[amsat-bb] WD9EWK - Field Day 2011 report

Patrick STODDARD (WD9EWK/VA7EWK) amsat-bb at wd9ewk.net
Mon Jun 27 17:05:32 PDT 2011


Glad to see this old-school e-mail list is getting a workout today. :-)
Despite all the complaining about how crowded the satellite passes were
over the weekend, it was fun to get one.  I try to make time to work 
Field Day, even if it is just the satellites, as a reason to get out 
of the desert heat. 

As I have done since 2009, I parked at a Garland Prairie Vista Picnic
Ground in the Kaibab National Forest.  This is along old US-66, north
of the I-40 freeway and 20 miles/32km west of Flagstaff in northern
Arizona.  I knew of this place from trips to the DM35xg/DM45ag grid
boundary just west of this site, and being up in the mountains and 
trees is a lot better than the desert heat.  I brought the two FT-817NDs
I normally use on the non-FM satellites, along with a TH-F6A (backup 
radio for satellite operating, and possibly useful for VHF/UHF FM 
QSOs during Field Day) and my IC-703 HF/6m transceiver.  Besides the
Elk 2m/70cm log periodic I use on the satellites, I brought an Outbacker
Joey HF/VHF vertical and a Buddipole multiband dipole that would really
come in handy during this Field Day.  

Since 2001, I have generally worked Field Day as a 1B/1-operator/battery
station transmitting at 5 watts.  I may be a glutton for punishment, but
QRP power levels make it easier to power the equipment.  I had printed 
out the pass predictions for the day, so I didn't need a computer running
tracking software.  The IC-703 is a 10W transceiver, but I dialed it down
to the 5W level so I could qualify for the 5x power multiplier under the
ARRL rules.  The FT-817NDs and TH-F6A are 5W transceivers, so I left their
power settings on "high", and hoped for the best. 

I started out on 15m using the IC-703 and Outbacker Joey, then switched
periodically to 6m using the Buddipole dipole.  I would jump from band
to band as I heard activity, and also worked many Arizona stations on 
6m.  For the first time in Field Day, I completed a terrestrial 2m FM
QSO with a group on a mountain about 40 miles/64km south of me.  I used
the TH-F6A with a Diamond tri-band antenna on it, and had a nice chat 
with that group after making the Field Day exchange.

As for the satellites, I did not do as well this year.  I confined my 
FM activity to only the west-coast passes.  I made one QSO on SO-50
on the 2030 UTC pass Saturday afternoon, but the other station did not 
offer the Field Day exchange.  My first Field Day satellite QSO was on
the west-coast AO-27 pass an hour later.  After making the QSO that I
will score in my log, I also made a couple of other non-point QSOs as
I detailed in an earlier post.  

One of the things I wanted to try this Field Day was AO-7 in mode A.
I had one chance to do that, on the pass around 2230 UTC Saturday 
afternoon before the mode change approximately an hour later.  I 
was unsuccessful in making a QSO on this pass, but I was successful
in hearing myself on the 10m downlink using the IC-703 with my
Buddipole dipole reconfigured for this pass (one side vertical, the
other side horizontal, set for resonance around 29.450 MHz), in CW 
and SSB.  This was a great test, and I hope to make mode A QSOs on 
AO-7 in the near future.  I tried the next AO-7 pass in mode B, 
but had no luck completing a QSO there.  That happens sometimes,
and I'm not complaining.  

On FO-29 a little while later, I had a hard time hearing myself.  
When I moved up the passband a bit, I could hear myself, but nobody
else joined me up there.  I was able to make one QSO toward the end
of the pass, as other stations wrapped up their activity and there
were fewer signals on the uplink.  Not too bad.  I tried the next
FO-29 pass that covered the west coast, but could not get through 
well enough for a couple of stations to copy my call correctly.  
Oh well... 

As was mentioned previously, the AO-51 pass up the west coast just
after 0000 UTC was a nice pass.  I will try to post my audio recording
of that pass, to show how things calmed down toward the end of the 
pass.  I made my points-earning QSO early in the pass, then answered
others who were calling WD9EWK, and even worked one station that was
not interested in a Field Day exchange.  I gave him my grid locator
(DM45) in place of "1B-AZ".  

I tried the shallow VO-52 pass just before 0200 UTC, after copying the
W1AW phone bulletin that started at 0145 UTC.  I think the mountains 
to the east didn't let me have more than a couple of minutes to hear 
the satellite.  At this point, I wanted to stick around for the next
VO-52 pass, but by then it would be completely dark in the forest 
except for my flashlights.  I also had to return home that evening, 
due to other things I needed to do Sunday.  

I still have to put together my log for submission to ARRL and AMSAT,
but I know I didn't make as many QSOs - satellite, or overall - this
year.  For satellites, I had a total of 3 QSOs that will go on my
submission.  I was disappointed I couldn't get QSOs on AO-7 or VO-52,
but being able to hear myself on AO-7 in mode A made up for that. 
Hearing several familiar voices - some working with their own callsigns,
and several others with different calls - was nice.  Those experienced
operators probably helped their groups get QSOs and the satellite bonus.

I posted some photos of my station as part of my "soapbox" submission
on the ARRL web site at:


I also recorded a short video showing my station, which can be
viewed at:



Patrick WD9EWK/VA7EWK 

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