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2008 ARRL Field Day

07/02/2008 | KC2UFO Skywatchers and Communicators, call sign KC2UFO, is a special events club, so Field Day has never been on its agenda. However, this year, because the King has control and so saith, we decided to embark on an Official Field Day Expedition. [Expeditions are what we do best.]

It was therefore utterly appropriate that we found ourselves in the middle of a graveyard. We do graveyards and haunted lighthouses and suspected alien landing sites. Stuff like that. Sort of paranormal, like us.

This was different, though. It was a TRUCK graveyard. The complete devastation around us easily reminded us of the purpose: preparation for communications in a disaster.

Our king, Dave Slawson, K1UZM, had outdone himself by finding this mountaintop of metal carcasses owned and operated by a ham who, when a fifteen year-old boy, provided much of the base communications during a long-ago catastrophe: the Flood of 1955, which killed several people in our area from the Delaware Water Gap border of New Jersey and Pennsylvania on down almost to Philadelphia. Bill Kobers young voice carried through the static and panic to the aid of rescuers and victims along the carnage-laden river and its raging tributaries. Older hams, anxious to help, were simply unable to penetrate the racket as clearly, and young Bill was a true hero.

Dave set us up in a severely broken school bus, whose driver looked, um, mildly alarming. The shattered windshield and fully-populated wasp nest added to the allure and homey feel. Dave was certain that pushing the seats to the back and sweeping the debris from the aisle would make the place ideal. The equipment did somehow look quite at home throughout good and bad, wet and dry, weather.

After trying to raise a decayed but lovely old fire truck from the dead for tower setting, Bill, N2WVW, decided to use an old boom truck to haul the 30 foot tower up.

Of the many who promised to come out and play [not to mention work], only Rick Talbott, KC2ZA, and April Greeley, KC3BIT, actually showed up. Luckily for us, they are both very experienced, and darn near tireless, operators because they kept the 2A station humming pretty much throughout the event.

Rick brought his IC-740 and used a Carolina Windom for the CW station. Dave supplied a Kenwood TS440 using a Mystery antenna for the voice station. Daves Kenwood TS680 was available for digital work and backup, but we never turned it on. The FT817, running on solar power, did its QRP thing. The 817 was so much fun that they made 20 contacts instead of the five required. Our VHF station included an IC260A with a Mirage amp and a ten element beam on the thirty foot tower.

A guest did actually find his way up the gravel, then dirt, then rutted, then glass-shard-ridden road to our location. Steve Brzoska, N2MHQ, stopped in for a spell and worked phone, having himself a blast.

Bill and wife Barbara Kober drove up, bringing a huge pizza and some soda to quell the pangs of the hard-talkers and finger-thumpers, and later with a generous box of delicious tiny pastries. Bill even stayed to try out some radio, which he had not done for sometime. Welcome back to the hobby, Bill!

Hope the pictures tell the story. KC2UFO has been invited back to Kobers Truck Parts to do one of its special events. Since no hauntings occurred, well probably do just that.

73 de W2KAT, Kath Slawson, Queen -- W2KAT





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