Field Day 2006

Alex Fraser beatnic at
Tue Jun 27 19:15:27 CDT 2006

    I went Mobile again this year, signing N3DER 1C VA.  Took me a 
little more than an hour to mount the screwdriver antenna and Icom 706 
on the pick up.  I had to remove the 1 inch steel rod the antenna mounts 
on and shine the rust off in my lathe. The coax feed was OK and so were 
the antenna power hookups.
Worked 11 stations all on HF.  Did exchanges on 75, 40, 20 and 15 
meters, took about an hour.  I got good reports. I didn't set up my 6 
meter whip. I have a switch in the cab of the truck going to a separate 
mount, left for the screwdriver, right side for  3/8" 24 mount (any 
whip).  I did try 2 meter and 70 centimeter SSB. I only have a dual band 
whip so my antenna is not so good, but usually I work a couple of 
stations. Not this year, only heard one station on 2 and he couldn't 
hear me, I even tried my favorite place on a hill overlooking the 
Potomac here in Woodbridge, no luck.

    I am curious why if you have a van you don't work mobile?  The only 
real advantage to putting all your radio assets in a muddy field (as far 
as emergency ops go) would be that people in need could come there for 
some food and to use your toilets.  I imagine that being out in the 
sticks could have other advantages.  The local authorities could write a 
message on some paper and send it by motorcycle courier to the site 
where you could make contact with a random station and pass it on. No 
addressing, no routing, no network and isn't netcentric hot? We seem to 
be stuck on the first hardware level, levels 2  through 7 are handled by 
mail when you submit your score to HQ and the results get published in 
QST completing the loop.  That's a ping time measured in months. 

    I drag this website out for every field day. I wrote it when I had 
some hope that Ham Radio could actually move into this century.
    It's a rainy day, has anyone noticed?

Frank Gentges wrote:
> 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 needed.
> 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 connection.
> 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.
> Frank K0BRA
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~~~********************Alex Fraser********************~~~

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