It took most of the week but I did finally manage to get all stations for the original 13 Colonies and the two extra stations.
They were tough this year! WM3PEN either used CW or FT8 every time I looked to see where they were operating. I did not have FT8 installed on my computer nor do I really know how to use it. I managed to install the software but was not successful in actually making it work in my favor. So I waited for CW which I finally accomplished tonight.
Speaking of CW I worked 4 of the 15 stations using CW this year. The Tuesday night nets really helped me get this done! I still need to get better at this mode but I’m doing OK with it. Enough to help in a contest anyway.
On the operator side of things I’ve managed to put in 6 hours of work this week. In that 6 hours I have worked 859 unique stations. That’s about 143 per hour. It gets pretty crazy at times.
I hope to work another hour or two tomorrow. Maybe I can top off the list at 1000 for 2020.
This is always a fun event for me. This year was the hardest for me to finish but it was rewarding using some new skills to make it happen.
I’ll be operating one of the K2B stations. Of all of the contests I have done this one is the fastest pace by far. Because there are so few operators in Virginia our state, one of the original 13 colonies, is highly sought after.
Last year I had a rate of about 200 QSOs an hour. That’s one about every 18 seconds. I know that when I sit at my desk I have to be on my toes because they come at me fast.
While I am going to be operating I’ll also be getting the “Clean Sweep”. I enjoy doing this each year. Tracking down the bonus stations is always a hoot.
It didn’t start with the normal hustle that comes with executing a well thought through plan.
In fact, it was pretty benign. I was in my chair at the beginning and tried to make a contact in the last minutes. Casual “Search and Pounce” was my M.O. for this event.
The bands were in such good shape! In particular 20 meters. My noise levels were very low on all of the bands with 80 being an exception. It was fun to hear everyone still out there trying to make as many contacts as they could. Getting a new contact was as easy as spinning the dial and logging.
The times I was sitting at my desk I also left 146.52 open in my headset. I was surprised to hear all the chatter on that band this weekend. I ended up making 8 FD specific contacts on 2m simplex. A first for me. Lots of people were out on hikes and making FD contacts with HTs. I also talked to a few people outside of FD. That’s always fun.
Another goal I set for myself was a Field Day specific digital contact which I did in the last hour of the event. That’s not easy to do. If I do digital contesting and want to log and have control of the radio from two programs I have to work on some communications on my desk. Both the digital program and logging want to have access to the radio at the same time. I have the gear, just need to hook it up.
At 2pm today it was like someone turned the electricity off. All of the bands were empty again. This Field Day was over.
In spite of it being a Field Day of One I had a good time. The “clean up” will certainly be easy.
As I push away from my desk I wonder … maybe the hustle will return in 2021.
I don’t remember all of the details of this particular Field Day event. I do remember It being a another well-run activity and was followed up by a de-brief the evening the Derecho came through Virginia. Hard to believe that was 8 short years ago.
What followed the Derecho was 7 days of over 100º weather and no electricity at my home for 7 days. It was interesting for sure. I was prepared for this thanks to all my work with radio, Field Day, ARES and EOC.
Could you do without electricity for 7 days?
What about 24 hours?
Today you may be able to test that theory.
Do you recognize anyone in the photographs above?
For me 8 years ago was a very chaotic time in my personal life. Trying to keep corporate job while running a local business was not an easy thing to pull off. I quit that job and sold the business(es) since then. Life is much more placid.
But it is also very quiet. Very, very quiet.
In the past few days I’ve prepared my station to work some in this year’s Field Day. I’m not going to kill myself trying to make contacts so this year is about the fun of making contact rather than the tactics.
If I get a wild hair I’m prepared to run a frequency at high power and log it all in real time. So we’ll have to see where this goes. No plans to show up on any top 10 list this year.
I’m happy to report I have no engineering problems with my station so I can just sit down and operate. Part of eliminating the chaos of 8 years ago has afforded me the time on my own station that I did not have the time to do then. And to do it properly. Time has taught me how to do things right the first time or at least wait until I can do that.
The last ten years have been interesting times for sure. So many life lessons learned. I’m thankful that through all those lessons that radio has been at the center of it all. it’s the one stable thing I turn to each day to distract myself from the noise of life.
Every year at this time I remember those who have been instrumental in my life. While I don’t remember all of the details of time passed I’m thankful for those who have been there with me.
Where did the time go? Not so sure. But thankful for the time I spent doing this.
Have a great Field Day 2020. Maybe we’ll hear each other on the air.
Today I randomly ran across some old photos from Field Day 2011 and 2010. It reminded me of the good fun, sweat and community we have shared as a club over the years.
These early years were transformative for me as a younger ham. They would sharpen my love of the hobby while increasing my engineering and tactical prowess. Some would argue that the latter would not have taken much! Ha.
Then I was a General class operator not yet having achieved the class of Extra. That would not come until later. My call was WB5ODJ. I would soon drop the B from my call.
As I ready for the weekend for aField Day of One I’m reminded of all of the people I’ve met here in Loudoun County who included me in a social club of radio hams with open arms. I’ve watched this club grow together and go on to do some pretty amazing things over the years from launching and tracking balloons to these huge field day efforts.
For those that have never been able to experience a field day as large as the ones we have I hope one day you will have this opportunity. The events of late have made it very hard for anyone to gather and do anything including mustering for an event this large.
Ten years ago this week truck load after truck load would start to show up dropping things off for the big event. People would start to lay things out in their heads how the event would actually unfold after months of planning on paper. There were cables to build, groceries to procure, meals to prepare, antennae to build, towers to erect and stations to set up.
Then Friday folks would descend on our Field Day site and start to work on building for the event. It was a noisy, often chaotic, and busy time of excitement as we worked together to figure things out. And we did always figure things out.
The event would start at 10am Saturday. People from all walks of life would come join us for lunch, dinner or breakfast. Big stories would be told while operators worked to get as many contacts as possible in 24 hours.
Then… POOF! It would be over.
Things would be taken down. Everyone would leave. Like it never happened. Every stick of furniture, tower section, cable, radio, computer and trash bag was gone.
You’d have to walk in my shoes to know what that felt like. Like family you haven’t seen in a long time was leaving and you knew you wouldn’t see them again. Some for a long time; Some never again.
It’s quiet here now. There is no noise. There is no chaos. There is no erection of towers using sketchy engineering methods. No tall tales. No lunches or dinners. No shared paths.
Hi there. We had a nice net on 10 meters tonight. The band was open beyond the northern Virginia area. We were able to meet at 28.405 Mhz and have a very informal net. There was no NCS so we did a normal QSO until we all had to leave. Those checking in were:
A reminder that we have a club meeting (virtual) this coming Saturday.
Everyone had a decent signal. It was great to hear everyone.