Monday, June 27, 2016


Is it possible to suffer from Post-Field Day Traumatic Disorder?

After the weekend we had, I'd be inclined to say "Yes".  But I mean that in a good way.  Not that Field Day, in and of itself,  was traumatic - maybe that Field Day coming to a close was traumatic!

Once again, we had a super fantastic time, thanks to the efforts of many.  All the South Plainfield Amateur Radio Club members had a hand, and in particular we had help from "friends". But I'd like to especially recognize (publicly) the following;

Marv K2VHW - our President, who has done a great job as our Charter President and stayed the entire 24+ hours of Field Day, even after undergoing back surgery earlier this year (and still on the mend). Marv provided equipment, operated and acted as our Amateur Radio Ambassador to visitors and dignitaries alike. The man is amazing.

Ron N2LCZ - our Secretary, who once again planned and setup our computer network for scoring. Ron is the Wizard and Master of things binarily related. Without him, the logging task becomes that much harder.

Wayne N2LRE - our Vice President who took care of publicity and was our connection to our Mayor and Town Council, which proclaimed the week to be "Amateur Radio Week" in South Plainfield.

Dave KD2FSI - our Field Day Committee Chair - and so much more! Dave may be a "Rookie" Amateur Radio Op in terms of time; but in every other way, he is an "Amateur Radio Operator's Op". His energy and enthusiasm and his love for the hobby are contagious. He was, and continues to be the "heart and soul" of SPARC Field Day. He made sure the tent got up, arranged for our use of the County park and supplied equipment and operated. Dave is "Mr. Field Day" in every sense of that title. And through it all, even when he was dog tired, he had a smile on his face and a gleam in his eye. He is The Best, without a doubt.

Phil KD2HPG - designer and builder of our "tower" for the beam antenna.

Tim AB2ZK - provider of tables and coolers.

Drew W2OU - Field Day veteran, Top Notch operator and the guy who gets our Field Day log to the League - a tough job, indeed.

And the various guys who came out to help set up and operate and do all the leg work that it takes to make Field Day a success - Harry KC2GPX, Mario KD2HPF, Marty KB2JSG and Len WB2HKK and some others who I am most assuredly forgetting in the fog and haze of PFDTD. For that I apologize.

Special thanks go to Dave W2OIL and Dan KC2YRC - two brothers who are Amateur Radio ops with hearts of gold!  These two fine gentlemen are members of NJDXA and one of our sister radio clubs, the ETS of NJ. They helped bring over equipment, helped set it up, brought over delicious homemade food and drinks, stayed to operate and came back for tear down and clean up. SPARC Field Day would have been a way more gargantuan effort without their help. And right along side with them was another member of ETS -  Hank N2MU - who came to set up and tear down; but who also came during the overnight to operate and keep us company for a while. Our thanks to these fine gentlemen. Their help and encouragement were priceless.

Aniother special "Thanks" goes to Marty WB2BEW, who along with KB2JSG is a member of another sister club, the Raritan Radio Valley Radio Club.  Marty lent us a canopy tent and was also there for almost the entire 24 hours. He gave of  his expertise and experience and helped man the radios; and was invaluable to us in another very special way.

A woman from town paid us a visit on Sunday.  She brought with her, a very inexpensive, nondescript pocket AM/FM radio - the kind most of us had in the '60s. It had gotten wet and was inoperative, and she was distraught. Obviously, for whatever reason, this radio held a great sentimental value to her. She had read our announcement about Field Day in the local town newspaper and associated "radio" with us. Marty came to the rescue and took a look at it for her. She may have learned more about Amateur Radio this weekend than she ever knew before; but even if she didn't, she'll always associate "Amateur Radio" with the kind gentleman who took time to lend a helping hand.. That kind of exposure is priceless; and ..... if there ever was such a thing as an Amateur Radio Gold Star, Marty would deserve one, hands down.

Field Day 2016 was a sunny and hot affair - a polar opposite of 2015. And the heat did not deter visitors - Bill W2UDT from the ARRL visited on Saturday.  Shortly after, our Mayor and members of our Town Council also showed up to see the set up and (involuntarily) let us remind them, that we are ready, willing and able to assist the town in any way we can in the event we are ever called upon.

With 45 minutes to go to the start, we were up and ready.  We had gotten the station up, and more importantly, the antennas.  The CW station was tethered to a W3EDP antenna, approximately 30 feet up in the air - hung between two trees. The main antennas for the SSB station was the beam and for the evening, a homebrew 80/40 Meter dipole courtesy of KD2FSI. It was supported by a telescoping mast that Dave cobbled together from commercial parts and a painter's pole.  For the GOTA station and the VHF/UHF station, Dave put up 6 Meter, 2 Meter, and 70 cm antennas as well as a 10 Meter rotate-able dipole.  We had RF coming out our ............

SPARC operated the entire 24 hours of the event. Three or four brave and hearty souls stayed through the night. We had some guest operators and some other visitors as well. Several took the Amateur radio pamphlets that we had made available and we even got a visit from a couple and their son on Sunday, as they wanted him to see what radio and antennas were all about.  He seemed particularly interested in the fact that everything (with the exception of our logging computer network) was powered by batteries that were charged by the sun.

We operated 3A (battery) NNJ.  If you heard us and worked us, we thank you!  All told we had over 250 CW QSOs, over 115 SSB QSOs, over a dozen digital QSOs and once again, Dave KD2FSI  attempted another satellite QSO.

I could go on for pages telling you about our Field Day, but hopefully your Field Day experience was a good one too. The best thing about Field Day, though, is not the trials and tribulations that are overcome and mastered. It's not about the masterful operating exploits or even the good food. All these things are wonderful. The best thing about Field Day is the camaraderie, being with your friends and the many wonderful memories that are yours forever.

And now for some photos.

Our home for the weekend

As people visiting the park saw us

Assembling the beam

Assembling the "tower"

All done!

The 80/40 Meter Inverted Vee

The 10, 6, 2 and 70 cm antennas

Here birdy, birdy!

W2LJ territory

Marv K2VHW with jacket - it got chilly overnight!

Dave trying to get some PSK31 in.

KD2FSI showing guest operator Mike KA2FIR how to navigate his rig's menus.

 Marty WB2BEW taking a turn at the SSB KX3.

Drew W2OU, Marv K2VHW and guest, Bill K2CZD

Marty WB2BEW performing emergency pocket radio surgery.

All in all, it was a great weekend, and I'm already looking forward to Field Day 2017!

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

1 comment:

  1. My apologies for the rambling, disjointed nature of this post. I'm still a bit whacked. I never corrected so many typos before!