A portion of an email I sent to a local (Texas) ham who had been talking about learning the code and doing some contesting:
POWERING A QRP FIELD STATION – Bob Hejl W2IK
I assume he means operating QRP (low power). Even that, by definition, may mean different things to different operators. When you use QRP to run, say a CW station, you are usually limited in most respects (such as contesting) to 5 watts output power or less. Then there is operating QRP using SSB. A lot of groups specify SSB QRP to mean 10 watts (or less), although some groups hold to 5 watts output on SSB. These are all “maximums” in the basic QRP world. I have run as little as a few micro-watts to make contacts with other ham radio stations. There is even a group who measures their contacts in “miles-per-watt”. Records are kept for these contacts on each band. As I recall, two hams contacted each other on 80 meters using what could be the equivalent of 13 MILLION miles per watt based on the distance to each other and their micro-micro-watt transmit power.
Lighting For Emergency Communications
I use a dedicated 12 volt DC system to power as much as possible, such as my communications rigs, and also my lighting system.
12 Volts is versatile, as you can use a deep-cycle battery system charged by solar panels, wind generation or even a heavy DC power supply/charger driven by a gas AC generator. I also run a 12 volt system because you never have to “power down” like you need when you re-fill a gas generator. You can switch batteries very easily without interruption.
I have experimented with all types of 12 volt lighting methods and have come to the conclusion that a system using SMD (surface mounted light emitting diodes) gives you the most illumination per watt. Using other 12 volt lights, such as fluorescent systems, can have a high rate of failure. You don’t want your lighting to go out in the middle of emergency work.
I have had these fluorescent lights “blow” after only about 10 hours and it’s usually the electronics package built into each lamp that burns out because it’s electronics has to convert 12 volts DC into high voltage in order to make the bulb fluoresce (ignite) and the imported lamps (usually made in China or Hong Kong) are made with sub-standard components.
Most SMD systems, even though they are imported as well, last as long as 50,000 hours and aren’t as fragile as either fluorescent bulbs or other glass lights. You drop a fluorescent blub on the floor and it breaks in to a hundred shards of glass with dangerous chemicals on them…. you drop an SMD light on the floor and all you have to do is pick it up.
FIELD DAY IS JUNE 22-23rd 2013
I’m currently compiling a list of clubs or individual stations who are making plans for Field Day 2013. If you want me to share your location and hours of operation (some clubs don’t run full 24 hours, and/or shut down during the night and resume in the morning), please send an email to email@example.com with “Field Day 2013″ in the subject line to get my attention.
Info updated 06/11/2013
Please include any details you want shared, such as a talk-in frequency especially if you are on private property or a hard to find location. Let us know if there are any admission fees (such as operating from a public or private park, etc.). If you require RSVP, please provide the official contact info for that purpose. If you are limiting the hours of operation, such as taking a recess during the middle of the night and resuming the next morning, let me know that also. I know you don’t just want folks to show up for meal time, especially if they aren’t a member of your club.
After sifting thru the thousands of emails on my computer, I also visited the ARRL official site locator page to see what I could see.
And then I looked for San Antonio / Central Texas area on the map, and said “double wow!” I know of several clubs not shown on this map,
as of today as of 06/11/2013, who plan on conducting a FD event. Click on the screen shot to the right for details. The little red map parkers are those FD locations registered as of 06-01-2013 with ARRL. The little comment boxes are the locations that I’m aware of, where clubs are planning their event. I’ve added some event stations below, from Bandera, San Marcos, Austin, Kerrville and Corpus Christi, that do not show up on the San Antonio metro map image that I posted here.
VE Testing Notes: There will be 2 VE Test Sessions active the morning of Field Day in the San Antonio metro area:
- SARC will be conducting a VE Test Session at 10am on June 22nd, at the Great Northwest Library off Grissom Road & Timberwilde Rd on the NW side of San Antonio. This is their normal date / time / location for such test sessions. Contact Pat AD5BR at 210-273-5927 or firstname.lastname@example.org for info. Pat will have FD information available that morning for the new hams to go visit afterwards.
- GVARC will be conducting a VE Test Session sometime during the day on Saturday, June 22nd, at the site of their Field Day. See location info listed below.
CLUBS known to be participating in Field Day in South Central Texas include…
Field Day is coming, so here are a few thoughts as you plan your group’s operation (or if you just wish to do a Field Day operation on your own in your back yard or at a park.)
A FEW TIPS FOR ANY FIELD DAY OPERATION – I’ve posted some of this before but I think they should be repeated. (I’ve updated them a bit for 2013)
1. When setting up antennas within close proximity to each other: If you are using wire antennas such as dipoles, and they run parallel to each other there will be interference on your HF operating bands in the form of hash so arrange them at right angles to each other and at slightly different heights. If you use wire antennas such as dipoles, try to stay away from trap dipoles and use full length antennas instead. You may also wish to run your dipoles in different configurations such as have one as an “inverted V” and another as a sloper, etc. An antenna cut to the exact band you are using will decrease interference to and from other bands. Do not use compromise, trap or “all band” antennas. (The only efficient “all band antennas” are a log periodic and a “fan dipole” NOT a “folded dipole” or others that claim they use “balancing resistors” as this only wastes rf energy in the form of heat- some, depending on frequency will squander as much as 75% of your power.) With others you may make a few contacts, but they are junk and will cause harmonic radiation. Dedicated operating needs the right antenna. Wasted energy on trap antennas (some of your RF energy is used up in the form of heat) and that equals an inefficient radiator, especially as you go lower in frequency. On HF, if you can, do not use vertical antennas as they receive too much man-made noise from sources such as generators, etc. If you can only have one vertical mast instead of three to make a dipole, make your antenna a sloper instead. I use slopers when I do county activations as they are easy to erect and cost very little.
I spent about 8 hours at the AARO Field Day at Raymond Russell Park, where they almost ended up with a Marachi Band for entertainment (band went to the wrong pavilion), then moved on to visit the KARS Ham Club in Boerne before swinging back down south around midnight to the SARC Ham Club in Shavano Park.
By the time I left SARC, still running on those 5 hour energy drinks, I started to head south to ROOST, knowing they would be still running full steam ahead even in the middle of the night, but sanity prevailed, and I advised my “extra” wife that I’d be heading home soon instead of visiting more FD sites this weekend.
I used my cell phone to make some videos and take some pics, but the phone battery died & had to be recharged after I left AARO, so no middle of the night pics from KARS or SARC to be shared. I’ve been promised pics from other hams who were at those locations, however.
AARO did a 1 day only FD event, starting setup around 10am when the park opened (county park hours restricted how long they could stay there), and shutting down & leaving before midnight when the county park turned into a pumpkin one more. They were running 6 stations in different modes (voice / digital / cw / satellite) on various bands, and had more antennas and generators than I’ve seen in a long time.
Most of the actual radio operators were taking it very seriously, but the bulk of the 50+ hams were just there for the workshops, free food & fellowship. A few were experimenting with different antennas, mostly home brew, and learning new modes. There were a handful of brand new hams show up, and AARO took extra time to show them the operations and get them talking on the air to make a contact or two.
Workshops also were conducted on various topics:
- Proper Soldering Techniques
- Building DiPole Antennas
- Quadrafillic (sp?) Antennas
- Anderson Power Pole
Click the link below to continue this article & see some of the pics I took.
I’m putting out a request here for area 2012 Field Day reports, complete with photos.
If you visited or hosted a Field Day event, and want to share your photos and stories, or even your results, feel free to post them here. Just register on this site (see link to the right) if you haven’t already done so, then send an email to email@example.com to request a status upgrade to allow you to post stories.
I won’t allow personal flames or attacks, so every new author gets moderated until I know they are doing okay. I can also offer you assistance and advice if you are having problems uploading photos, or whatever. One trick it to write up your story in MS Word, or another processor, then copy / paste it into the “Add new post” window online. Add your title, pick a topic category or two (like Field Day, or club name), upload some photos from your computer to show either one by one, or as a gallery at the bottom of your article, and tada!
If you are a ham operator, already registered on this site, you may be already setup to do that. Just login and add a new post. If you forgot your password, no worry, just click the link to say “forgot my password” and you will get a link emailed to you to create a new password. I don’t know your password and don’t want to. The software will automatically handle that for you without my manual intervention.
Registration for being an author on this site, is NOT the same as subscribing to the newsletter. That’s a separate registration process. Send your subscription request to firstname.lastname@example.org to be automatically added to the list. I’ve got about 450 hams already on that list, after dropping about a dozen that bounced from the last mailing.
Hope to see you here soon!
Lee Besing N5NTG
210-771-7075 cell (voice / text okay)
We have collected information for the following Ham Club Field Day Locations, in and around the San Antonio extended metro area….
- Alamo Area Radio Organization (AARO)…
- San Antonio Radio Club (SARC)…
- Radio Operators of South Texas (ROOST)…
- Kendall Amateur Radio Society (KARS)… (Boerne, TX)
- Guadalupe Valley Amateur Radio Club (GVARC)… (New Braunfels, TX)
- Hill Country Amateur Radio Club (HCARC)… (Kerrville, TX)
- South Texas DX Contest Club (STXDXCC)… (Bandera, TX)
- Atascosa Amateur Radio Club (AARC)… (Poteet, TX)
- Coyote Amateur Radio Club (KS5TX) (Uvalde, TX)
ARRL’s Master Field Day Search Site – Map
See below for details… Not all clubs have registered with ARRL’s website.
Field Day is coming, so here are a few thoughts as you plan your group’s operation.
A FEW TIPS FOR ANY FIELD DAY OPERATION – I’ve posted some of this before but I think they should be repeated. (I’ve updated them a bit)
1. When setting up antennas within close proximity: If you are using wire antennas such as dipoles, and they run parallel to each other there will be interference on your HF operating bands in the form of hash so arrange them at right angles to each other and at slightly different heights. If you use wire antennas such as dipoles, try to stay away from trap dipoles and use full length antennas instead. You may also wish to run your dipoles in different configurations such as have one as an “inverted V” and another as a sloper, etc. An antenna cut to the exact band you are using will decrease interference to and from other bands. Do not use compromise, trap or “all band” antennas. (The only efficient “all band antennas” are a log periodic and a “fan dipole” NOT a “folded dipole” or others that claim they use “balancing resistors” as this only wastes rf energy in the form of heat.) With others you may make a few contacts, but they are junk and will cause harmonic radiation. Dedicated operating needs the right antenna. Wasted energy on trap antennas (some of your RF energy is used up in the form of heat) and that equals an inefficient radiator, especially as you go lower in frequency. On HF, do not use vertical antennas as they receive too much man-made noise from sources such as generators, etc.
We received a batch of photos from the AARO President, Andrew Watson K5NNN, taken during their field day on June 25th at Raymond Russel Park, on the NW side of San Antonio.
Click the link below to see the gallery of photos –