[amsat-bb] WD9EWK - 2010 Field Day

Patrick STODDARD (WD9EWK/VA7EWK) amsat-bb at wd9ewk.net
Mon Jun 28 22:52:09 PDT 2010


Field Day was fun, even if my "contest" was only a Saturday event.
I did not stay out for the whole time, but enjoyed being in the
mountains in a forest playing radio.  I also had a chance to make
some QSOs on HO-68 about an hour or so before the start of Field 
Day.  A good way to avoid the 111F/44C heat in my home city of

On my way to my Field Day site, I stopped in Flagstaff AZ near the 
I-17/I-40 junction to sneak in on an HO-68 pass at 1645 UTC.  I 
parked in a parking lot west of the junction and the Northern Arizona
University campus in grid DM45de, and made 7 QSOs before the satellite 
was out of range.  After that, I packed up my gear and finished my 
driving to my Field Day spot.  

I parked at the same place I used for Field Day last year, the Garland 
Prairie Vista picnic ground in the Kaibab National Forest.  This picnic 
area is 20 miles/32km west of Flagstaff AZ, along old US-66 in grid 
DM45ag.  Along with last year's Field Day, I have worked from along the 
road just west of here at the DM35xg/DM45ag grid boundary several times 
in the past couple of years.  I set up my station in the back of my 
truck, catching some shade and enjoying the occasional breeze through 
the forest.  There have been some forest fires near this area, but those
were some distance away from me.  I worked HF and 6m, along with the 
satellites, enjoying the much cooler weather at this site.  This year, 
for the first time, I made some SSB satellite QSOs.  :-)  

I had a VO-52 pass right at the start of Field Day, 1800 UTC Saturday.
It was a shallow pass, and at that time the satellite was only up a 
few degrees from the horizon to the southwest.  No luck in completing 
a QSO in the 4 or 5 minutes of the pass that started Field Day, but 
I'd get a QSO on VO-52 later.  Off to HF and - when I heard activity - 
6m to log some QSOs before SO-50 and AO-27 passes to the west starting 
at 2112 UTC.  

I was able to make my SO-50 QSO with W0NT in Colorado before AO-27 
started up.  Then a quick QSO on AO-27 with "neighbor" WA2DFI in 
another part of Arizona took care of my QSOs for 2 of the 3 FM birds. 
A few stations called for me toward the end of the pass after I made
my QSO.  I responded, so they could get their QSOs on AO-27.  These 
additional AO-27 QSOs were listed on my ARRL and AMSAT logs, but not 
counted in the score for either event.  I then went back to HF for an 
hour, before an AO-7 pass at 2242 UTC.  Lots of stations, but the 7-
degree pass at my location proved to be a barrier.  No QSOs logged on 
this pass, but I had 2 more AO-7 passes later.  Back to HF and 6m...

Between 0018 UTC and 0110 UTC, I had passes on AO-51 followed by 
AO-7 and FO-29.  I was able to get Alvaro XE2AT on AO-51, something
on the order of a miracle with all the stations trying to get on 
there.  Then over to AO-7, which - once again - was as busy as 20m
SSB.  Near the end of the pass, Rick VE4AMU was able to hear me 
well enough to make a QSO.  Then the fun really started on FO-29.

FO-29's pass to my east, starting at 0055 UTC, was what I hoped it
would be for my Field Day effort.  During that 15-minute pass, I was 
able to work 4 stations.  It was easier for me to find my 5W signals 
in the downlink, and hold it for the QSOs I made.  I know there were 
many more stations I did not work on that pass, but these QSOs got me 
excited for more satellite passes an hour or so later. 

Before the last group of satellite passes in the hour starting around
0222 UTC, I copied the W1AW Field Day bulletin on 17m SSB.  After that, 
I packed the HF/6m side of my station and got ready for 3 more passes -
AO-7 at 0222 UTC, then FO-29 at 0240 UTC, and VO-52 at 0308 UTC.  The 
first two passes were to my west, and VO-52 was on a pass to my east.  

When AO-7 came up, I was able to quickly find myself in the downlink
and started calling CQ.  Throughout the 20-minute pass, I made 5 QSOs!
The most-productive satellite pass I worked all day.  As AO-7 was going
away, FO-29 was coming up.  Despite hearing myself through the bird 
and alternating between calling CQ and trying to answer other CQ calls,
I made no QSOs.  Not a problem, since I had one more pass I wanted to 
work as the sun was setting.  VO-52 was loud, with many stations just 
like I heard on the earlier AO-7 and FO-29 passes.  Near the end of 
the pass, WI9MRC in Wisconsin patiently asked for repeats in order to
complete our QSO.  This was my only VO-52 QSO, but it was fun to slug
it out with my 5W radios trying to make that QSO happen. 

When VO-52 went away, I turned on a couple of flashlights to help see
as I dismantled the satellite station and pack things in my truck for 
the drive down I-40 to a truck stop for food and fuel, followed by 
the 2-hour drive home.  

For ARRL Field Day, I logged 49 QSOs on bands between 40m and 6m plus
the satellites.  For AMSAT Field Day, 14 QSOs on 6 satellites - 6 on 
AO-7, 4 on FO-29, and one each on the other 4 (AO-27, AO-51, SO-50, 
VO-52).  All done on battery power with a pair of 12V/20Ah jumpstart 
battery packs, 5W transmitter power, without generators or running off
my truck's electrical system.  No world records, but spending the day
in the mountains playing radio was a lot of fun.  The SSB satellite 
activity, in particular, was a great test of my skills in advance of
my trip to Canada next weekend.  

I used an IC-703 HF/6m transceiver at 5W with an Outbacker Joey HF/VHF 
vertical for my HF and 6m work, and my Elk Antennas handheld 2m/70cm 
log periodic as my satellite antenna.  I swapped between different 
radios for the FM satellites (an IC-2820H 2m/70cm FM mobile radio,
throttled back to 5W) and SSB (two FT-817NDs, connected to the log 
periodic through a diplexer).  My ARRL web site soapbox entry for this
year's Field Day, along with some photos, can be seen at:

I've worked Field Day with my call as a 1B/1-op/Battery station every 
year since 2001, and since 2006 on the satellites.  My ARRL score won't 
be as big as in 2009 with a slightly-lower QSO count, but being able to 
log those SSB satellite QSOs meant I achieved the goal I set for myself 
for this year's Field Day.  And, as always, having fun at the same time.  

Field Day is always a fun time for me, and I look forward to the 2011 
event.  Thanks to all the stations that made QSOs with WD9EWK, whether 
on the satellites or on HF or 6m.  73!

Patrick WD9EWK/VA7EWK 

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