Winter Field Day Recap
Aaron’s drone, preparing to drop a line

Winter Field Day 2023 was both an adventure and a learning experience.  While the weather could hardly have been nicer, it is still winter and with even a slight breeze, it was chilly.  Rain earlier in the week made things a bit sloppy in the field, but hardly slowed us down.

The morning started clear and bright.  Aaron (KC3QPJ) stopped by early for a shakedown cruise of his drone, seen here ready to drop a line for one end of Sandy’s (KB3EOF) off-center dipole.  Other antennas included an end-fed 160M half-wave (yes, 80M long piece of wire) graciously loaned to us by Lou WZ3J, as well as a Wolf River Coil vertical. As the morning progressed, radios and power (100% battery/solar – including lights) were sorted out. Many hams stopped by to see our setup and say hello.

Just after 2pm, we started making contacts.  At some point, Mrs MMM stopped by bearing chicken, potato salad and rolls, and later in the evening brought over a pot of chili.  We were set.

Justin AB3E working QRP on the long wire

As the sun set just after 4:30, the air quickly chilled.  We shuffled things in the shed to make better use of the wood-burning stove.

Steve W3ATN, in full satellite mode

When full darkness arrived, Steve W3ATN brought out his telescope, providing an extraordinary view of the “green comet” (comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF)), as well as the craters of the moon, the stripes of Jupiter and a distant star nebula.  Truly a field day bonus.

As the night wore on, and temperature cooled, the last of us called it quits before midnight.  The Sunday forecast called for rain in the late morning, when we returned in the morning, we made our last contacts and began the tear-down process in hopes of beating the rain.  So, it was a good event and like many things in life, we’ll know more for next time.  And Summer Field Day (June 24/25) is only a few months away!

The field day shack, in all it’s glory
John KA3USB eeks out another contact
Steve K0JXN on the WRC vertical
Sandy KB3EOF tapping his heart out.
Dave N3LSB taking in the warmth

 

 

 

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Winter Field Day 2023

The Frederick Amateur Radio Club will host Winter Field Day 2023 at the K3MMM family farm, Winter Field Day runs from 2pm Saturday January 28th until 2pm Sunday January 29th

Because it’s winter, and the weather is not certain, we’ll either set up in the back field, which boasts tall trees and wide open spaces, warmed by a large camp fire, or in the top of the barn, which while unheated, features a roof and walls.  If weather is really uncooperative, we can always end up in the living room.  We’ll be on site from mid-morning Saturday until Sunday afternoon – please stop by to operate for a while, hang out with the cool kids.  I’ll put the FARC banner at the end of the driveway – but your GPS will get you to the right spot.

See winter field day details here:  https://www.winterfieldday.com/

Update 1/18/23:  Leaning toward going QRP and battery/solar for power – we can have generator as backup plan.  Also leaning toward back field with a couple of pop-up tents surrounding the campfire.  We’ll monitor 146.58 (simplex) for talk-in – getting to the farm drive is easy, but navigating to the back field is not “intuitive”.  We’ll have directional signage.

Update 1/22/23:  Long range weather forecast is looking promising for Winter Field Day.  I’ve decided to evict the tractor implements and commandeer their back field shed for our operations, giving a roof, three solid walls and one tarp wall.  Have also moved an old wood-burning stove out there to help cut the chill – winter field day doesn’t have to be cold!  I’ll have two HF radios + one VHF (unlike summer field day, rules don’t mention VHF as separate), along with a club wire antenna, and either an end-fed or off-center diople.  Feel free to bring along a radio or antenna to try, as well as a battery if you have it – I’m trying to avoid using the generator if possible.   Stay tuned and hope to see you next weekend.

Update 1/28/23:  The forecast shows light winds and a high of 50F, so with the exception of a small craft advisory (there may be whitecaps on the creek), we are: Game ON!  Be sure to check your Winlink mail today, and if we see you via APRS, we may send a message – our goal is to use a variety of communications methods.  And mostly remember this:  If you can’t join us, then please work us!  73!

Reminder:  talk-in on 146.58

 

Let me know if there are questions – my email address is current on qrz.com.

73! Mike K3MMM

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Field Day 2022 Was A Magical Success

Field day 2022 will be remembered as the magical weekend at Remsburg Park. This year we set up a plethora of antennas. Our antenna farm combined two HF verticals plus the club tower and horizontal wires covering 80-6 meters. VHF-UHF was also covered with a tall jpole on a mast and various other portable setups.

The club tower went up without a hitch and the old Cushcraft came together and radiated on all bands  with only touch-up tuning.

This year we added a touch of magic by having two of the three HF stations go completely solar powered:

The desktop computer and ethernet required AC as well as the camper air conditioning and freezer/refrigerator. However, the two HF rigs and laptops outside under canopy pop-ups operated 100% solar power. They charged 35-50 AH batteries during the day, as well as running the radios and laptops. During the night the radios and laptops operated on the large batteries, drawing the voltage down to 12.6 volts by the morning. Voltage regulators kept the radios happy at 13.8 volts. The morning sun re-vitalized everything to repeat the cycle.

Satellite/ISS operations were in full swing this year thanks to Steve W3ATN. Despite several conversations via the ISS repeater and one actual QSO with a real live astronaut a few days before, field day contact with the astronauts was completely swamped by all the competition.

The weather this field day was absolutely gorgeous with plenty of sun, no rain and just a slight breeze to cool things off. There were plenty of happy operators having fun, trying out new gear and practicing for off-the-grid communications should the need ever arise.

Copying the field day message from W1AW via RTTY and supervised by a furry friend.

Tony, KC3MBE, making the contacts in a trailer thoughtfully provided by Josh, K3BZZ.

Brauts, burghers, and hot-dogs were cooked to perfection courtesy of Steve, K3STE.

All too soon it was time to take down the masts, pack-up and head for home.

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Monthly Meeting

We are back in person! The FARC meetings have resumed at the Frederick Fire House on 310 Baughman’s Lane (park around the back and enter through the back doors). We had a great last couple of meetings and included a zoom presence for those who couldn’t attend in person this last meeting. This worked so well we plan to continue this practice.

See everybody there, in the real or virtual next third Monday of the month at 7pm.

Sandy, KB3EOF

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