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2006 ARRL Field Day

07/03/2006 | W5ZDN As in the past, the Heart O' Texas Amateur Radio Club (HOTARC) set up their Field Day station just south of Waco, in Hewitt Park, running our two HF stations as "W5ZDN 2A NTX" plus a GOTA station (as W5TSA). However, this year we tried a slightly different approach with our two HF stationswe separated them by about 500 feet in an attempt to minimize interference between the twoand it worked! We found that we could operate both HF stations on the same band! Since one was operating primarily CW and the other SSB, we didn't have any problems with "dups." The only down side to the 500-ft separation was the extra work-out we got traversing the distance between the two stations. Next year we'll try to find someone who can loan us a golf-cart!

For antennas, we went with our proven system of three-element HF beam and 80-m dipole for the Club trailer, and homemade 40-m vertical (atop a steel-roofed pavilion) and G5RV for the second HF station. Our GOTA station used the G5RV during the daylight hours (when visitors were around).

The GOTA station was a real hit this year as we had a much greater visitor count this year than in the pastwhich we attribute to the excellent public service announcements produced by Scott KD5MLY, our very own recording specialist! (See http://hotarc.org/events.html to hear the PSA.)

Our Field Day Chairman, Grant KE5ERW, supplied us with wonderfully free food (donated by local businesses) for the Saturday meals, and excellent weather: sunny and hot (mid 90s) but with a nice breeze. We think the latter might be somehow related to the fact that Grant works at a local TV station, and is good friends with the station's weatherman. (Good job, Grant!)

We made about 1000 contacts during the contest. But most importantly, we had fun and learned alot about what it takes to make our equipment work well, no one got hurt, we piqued the interest of several visitors in ham radio, and we proved once again that we can operate portable for 24 hours without commercial power. Our thanks to everyone who came out and helped make it a success, and to all the fellow hams out there who gave us the 1000+ contacts! -- AC5CV


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