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Surfin’: My Field Days

06/24/2011

By Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU
Contributing Editor

This week, Surfin’ considers the ham radio event of the year, ARRL Field Day.

Spring 1983. I was perusing the racks at my favorite record store and saw a new LP by Marshall Crenshaw. I so enjoyed his first album that I immediately grabbed a copy of his new one off the rack, paid the cashier $3.98 plus sales tax and hurried home to play my new acquisition on my stereo system, which at that time probably included one of the Heathkit AM/FM receivers that I built.

Somewhere between the record store and my record platter, I noticed that the title of the new Crenshaw LP was Field Day. Being of the ham persuasion, I thought that was a cool title and proceeded to listen to the LP to find the ham radio connection.

I found none. The lyrics had no ham references, there was no Morse code buried in the music and I was fairly certain that Crenshaw was not a licensed ham. So I assumed the LP’s title was a reference to the field days held by schools.

The album cover depicted Crenshaw standing in front of a building that looked like a typical American public school and not ARRL Headquarters. That should have clued me in, but being a ham, hope springs eternal (and yes, the sunspots will come back real soon now).

By the way, Field Day, in my opinion, was a disappointment. It had some good tunes, but was not as good as Crenshaw’s self-titled first album. Isn’t that usually the case? The debut album is great, but the follow-up album, not so much.

Whereas Marshall Crenshaw was not a ham, I am, and therefore “Field Day” has a different meaning to me.

Most of my Field Days have been ad hoc operations. Typically, a few of my ham friends decide a few weeks before the event, “Let's do Field Day!” Then we scatter about here and there in the remaining days before the big weekend, trying to gather up everything we will need like radios, antennas, tents, tables, chairs, food, generator and even a site (“Who brought the site?”).

Despite our ad hoc organization (or lack thereof), all my Field Days experiences were memorable. Our scores were meager, but we sure had a lot of fun! I hope you will, too.

Until next time, keep on surfin'!

Editor’s note: Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU, does not fondly recall Field Day rain and mosquitoes. To contact Stan, send e-mail or add comments to the WA1LOU blog.



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