Last June Hampden County Radio Association once again participated in the annual ARRL Field Day event. This year we added an additional transmitter, which put us in the 8A category. As usual, the event was an overall success with our members and visitors having a great time while operating and enjoying each other’s company.
And like every field day, the successes were accompanied by a few problems that no doubt affected our overall score and morale for a short time during the event. However, solving those problems was an excellent test of our ability to troubleshoot problems under pressure. Although there were problems with the antenna for the 15 meter and 20 meter SSB station, the 40 meter SSB station led by band captain Jeff – NT1K set an all time record for points for that station at Field Day and helped pick up the slack while others worked to get the other stations back online. Jeff even brought in operators from New Hampshire and New York.
Nick – N1MAZ picked up the responsibility for the wireless network this year and a combination of Nick’s excellent support and operators getting more comfortable with the N1MM logging software gave us our most successful year using that combo to network all of the stations together. During Jose – N4BAA’s late night visit, it was quite fun to see operator’s names in the log change to “CW GOD”, “North Korea” & “CW is lame”. Nothing like a little humor at 1am to help wake you up and keep working stations!
Back again this year was Jim – NN1Y with new assistant Mike – KB1VHS keeping everyone well fed and happy. The pavilion provided a great place for everyone to take a break from the dits, dahs and static and catch up with each other over some great food and drinks.
Dianne – KB1KST graciously volunteered to coach the WB1Z GOTA station and was able to get a few new operators on the air as well as some folks who aren’t so new!
And it wouldn’t be a Field Day in New England with out some summer boomers moving through. Friday afternoon brought some lightening as storms to the south of us moved through. And again on Saturday, big storms blew in and stations were shut down until it was again safe to operate.
The big change at Field Day this year was the use of HF triplexers and a reduction in the number necessary towers. What did we learn? That the triplexers work great, but that if one antenna has problems, it affects more than one station! What did we really learn? Don’t have antenna problems!
No field day summary is complete without some ideas for next year. The big one is probably better distributed management, specifically with the towers. Some have suggested tower teams consisting of several workers and a tower manager for each tower. Managers would be experienced with installing AB-577 tower and the antenna going on top of it and would then direct the rest of their team on how to put the tower and antenna together in the proper and safest manner. Others have suggested fewer stations. It has also suggested that we focus less on bonus points and put more focus everyone operating as well as making sure that volunteers with non-radio related jobs get plenty of time to operate. All of these boil down to management and we’ll make sure to take them all into consideration for next year.
A huge thank you to everyone who helped make field day a fun, educational and radio filled event. It’s the biggest event in our club each year and without everyone’s help we wouldn’t be able to pull off such a large operation that brings new hams into the hobby each year.
See you in June 2013!
Matt – W1MSW
Here is our score summary:
CW Digital Phone Total
Total QSOs 1253 36 1615
Total Points 2506 72 1615 4193
Claimed Score = 8,386
Bonus Points = 1850
Total Points = 10236