2011 ARRL Field Day Wrap up

For all intents, this year’s Field Day was a success. Wanting to do something different this year, a group of four of us put together a mini Field Day expedition to lake in Northern Wisconsin. On June 25-26, 2011 we put Lake Allequash near Boulder Junction ‘on the air.’

KB9VBR J-Pole Field Day 2011 crew

On the shores of beautiful Lake Allequash in Boulder Junction, WI

The biggest logistical hurdle we had to overcome was getting our gear to the campsite. All the sites on the lake are only accessible by boat. I have a motorboat, but it is currently out of service with motor problems, so we used a 12 foot rowboat to transport our gear on the .85 mile trip. It’s really not as bad as it seems, it only took about 25 minutes per trip to get the gear across the lake.

Setting up at the site, or intent was never to be a big contest station or to rack up the points. Instead we wanted to deploy in a wile environment and have some fun doing so. Setting up on Saturday morning we  put up a 120 foot dipole fed with open wire line and a 20 meter J-Pole, or end fed Zepp antenna. Our slingshot antenna launcher broke, so we only got the antennas up about half the height we wanted, but both antennas worked extremely well and we had no problem making contacts when we where on the air.

KB9VBR J-Pole antennas field day 2011

Joe KC9GRD running barefoot for FD weekend

We worked pretty casually on Saturday, making about 40 contacts. 20 was crowded and noisy and 40 was in pretty good shape. Our best work was on Sunday morning when we switched to 10 and 15 meters. Both bands where hopping and we put in 85 contacts during the short time we worked those bands. All in all we did 125 contacts over the weekend.

KB9VBR J-Pole HF antennas end fed zep

Holding the prototype of my 20m J-Pole antenna

My 20 meter J-Pole antenna was a experiment to see if an HF wire antenna would be a good product to add to my line of J-Poles. In the initial testing, it will definitely work better as a vertical than a horizontal antenna. Both the antenna modeling and the real world testing proved that hypothesis. The downside is that a 20m end fed zep is about 50 feet long, so you will need a tall support. But I’m taking this data back to the drawing board and will plan to have some wire antennas for sale by the end of the summer.