Field Day 2016, The President’s Perspective

Our effort began Friday morning as the tower and antennas were set up in anticipation of RF pulsing through the coax. By the time field day ended, we had erected a portable tower with a triband beam and Armstrong rotor and a 40/80 dipole. Two additional vertical antennas for HF, a halo for 6M and two circularly polarized beams for satellite operations. The GOTA station used a Buddi Pole for 20M.

Saturday morning saw the erection of the large canopy (furnished by Mike K4ZPE) in the patio area to keep or Chef de SPARC, Dee, N4GD in the shade and away from the rain drops. Power was furnished by two Honda EU200i generators, a solar panel and batteries.

Our primary station, W4TA, consisted of a Ten-Tech Jupiter on CW an Elecraft K3 for the phone station, and an additional K3 to swing between CW and phone as needed. A triplexer made by Dave, KR4U was used to feed the beam for simultaneous operation on 15M and 20M. All the HF radios were connected using an antenna patch panel built by John, KI4UIP, which permitted us to connect any radio with any antenna. Logging was done using Write Log on laptop computers donated by Johnnie, W4TSP.

A cooler full of cold drinks was provided by the club while a keg of craft German style beer was provided by Walt N4ELH. The club also furnished burgers and dogs which were grilled to perfection by Dee, N4GD. Club members furnished chips, salads, beans, slaw, chicken wings, mac & cheese, cookies, bagels and more.

We received a beautiful framed proclamation on Field Day from Pinellas Park Vice Mayor Rick Butler. We were also visited by St Petersburg Fire and Rescue Emergency Management representative Amber Boulding. We explained and demonstrated to Amber how amateur radio works with city and county government in the event of an emergency. We also received a visit from the Salvation Army Canteen unit with beverages and snacks. Thanks for your support.

Our GOTA Station was furnished by Pete, KJ4FAW. Due to the inclement weather, we only had a few GOTA operators, but those folks were able to spend quality time at the station. Our satellite station was furnished by Tom, NY4I. Due to weather and a technical issue, QSB managed to foil our last minute bid for satellite QSO points. Our 6M station was furnished by Paul, KC4YDY. Unfortunately the band never opened, and Paul was only able to make contacts with the usual group of locals around the bay.

Around 4PM local time, lightning took out power to our building. No problem…the radios and computers were on emergency power. Oh well, No AC. No lights. Just like the old days. A pain, but no problem. It turns out a short occurred 6 feet underground in the primary feed to the transformer serving our building. The crew from Duke Energy showed up around 7:30PM, located the fault and began digging. And I do mean digging. When I went out to see what was going on, all I saw was the top of the technician’s hard hat in the hole. And he was stand up! With the fault removed ant the cable spliced, all that remained was to replace the fuse feeding the transformer. Have you ever experienced fuse blowing protecting a dead short on a 7,200 volt circuit having virtually an unlimited current source? Think lightning bolt landing at your feet. KA-BOOM. Damn that was loud. It turns out there was a second fault on the cable feeding the transformer. Thanks to the dedication of the Duke Energy crew, the power was restored about 2:00AM Sunday morning.

NY4I sent a number of radiograms Saturday night on the Eagle net. Late Saturday night, Section Manager Darrell, KT4WX dropped by in his ten county tour of Field Day sites in West Central Florida. Darrell indicated he had received our radiogram. Sunday’s activities were as one would expect. More radio, breakfast, and starting to clean up in anticipation of a warm shower. By 4:00PM, the site had returned to normal and another successful field day is in the books. Preliminary reports indicate 597 CW QSOs, 334 Phone QSOs and total point count of 1529.

A big thanks to all the folks that made this year’s Field Day a success. I know I had fun, and I saw a lot of folks smiling as well.