Lovettsville Oktoberfest Cancelled for 2020

From their Facebook page:

“The Lovettsville Oktoberfest Committee regrets to announce the cancelation (sic) of Lovettsville Oktoberfest 2020 due to concerns for the health and safety of our volunteers, patrons, and vendors.”

I guess it was inevitable for 2020.



Field Day 2020 Recap – W5ODJ

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.

100-200 contacts and at least 1 digital contact was my goal.

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.



Field Day 2012 – Eight years ago.

Where does the time go?

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.

Field Day Site 2012 – Now covered in trees.

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.



Field Day 2020

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 a Field 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.

I miss the chaos.

Have a great Field Day 2020 where ever you are.



Thursday 10 meter net Report 18 Jun 2020

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:

  1. W5ODJ, John
  2. KE4S, Dave
  3. W4PMP, Chris
  4. W0MPM, John

A reminder that we have a club meeting (virtual) this coming Saturday.

Everyone had a decent signal. It was great to hear everyone.



LARG Thursday Night HF Net

We had 9 people check in to the net tonight:

  • W5ODJ, John (NCS)
  • K0ZR, Jeff
  • KE4S, Dave
  • K3WD, Bill
  • KG4UPR, Bryan (Delaware)
  • W0MPM, John
  • N4PD, Paul
  • W4PMP, Chris
  • N4CF, Mike (Louisa)

It was nice to hear everyone on the air tonight. 80 was in decent shape. Signals were strong ranging from S9 to +35 at my QTH.

WPXCW Contest this weekend.

SpaceX will launch again on Saturday:


Date: Saturday, May 30
Time: 3:22 p.m. Eastern
TV: Various networks
Stream: NASA, SpaceX

WX is improving for the next 7 days. Hopefully everyone can get out and enjoy the springtime weather.

Stay safe. Be vigilant.



LARG HF Digital Watering Hole Report.

We meet every Sunday evening from 19:30 to 20:00 local time at 7.07325 MHz in the summer months. Tonight there were not LARG members on the net however there were 4 other checkins + me:

  1. KC4ZGP
  2. NR4A
  3. NQ1W
  4. VE3ZU
  5. W5ODJ

The net continued for over an hour well into the 2m net. Nothing formal to report on this net. It was nice creating a flow from random checkins from around the country.

Hope to see you on the digital net one day soon.



LARG HF Digital Watering Hole net report.

Tonight a the prescribed time and frequency I called CQ to see who might want to join the LARG digital net using OLIVIA 8/500.

I was quickly rewarded by a call from Bryan (KG4UPR) in Delaware using his mobile rig on 40 meters followed by a call back from Bill (KJ4VTH) in Fairfax. Both of their SNRs were 25 dB at my QTH.

It’s been a while since I called the digital net and it was fun to have these guys on the other end of my call. Thanks for participating tonight, Bryan and Bill!

A reminder on the digital net:

We meet every Sunday evening from 19:30 to 20:00 local time. Winter (Standard Time: Nov-Mar) 3.58275 MHz. In the summer (Daylight Savings Time: Mar-Nov) we meet at 7.07325 MHz and that is where we were tonight.

NOTE: Net Control listens the 2-meter net frequency used by the Sunday 8:30 PM FM Radio net. Lately that has been 145.31. If you are having any difficulty call us on the repeater and we’ll do our best to help you get on the air for the net.

Everyone is welcome to join us and we hope to see you on the digital net.

For more information please visit this web page.



LARG Sunday Night 2-Meter Net Report

Thank you to everyone who participated in the 2 meter net tonight.

Those that checked in were:

  • KE4S, DAVE
  • K4JB, JIM
  • K3WD, BILL

Most everyone had good signals into the repeater tonight. Some of us have some work to do. 🙂

A number of topics were discussed including the appreciation of the virtual meeting on Saturday for the club presentations. Many of us made a point on how effective that meeting was. Of course, COVID was discussed some but mostly how everyone was getting along in this current lock down environment. Most of us were spending time with our families, baking bread and other family related activities. Many doing antenna work. And there was a QSO party this weekend which some of us participated.

I trust most everyone found their equipment in good working order. The radio I was using is new which introduces another 50 buttons to me so there is a function I am looking for. Gotta read the manual.

Have a good week!



LARG Thursday Night HF Net Report

We had good attendance and many new voices on the net tonight. For the 75-meter net we were on 3.675 Mhz while also listening to 3.838Mhz for General class checkins.

Those checking in were:

  • KG4UPR/M, Bryan (Delaware)
  • K0ZR, Jeff
  • K3WD, BIll
  • KS1G, Steve
  • AB3KC, Collins *
  • W2YE, Dick
  • N4PD, Paul *
  • KQ4CI, Evan *
  • KI2H, Harry *
  • KJ4NXG, Bob
  • W5ODJ, John * (NCS)

There were a variety of subject but most notable was the sheltering in place most of us are doing these days. Everyone’s signal was good and strong ranging from S9 to 40 over. The band was in great shape.

We meet every Thursday evening from 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM. Everyone is welcome to attend with us. Once the 75-meter portion is over we move to 10 meters at 28.405 Mhz. Those with a * by their name also attended the 10 meter net.