Field Day

Most of the big clubs have this all set and ready to go. They grab the Field Day equipment and head for the operating site. I have not done this in twenty years. So I spent the day planning and working on the types of things one would need in an emergency. It is my plan to put together a FD (Field Day) pack.

There are a lot of things one would need. I got out a screen tent, full top and all screen sides. In case of rain I do have a regular tent. I made sure that all the parts were there. I discovered the tent stakes were missing. After finding those I put up the tent. Then I considered lighting. I found that with a couple of large safety pins I could hang a string across the operating position. The string can hold some nice LED lights we found at the store. I hung two from Wal-Mart on either side in the middle of the tent for general lighting. The ones over the operating position though are from K-Mart. Their version of this flat five and a half inch circle of twenty LED’s is brighter, whiter light, and has three extra bulbs in the middle. Both lights run on four AA batteries and cost about the same as an LED replacement bulb for a standard flashlight. I think we are going to buy a number of these.

My original plan was to have three antennas. I miscalculated at some point and only ordered enough wire for a G5RV. Also right now the sling-shot has gone missing so hopefully it will turn up soon. I did put up a long wire made with zip cord to test how well it would hang.There is over two hundred feet hanging right now between trees and the sag is really a bit too much for the antenna to work properly. There is quite a bit of string at the far end and I think that maybe I should try for a 40 meter version instead of 80 meters. Glad I gave it a try and wonder if it will still be hanging in the morning.

The G5RV is cut and ready. I have 300 feet of ladder line coming in the morning. There is more than needed, but the plan is for the tent to be in the shade. That means that it won’t be right under the center of the antennas. I have no clue just how much feed line will be needed at this point. More wire will be needed if the third antenna, a collinear for twenty meters is to be put up.

I like a nice operating table and plan to pick up one that can change it’s height and fold up. I think I have seen some like that. How often is the ground perfectly flat where you set your table?

Tomorrow I will make sure that I have wire and fuses for the main station battery. There was no time this year to work on alternative power.

Hopefully by this time Saturday I will have made several pages of CW contacts with the Argonaut 515. Perhaps next year there will be a 516 ready for the contest. Unfortunately there is rain scheduled for the entire 24 hours.


About Tim

Amateur Radio operator, television broadcast engineer living in Minnesota.
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