Field Day 2009 – ROOST W5ROS

Howdy Roosters,  I submitted our Field Day report online to the ARRL yesterday evening.  I will mail in our logs for our backup documentation.

Operating score:    1,605
Bonus points:         670
Total:              2,275

I bet we gave the Super Field Day folks a run for the money!  That’s a helluva score, guys.  You’ll notice under Club Name it says “None”: only clubs operating A, B, or F can operate under the club name – we were operating E.  I don’t really understand the distinction.

Under bonus points, Bob Wheaton copied the W1AW message and earned 1,010 points operating CW for a total of 1,110 points.  (JEEZO-WEEZO, this guy gets the Big Dog Operator Award, hands down!).  I entered we had educational activity.  Well hellya we had educational activity:  we ALL had to learn how to set up an emergency power supply and keep it charged with solar and wind power.

I would describe our Field Day turnout as modest but very intense.  The ops and supporting cast made this one of our most successful outings and it shows in our score.  A lot of gratitude needs to be spread around, and as usual I risk an oversight and will unintentionally neglect a worthy contributor.  My apologies in advance.

Prior to Field Day, Chris K5VCR and Tom KØZGC did a spectacular job reassembling and tuning our magnificent TH6-DXX beam.  Bob W5XW gave it some elegant final touches by sealing the traps with heavy-duty shrink wrap.  I think twelve guys offered options to hook the boom to the mast and the mast to rotor;  Chris, Tom, Bob and Mark KB5ZPZ sorted it out and came up with the final assembly.

Then it all came down to getting the beam off the ground and to the top of the tower.  Our ground crew, as best I can remember, included Erik KD5YZU, Chris K5VCR, Dale N5YER, Lynn AE5LK, Ted KC5NYJ, Paul KC5ARZ, Dwight N5TCS, and Danny WA5KRP.  I wish everyone could have been there for our first attempt to hoist that muuther up when it became apparent our ground crew had no idea what the hell we were trying to do.  Funnier’n hell!  Clearly we were not on the same page.  We cooled off a bit, calmed our tempers, gathered around an illustration, and got a grasp of the task at hand.  We went after it with renewed vigor only to be thwarted by a gin pole that had been incorrectly strung.  Once again we stopped everything, lowered the pole, looped the heaving rope down through the gin pole, and started over.

Success!  With Mark in charge from atop the tower, we understood our plan, had plenty of horsepower,  manipulated the beam past trees and guy wires and delivered it 72′ in the sky.  Mark’s effort in this project cannot be overstated.  His work just began once he got the beam.  It takes infinite patience and dexterity to handle a huge beam twisting on a rope in the wind:  nuts and bolts never cooperate and your short two or three hands.  Hardware that fits perfectly on the ground is constantly binding and pulling apart on top of a tower.  But Mark managed to put it together after spending well over 2 hours perched on Rohn 25G in blazing afternoon heat.  Mark, Tom and Chris, THANKS A MILLION!  Now we have a big gun signal.

Our ability to operate a green Field Day came about at the behest of Bob Wheaton, who pointed out the emergency power 5X and QRP 2X multipliers, and the generous bounty of batteries made available to us by Ted KC5NYJ gave us the power reserves to operate continuously.  The batteries were charged by two sets of 45W solar panels and – Lord have Mercy – a potent 400W+++ wind generator W5XW (there’s that guy again) has loaned to the ROOST.  We had power to burn, folks!

Ted was our PSK-31 operator this year.  My hat is off to Ted.  Band conditions and inverter noise worked against him for hours but he persisted from beginning to end, and came up with 43 contacts – 430 points.  It turns out the group at Bexar County’s giant event experienced equally frustrating results with PSK-31.  By next year I expect Ted will have a Plan B that will eliminate noise problems on our end.  Couple that with improving band conditions and I think Ted will end up with a loaded log sheet.

SSB phone is hard enough with 100 watts on Field Day.  A -13dB drop in power makes it a lot tougher.  Nevertheless, Dale N5YER and to a lesser extent myself, managed 33 contacts with 5W of power.  Another epic exercise in patience.  Thank you, Dale.�

I managed 20 CW contacts, entered them on a computer, and don’t have a clue what happened to my logs.  (Phooey – from now on it’s paper AND computer.  The computer is still important to avoid dupes.)  I turned my station over to my son Ryan (future ham) around 10PM Saturday to hook up a Navigator to my TS2K with Ham Radio Deluxe as the go-between – that turned into a monumental 11 hour task.  Understand, Ryan never messed with radios – he’s a computer guy.  Nevertheless, he absorbed enough understanding of my TS2K to ultimately get it to operate through a computer and is now capable of multiple digital modes.  Thanks son – that was a magnificent job!  Next year I expect to do a lot more operating and look forward to you using your new license to help me.

We had a fine support team.  Judy KB5VCR, Andy KD5TNI, Marie KD5UBA, Martha W9HIX, and Dave N7LRY saw to it we had plenty to eat.  Can’t have FD without great food – they came through!  I don’t know if we were just really hungry Saturday night, but Dave’s burgers kicked ass and took names.  WOOOOOOOOO!

We were blessed with folks dropping in to visit and share in the event.  Yogi KC5MIP and Steve KC5QFC came by.  Jerry Barry K5AXN and his wife came by Sunday morning – they gave us a touch of Royalty.  Thanks folks!

Finally, we had to clean up our mess.  Tired and smelly as we were, I had no trouble getting help cleaning up the house and hauling off the trash.  When I turned out the lights and locked the doors, the place looked pretty darned good.  And that’s how it should be.

Again, I apologize for my omissions.  My 59 year old memory ain’t all that great.  Thanks to all who made this a fun event.  It took a lot of effort but it was all worth while.

Now, we gotta start planning for another event.

73  Danny WA5KRP
Sub-President, ROOST


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