Friday, June 22, 2012

Simple Antennas for Field Day

FIELD DAY ANTENNAS

The ARRL's traditional Field Day Emergency Communications Exercise begins shortly.  For Amateur Radio operators in the state of Hawaii, the fun begins this Saturday at 0800W and ends Sunday at 0800W...a full 24-hours of emergency operations, a near contest atmosphere, and, most of all, outrageous fun!.

This year, the Big Island Amateur Radio Club will use the grounds of the beautiful Wailoa Visitor's Center in Hilo.  The site is open to the public and is covered in case of summer rains.  Although the club will be running 2A Pacific with solar and generator power, there is commercial AC available for the evening and morning meals.  Ah yes, the food.  As was the case last year, club members will prepare something at home and bring their surprises to the center.  I'll be bringing a case or so of soda and fruit juce to keep the operators fueled throughout the long, sticky night.  Once I get through with the drag races at the Hilo Drag Strip (I'm the tower announcer for this event),  I'll drive over to the operating site and settle in for a few hours of logging and operating.

Field Day brings out all kinds of operating equipment.  Last year, the club had a variety of rigs, including the latest Kenwood and Yaesu transceivers.  But what brought me out last year was the diverse selection of antennas available.  The club put up an impressive tribander, a set of phased verticals for 40 meters, and, on one occasion, strung a full wave, 80 meter loop between several palm trees.  That antenna was quite a performer.  This time, the club will have a tribander, a phased vertical array (most likely for 40 meters), and a surprise for 80 and 160 meters.  Satellite operations are also on the schedule.

Most likely, I'll spend some time with our newly licensed amateur radio operators, giving them some experience in a contest-like situation.  As was the case last year, I'll be doing logs while the new operators try to make contacts.  All of this is great fun.  At about 10 p.m., I'll  bid farewell to my fellow amateurs and head home for a good night's sleep.

For those of you who can't get to a club site, a home-based operation, running 1E (emergency power) or 1D (commercial mains) could be quite an experience.  I ran 1E a few years back and thoroughly enjoyed the excitement.  My equipment was modest--an old Swan 100 MX and a homebrew inverted vee fed by balanced 450-ohm line.  That old antenna is still in use as is the venerable Swan.  I think I made around 150 contacts before my eyes and fingers gave up at around 3 a.m. Sunday morning.  I wasn't worth much of anything on Sunday, but I surely had fun!

So, even if you can't make it out to a club site, give Field Day a try.  You might even run a mobile operation for some added excitement.

I hope to hear you 23/24 June.

Aloha es 73 de KH6JRM--BK29jx15