Thursday, July 5, 2018

WQ6X 2018 FIELD DAY - a dual-OP Solution

WQ6X @ W6SW STN-2 in 2013 (660 20-m CW QSOs)
Field Day is a unique event for U.S.
and Canadian radio amateurs.
A not-insignificant number of licensed amateurs credit Field Day as being their first real exposure to amateur radio.
A not-insignificant number of those people found their way into electronic engineering for their career, as a result of exposure to/through the radio hobby.

Amateur radio has always been a hobby for me, not a career. Nevertheless, this hobby shares a tight relationship with my work as a Bio/Neuro feedback therapist and software developer.

While I've run a few solo Field Day events, since 1985 I've nearly always run with the San Andreas Fault Line Survivors (W6SW) or occasionally with N6GEO; altho for 2017 I ran solo as WQ6X from W7AYT's QTH in the East Bay (EB) ARRL Section. For 2018, three Field Day ideas (running with W6SW or N6GEO and working from W7AYT's QTH) all failed to materialize.

Wanting to be a part of something available to the public, I joined up with the Amateur Radio Club of Alameda (ARCA) from 8am until they shutdown at 5pm (00:00z) using their K6QLF callsign. Because Field Day is all about participation, this year again found me assisting with antenna raising as well
as problem troubleshooting when a bad coax barrel connector nearly sidelined Station #2 (a Yaesu FT-897), which I eventually used to put 21 SSB QSOs in the 20 meter log.

South end of G5RV support

Prior to that, running an FT-817 (5 watts) at Station #1, I managed to make a pre-FD ragchew QSO on 40 meters using (horror of horrors) a hand key. (In all honesty, my "fist" was sore for several days afterward.) Luckily by the time Field Day started they had put in an electronic keyer.
Sending manually with the keyer, I put 14 CW QSOs in the 40 meter log.

A third station put K6QLF on the air with digital modes demonstrating the different modes we use in ham radio for visitors. Outside the center a VHF setup allowed me to work an FD station halfway down state on 2-meters - it THRILLED the kids on the other end.


While we had our share of equipment problems, we also had some fortunate events. 
A visit from the new Section Communications Manager (SCM) for East Bay (EB) section was a pleasant surprise (as well as worth 100 FD points).  The last time that happened for me was the visit from the N6VI, the then Southwest Division vice director in 2014 atop Mt. Abel during W6SW's usual FD setup.  It is visits like this which encourage more publically-viewable activities such as Field Day. 
I ran a November Sweepstakes from Carpinteria state beach one year; the only thing missing
being a visit from the Santa Barbara section manager.

After spending the day with the ARCA group, I hooked up to a secure high-speed internet connection, hoping
to run WQ6X remotely from NX6T.  Unfortunately, another audio problem with station #1 kept me off the air

all evening. 

Sunday morning just after 9am

(16:00z) because I was still connected
to Fallbrook, suddenly I heard receive audio waft in from the RCForb software.
I was in business for 96 minutes.

To make sure I was heard everywhere, I ran the station at 1350 watts, suffering the 1.0 power multiplier. Nevertheless, that was an intensely FUN 96 minutes.

The amazing thing was being able to work 20 meters, then 15 meters, then back to 20 meters.
The final 20 minutes put 15 QSOs in the log for 40 meters. While WQ6X will take no awards,
it was certainly a successful exercise in catching a brief 15-meter MUF before it disappeared.
Asking for a 10-meter opening was too much too early. Next year, an increasing SFI should
help resolve that problem.

Did you work Radio Amateur's Field Day?

What tales do YOU have to tell?

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