Thursday, July 3, 2014

ARRL Field Day 2014

W8MDE homebrew 10 meter rotatable dipole

Some notes from Field Day 2014

10 meters (The band I chose to operate this year) was in the dumps -Nearly a complete lack of propagation of 28 MHz signals.  That's the nature of the beast with the fluctuating solar radio flux we have been experiencing as of late.  I only made one contact all day Saturday and that was a potato farmer out in Oklahoma who was inside playing with radios while he waited for rain to stop so he could return to his harvesting.  

Our luck changed by Sunday morning when the band suddenly opened and we made half a dozen CW (Morse Code) contacts with stations in Ohio, Virginia, Tennessee and Florida.

When I first tested my 10 meter rotatable dipole on the air I made contact with New Zealand over 8000 miles from my location in Ohio.  Because that was only three weeks ago I figured I would be flooded with CQ FD callers during the event on 10 meters but unfortunately it wasn't meant to be.

I spent some time tuning around the other bands and listened to my club mates making contacts on voice SSB or copied the digital back and forths on the laptop.  With our seven stations and antennas confined to a 1000 ft. diameter area they were easy to spot.  QSO counts were down for all the club members so I guess diminished propagation conditions affected all the bands to some degree.

Over all the weekend was a blast. Good food, friends and even the chance to explain and put on display our radio operating for a few of the local public that ventured out on Saturday.

Building an antenna specifically for the event is something that I have come to enjoy almost as much as Field Day itself.  Using my own workshop and materials easily sourced locally I find it very rewarding to craft the all important component of a radio circuit; the device that transforms a current in wire into a radiated electromagnetic wave.

I'm considering 80 meters for next year.

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