Field Day! Is it a contest, a way to check your emergency equipment, or just a social gathering and eating event? Reading some of the social media comments on Facebook yesterday after the conclusion of Field Day, there were different opinions. But I’m glad to say that, after being a part of the WTRA Field Day, it was a mix of all those things! Of course we had the usual “trials and tribulations”, but only a few minutes after the 2 PM start time on Saturday, we were up and running. The plan to run one station and a GOTA station was scrubbed after the long wire antenna for the main station failed to perform as expected. We ended up switching the main station to the vertical antenna which meant no antenna for Dean’s GOTA station! The vertical antenna ended up working OK! Sorry we couldn’t get the GOTA station on the air.
We ended up with 9 operators/loggers during the event and we had 5 members who dropped by to say “hello” and support us. We also had a number of new Hams, as well as perspective Hams who stopped by to view our operations. Using the EOC’s HF radio, we operated from 2 PM Saturday afternoon until 11 PM Saturday evening. Then we resumed operations at 7 AM Sunday morning until 2 PM Sunday afternoon. All total we made 238 contacts under some very noisy conditions, some man made and some atmospheric. We’re not sure but we suspect there were some electrical noises around the EOC area that caused an “S9” noise most of the time. But looking at other comments on social media, the whole country experienced atmospheric noise during the two days that caused less than desirable conditions!
We also had a visit from the Isle of Wight Emergency Coordinator, Will Drewery. He was impressed that we could make contacts with Florida and Mississippi! Thanks to Will for letting us use the IOW EOC. Chris Bruce with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management also stopped by to view our operation. Thanks to both of them for showing interest and stopping by. And thanks to Isle of Wight County for letting us use the EOC. Both gave us some bonus points!
A special thanks to Mark, KQ4ETT (Food), Don, WB4BYR (Publicity) and Dick W4RBH (Safety). Mark provided some great BBQ and “fixin’s” for our dinner Saturday night. Don provided publicity to the local media that got published and got us some bonus points! Dick served as Safety Office which also gave us bonus points.
Our operators/loggers did an outstanding job! It was a learning experience for some who had not participated in a Field Day before. But by 2 PM Sunday afternoon, they were seasoned veterans!! We operated in 1 hour shifts which gave all who wanted operate or log, a chance “at the wheel”.
The following participated as operators/loggers:
KA7HBH, Glen; Mark, KQ4ETT; Dean, WB4GUH; Rob, KJ4HMZ; Robert, KQ4BET; Randy, WB4KZI; John, KA1UGM; Duffie, KM4KBL; and Don, WB4BYR.
Kudos, especially, to the antenna crew who braved the 90 degree temperature and 95% humidity to install the antennas Saturday and take them down Sunday. They’re the “real” workers!! They were: Glen, KA7HBH; Dick, W4RBH; Robert, KQ4BET; Mark, KQ4ETT; Dean, WB4GUH, Don, WB4BYR; John, KA1UGM; and Randy, WB4KZI.
Some of the visitors that stopped by showed an interest in joining the club. Others asked about getting their license and taking a class. That’s something we need to address in the near future.
Sorry that Kurt, KN4SCG, had to miss the Field Day this year. He got stuck in IOWA and know he had rather have been with us. But thanks to him for doing what he could “at a distance” and look forward to having him be a part next year.
All in all, an estimated score for WTRA is about 1126 points! Not bad considering one transmitter and the noise conditions. Probably the best we’ve ever done. The results should be in QST in a couple of months. Again, a big thanks to all who participated and looking forward to Field Day 2024! If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, please let me know. Everybody get some rest! I'm taking today off!!!!!
June 26, 2023