Field Day 2018

This year was the first year that I actually accomplished something on Field Day.  I decided to work Field Day at home and not visit any sites this year.  With the amount of driving I’m doing a month (well over 2000 miles) for work now I just decided to stay home and relax.  It also gave me a chance to “break in” my “new” FT-450D which did an excellent job.

I had a total of 84 phone QSOs.  I used 100W so I was able to claim the 2x multiplier for low power for a total of 168 points.  I ran a 1D station (using commercial power) so there were several potential contacts I had to pass up.  It was a pretty decent experience for me.  I didn’t qualify for any other multipliers.

The bands cooperated for me but I can’t say the same for my antenna.  It decided to break on me so I borrowed my dad’s half-working full-sized G5RV antenna at about 50′ elevation.  The pigtail on it broke off at about a foot from the main dipole so I had to really work my antenna matcher to get things to work right.  I mainly used 40 meter on Saturday night and 20 meter on Sunday morning and afternoon.  I tried 80 meters here and there but due to the antenna’s issues I had problems getting out very well on 80.

A few things I want to change for next year:

  • Use a good quality headset with a footswitch.  That will save me from having to hold a hand mic for hours on end.
  • Make sure my antenna is working.  I am looking at getting the 130′ EFHW antenna I keep talking about very soon.
  • Get a large battery to run off of for the emergency power multiplier.  I could use my dad’s generator also.
  • Operate outside if the weather cooperates.  However, knowing the weather where I am at this time of year, I seriously doubt that I’ll operate outside.  Maybe if I obtained a nice enclosed utility trailer and put an air conditioner on it, I’d do the generator thing.
  • Get on a little earlier.  I waited until about 6 PM Saturday to initially get on the air and then I didn’t get back on until 11 AM Sunday.  By about 1 PM, the bands were all but dead.

One thing that did work wonderfully for me was N3FJP’s Field Day logging software (yes, I am a registered user).  That program took a lot of the guesswork and hassle for participating in Field Day out of the picture for me.  One of the program’s features I really enjoyed was the map feature.  I could quickly take a glance to see where I worked.  Here’s a screenshot of the cropped map below:

That little blue area over in California is the Santa Clara Valley (section SCV).  I heard San Francisco but they didn’t hear me.  The turquoise section in Canada is the Maritimes section; I’d made a contact in Nova Scotia.

Not a bad haul considering my antenna limitations!

All in all, I was pleased with my results for Field Day.  To be honest, I don’t know where I’ll be in a year so I can’t make plans that far ahead concerning Field Day but I took lessons from this year to apply to next year.

I’m looking forward to the 13 Colonies event next.


About Sean

I'm Sean KD5COL. I'm an active amateur radio operator and hold my Extra class license. I am an ARRL-accredited VE. I enjoy many aspects of amateur radio but my favorite aspects are chasing DX, working special event stations, and building my own wire antennas.
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