Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Field Day 2014

On Friday, June 27, David Ross, David Reece, Ron Pace, Sam McInturff, Kirk Kirckgasler, Ray Hughes, Jody Huneycutt, Jimmy Hitt, Jim Hadder, Ed Fitzpatrick, Paul Craft and David Barlitt met at 4:00 p.m. at the Lions Club Fairgrounds and installed the antennas needed for the Saturday/Sunday Field Day operations.  The usual pizza supper was omitted because a pouring, driving thunderstorm started just about the time all the antenna installations were completed.

On Saturday, the same group, plus Winn Hall and Marsha Greenwood were on hand to operate one or more of the 3 stations that EARS and Gilmer County ARES had on the air.   Dallas Miller, EARS member and Gilmer County Commissioner, came by for a visit to all the stations. 

At 1:00 p.m. Saturday, Ed Fitzpatrick provided the technical expertise to guide several of our club members during a Fox Hunt Antenna build workshop.  Geron Crawford, David Barlitt, Jody & Sharon Huneycutt, Charlie Stemman, Rose Denehy and her grandson, Brandon Carney, Ray Hughes and Kirk Kirchgasler worked on constructing these antennas.  Later this year, the club will sponsor a fox hunt, where these antennas can be used.  The antenna design, circuit design, circuitboards and kit assembly was done by Ed 'Fitz' Fitzsimmons, who also brought equipment to test the final completed antennas.

A cookout was held in conjunction with Field Day.  22 members and their guests participated.  The Club provided plates, tableware, iced tea, and cooking was by Winn Hall.  The burgers, which were excellent, were provided by Darlene Hitt, Jimmy's Mom.    Chicken/apple sausage was provided by Jim and Sherry Hadder.  The side dishes were brought by all participants - and all of them were good.

Several members stayed through the night, making contacts with other hams all over the country.  We didn't contact all states, but we were close.  Even Alaska and Washington were contacted.  One contact we could hear, but weren't able to speak with, was E51AND, transmitting from Rarotonga, in the Cook Islands in the South Pacific, between Fiji and Tahiti.  The pile-up was too big, we were too far away to break through it, and the ham on Rarotongo, Andy Duncan, got tired and quit before the pile-up thinned out.  (Check out Andy's page on QRZ.com- very interesting)

All-in-all, though, at last count, we had 214 SSB contacts and 167 PSK contacts.  Digital contacts, unfortunately, were few because of technical problems with feed lines and computers.  Those working digital, however, deserve just as much recognition for their efforts as those doing SSB or PSK.  They worked even harder, trying to find out the source of their difficulties.  Much of it appeared to be due to a damaged coax.

Check out the attached photos to see how much fun we all had at Field Day 2014.
                                                                                                           Antenna build on Friday afternoon

                                                    Rose & her grandson, Brandon Carney, with their completed antenna

                                                         David Barlitt operating SSB while Jimmy Hitt logs in the contacts

                                                David Ross, Winn Hall and Doug Barker try working the digital station

   Geron Crawford putting together his Fox Hunt Antenna

                                                                Sharon Huneycutt - circuit board building - Fox Hunt antenna

                                                                                                                        Jim Hadder operating SSB

                             Digital station on the left; Antenna workshop in the center; PSK station on the right

                                                                          Marsha Greenwood and Paul Craft at the digital station

                      Paul Craft -logging contacts; Jim Hadder - operating SSB; Ray Hughes - in background

                                                                                                                         Ron Pace - operating PSK

                                                                                               Winn Hall and Ron Pace - Operating PSK

                                                                                                         Ron Pace setting up his PSK station

                                                               Ron's power source for his station - true emergency operations

                                   Sharon Huneycutt & Brandon Carney solder components on their circuit boards

                                                       Geron Crawford inserts antenna wire in the PVC antenna enclosure

Note:  Please excuse caption placement.  The software is not cooperating on this placement.JEH

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