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2012 ARRL Field Day

06/26/2012 | K8DF

Another year has gone and Field Day for 2012 is now history.

The Stonewall Jackson Amateur Radio Association (SJARA) was one of the many stations on the air to participate in Field Day. SJARA operated as a 3A under the call of K8DF and GOTA call of K8TPH.

When Friday came around there were some doubts that we might have a little rain for the weekend.

Luckily the rain stopped around 3 PM on Friday and the sun came out and it turned into a very warm day. We put up our antennas (3 element beam up on a 40ft tower, an 80 meter and 40 meter dipoles.

The shelters were erected and we were ready to get everything installed on Saturday morning.

We were located at our usual location on Lowndes Hill a part of the Clarksburg Park system. We were

directly behind the Harrison County YMCA around 1200 feet overlooking the city of Clarksburg.

We started final set up on Saturday morning around 10AM and the temperature had already reached the high 80s. Soon after noon it had hit the 90degree mark with about 90% humidity.

We put in place the CW station, two Phone stations and of course the GOTA station. We were hoping but did not know how many would be there to man the GOTA station. A little after 11 AM the Harrison County Civil Air Patrol arrived fully equipped and ready to share Field Day with us and also setting up the CAP Communication Center to run drills. The young CAP members were very interested in the GOTA and set up a watch system to man the GOTA station for the complete 24 hours, We had two coaches KA5NYN and K8OZS, both senior members participating the local CAP system.

The GOTA was never without an operator and the young men learned quickly and appeared to really enjoy in the give and take of Field Day. Of course, there were those little embarrassing moments for some the operators but everyone got a good laugh and everything was taken in good sport. As the day drew on it appeared that signal conditions were a little lacking. We started Phone on 20 meters, 40 and 80 meters and realized 40 meters was going to be the productive band. 80 meters seemed to hold up its' end worked out very well for the GOTA. We left 80 meters on the GOTA for the entire 24 hours and it work out very will with our CAP operators. Conditions on 80 meters is very near the conditions that the CAP has on their frequencies just above 80 meters.

The CW station started out on 40 and moved from time to time to 15, 20, 80 keeping up as conditions changed throughout the day. SJARA was blessed with two outstanding CW operators.

A computer network was established and computers were available to all stations for logging and a spare just in case it was needed. Our computers gave us no trouble at all except one just didn't what to set the UTC offset. It took a few minutes to convince the computer who was boss.

All was running very smoothly until the evening meal came along. The meal was outstanding. KD8FOH brought a meat smoker and barbecued short ribs and a turkey. Dinner was held at 7 PM and each station was relieved so everyone could partake of the delicious barbecue and covered dish dinner supplier by our members.

We were visited on Saturday by the local TV station WBOY-TV and interviews were held with several members to be broadcast on the 6 and 11 local news. The local Newspaper, Clarksburg Exponent Telegram also dropped by for interviews and our Field Day activities were listed with a large colored picture on the front page.

As the sun was setting and night was coming on, someone suggested that we turn on some lights. It seems that no one had brought any lights so there was a scramble to find lights and get the place lit up. Just one of those things that everyone thinks someone else it doing and it falls through the cracks. With a quick trip home lights were gotten as it is said, "there was light". Will make a note to make sure to plan for lighting next year.

The generator only went down once. It ran for 8 hours without a refill. Another one of those things, thinking that someone else was filling up the gas tank. Only down about 5 minutes but had to reboot all the computers, but we were prepared so no data was lost.

Sunday morning ran very smoothly and activities came to a close a 2PM. Everything was accomplished in reverse and we packed up for another year. The club received a donation of a second transceiver, so now the club enough equipment to set up in an emergency with calling on any individual to furnish equipment. All we will need is manpower and with our dedicated members bodies are not the problem. Always someone ready to go at moment’s notice of communications necessary in the local area.

See you all next year when we will hit the ground running.




-- K8TPH