Well, I’m finally stopping to take a breath and can give my after action report on Field Day. The first joint exercise between Duval County ARES and the Beaches Amateur Radio Society (BARS) was a resounding success. Our estimates (not everybody signed the roster) have us at about 60 visitors. I’m still tallying the logs but it looks we have about 300 contacts. Not bad for some leisurely operating.
I really was surprised by the number of people that came out. We had the largest waterspout (later deemed a tornado) on Friday night and the temps were in the mid to high 90s on Saturday. It didn’t seem to keep the people away though. Fortunately we’d also fogged several times and that kept the bugs at bay.
We operated as K4D and were 5A. The plan was to operate 160, 80, 40, 20, and 15. I was assigned 15M but I was so busy running around that I didn’t really operate there much. By the time I could sit down nothing was happening so I moved to 20. Here are some of the guys setting up the “true” 20M station’s rotating dipole.
We ran a variety of antennas in addition to the rotating dipole. We had a couple of wire dipoles that had been built by the Jr ARES youth during their meetings. We also used a G5RV from the UASI grant money, and below are some of the BARS members assembling their June meeting project, a 20M Moxon antenna.
We started serving dinner at about 5 and everyone had a good time. The Red Cross brought out ice and drinks and others brought out various picnic items. This sort of gives you an idea what type of crowd we had. We certainly didn’t expect to have a parking problem. 🙂
With everything that was going on it was time to get some media coverage. I had contacted our local CBS/Fox affiliate and they came out just before dinner and stayed for a couple of hours. During the time they did some live interviews, shot video for later broadcasts, and even did a live feed. Throughout the weekend they aired three stories about the event. We couldn’t have asked for better exposure and publicity.
I finally got to start operating around 4:30 Sunday morning. It was the first chance I’d had to really do anything other than run around. Of course I did take a little nap from 1 to 4:30. The bands were open and 40M was really hopping. I was only interested in working digital and knocked out 57 PSK31 contacts in the short time I had. I enjoyed a nice sunrise while the bits were flying.
We’ve really set the bar high for next year but I already have ideas bouncing around in my head. Can’t wait for 2010!