station!

6. Plan on some horizontal antennas for VHF and UHF SSB! You can buy a $40.00 M2 loop from HRO and have a horizontal omni signal! All the new HF radios have 2 meter and 440 SSB! With your altitude, you will ROCK!

7. Put someone in charge of the generator(s)! Make that their only job all weekend. Have plenty of fuel in approved containers and a fire extinguisher at the generator location.

8. Find someone to run the "chuck wagon"! Its not a party without food! Again, make this their ONLY responsibility for Field Day! If you plan to operate 24-hours, there is nothing like hot soup at midnight (mid-rats!)

9. Have a meeting and make a list! You will be surprised what you forget and leave behind! A checkoff sheet will help eliminate forgotten equipment (like black tape, the power cord, or my favorite, the MICROPHONE!)

10. Band Captains! Make them responsible for their entire station. Get someone who WILL do the job! To many times someone has the best intentions, but no experience to actually get the job done (sounds like some president of some country I know)!

If you don't have CW operators (you won't win), you can always pick up points by running PSK31 and/or RTTY! 2 points per contact!

If you have any specific questions for me, all you have to do is ask! No, I can't join you. But, I may stop by if I can get off work (I work in a power plant with 24/7 rotating shifts and scheduled to work that weekend...darn it).

Have fun out there!

Dino - KX6D
Well, hello there Dino. Thanks for your input. If you were at the Knott school last year, there is a good chance we've probably met. I worked the 15m station with my father Hank (W6HTW), Cathy Gardenas and others...I'm certain you know them. I think we faired pretty well on 15 given last years poor prop. This year looks to be better....I hope it will only improve as we get closer to Field Day.
I'll be running the 20m phone station using a vertical dipole, a standard resonant 20m dipole and an end-fed to cover all orientations and directions and to demonstrate the different antenna types. Please stop by if you get the opportunity. We'll have a combination of store bought and home-brew antennas at work. BTW, I'll have to disagree with you on your assessment of verticals....my feeling is they radiate equally well in all directions, if properly built. Especially when compared to dipoles for DX work.....However, beams/yagi's definitely do put the vertical argument on its ear. Anyhow, that's an argument as old as amateur radio, so I'll save it for when we meet.
Being that this is this organizations first Field Day event and that we combine several outdoor activities, and emphasize mobile and remote radio operating as a practical means of communication .....our Field Day may take a different shape than what would be seen at W6ZE. We plan to stay busy round the clock but we'll have to see how it plays out. We're definitely not planning to run as contest stations would and we're not really into the full-blown Emcomm scenario. We will want to have several different setups that may represent different operating scenarios/situations that our members may find themselves using while in the boonies. They'll be practical field set-ups that would probably most resemble casual Dxpedition set-ups...."casual" meaning no beams (at least not this time) or antennas that would require more than two persons to erect and strike. We may get more elaborate if this becomes an annual event.
We have an organizational list being filled in now, certainly with more work to do, and hopefully not too much arm-twisting to gain more volunteers as we get closer to the event.
Rather than one large genset, we will probably have a couple of smaller models, being that these units are what could feasibly be packed and traveled into the areas we like to visit. In addition, we will also be using both battery and vehicle power. Rumor has it, we may even see a mobile wind turbine in the grid......Dave?
Oh, and regarding the food thing.....these people are notorious for putting on a serious feed.
I hope you can make it to our first event!!!
Randy
K6ARW

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DaveK
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Re: Field day?

#33

Post by DaveK » Fri May 14, 2010 2:41 pm

The wind turbine will be up and ready to go.
DaveK
K6DTK


Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.
Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.

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cruiserlarry
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Re: Field day?

#34

Post by cruiserlarry » Fri May 14, 2010 6:33 pm

DaveK wrote:The wind turbine will be up and ready to go.
No doubt - I've seen you guys after the potluck dinner has been consumed... :lol: :lol: :lol:
Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear really bright, until they start talking

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DaveK
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Re: Field day?

#35

Post by DaveK » Fri May 14, 2010 6:34 pm

cruiserlarry wrote:
DaveK wrote:The wind turbine will be up and ready to go.
No doubt - I've seen you guys after the potluck dinner has been consumed... :lol: :lol: :lol:
You're confusing it with a "wind generator"
DaveK
K6DTK


Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.
Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.

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xtatik
Posts: 295
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2008 7:58 pm
Call Sign: K6ARW

Re: Field day?

#36

Post by xtatik » Fri May 14, 2010 6:57 pm

DaveK wrote:
cruiserlarry wrote:
DaveK wrote:The wind turbine will be up and ready to go.
No doubt - I've seen you guys after the potluck dinner has been consumed... :lol: :lol: :lol:
You're confusing it with a "wind generator"
Could I be forewarned as to which potluck contributions are known to be "wind generators"? I'd like to avoid them and the leeward side of the people who over indulge in them. This could be important information.
Randy
K6ARW

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