Sunday, June 24, 2012

Simple Antennas for the Amateur Radio Operator--a continuing series

FIELD DAY IN HILO, HAWAII

The Big Island Amateur Radio Club endured rain, heat, and wind to complete another successful ARRL Field Day at Hilo's Wailoa Visitors Center.

Frequent rain showers and unsafe track conditions led to the cancellation of the June Points Meet at the Hilo Drag Strip.  The closing of the track freed a few hours to enjoy the ARRL Field Day with the Big Island Amateur Radio Club.  I was only able to spend about 3 hours with club members, but I did see some interesting antennas and displays at the visitors center.

When I arrived for the 0800 W start of the event, the sky was overcast with scattered showers--a perfect time to erect antennas!  By the time I got squared away, the club had erected a 40 meter vertical and a hardy cw operator starting logging in contacts on 15 meters.  The erection of the triband beam had to wait until the skies cleared and the threat of thunderstorms subsided.  While all of this was going on, the trusty vertical and a Yaesu-857D kept KH6EJ (club call) on the air.  The rig ran off several deep cycle marine batteries until the tribander and a 3-element yagi could be erected.  The club also had a mobile station (class 1-C) using a 20 meter hex beam.

About 35 club members and 50 or so local residents attended this edition of Field Day.  A reporter from the "Hawaii Tribune-Herald" newspaper interviewed several club members and took a long series of photographs for the paper.  By the time I left at 1130 W, a second rig was added to the mix, making the club fully operational as 2A Pacific.  A small Honda generator and a bank of solar cells were used to charge our batteries.

The weather was quite wet and gusty through Saturday night.  There was some clearing by early Sunday morning, so some of the weather was favorable for raising and lowering antennas.  Club members, friends, and family brought sufficient supplies of food and drink to keep the over night operators fully fueled.  The club also had a media display, handouts from the ARRL, and an emergency communications kit for the public to examine.  Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi declared Saturday, 23 June 2012, as "Amateur Radio Field Day in Hawaii County".  So, the club got quite a bit of print and electronic publicity.  My former employer (Pacific Radio Group) ran public service announcements about Field Day, as did some of the other radio stations in Hilo.

Considering the poor weather conditions, participation by both amateur radio operators and the general public was excellent.  The Wailoa Vistors Center was large enough to accommodate club members, county officials, and the public.  All told, club members did an excellent job of getting out the word about Amateur Radio.  Several local residents expressed an interest in upcoming license classes taught by club members.

I trust your Field Day went well.

Aloha es 73 de KH6JRM--BK29jx15