Friday, June 3, 2011

KH6JRM's Amateur Radio Blog

The weekend is fast upon us.  Hopefully, that means a reduced newsroom schedule and an early voyage home to the amateur radio station.  After this week of economic doom and gloom, I need a break to recharge the ole batteries.  There's so much negativity one can take, especially with those supposedly in charge totally clueless as to what to do.  Anyway, if my amateur radio station falls short, I have no one to blame but myself.  I'm looking forward to a few hours of conversation, DX, and antenna work over the weekend.

The ARRL Field Day is coming the weekend of 25/26 June and thousands of ham operators will take to the "field" in one of the largest emergency communications events conducted in North America.  The event combines contest, emergency communications, and survival aspects into one frantic weekend.  Nothing goes totally according to plan, and that's part of the allure of Field Day.  Because of work requirements, my participation with the Big Island Amateur Radio Club will be minimal.  I'll probably drop by the Wailoa Visitor's Center after the morning news shift and the afternoon's drag races (I'm the tower announcer at the track).  Most likely, I'll assist in logging contacts or in helping the newer operators get accustomed to the  overnight routine.  After a few hours at the visitor center, it's back to the radio station for a few hours of shuteye before the races resume early Sunday morning.  I enjoy Field Day, no matter how brief the experience.

How can you participate in Field Day without a club or a suitable location?  You could always join a ham in a similar situation and run an emergency station in your backyard using either the regular mains (class 1-D) or some  off -grid power (class 1-E).  I've done this a few times with mixed results.  You might even want to make a portable vertical antenna for such a purpose.  Let your imagination run wild on this one.  As long as you have the blessings of your XYL or significant other, sufficient food, and plenty of insect repellant, you're in the game.  If you're adventurous, why not try a mobile station (class 1-C)?  All of this experience could prove useful in a real emergency.  Just ask those amateur operators providing emergency communications to those areas of the southeast ravaged by the recent wave of tornadoes.  For them, this month has been a continuous "field day" without a weekend time limit.  For what it's worth, Field Day can teach valuable lessons if you're willing to learn. 

Have a good weekend and get on the air.  Aloha es 73 de KH6JRM.