Field Day 2006
fgentges at mindspring.com
Mon Jun 26 21:12:17 CDT 2006
AMRAD participated in Field Day 2006 with the AMRAD van with the Loudoun
Amateur Radio Group (LARG). This year we operated on 6 and 2 meters
along with a 440 MHz capability.
LARG operated at Banshee Reeks nature conservatory which is about 5
miles south of Leesburg. The site is a farm that was given to the
county as a nature preserve and park about 10 years ago. The AMRAD van
was set up next to a pole barn serving as a farm equipment shelter. As
the rains came and came and came, the availability of the pole barn
served as a very welcome respite for the operators.
Banshee Reeks is a nice field day site with room for everyone to spread
out and avoid mutual interference. AMRAD had a good opportunity for
LARG members to see what we have and who we are.
Due to a Red Cross emergency drill, we lost Iain McFayden for the
duration. Sandy and Glenn were able to fill in and got the van up and
running and also dismantled at the end of operations. LARG members also
pitched in and provided a very nice radio and operators.
We made 62 QSOs on 6 and 2 meters. No stations were worked on 440 and
it was only near the end of the day we discovered that the connector at
the antenna was broken and no connection was made to the antenna.
LARG has a history of using computer logging for each station. We did
not have prior experience and used a written log during operations.
Afterword, we transcribed onto the computer to generate the file format
We made some improvements to the van. A gin pole was made earlier so
that the tilt-up rotor and mast could be tilted up using a rope from the
ground. The gin pole worked great and made the tilting task ever so
much easier than it was at the Marine Corps Marathon.
The original 120 VAC inverter had generated hash clear up to 2 meters
and we worked to quiet it down. It seemed the modifications did little
to help and may have made it worse. Instead, we added an old Tripp
Light inverter that uses germanium power transistors along with a DC
interference filter. This was made up some years ago for the LF
operations on the Outer Banks. The modern FET based inverters can
generate some very fast pulses that are hard to filter and searching
through different brands may not be too helpful but we will continue to
search out a better inverter.
A nice Genrac 4000 watt generator was purchased at the Timonium hamfest
this spring and it worked just fine. We fired it up and used it to top
off the deep cycle battery battery bank and to run fans for cooling. A
nice cheap air conditioner may be a future addition as it won't
introduce too much load for the generator set.
We lacked an RF power meter to check SWR and power output. On Sunday
morning we brought a meter from the lab and saw the problem with SWR.
Glenn donated a homebrew unit that may fill this need. If we had this
at the start we may have discovered the problem with the 440 MHz antenna
We also added a desk lamp that works on 12 volts. That proved most
useful to be able to see to write in logs and to see front panel
markings from time to time. Simple but worth the effort.
Roger Geesey donated a nice sleeping tent to AMRAD and it was brought to
the site but with the pole barn, it was not set up. At future
operations it should prove most useful for tired people to rest.
Finally, LARG provided good food and members came by during operation to
see what we had and were doing. We were very welcome and felt
appreciated by the club. We made some good friends over the weekend and
expect to be involved in future club and county activities. We were
involved in our first emergency drill with Loudoun County earlier in
June through LARG.
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