Field Day Wrap Up
Although Field Day officially started on Saturday at 2:00PM, preparation started much earlier and really hit high gear Friday evening. First, thanks to John (WD8LQT) who spent considerable time ahead of the event helping to get a lot of the advanced preparation done.
We had a fantastic turnout Friday, and THANKS to those who came out to help: Club President Charles Surginer (KK4CTV), Wayne (KM4BYH) and his wife, Debbie, Dennis (KM4FQI), Blake (N4BWR), Tom (N4FWD), Mike (KE4OBE), Brian (WX4BK), Andrew (KM4KRG), and Nick (KE4NIA), If I missed anyone, please let me know, as everyone's participation helped make this event successful.
Despite our hoisting ropes being removed from the usual spots, we managed to get new ones thrown pretty easily, maybe even better than the originals, thanks to Wayne's "Pocket Fisherman" and Dennis' skill at sending the lead weight over high tree limbs! After about two hours on site we had three tested antennas and one experimental ready to get put to work Saturday afternoon!
WX4BK's Maddie supervised.
Nick was quick to point out that we ran about five minutes past schedule, as we had the last antenna in place at 8:35pm rather than 8:30 ... I'm wondering if he's a Union man :).
N4FWD Running Digital on a Raspberry Pi.
Having all of our antennas in the Air made setup Saturday a relative breeze, and all stations were on the air at 2PM, with the first contact made by a 13 year old young man named Mason (Congratulations on getting his license, KM4LQZ) on our GOTA station! It was quite exciting to see, and the Times-Georgian was there to document it, putting it on the front page of the paper that weekend. Nick came out to help get us started, but became ill - probably as a result of his trip to New York. Nothing good comes from traveling North of the Mason-Dixon line.
Tom's (N4FWD) experimental antenna and Rasberry Pi based digital station took a little initial tweaking, but worked very well, once a few tweaks were made.
Several Solar CMEs made a mess of the HF bands, so we were fighting noisy and inconsistent conditions, but we still had ten contacts within the first 30 minutes! Saturday afternoon and evening ran smoothly, with all equipment (and operators) functioning as it should. Charles (KM4IKP), Blake (N4BWR), Al (KF4PQ) were on-site for most of the afternoon and early evening even though they weren't operating, providing moral support and assistance to those who were operating a station.
WD8LQT making contacts using Morse Code.
All stations were manned for most of the evening, operated by Charles (KK4CTV), Brian (WX4BK), Mike (KE4OBE), Blake (N4BWR), and Tom (N4FWD). But, as is often the case, participation dropped late into the night. Charles (KK4CTV) and John (WD8LQT) held the fort all night, while Tom (N4FWD) and Blake (N4BWR) were there for much of it. Hat's off to Charles and John. Charles probably set the record for hours on site, while John came out after a long week and flight back from California Friday.
KE4OBE Taking a break Sunday morning.
Mike (KE4OBE) and Brian (WX4BK) having wimped out and left Saturday night, returned Sunday morning and continued to operate. The bands definitely took a turn for the worse overnight, but despite the messy bands, the effort continued, with several contacts being made (including one by Mike on 6 meters).
But, all good things must end. By Noon on Sunday the bands were silent, with the exception of noise, as the worst of the last CME made it to Earth and shut the bands down.
Despite poor conditions, we did very well making contacts; largely the result of having all stations operating from the beginning, and a slightly greater participation rate We also had several families come out, and two young people make contacts via our GOTA station.
Final calculations show we'll have a score of over 1100, at least 300 more than last year! I've never seen this group work so cooperatively and productively on Field Day. Quite a success for the West Georgia Amateur Radio Society!