Winter Field Day
January 25, 2020
Winter Field Day was held on January 25, 2020 and it was a cold wintry day for sure! We started setting up our station around 9:00am at the East Rim Overlook in The Big South Fork Park. While it was a remote location (no power or electricity) it was still high on the plateau and near a couple of pit style toilets.
First up was the 2 meters/ 70 cm J-pole antenna mounted to a 1-1/2″ PVC pipe onto a tiki torch stand. This provided a decent antenna which would be used later in the day for providing directions to participants as needed using a HT radio. The team then deployed an EMCOMM 10-80 meter end fed antenna which was 44-foot long. The antenna was attached to the back of the RV’s ladder rack with a simple bungee cord and over to a painters pole with a pully attached to it. The pully allowed for the paracord to be routed down to a lower location for securing once the antenna was stretched out. Coax cables for both antennas were run through the window right to the table for attachment. We were ready by 10:00am to hit the air.
The group used an Yaseu FT857D all band radio along with a power supply since the had a generator available. The desk microphone came in handy but we were wishing for a Morse code key as well. Band charts and maps helped everyone in operating the station in addition to paper logs as the internet connection was not very stable in the park. While we heard more than we could talk to as we were running 100-watts and trying to compete with others at 600-1,500 watts and beam antennas. We were still able to make a handful of contacts and Irene KN4ZHL added a couple of more states in her quest to work all 50. Kitty LN4LNK made her very first HF contact during the day! She commented that she was nervous but had a lot of fun. She would go on to make her second contact very quickly.
We had Kelly KI4JAV (Scott County) stop by and met everyone. Eric KN4JUR, Kitty KN4LNK and Wayne KK4ZNA made the trip up from Morgan county and got to know some of our members better. From the BSFARC we had Julian W5EDQ and his wife Carolyn, Bill KC8SPV and Nancy KC8VTT, Matt KN4YKN and Irene KN4ZHL, Virgil W4OME and Joy WA4JOY plus John KX4WH and Patty KB1TUY for a total of 14 people.
Beside operating the radio the group enjoyed chili, pea soup, coffee. tea (hot and cold), water, a vegetable tray, donuts, cupcakes and even some chips thrown in for good measure. The RV was a toasty 70 degrees and the only issue was having to go across the parking lot for the restroom as it was about 35 degrees outside (and in the restroom). Some participants also walked down to the overlook for the first time to enjoy the fantastic view.
The event was planned for 6 hours and by 3:00pm most had left for other commitments. The rest operated radio as the band seemed to open for us and more contacts were made. At 4:00pm we signed off W4BSF as our Winter Field Day 2020 came to an end. The team was able to ‘bug out’ in about 30 minutes which included taking down the antennas and packing everything away. The RV slides were slid back in and the leveling jacks retracted before heading out. The generator provided not only electricity for the radio power supply but also for our creature comforts such as: 2-crock pots, microwave, propane furnace, 1500 watt space heater, lights and the Keurig coffee maker.
Everyone that attended agreed that we need to do this again next year and hopefully add multiple stations to the mix and work on a location that can accommodate even more participants. Thanks to all who provided the necessary equipment, facility, food/drink and helped with the deployment and packing up of the station. We are looking forward to another BSFARC field day when it is a bit warmer! 73s!