Field Day Kickoff Meeting
A meeting was held on Wednesday, February 21st to begin discussions of Field Day operations for 2018. Approximately 11 people attended, including representatives from both SLVARC and SCCARC. This e-mail summarizes the discussions, conclusions, and actions assigned so far.
As in the past, we will conduct FD jointly between the two clubs, again at the CalFire Training Center on Empire Grade. The SCC Club has voted to allocate $300 for FD activity (primarily food). We have arranged to make the facility available, and will ensure gate access when we get closer to the event.
The default configuration is to have: one HF CW station, one HF SSB station, one HF Digital station, one VHF/UHF station, one GOTA station, and one Satellite station. However, John KJ6WKT has agreed to research the possibility of networking at least the HF stations using WiFi, with a central log server. In theory, this would allow any HF station to be used on any mode or band, since dupe checking could be performed across the set of stations. (This is the primary reason why we segregate stations, either by mode or band, so that dupes can be checked locally. We have done this once before, using wired Ethernet; WiFi has been problematic given the station separation on site. Also, N1MM+ networking requires careful pre-configuration of every station. We will consider this option only if it looks very promising.
HF CW Station: John AC6SL has agreed to be captain, and the radio (K3), power supply and antennas will be the same or similar to last year. No big change here. The Red Cross trailer is available, but we need someone to tow it to and from the site. The CW station will share a generator with the SSB station.
We have a number of generators available; we will try to use the smaller, quieter, more fuel-efficient Honda 2KW or 3KW units. If necessary, larger (and noisier) generator are available, including my own.
HF SSB Station: Tom W6TJK and Robert KB6QXM have agreed to co-captain this station. In the past, Ed KI6DAS has provided his K3; we will either use this one or another (Ed’s does not have the built-in tuner, which can be useful at FD). The captains will arrange for power supply and antennas. As above, the generator will be shared with the CW station. Tom plans to erect the 80m Double Zepp (540 feet long); we will need Bob K6XX or someone else to do a “tree install” using a drone helicopter, as in the past.
HF Digital Station: We don’t have a captain or a plan (yet) for this station. “Z” KM6FDC has agreed to look into what is needed with respect to software, computer interface, and radio interface (which is the hardest part of a digital station). Emphasis is on RTTY and PSK, but we should be prepared to operate FT-8 if there is any significant activity in this mode.
GOTA Station: No one involved with previous GOTA stations was in attendance. We *assume* that Reed N1WC and/or JV K6HJU will provide the usual GOTA setup, including radio, computer and the “Box ‘O Life.” One important difference was discussed. Since we are now near the bottom of the solar cycle, 10 and 15 meters are likely to be LESS active, and 40 meters will be a “money band” for all modes. Thus, it may be prudent to let the HF SSB station operate 40 meters, and dedicate 15 SSB to the GOTA station. It’s also easier to put up a 15 meter monoband Yagi on the GOTA trailer than to build the two-or-three element inverted Vee Yagi that has been used there in the past. (We may want to use that Yagi for the point-generating SSB station.) This is still flexible. We may be able to use 40 meters on the GOTA station during the daytime, and then transfer that band to the SSB station in late afternoon and all night.
UHF/VHF Station: Again, no one involved with this station was in attendance. We believe the CommVan used in previous years will again be available, but someone will need to bring it to/from the site. Historically, we get very few points from VHF/UHF communications, but it is very useful for packet radio use to send the NTS traffic messages to get those bonus points.
Satellite Station: John KJ6ZL has agreed to provide a turnkey operation, as in previous years. All he needs is electrical power.
Elizabeth N6FIT has agreed to provide public relations, press releases, and to attempt to get attendance by a served agency and/or an elected official.
We have an opening for someone to be responsible for running the Information Booth and sign-in sheets.
Food service will be coordinated between Angie KM6BHX and Becky KI6TKB. Much greater attention is needed to the NUMBER OF ATTENDEES and the AMOUNT OF FOOD provided. There was considerable overage and waste last year. Food service will be as in the past: On Friday, folks are expected to bring their own lunch (water will be provided). Friday pizza dinner will be provided by the club(s). Saturday lunch will be provided, along with the “main course” at the evening dinner. People will be asked to bring side dishes, salads, and desserts. Drinks will be provided by the club. Sunday morning coffee and light breakfast will be provided as well.
We have a need for a Safety Officer. The job mostly entails inspecting the site and ensuring that it conforms to the Safety Checklist provided by ARRL.
That’s it for now. If you wish to volunteer for any of the open positions, or provide generators, radios (please, only modern rigs with good intermodulation performance that can operate in close proximity to other stations), antennas, etc, please email me at:
I will provide an update as information comes in, and give a report at the April 6 SLVARC meeting. If you attended the meeting and remember something important that I didn’t mention, please feel free to post to the club reflectors.