Saturday, June 23, 2012

Field Day and sleep?

Field Day 2012 for W2LJ was not to be, so far.

I went down and helped my sister clean out my Mom's apartment as scheduled.  That was planned and was no big deal - in fact, I enjoyed spending some "alone time" with my big sister.  As we both have our own families now, that just doesn't happen often enough.

The plan to go down to the Sarnoff Radio Club Field Day site got "kiboshed", however.  Actually, my sister drove me past the site at around 11:00 AM as we were driving to Princeton to donate some paperback books.  I didn't see anyone setting up at that point and had planned to stop by later, on my way home.

Of course, shortly thereafter, while packing items in the apartment, my cell phone went off - work. They were looking for a Cisco 9513 switch and line cards for an emergency switch replacement and "could I stick around close, on standby" just in case they needed me to come in and help them locate components?

So after our cleaning session ended, I hurried home just to be available, if needed.  Luckily, I wasn't needed; but it did put a damper on my plans.

But in the evening, during my weekly Echolink session with my good friend Bob W3BBO, he mentioned his visits to some Field Day sites today and that he might visit a few more tomorrow.  Then it hit me!  Tomorrow!  Maybe tomorrow, when I am back down there, I can hit the Sarnoff site for a half hour or so. And that is assuming they're still set up.  I know Field Day runs until 2:00 PM; but I know some clubs like to call it quits early.

So for a bit, I lived Field Day vicariously through Matt W1MST's AmateurRadio.com, where he's running some UStream of a couple of Field Day sites.  I was watching KC2RA for a couple of minutes when one of the guys mentioned setting up his tent so that he could sleep tonight.

Sleep on Field Day?  What is that, he asked, smiling knowingly?

When I was an officer with the Piscataway club (and was still single, BTW), I did my best to be there for set up, the whole event, and a good part of tear down.  I remember quite a few years where sleep on Field Day was nothing more than a few minutes of cat napping in Rich W2PQ's pop up camber or Bill W2WK's trailer. C'mon, man!  We're there to operate, not sleep!  Who can hit the sack when there's CW contacts to be made on 80 and 40!

Of course, the end result was being rather bleary eyed and dysfunctional for work come Monday morning.  The other side effect was hearing Morse Code in your head for about 3 - 5 days later until that faded away.  But those were fun days and I wouldn't trade those experiences for all the tea in China! (Ooops!  Am I still allowed to say that; or is that something the PC police are going to shut me down for?)

Hope you all are having a wonderful Field Day!

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

1 comment:

AA4LR said...

I've had the experience of hearing random phonetics or morse code after Field Day. The first couple of times I went with the Atlanta Radio Club (W4DOC) and ran one of the phone stations I remember coming home on Sunday and when I turned on the vent fan over the stove hearing dozens of voices calling random phonetics. But, with a bit more contesting experience, you are less likely to hear stuff in random noise like that.

But, yeah, the half-dozen or so times I was with the W4DOC crowd, we planned to stay up all night.

A couple of times I joined the N4N group when they were doing a 5A effort. I was the 80/15m CW station and operator. Plan was to go on 15m until it quit, then on 80m until I just couldn't go any more. I found that around 3-4 AM (eastern) things got slow enough that it wasn't worthwhile to continue. So, there was room for a 3-4 hour nap, and then back at it.

This year, I ran 1E from Floyd County, GA. Back trouble had me pulling the plug around 10:30 PM.

Still, Field Day can be loads of fun, even if you can spend a little bit of time. One year, I visited the site of GARS (Gwinnett Amateur Radio Society) at around 11 PM. I found the 40m Phone station vacant. The band was really noisy, with S9+10 dB noise. However, calling CQ brought responses, so I ran stations for a half hour or so. People were amazed I was working anyone with so much noise. I had to be home by midnight, so that was it for that year.

Even a little field day is better than none.