Field Day, 2021

For the uninitiated, ARRL Field Day is an annual operating event where we hams are supposed to go out somewhere, set up our gear, and make contacts with other hams throughout the US and Canada, ideally running on emergency power, be that generator, battery or solar.

Our club rarely does things ideally. While we’ve picked up some younger members, thanks to the Wuflu and the time it gave many people to do things other than work, the average age of our happy group of amateurs is over 60. We can lug generators and set up under an awning, but if it isn’t a real emergency, we prefer not to.

Instead, we decided that discretion being the better part of valor, that we would avail ourselves of a local town’s lovely park, which comes with a nice big stage, commercial electrical power and fans. Plus a restaurant conveniently located across the street.

Despite some amount of chaos, we eventually established order and began to set up.

I operated digital with a pretty simple station consisting of a very old Asus laptop, a tiny little monitor and a Yaesu FT-450D transceiver. Here we are, going for that all-important first contact.

Running FT8 with WsJT-X and N3FJP’s excellent Field Day software. Connection to the rig was with a Ham-daptor cable to link it with the laptop. Ham-daptor is owned by K6VHF, and I’ve bought several specialized cables from him over the years.

The bands were simply not with us in the afternoon. Despite changes in antenna setups, we simply weren’t getting a signal out. By 5 PM we had a total of 8 contacts. However, after an excellent supper, things began to change and conditions improved. Digital was especially favored. By this time, we were under the gun, as we had to vacate the park by dusk. We pushed up to 8 PM, and wound up with a respectable number of contacts, with our youngest member making the final contact, on SSB, with WD4WDW, the Walt Disney E.A.R.S. (Emergency Amateur Radio Service) station in Orlando, FL. I thought that was a pretty cool way to finish things off.

Everyone had a good time and we showed that we could still drag out our gear and get on the air.

Radio Station X, signing off.

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