Field Day 2017 Summary

Visitors, Visitors and More Visitors

Some years we’d complain about the horrible heat, the humidity and the bugs. And we might complain about the lack of visitors or too much rain. In years past we have had to send someone out for pizza or heat up hamburgers and hot dogs. This year we had no such complaints (well maybe a few bugs--but nothing that bit us too badly). All we could come up with for complaints in 2017 was generally poor propagation on the HF bands.

Without a doubt this year’s SFTARC Field Day event set a new record for Field Day comfort in terms of fantastic outdoor operating temperatures for June. Tony’s (KD0KLD) Smokey Hill Catering ensured we ate very well, mixed with a WB0CNK watermelon, a bowl of cantaloupe from KI0KK’s XYL and a KB0KCM chocolate cake.

Meal Time - Tony

Once again no one appeared to die from the Sunday morning breakfast that K0NK served up. As usual, the Ensor Park provided a very scenic and enjoyable setting. Oh, and we played with radio gear too. Running Class 3A we had a HF/6m phone station, a digital (PSK31) station and a CW station.

Plus a GOTA station set up on Saturday by a rather new SFTARC member Jack, KE0JJW. The club’s Predator generator kept us powered up and running for 24 hours without breaking the club’s budget on gasoline or deafening us.

Two vertical antennas, an 80m loop, a 10/15/20m 2-elemet triband beam at 40 ft with a 6m beam above the tribander, and an 80m dipole helped us make QSOs through the QRM, QRN and QSB.

The club’s trailer housed the digital and SSB stations while a pop-up canopy was home to the CW station.

CW Station with George and Jim

As normal, the Ensor Museum’s front porch served us well for the GOTA (Get on the Air) station designed to let visitors try their hand at radio operating.

Speaking of visitors, we likely set a record for visitors this year. New hams, old timers, non-hams, would-be hams, families and Emergency Mangers stopped by and observed and visited. Among the visitors from outside the club were Ron Cowan, Chet & Mary Jo Hallberg, Warren Okeson, Robert Orr, Andy Cassity, Josh Tuel, Larry and Adam Peet. If we had kept a logbook of the time we spent talking to guests, it may have exceeded the time we were on the air Saturday afternoon and evening. Keep in mind we are not complaining—in fact we maybe bragging a little.

The SFTARC has largely outgrown the stage where we think we need to have a high score on FD, rather it is the setting up of the equipment, the casual operating and the comradery we tend to thrive on. Getting to show off our radio gear, encouraging new or would-be hams and eating well is what tends to make our club tick on the 4th weekend in June.

While there were a few hardy souls that spent the night, no one had the stamina to keep a station up throughout the wee hours of the morning. After the digital station retired at about 2:30 am, all that could be heard was the drone of the generator and the snoring of the operators who were dreaming of CW or PSK31 QSOs.

The N3FJP FD logging SW and a WIFI network allowed all operators to observe each other’s progress real-time. In the end, N3FJP told us that we made 163 CW QSOs, 156 phone QSO and 92 digital QSOs. A band opening on 6 meters on Sunday morning added many phone contacts.
Thanks to everyone who helped with the preparation which started weeks and months ahead of the event, and to those that came out to visit, operate or just soak up the surroundings. And thank you to the Ensor Park for hosting us.