ARRL Field Day 2013 Wrap-Up

How’d your Field Day operation go? I’m glad to say that for the local club I’m involved with, the Wisconsin Valley Radio Association in Wausau, WI, we have another successful Field Day in the books. While we may not have had the most contacts, or hit all of our bonus goals, we did have a whole lot of fun and introduced the power and capabilities of amateur radio to a bunch of new people.

Field-Day-2013-Tri-Band-BeamThis year our Field Day operation was based out of Camp Phillips Boy Scout Camp in nearby Weston, WI. This public location gave us plenty of space to erect antennas, a nice, comfortable lodge to work out of, and enough visibility for the public to find and experience ham radio. The comfortable lodge was a bonus as we battled rain and thunder most of the weekend. Setup of course was in the rain, but the skies cleared by the time the event started and the weather stayed hot and humid most of the day. Rain returned overnight and did plenty to make tear down the next day a sticky affair.

The thrill of the day was the landing of the Aspirus hospital’s medevac helicopter at our event. Fortunately nobody was injured, the helicopter arrival was a courtesy of the flight team to show off the helicopter at our event. The hospital is one of our served agencies, so I suppose the helicopter would count as part of our 100 point bonus for a served agency visitation. Members of Marathon County ARES/RACES helped out by establishing a landing zone for the helicopter. Being a part of the LZ gave me an opportunity to shoot some video while the helicopter landed less than 100 feet away from me.

Jerry, W9GLG stringing the end-fed inverted Vee antenna from the camp's flagpole

Jerry, W9GLG stringing the end-fed inverted Vee antenna from the camp’s flagpole

As for contacts, we did our best on 20 and 40 meters this year. An end-fed inverted Vee was really reeling them in on the lower bands and our tri-band beam knocked them dead on 20 meters. For 6 meters I built a Moxon antenna, but we just couldn’t make Sunday morning’s six meter band opening work for us. But all in all, we still raked in just under 200 contacts, which is a respectable number for our club; especially considering we were only working 3A. Plus our group operates pretty casually, we don’t have any die hard contesters to drive us along. We enjoy the fun and camaraderie of Field Day more than the thrill of a high contact score.

The best way to describe our event is with pictures, so enjoy the selected images from this year’s event. (Click the images to make them bigger).

Your's truly giving Phil Rentmeester, Wausau Fire Department Deputy Chief a guided tour of the Field Day setup.

Your’s truly giving Phil Rentmeester, Wausau Fire Department Deputy Chief a guided tour of the Field Day setup.

Field-Day-2013-Big-Satellite-Antenna

Speak softly and carry a big stick. Gary, WD9CPY using an 13 element cross polarized beam to make a satellite contact during the Field Day weekend.

Dinner's a highlight of the weekend with Jerry's, K9TDH, famous deep fried chicken leg quarters.

Dinner’s a highlight of the weekend with Jerry’s, K9TDH, famous deep fried chicken leg quarters.

Trying for a satellite contact for our 100 point bonus.

Trying for a satellite contact for our 100 point bonus.

Late night CW operation with Jim, N9LRK. He prefers the straight key, but placing the Bencher on it's side also works in a pinch.

Late night CW operation with Jim, N9LRK. He prefers the straight key, but placing the Bencher on it’s side also works in a pinch.

Passing NTS traffic with the Raspberry Pi. We generated 10 NTS messages and submitted them to the packet network using a Raspberry Pi computer running Linux and a terminal app.

Passing NTS traffic with the Raspberry Pi. We generated 10 NTS messages and submitted them to the packet network using a Raspberry Pi computer running Linux and a terminal app.

It wouldn't be Field Day unless a J-Pole antenna was involved. Here the 2 meter J-Pole is being used to transmit our NTS traffic to the packet network. The digi is relatively close, so planting the antenna in the ground was enough to make the connection. In the background is the 6 meter Moxon antenna I built for six meter sideband. Construction of that antenna will be the subject of a future article.

It wouldn’t be Field Day unless a J-Pole antenna was involved. Here the 2 meter J-Pole is being used to transmit our NTS traffic to the packet network. The digi is relatively close, so planting the antenna in the ground was enough to make the connection. In the background is the 6 meter Moxon antenna I built for six meter sideband. Construction of that antenna will be the subject of a future article.

All in all, a very successful Field Day. Feel free to leave a comment below on how you or your club did on this year’s Field Day event.