Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Winter Field Day Wrap Up...

Overall it wasn't a bad weekend....it was just that the propagation Gods never came out to play.   At 1330 UTC on Saturday, the propagation numbers were:   SFI = 69, SN = 0, A Index = 8, and the K Index = 2.

What the numbers didn't tell us about was the very deep QSB and the extreme noise levels on the bands.  I had a constant S8+ on 40m all weekend for example.

It was extremely frustrating hearing the typical morning American "hemorrhoid nets" on 40m coming in at S9 +30db, while most of the stations calling CQ WFD where way below the noise floor, very hard to pull out, and all dealing with massive QSB.

My antenna for the weekend was a 31' vertical with two 31' elevated radials, and two 16' elevated radials, all into a 4:1 Balun.   This was mounted on the back deck of the cottage we where at.  On the Friday evening before the event kicked off I did manage to work an Italian - IK2BCP, and two Belgium stations,  OP2A and OP4U...all of whom had lovely signals.....then it all went to hell  for the Field Day.

Saturday morning started off poorly as I couldn't get the antenna to tune up very well...it was taking ages for the ATU to work and sort out the SWR.   It turned out that the collapsible mast had in fact collapsed overnight in the wind and I was working with a compromised antenna.  It took five minutes to fix that issue and we were back on the air.

It was very interesting to listen to the difference of WFD this year compared to WFD nine years ago. This year a good number of stations had large pileups, nine years ago you where lucky to hear anyone calling CQ WFD.

One thing that did get my blood boiling over was a W9 station calling for relays as he couldn't get the information off of some stations trying to work him.  Relays??  In a contest ?? Really ?? Hmmmm !!!

I heard very few Canadian stations on this weekend, it could have just been the conditions, as the event was well advertised.

So, a good weekend.....lots of good food, friends and a decent bottle of Scotch.  Thanks to Dennis VA3DOY for coming out and paying us a visit, and finding us a supper venue on Friday evening.  Who knew "uptown metropolitan Westport" was so up market ??

Thanks go out to the many stations who struggled to work us, as we struggled to work them.  See you back at it next year!!