It was a bit of a strange Field Day for the OSC Amateur Radio Club, what with not being able to set up a club operation.
But that doesn’t mean we were off the air! Here’s what some of our members did over the weekend.
Ward has one of the most challenging locations for ham radio, a first-floor apartment. But he made an impressive 41 contacts on 75m, 40m and 20m SSB using a 40m dipole fed with 300-ohm twin lead and an automatic tuner. Most astounding, the feed point of his antenna was only about 5′ above ground and the ends about 1′ above ground, secured with tent pegs! Ward’s station was battery-powered too.
Bill Preston K8SJ and I set up an understaffed 1A station in St. Joseph MI. Our site was located on the bluffs of Lake Michigan a few hundred meters from the old Heathkit factory. We had a beautiful new Honda 2000 generator, a K3 transceiver and a G5RV antenna up about 20 meters. We did well with 760 contacts with all 50 states and 8 provinces running 100W. We used the call of a former St. Joseph radioman for the US Navy, George Jones W8SIO, who went down with his ship during the Pearl Harbor attack. The call was next assigned to the local high school radio club station. K8SJ now has W8SIO as the call for the St. Joseph High School Amateur Radio Club Alumni Association. Hopefully more alumni will participate next year.
Well the family was very busy over the weekend. I was able to sneak a little time for FD but my vertical wire on 40 is far too noisy to use LSB…tried several very strong stations but was not heard with about 35 W output. CW is another matter and was able to get on 40 CW for about 60 minutes on Saturday and 45 minutes on Sunday. A total of 32 Qs and 12 sections. My only CT contact was with W1AW near the end of the test. Not bad for a lousy antenna and 35 W.
I operated class 1D from home with my usual boat-anchor lineup: Collins KMW-2 transceiver, D-104 mike, Johnson MatchBox tuner and a 34′ piece of wire on the apartment balcony 60′ above ground (facing south). It was SSB for me, as the rig was not designed for CW. I usually work 40m only, since I can’t load the antenna on 20m and I seldom hear much on 15m and 10m. But this time, there were lots of signals on 15 and 10, and I found that the wire loaded up beautifully on both bands. Made 81 contacts, including W1AW (which had gorgeous audio), a KP4, and a lot of GOTA stations with enthusiastic young voices. Had a great time!
I was busy during the weekend and was able to monitor 15m & 20m from my QTH on Saturday night during 22:00-23:00 UTC only. I used my HF portable receiver and an outdoor wire antenna. Unfortunately, I had an extremely high level of static (some sort of impulse noise across the band and strong AM modulation on certain frequencies; plasma TVs?). As a result I had to discard the external antenna and use the telescopic one at the receiver. CW reception was quite good but SSB was poor. I did not try digital modes. Due to the strong noise and attenuation, I could only receive the strongest signals:
20m: VE3ZM, A2MW, KB2BSA – there was a big pile up but I could not hear most of the other parties well
15m: K9SH – big pile up
The contacts were very short (well, it was a contest after all, right?) and a bit boring because I could not hear other parties well. The signal was fading very often thus making reception even more difficult.
After I moved on to VHF/UHF bands, I came across an active VHF echolink repeater (441.950MHz @ VA3XFT) re-transmitting a field day net from beautiful California which I then monitored for some time. The net was operated by Suzi WA6DKS and had many operators connecting from many different states using either VHF/UHF echolink repeaters or just plain echolink.
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