Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Field Day.......the aftermath

VE3MNE hard at work on 80m SSB.
(All pictures by Rick-VE3ORY)
What a great weekend......or in my case what a week!!

Most of the week was spent playing radio or repairing and building the off-centre-fed (OCF) dipoles we used on the weekend.  Our original 160m OCF and the 80m OCF were both damaged in the winter and spring storms we had, and more radials had to be made for the 40m vertical to improve its performance.

Most of the guys arrived Friday morning and we were soon busy putting up sleeping and operating tents, as well as shooting lines over the very tall trees on the property to get the antennas high up in the air.   Eventually we had the 160m OCF up at 90' and two 80m OCF's up at 80'.  Tim VA3TIC arrived with his trailer mounted tri-band beam and that was also soon put together and ready to go. By the time this was all done it was time for a shower and we were all off to the Picton Golf Course for a fantastic dinner.......and a couple of cold ones.

Saturday was spent making sure all the gear worked and doing radio checks to make sure our sets of notch filters were doing the job as designed.  This year we had very little interference between stations, so our rebuild of the notch filter system earlier in the spring did the job for us.

Field Day kicked off for us with some ridiculously deep QSB.  One moment the station was 59+ and then it was completely gone.....never to be heard from again.  All I could hear on 40m was a wall of muffled sound, all calling CQ, and I couldn't pick out any individual calls. Eventually things started to settle down and I started to make contacts, but it was very hard going on 40m, in fact the whole weekend I only managed a total of 100 contacts.

Our starting propagation numbers were:  SFI=76.  SN=0.  A Index=12, and the K Index=1.

A dead 160m OCF
About two hours into the event we had a total 160m OCF failure, and we had to down our pics and bring down the 160 for a rebuild.  The balun failed under the stress of hauling it up the tree, so it was fixed, the 160 was hauled back up 80' and we were back in action.

Our setup this year was a bit different than in years past.  We had three SSB stations on 80m, 40m, and 20m, as well as an all band Digi station and an all band CW station.  This setup worked very well for us and we will continue with this setup next year as well.

We also had a 31' multi band vertical for the digi station as well an another 80m OCF dipole, and a portable, trailer mounted, three element beam for 20m SSB. The 40m SSB station used a WW2 No 19 Radio Set mast.....it's 73 years old this year and works extremely well on both 40m and 15m.

Apart for some much needed stops to fuel up on food it was go-go-go for us. While I haven't seen our final score yet, I do know we beat last years QSO total so I'm expecting good news on that front.

Of course sometimes there has to be a down side to a story......and there is.  Once I had returned home I was putting my FT-950 back on the bench when it suddenly left the Pelican case and hit the floor....after dropping four feet.  So, it's off to Toronto and Radioworld to see what they can do to get it working again properly.......sick to my stomach?  You betcha!

VE3MNE & VA3VDP fixing the 160m OCF

Shooting lines up into the trees

VA3TIC hard at work on 20m SSB

Breakfast - VA3VDP, VE3MNE, & VE3GO

VE3HRW - doing what he does best :-)

The final results on the map......not very many empty locations

1 comment:

  1. It was great that the weather was co-operating and the bands even with 0 sunspots seemed to be ok. Very nice shots of the day and it was a very unfortunate end to the day by dropping the rig. Radio world seems to good with repairing rigs I have had some rigs go back to them for service. At times it was a wait for parts but in the end they were always able to get things up and running again. Keep us posted on the rig.