Monday, 25 June 2012

The Field Day Report - 2012

What a superb weekend!!  Don-VE3MNE, Tim-VA3TIC and myself drove out to Hay Bay, about 45 kms west of Kingston, around noon on Thursday. We were joined by Richard-VA3VDP late Friday, and Derek-VE3HRW on Saturday.  We were operating at the cottage of VE3MNE, and a beautiful location it is.

The view from the 20m station
The weather was fantastic.  Lots of sunshine and blue skies for most of the weekend.  We did get a small amount of rain and some heavy wind on Thursday evening, but it didn't last long and the Hay Bay Amateur Radio Club was soon back at it laying out coax and preparing the antennas.

On Friday we sorted through our miles of coax fixing connectors as required, giving our notch filters some much needed maintainance and sorting out the operating positions.  As per our well established field day tradition, we went out for a steak dinner at the Wellington Grill in Prince Edward County and really had a good time. 

While at the Grill we all gave a farewell toast to our good friend John Snasdell-Taylor VA3GST, who sadly became a silent key a few days previously.  John, who was an engineer on the design and development team for the Canadarm, the space shuttle remote manipulator system, was an absolute gentleman.  He'll be missed by us all very much. 

By early Saturday morning we had seven antennas in the air, two 80m and one 160m off-center fed dipoles (two of which are up at 100 feet), a 20m Delta loop at about 50 feet off the ground, three 31 foot verticals with multiple radials, and a vintage WW2 No. 19 radio set 32 foot antenna for use on 40m and 15m.....and by 1130 we were pacing up and down awaiting the start time!

80m and 160m didn't provide us with much business and those bands had extremely high noise levels, but we still managed over 150 contacts on them.  The 40m band was a complete zoo with stations on top of stations all calling "CQ Field Day!!!".  I have to admit that it took a while for my ears to get used to the over abundance of signals and to be able to sort them out in my head.

After a few hours we had to do an antenna change for the 20m station.  The 20m Delta Loop wasn't working as efficient as it should have been.  With seven antennas in the air it was an easy job to switch things around without disturbing too many operators.

15m came, went and came back again.  When the band was working it was hot, and we managed to get most of the western US and Canada on it.  We even had a station from Northern Serbia answer our CQ.

Richard-VA3VPD, the newest member of the Hay Bay Amateur Radio Club, operated our digital and CW station.  This was his very first field day, and what a superb job he did.   Richard operated on all bands and had the use of two antennas, a 80m OCF dipole and a 31 foot vertical, and he used both of them to his advantage.

All too soon Field Day was over and the bands magically went silent....well, the Sunday hemorrhoid nets were still in full swing complaining about the damn contesters, and the hillbilly nets from the deep south were swopping moonshine recipes, complete with their usual colourful language, but apart from them the other 35,000 hams went quiet.

The lack of contacts from Florida was very noticeable this year.  It wasn't until we got home and saw the news about the the bad weather they are having that we realized that they had other things on their minds than taking part in field day over the weekend.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to them all and we hope they and their families are safe and dry.

As a final thought the Hay Bay ARC would just like to point out to a couple of dozen hams that there is no prize, or certificate, for the station who can say their callsign the fastest and that we are sorry we could not understand your callsign well enough to establish contact.  Perhaps next year you could slow down?

It was a fantastic weekend, and as Don VE3MNE said as we left - "363 days to go till we do it all over again next year!".


  1. Congrats on a successful FD! Even better, you had a great time and excellent weather. 73, Casey, TI2/NA7U

  2. Good morning, it's always great when mother nature smiles down on you for FD. Seems you folks not only had a great location but also a successful time on the radios as well.

  3. What happened to the boat???

    But it sounds like you had the same great wx we had here... rain started at 1330 on Sunday so we just tore down a few minutes early


    1. The boat was on the air as VE3DTG, the Frontenac EmComm Group operated from it. There was not enough room on it for everyone, so off I went to Hay Bay :-)