For the first time in several years, I decided to participate in a club Field Day operation. I headed to down Orlando, Florida to operate with WD4WDW, the Disney Emergency Amateur Radio Service (DEARS), of which my brother (KK4LWR) is the current club president. They had been planning to run a 2A, so I asked if they’d be interested in me running a free VHF station for 6m and 2m. Coming off June VHF, I saw this as an opportunity to get some more practice with my setup and try the antennas (6m Moxon and 5 element 2m yagi) with some more power. I checked the antennas and mast in a hard-side golf bag case on my Southwest flights to Orlando and back without any issues. Once at the site, I set up in the communal screened-in tent (many bugs in Florida) and used my brother’s Yaesu FT-857D as the radio. Although not as nice as my IC-705 in many perspectives, I appreciated the extra 10 dB this radio provided, and it certainly worked well for me.
I had a great time working 6m on Saturday and Sunday morning netting 113 QSOs – 85 on FT8 and 28 on SSB. My farthest contact was Ireland which I was able to just barely work on SSB! One of the unexpected highlights was working a booming signal on 6m only to find out he was camping in Fort Wilderness about two and half miles away. We invited him over to the site, and he and his wife visited later in the evening.
I didn’t make any contacts on 2m although admittedly I didn’t try very hard to do so. In hindsight, I should have set up my IC-705 to that antenna and left it always monitoring 2m for any activity.
I also stayed for most of the night shift and got some time on 40m SSB, 40m FT8, and 80m SSB and FT8. I always enjoy running pile-ups on 40m and 80m on Field Day, and our setup made that easy on 40m!
The main SSB station used an Icom IC-7300 with Mosley TA53M (10-20m) antenna with 40m add-on. This is WD4WDW’s antenna, but it was put on Daniel’s, AA4HV, van mast which gave us some nice height and easy directional control. The antenna doesn’t have a ton of gain (and 40m is only a dipole) but combined with an amp running around 400w, we did quite well on 20m and 40m. The club had also made some coax bandpass filters to help the other radios and while they did work fairly well, we did have some issues with overloading the other stations. We threw an 80m dipole up in the evening but were unfortunately not able to get it very high in the trees. Still, we were able to fill in some of the local sections on the map nicely with it.
The digital station used an Icom IC-7300 with a 10-80m multiband vertical for FT8. It was also mostly on 20m and 40m but did a bit of 80m as well. It was running nearly nonstop the entire event as many people took turns running the station.
All in all, it was an exhausting but fun event (as usual). I haven’t done Field Day with a group in a few years, so I really enjoyed the camaraderie and help getting and running stations. Next up for me is the Kansas QSO Party where I’m planning to be a rover station using 20m and 40m to put a few counties on the air. More to come!