Report of How Field Day 2023 May Have Occurred
Well, field day was a great success in my opinion. We ran a 3A station (3 simultaneous transmitters). The FCC website came back online in time to issue our club's new vanity call K5RGV.
Jan AA5JH was in charge of the FT8 (Digital) station. He brought out his IC-7300, power supply, tuner, and Diamond BB7 antenna. After some weeping and gnashing of teeth, some help from Jim, and a bit of luck, the WSJT-X software, computer, and radio agreed to corporate. The digital station was on the air and ready to interfere with the SSB stations, I mean “ready to make contacts”. They ended up making 18 contacts
2 QSO’s on 10m,14 QSOs on 15m, and 2 QSOs on 40 m. His station ran off of the generator connected to his camper. The generator also powered the logging computers of the other stations for most of the day.
Tom was the main operator of the 20/40 meter station. He brought his IC-7100 and an external tuner attached to his home-built 40m EFHW antenna. The antenna was attached to the corner of the awning tent up to a fiberglass mask mounted on the bumper of his truck. The station was powered with a 100 amp hour lithium-ion battery. The battery was supplemented with a 40W solar panel. They worked 125 QSOs on 20 m and 52 QSOs on 40m. For a total of 177 stations in the log. While Tom WT5TX made a majority of the contacts on this station, he did share microphone and logging duties with Scott KI5UER and Jim AE5JD who were instrumental in keeping the station on the air.
A Byron ran the 15m station. His station consisted of an IC-7300 and Wolf River Coil tune to 15m. The station was powered using a 40AH LIFEPO4 battery pack. The station roughly used 15AH to run the station all day long which included several hours of charging the laptop using the pure sine wave inverter. Happy to report the inverter did not introduce significant interference into the system. 15 meters was up and down all day. But we made 233 QSOs. Unlike Tom, Byron did not share the 15m station, not even with his wife. Other than a quick bathroom break in the late afternoon when 2 QSOs were completed by Scott KI5UER. Maybe by the next Field Day, he will have learned to share, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. He is selfish like that.
A 2m FM simplex station was set up monitoring 146.520 FM simplex. A 75W Chinese radio connected to a comet dual band antenna made up the 2m station. We made 1 contact on that station. Since the existence of the station and the need for an operator were not properly announced, we, unfortunately, missed a few calling stations for lack of an operator.
Set up went well. We met for breakfast at the restaurant and then headed out to the park. This year we set up field day events at Dixie land park on the Land controlled by the Harlingen water works. Tom arranged for permission through his contacts. We had several club members stop by to observe the goings on and a few that were willingly or unwillingly roped into operating the radio. We set up next to the Lake and had a steady breeze all day long. So it was not unbearably hot. The bands were up-and-down 15 m was rough all day until about 15 minutes before everyone wanted to tear down. At that point 15 m went wide open to the east coast and the station was deluged with calls. With some grumbling protest and under threat of being left to tear down the rest of the installation by himself, the 15 m station operator went QRT. The tear-down went smoothly and without incident, other than the 15m operator's intermittent whining about having battled 15m all day long, just to be shut down when he had a good pile-up going. The general consensus was that he would get over it and he will, eventually.
Some other very helpful equipment that we used during the event included a 20 m band reject filter, built by Jim AE5JD made in 2, ¼ wave 20m coax stubs shorted at the ends, connected with a ¼ wave 20m length of coax. This was used by the 15m station. It seems to work quite well. The 20 m station used a 20m bandpass filter, made by Tom.
One of the items to work on for next year is to try to figure out how to better isolate interference from the FT8 digital station. The field day rules say all stations must be within a 1000ft radius. One suggestion is that maybe we can put the FT8 station 999 feet away from the SSB stations. I mean FT8 isn't real radio anyway. Why would it allow to be anywhere near the real radio operators? Or possibly the SSB aficionados should put in some time to study how to incorporate these new-fangled modes into the mix.
Evening food was provided for the 3 brave operators that stuck it out till the end and was delivered by Susan (KJ5AMB). She brought Whataburger hamburgers. A grateful but somewhat ambivalent “Well, that will do fine” was said by all. The catered BBQ dinner of brisket, baby back ribs, and smoked sausage, with all the sides, that was never promised, suggested, or even mentioned, never materialized. There’s always hope for next year, but probably not.
Overall the organization of field day worked out okay. Although next year maybe the guy who was voted to be in charge of field day shouldn't all of a sudden decide he had to leave the country for a week and dump it on someone else and then miraculously reappear 2 days before the event and want to be a part again.
Overall we made 411 contacts on 5 bands using 4 modes. The acting mayor of Palm Valley graced us with his presence (100 bonus points) for a good part of the day. The fact that he is a member of our club was conveniently left out of the report to the AARL. The 3 sunshade awnings did an adequate job of keeping us from burning to a crisp. No one passed out from the heat or from dehydration.
Late in the day, a representative from the Harlingen Water Works stop by to inform us that his direct supervisor had not been informed of our activity. Who were we and what were we doing and so on. He was informed in the nicest possible way, that permission had been requested and been granted by a person way above his pay grade. Names were dropped, and he drove away. A few minutes later he came back to advise us to be careful not to feed ourselves to the alligator or the python that lived in the lake. After reassurances that we would not allow ourselves to be bitten by the alligator and we would not be accepting any hugs from the python, he again drove off. Shortly after that, there was a motion made and seconded that we had had more than enough fun for one day and it was time to pack up and go home. The vote was taken, there were 2 ayes and one opposed. The motion cared. We packed up, with only a moderate amount of the fore mention grumbling and we all went home.
Apparently, as of the writing of this article, the 15m operator has not yet completely “gotten over it”. Maybe I never will.
2023 Field Day Scores
*The following data was submitted and approved by the ARRL.
Entry received at: 2023-06-29 01:43:04
Call Used: K5RGV GOTA Station Call: (NONE) ARRL/RAC Section: STX Class: 3A
Participants: 9 Club/Group Name: Rio Amateur Radio Club
Power Source(s): Generator, Battery, Solar
Power Multiplier: 2X
Preliminary Total Score: 1,540
100% emergency power 300
Public location 100
Site visit by invited elected official 100
Social media 100
Entry submitted via web 50
Total bonus points 650
Score Summary: (Cabrillo log/dupe sheet file: k5rgv_fd_23.cbr)
CW Digital Phone Total
Total QSOs 0 18 409
Total Points 0 36 409 445 Claimed Score = (QSO points x power mult) = 890