Field Day national emergency communications preparedness event is always the 4th full weekend of June annually in the United States and Canada. This year that weekend fell on June 24 – 25 and was an amazing day filled with fine people and weather throughout the operating 24 hours. Fine thanks to the Clarke County Fairgrounds for hosting us. Thank you to the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office for stopping by on Friday late evening to ensure everything was in order. Thank you also to Berryville Mayor (Jay) Harry Lee Arnold, Jr for visiting Saturday afternoon to learn how amateur radio can serve his community during communication and civil emergency.
Club members began at 8AM Friday morning to pack and transport gear from our clubhouse in Winchester to the Lions Club Pavilion at the Clarke County Fairground. Though conditions on the ground were soggy, the skies cleared with temperatures in the high 70’s / low 80’s during operations.
Thanks to K04SSD, Jeremy who lent his spiffy red light LED lanterns from LuminAid to ensure our night vision was preserved. Gratitude to KC4RCR, Rousseau “Mr Lightning” for lending a fine bug zapper to keep flying insects at a distance and his 2 meter 10 element yagi antenna.
Fine food during Saturday’s traditional group lunch at Mario’s Pizzeria. During the weekend all types food was shared by members including amazing grilled hot dogs, hamburgers. Sweets abound with fine selections of muffins, cookies, pie, and of course it’s not amateur radio without “power rings” also known as donuts from Dunkin Donuts. Thank you to Rob for making the gas grill spic and span and then cooked up sliders and hotdogs for dinner for us on Saturday evening. Thank you Rob! Thank you to Andy NR8N and Tom KM4FEC for making breakfast on Sunday morning.
Field Day Radios [Transceivers]
Our station, with club callsign W4RKC, operated 3A [three HF transmitters in club or non-club portable operation] this year, radios were:
- two ICOM 746 Pro HF Transceivers for Digital and Phone
- ICOM IC706MKIIG for CW.
- a GOTA [Get on the Air ] station, Yaesu FT-710 HF Transceiver and Kenwood TM-D710G VHF/UHF Transceiver operating callsign W8BE powered by solar charged batteries.
3A stations each had a computer laptop and N3JFP logging software to document contacts on CW [Morse Code], Phone [Voice], and Digital [FT8]. FT8 is a digital mode capable of send and receive with milliwatts of power over high-frequency [HF] for global communications capability.
Field Day antennas in use this year included:
- Vertical 160-10m consisting of an MFJ-1965 mast, 4 ground counterpoises at 65′ each and 90º apart. Antenna matching was through an ITT Mackay MSR-4020 Antenna Coupler at the base of the antenna.
- Two Cobra dipoles 160-10 Meter frequency, 265′ in length.
- For the GOTA station the antenna was a 130′ Chameleon EMCOMM III end fed dipole with a frequency range of 160-6 meters hanging at 60 feet above the ground with a matching 130′ copper wire counterpoise mirroring the overhead antenna path on the ground. The GOTA antenna was connected to the station 200 feet from the operating station to the pavillion.
- Also in service were two Chameleon 25′ self supporting masts to operate a variety of UHF/VHF vertical and yagi antennas as well as experimentation with low power HF antennas.
This year marked the passing of the Field Day operations lead from KW4CW, Tom to AF7YL, Frances and AE7YH, John for 2024. Thank you Tom for amazing dedication to the tradition of Field Day and the importance of having our club being prepared and ready when called up for service by our community. Tom served for the Club in this capacity from 2009 – 2023. A fine legacy to uphold! Thank you Tom.
If you would like the Shenandoah Valley Amateur Radio Club to provide an operations demonstration and / or speak with your organization about the importance of Amateur Radio to the communications infrastructure, or, speak to careers in S.T.E.M [Science, Technology, Engineering and Math], please contact us, we would be delighted to help. https://svarc.us/contact-us/