My 2018 Field Day report

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KYZHunters
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My 2018 Field Day report

Post by KYZHunters » Wed Jun 27, 2018 9:10 am

So, another Field Day has come and gone and I thought I’d post my results for consideration of those who are considering adding ham radio to their suite of preps.

Field Day is an annual event sponsored by American Radio Relay League for hams to exercise their ability to operate away from their home station. The event is basically a 24-hour exercise to set up and operate stations away from the comforts and conveniences of their homes and contact as many other participants as possible. Emphasis is added on using non-permanent infrastructure such as alternative power sources and antennas.

I operated a 100 watt HF radio using wind-charged batteries into a wire antenna about 20-feet off the ground hung between trees. It took about an hour to set up and I spent a total of 8 hours on the air.

From Kentucky, I successfully contacted stations in 42 states. I worked the entire east coast from Maine to Florida. I also worked all of the states contiguous to mine. Additionally, I had solid comms throughout the Midwest and Southwest and many contacts in California. States I’d missed in previous years (North Dakota, Nevada, Hawaii and Alaska) continued to elude me.

Most of my contacts were on the 40 and 20 meter bands but 15 meters proved productive to contact states I’d missed.

In short, I’d say it was a typical Field Day that reinforced the fact that ham radio is still a viable mode of communication you should consider adding to your preps.
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Re: My 2018 Field Day report

Post by Dabster » Wed Jun 27, 2018 9:20 am

That sounds like an impressive range. Have you described the cost and composition of the equipment used to do this somewhere? If not, about how much would that cost?
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Re: My 2018 Field Day report

Post by JeeperCreeper » Wed Jun 27, 2018 9:30 am

Do you still need a license for ham? If so... why?

I'm interested if technology has made it cheaper and more accessible for a small hobby
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KYZHunters
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Re: My 2018 Field Day report

Post by KYZHunters » Wed Jun 27, 2018 9:35 am

Dabster wrote:That sounds like an impressive range. Have you described the cost and composition of the equipment used to do this somewhere? If not, about how much would that cost?
Aside from the wind turbine and batteries which are part of my farming operation, I think my equipment is probably a $300-400 investment.
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KYZHunters
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Re: My 2018 Field Day report

Post by KYZHunters » Wed Jun 27, 2018 9:41 am

JeeperCreeper wrote:Do you still need a license for ham? If so... why?

I'm interested if technology has made it cheaper and more accessible for a small hobby
Funnily technology has made low end capabilities cheaper. A quick look at Craigslist or EBay show a station of the minimal capabilities of mine can be had for a couple of hundred bucks.

You still need a license, but they are easily attained. The requirement to know Morse code has been dropped, all of the questions in the test pool are readily available and testing is conducted by local volunteers.

Why? Because use of the ham frequencies are controlled by international agreement that require governments to limit access to those who won’t cause interference to users in other countries.
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Re: My 2018 Field Day report

Post by MPMalloy » Wed Jun 27, 2018 4:36 pm

KYZHunters wrote:In short, I’d say it was a typical Field Day that reinforced the fact that ham radio is still a viable mode of communication you should consider adding to your preps.
:clap:

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woodsghost
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Re: My 2018 Field Day report

Post by woodsghost » Wed Jun 27, 2018 7:27 pm

Hey there! I got out on Field Day. I visited two local clubs. I got to chat with the main group which runs a prepping/survival net on a local repeater. I learned a lot about radios. I chatted a lot about learning Morse Code, which 8 months ago I swore I'd never do. But I"m getting the itch.

I learned a lot about the local ham personalities. That was probably one of the most interesting things to me. I love talking and learning about people. I love watching them and learning about who they are. I did very little on the radio. I only have VHF/UHF and a Tech licence. But I was not really interested in getting call signs. I really liked just hanging out and chatting, which is what I do on the radio anyway. I hop on nets, ragchew, and learn about making communications with other prepping friends more reliable.

Really, I did make a bunch of contacts. And even got some call signs. But they were all face-to-face, and that was pretty cool!

I learned a bunch about MARS. One guy is almost exclusively into MARS, and he was really neat to talk to.

I learned about programs which dig radio signals out of background noise and make extremely weak signals seem clear as day. Computers can have a huge effect on the hobby.

My wife and daughter came with me to one group. There was a Farmers Market right near by. This field day group was probably 30%-40% ladies--wives and girlfriends, of hams. My wife and I had a lovely conversation with one lady who told us about her experiences in the military, meeting her husband in Germany, raising their kids there, and other life experiences. She told us all about her HT and what she uses it for. She had a fun personality and a way with stories.

I met a fascinating guy who drives a dump truck for a living and is self-educated on a broad array of subjects to a rather deep and intense level. He and I really hit it off and I just let him talk on about all sorts of subjects, but mostly radios. He had a wonderful way of describing electronics which made it really easy to understand. I got to give some pointers on shotguns, rifles, and pistols. Just a few simple things.

I talked to one wacko who is the absolute stereotype of a nerdy ham. He had such a nutty sense of humor completely bound up in the most esoteric tidbits of Radio. It was clear he was extremely knowledgeable and loved bouncing from group to group with a hat 2 sizes too big, chatting, laughing, and sharing incomprehensible jokes. He had a great heart and was so much fun to watch. His enthusiasm was so contagious and I was floored at his ability to carry on a conversation on CW at 50 WPM while also having a conversation with people face to face. 2 conversations in 2 languages. At the same time! He had a lot of cool stories about weird and unusual experiences in ham radio and what radio signals would or could do. Including contacts over 100 miles with 440 cm because of the effects of rivers and "inversion."

Yeah, I had a great time!
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