The ARRL Field Day 2009 contest was this past weekend and I had quite a trip. The point of field day is to get out of the house and operate the radio on emergency power out “in the field”. It’s good practice for setting up antennas, radios, and power systems in strange places so that you’re ready if you ever had to do it during a disaster. The goal of the contest is to talk to as many stations as possible, mostly in the US and Canada.
This year, I went out to a 20-acre plot of land outside of Sherwood that we were allowed to use. I camped there for two nights with N1KEZ, N7AAM, and KX7YT. We had a blast setting up two G5RV wire antennas and two 20-15-10 meter yagis. The group has access to some really incredible equipment and so we were able to secure one of the yagis and the ends of the wire antennas to a 70′ boom truck:
Another treat was the use of a 1960’s era US Army 40′ field mast. This is an incredible device that is small, light, easy to set up with two guys, and gives you a 40′ tower in about an hour. The tower assembles from 5.5′ tube sections that go into a elevator and clamp mechanism making it really easy to shoot it up:
About 1300 on Saturday, Taylor joined us with lunch. She recently passed her General class exam (thus gaining HF privileges) and made her first contact on HF to South Dakota on 20m sideband. She and I used her callsign, K7TAY, for the event and operated as the GOTA (Get On The Air) station for the group. We made 44 contacts between the two of us,which I believe puts the group’s tally over 300.
We had a blast, ate lots of good food and made a lot of contacts. The camping was excellent, even without the radios. Being on a 20 acre plot with nothing but friends and trees was quite a treat. We left our ground rod in place, optimistic that we’ll be able to come back next year and do it again!