A different kind of Field Day

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We didn’t haul generators out to the airport this year, nor did we have to deal with a porta-potty, but we still had fun. Here’s how some ARROW members participated in Field Day.


Russ KB8U

KB8U combined his two hobbies on field day by operating bicycle mobile on 40, 20, 15, and 10 meter QRP CW, and 2m and 70cm with a hand-held FM transceiver.  Most contacts were made while in motion.  He made contacts and rode at a leisurely pace, logging 118 contacts and about 53 miles over the weekend.


John WA8TON

Got 195 CW QSO’s, including 8 on 6 meters! All using a Cushcraft R8 at 30 feet. Amazing how much brass pounding there was at around 50.095 MHz! Getting a lot easier to copy than last year! Next year, I’ll run ’em!

It sure was harder to stay awake all night than it was in 1966! Found myself nodding off at 2 AM.

Lots of fun, but it sure does not beat all the eyeball QSO’s. Hope we can do it all in person next time! (And there is Winter Field Day, too!)


Dave N8SBE

Dave, N8SBE, is all set to try out WSJT-X FT4 within the N1MM+ logger from his home station in the 2020 ARRL FD.  His laptop integrates seamlessly for both audio and CAT with his USB Codec-equipped Elecraft K3S/P3.  His antenna complement includes a homebrew 20M-6M six-band, two-element spider-boom quad up about 40 ft, and a ZS6BKW window-line fed dipole covering 80M-40M, up about 35 ft.  Just because he’s working FD from home (class 1D), doesn’t mean he can’t dress the part — note the official 2020 ARRL FD shirt, cap and pin (and mug, not pictured)!”


Jay WB8TKL

Operating 1E with 850 Amp/Hours of deep-cycle battery and nearly 500 watts of Solar power, we kept the rigs powered, the fan blowing cool air, and the lights on, for the duration of the event. We discovered a few technical items that will need further improvement, but this “Operating Event” went VERY well. Even the Hamgate.Washtenaw.AMPR.Org JNOS Packet node was running off Solar for others to post their NTS messages through.

Three is two, two is one, and one is none…so we had an OMNI-VI Plus on standby should a backup HF rig be needed. But the primary rig (TS-430S) performed flawlessly.

The special circumstances of Field Day this year taught all of us the PRIMARY meaning of the event – to practice the skills needed to set up and operate for an extended length of time. No one just showed up at the FD site, sat themselves down in front of a K3 inside an air-conditioned 5th Wheel. This year we were EACH required to manage antennas, rigs, power, fuel, extension cables, logging software (or paper logs), and ultimately the filing of our official Log to the ARRL. It was a learning experiance for many! We all now appreciate more the hard work done by our FD Captain, the various Stations Captains, and all the volunteer work and supplies provided by our fellow club members 🙂


Dan KB6NU

With his battery-powered KX3, Dan KB6NU, managed 225 CW contacts, mostly on 40-meter CW.

I operated from my front deck, using a solar-charged, battery-powered KX3. I managed 225 CW contacts, mostly on 40-meter CW. I did pretty well with bonus points, too. I copied the bulletin, sent our Section Manager some traffic, sent out a press release, and Tweeted throughout Field Day for the social media bonus. I even had a public-information table (see below).

Join the ARROW “Shut In” Net

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This really has nothing to do with this post. I found it while Googling for an “amateur radio roundtable” image and thought it would be amusing. 🙂

You may be sheltering in place or self-quarantining, but that doesn’t mean that you have to be out of touch with your fellow hams. For the foreseeable future, ARROW members will be congregating at 10 am and 7 pm on our 2 m repeater (146.96 MHz), and at 2 pm on the Brandmeister MI Talk Group (TG 3126).

Please feel free to  join us, even if you’re not an ARROW member. The nets are conducted in a roundtable format, with one of the participants (often Jay, WB8TKL) acting as the ringleader. We babble on about how we’re coping with this situation, including what projects we’re working on and what bands and modes we’re operating.

STAY SAFE AND JOIN US!

ARROW Event Cancellations for March & April 2020

We would like to inform you know that the following ARROW Events and Meetings have been canceled due to COVID-19.

ARROW VE Session – March 14 & April 11

ARROW Egg Chew – March 21 & April 18

ARROW Monthly General Meeting – April 8

ARROW Hamvention Bus Trip – May 16

We are currently evaluating the Hamvention Bus Trip and are waiting to hear from the Hamvention organizers. Hamvention has been canceled. We will work on issuing a refund to all our registered bus riders ASAP. We have processed all Hamvention bus trip refunds as of March 16, 2020 if you paid using PayPal. Checks will be in the mail soon.

The ARROW Board meeting will be held via a conference call in April at which time we will decide the future of the meetings.

73, ARROW Board

Poor band conditions not a problem for our Winter Field Day team

Tucked away in a small cabin (right) at the Brighton Recreation Area, our Winter Field Day team battled poor band conditions, but still managed more QSOs than last year, reports Thom, W8TAM.

Despite an urgent call for operators early Sunday morning, Thom, Dinesh AB3DC, and John WA8TON bested our 2019 by 2 contacts. Thom said, “253 QSOs after dupe checking. 2 more than last year. I think that’s a good result. The solar conditions this year were worse than last year. Good effort by all!”

While the weather outside was frightful (see below), inside it was delightfully warm. As you can see, Thom is in short sleeves. I’m impressed that they even had a boom mike.

Thom W8TAM, Dinesh AB3DC, and John WA8TON setting up the Winter Field Day antenna.

WB8TKL Addresses TAPR Conference

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At this fall’s TAPR Digital Communications Conference (DCC), held here in the Detroit area, our own Jay Nugent, WB8TKL, talked about packet radio. His talk was titled “The Homogenous AMPRnet Data Network.”

 

 

Jason, KC5HWB, of Ham Radio 2.0, has taken over the video taping of the TAPR DCCs. Click here to see all of the videos he recorded this year.

SK Estate Sale

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A ham friend of Rick, K8BMA passed recently, and his family has asked us to assist them in selling  his equipment. In return, they have graciously agreed to donate 1/3 of the proceeds to our scholarship fund. Below are photos of the equipment. Not pictured are a three-element Steppir yagi (which needs some work) and a Flex 5000 transceiver (it wasn’t in the main shack, and I forgot to take a picture of it).

I have set up a Google Docs spreadsheet listing the equipment and some asking prices. I’ve tried to be realistic about the prices, but please consider them as starting points, not end points. Also keep in mind that a third of what you pay will be going to our scholarship fund. Email me separately for the link to the spreadsheet.

If you have any questions, or would like to see the equipment, please get in touch with me, and I’ll try to answer questions and arrange for you to see the gear.

73, Dan KB6NU

UMARC/ARROW rack up more than 2,000 Qs on Field Day 2019

We ran four HF stations this year, including two CW and two SSB stations. Also shown in this photo are the GOTA station, the public information table, and the food tent. Photo: Larry Works, KD8MDM.

Dave, N8SBE, our Field Day 2019 head honcho reports:

The U-M Amateur Radio Club and ARROW joined again for Field Day 2019, operating class 4A (four transmitters, no commercial power) and one GOTA (Get On The Air) station. We operated again from the park just north of the Ann Arbor Airport.

The radios included three Elecraft K3s, a Yaesu FTdx5000mp for one SSB station, and the UofM club’s Kenwood TS-590 for the GOTA station.  We used contest filters on all the radios, which all did well in the intense multi-multi setup with minimal co-interference.

Our antennas were held up with 40-ft. masts built up from 10, 4-ft. sections of those surplus fiberglass poles used for camouflage netting in the Gulf wars.  These are handy and lightweight, but require 8 people to put up a mast — four on the guy ropes, one on a ladder to raise and hold up the mast while the sixth guy stuffs mast sections up from under, and the last two to stand about 90 degrees apart and determine when the whole thing looks fairly vertical before tying down the guys.  We use two sets of four guys, one set at the top of the mast, and the other half-way down.  We had two CW dipoles, one a multi-band 80, 20, 15, and 10m (note the absence of 40m), the other a single-band 40m, placed end-to-end to minimize pickup.  Two more antennas for the SSB stations, one an Alpha-Delta CC multi-band, the other a 40m “super-loop”, again placed end-to-end.  It takes six masts total to put up the four dipoles, since we separate the SSB and CW dipoles on either side of the parking area where all the shelters are set up.

When we ‘pulled the plug’ on Sunday at 2pm ET, we had more than 2000 contacts. We worked to obtain as many bonus points as possible, but did leave some on the table, including the visit from an elected official, visit from a served agency, and the satellite contact. We usually manage everything except the satellite contact, although some years in the past, we snagged that one, too.

While totalling up all the points will take some time, I think we did pretty well again this year. Thanks to everyone who helped to make this a fun event.

Here are some photos from Arun, W8ARU:

Don, AC8TO, coaching someone at the GOTA station.

Dinesh, AB3DC, and Arun, W8ARU, enjoying the fine weather.

Stuart, W8SRC, cranking out some Qs, with Don, AC8TO looking on. This was Stuart’s 10th Field Day!

Here are some more photos from Larry, KD8MZM:

WS8U’s generator provided most of the power for this year’s FD.

We tried setting up a Beverage antenna, but results were mixed.

Charles, W8HAX, operates one of the SSB stations.

Dan, KB6NU, operates one of the CW stations.