This year our amateur radio club had 5 stations plus the GOTA (Get on the air) station reserved for visitors who do not have an amateur radio ticket.

The five stations used the following antenna set-ups,

The five stations worked the following modes,

  • Two CW (Morse Code) Inverted ‘V’.
  • Two PH (Phone) Vertical and G5RV.
  • One DIG (Digital). Vertical.

The digital station had some issues with RF from the other antennas so not as many DIG QSO’s (Contacts) happened as expected in that mode.

The overall QSO’s by mode were,

  • 103+ CW. Towards the end of the event our logging system went down
  • PH 322 plus 21 GOTA QSO’s must be hand entered into the electronic log
  • DIG 31+ will be entered into the electronic log as a paper log was used for a short period.


CW tent

Besides the points for the QSO’s we also will claim points for,

  • The GOTA station QSO’s.
  • Having a County supervisor show up.
  • Having the event open to the public – Three folks showed up and participated in the GOTA station.
  • Having handouts available for the event.
  • Police and fire companies attending.

The event was running off two 8,000-watt generators located in the center of the field. We used a master computer that gathered the logged information from the slave computer at each station. The master computer lived with the generators in the power tent. The system did have a hiccup Sunday morning and we went to paper logs until it came back up. Those QSO’s will be entered into the data base today by the club event coordinator.

Our club used a 100 x 200-yard field on top of an 1,840-ft hill that share two communication towers. We probably screwed with the cell phones for that area a bunch. LOL.

Drones eye view FD-2020

Friday about midday we launched the antenna messenger lines for my G5RV, setup tripods for inverted ‘V’ dipole antennas, and setup tents. There were five tents for stations, one for the generators & master computer, and two mess tents for rain. A porto-Jonny was also dropped off along with a small camping kitchen.

Saturday morning antennas where hoisted or as in the verticals cases setup and ground wires laid out. All done during rain showers and a few thunderstorms.

At 1400 hrs ET, the stations started calling, “CQ Field Day…CQ Field Day” and gathered QSO’s by the hundreds.

Mom and daughter raking in those QSO’s…Work it girls, work it

Sunday, we started the generators and got the master computer up and running at 0700 hrs ET and kept recording those QSO’s. Around 1315 hrs. the sky started to turn dark and I could hear thunder in the distance. At that time, I went around to each station and told them the first lightning seen, I would pull the plug on the generators so, be ready to disconnect their rigs from their antennas. At 1340 hrs I saw a flash north of us and before I could get to the power tent to kill the generators someone else did. We received a short squall and once that passed, we broke everything down and left the field by 1515 hrs.

CW setup inverted ‘V’ antenna

Lessons learned,

  • Make sure tents used are in good working order. We had two, mine and another that leaked.
  • Have more tables and chairs for the mess tent.
  • Have a better battery back-up for the master computer. The generators were shut down at 0015 hrs. Sunday morning. The battery used to keep the master up and running all night failed. QSO’s were not lost but we operated with paper logs until the system was back up.
  • Have the DIG station away from the other stations to limit interference. We do not know why but the only station that gave us RF issues was the DIG one.
  • Bring extra socks and or a pair of plastic boots for if the ground is wet due to rain. I hate wet feet!

Freedom Through Self-Reliance®