I participated in the annual Society for the Preservation of Amateur Radio (SPAR) Winter Field Day event. The object of this event is to set up emergency-style communications and make as many radio contacts as possible during the 24 hour period. In between making contacts. The competitive part of the event ran from 12:00 noon on Saturday January 24th to 12:00 noon on Sunday January 25th. This type of setup is similar to the station that I have used to support the Boy Scout Jamboree-on-the-Air event which is held each October.
I set up a one person outside "1O" station in a field adjacent to American Legion, Post 162 in Lorton, Virginia. The dinette section of my small 19 foot travel trailer provided a great operating position. Power came from two synchronized Honda inverter generators that ran off a 6 gallon auxiliary tank. I got off to a late start as I didn’t start operating until 1:00 p.m. (EST). Most contacts were made on 40 and 20 meters phone. My eyelids closed around 1:00 a.m. that night and I was back at it again around 8:00 a.m. in the morn. Antennas used: 80/40 meter fan dipole (up about 35 feet), Transworld TW2010 (20, 15 & 10 meters), and a Comet GP-1 antennas (2m and 70 cm). Rigs: Icom IC-7200 (HF) with LDG tuner and an Icom IC-208H (VHF/UHF). I had a total of eight visitors. Lessons Learned: Tune your fan dipole antenna prior to getting to the field as 80 meters was mostly useless. The weather was so rainy I elected not to take it down to tune it. CO2 cartridges to fill a pneumatic antenna launcher didn’t work too well (should have brought my bicycle pump). I fell back to my trusty sling-shot launcher with predictable success. Gaiters worked great to keep mud and thorns off of my jeans. Cold pizza does taste better for breakfast. For one man, the Penninger Tipper “thick wall” aluminum mast was painlessly easy to elevate. I originally planned for a 2O station, but partner caught the flu prior to the event. In spite of a longer set-up and take-down—I really had a great time and can’t wait until next year!