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.