A little different, but successful none the less, we operated using solar charged battery power in a very minimalistic Field Day using very little in the way of equipment. This was a test of our operating skills as much as it was a test of setting up an emergency station and all worked well.
We used a multi-band “inverted V” antenna that worked fantastic. When band changes were in order, all we had to do was unplug/plug band extensions which, being at the lower ends of the V, were easy to accomplish. This kept the loss from using a tuner, with this antenna we didn’t need one, to zero which is advantageous when you run low power. (A tuner usually has a 2db insertion loss! This is also why you don’t use a tuner if your swr is 1.5 : 1. It isn’t worth the insertion loss.)
Running just one station, we managed a little over 530 SSB and 48 CW contacts, all by W2IK, for a total of 578 Qs which was down from last year. This year, it was not a W5BOG operation. Krissy, again, was the chef of the operation, keeping me fat and happy!
Some observations from this operation were: 15 meters was “long and hard” – this means the band was open for working distant stations (long) with no signal fading (hard) and we were hit with DX such as KH6EL whom we worked using only 5 watts with an actual (honest) 5/9 return from him. 10 meters was open at mid-day, but we couldn’t get the distant stations we wanted to. 20 meters was open until daylight hours waned, growing “legs” for a while into the pacific and then it opened in a sporadic manner later.
Our favorite band of choice, 40 meters, was where most of our contacts were made on SSB and all of our CW contacts. We spent little time on 80 meters, but I wish we could have spent more time there. Although there were a lot of stations “running Qs” my “annual complaint” was the lack of LISTENING skills by so many stations and the unwillingness to dig out the tough ones. I would also have liked to work some of the area club stations, but didn’t hear any on the air.
Next year we are again going to operate differently, but in what manner I have yet to conceive. I am considering using a “directional multi-wire beam in an inverted V configuration” because it is low cost to build, assemble and offers gain. My plans for this antenna will probably be published on one of my web sites before the next Field Day.
I have an aversion to using any type of antenna with “traps” or gimmicks. They do not work as well as full-length antennas.
I probably will be reserving a large group campsite, probably back at the Texas State Park “Three Rivers – Caliham Unit”, so if anyone wishes to join us they may. Hopefully the local clubs will endeavor to operate differently as well as operate for the entire duration of the event. It’s a great way for “newbies”, “wannabees” and “oldies” to get excited about what amateur radio has to offer and also to hone their listening skills which are so important during emergency communications work.
73 de W2IK