I’ve had my license since April of 2015, but did not participate in Field Days 2015 or 2016 due to schedule conflicts. Now that I have my own HF equipment, I was determined to participate in FD 2017.
I accepted the invitation from Jamie KJ4TBT and Anson WU2F to join the UCF Amateur Radio Club‘s FD event. I am considering a career change to electrical engineering, which would obviously involve a return to school, so this felt like a good opportunity to talk to people who are doing just that. The club (K4UCF) was operating in class 2A, plus the GOTA and Free VHF stations. Radios were run off UPS batteries.
UCF is just shy of 2 hours from home and I arrived after they set up. I was impressed to see several different antennas: a Super Antenna vertical, an Eagle One vertical, a 6m Moxon and 2m Yagi on a tall rotating mast, and a Windom OCF dipole. They were set up at the edge of the UCF Arboretum, with the radio stations in the nature pavilion.
I soon realized that I brought all of my equipment except the power cable for my Yaesu 450D. I wanted to operate, so I drove to a nearby hardware store, bought an extension cable, alligator clips, and a wire stripper, and built myself a power cable. It was less than ideal because it was not fused, but it worked.
I connected my radio to the Windom antenna, tuned up, and began working 20 meter SSB. Throughout the evening I worked a handful of stations (I forgot to get the exact number) on 20 and 40, and one of the club members used my rig while I experimented with the Elecraft K3 and the vertical antenna. I took a brief nap from 5-6am and then got back on the air to try and work some morning gray-line. We attempted to work a 7am AO-85 pass, but the bird was monopolized by another operator. I stuck around to help tear down and pack up the site. We broke down a little early to avoid some storms in the forecast, but we were all exhausted anyway.
In total, it was a great learning experience. I am very grateful for the hospitality of the club members, and I look forward to participating in FD next year… probably Class B now that I’ve got the hang of it.