Field Day is Coming!!!
The last weekend in June, we will all be gathering at Washoe State Park to operate around the clock for the 24 hours of Field Day. Set up will be on Friday, June 25 and we will need help stringing long wire antennas between the trees and other setups! We will be at the main group use area down by the boat launch and there are lots of tall trees for antenna supports.
Radios and antennas may make the contacts, but they don’t run without a lot of other things working properly. We are going to be an “A” class station which means that we will be running the radios on power other than that supplied by NV Energy. The bulk of that power will be by gas powered generators.
We also will be using ‘shore power’ from the park’s power system for the logging computers and any needed lighting. If you have a small UPS, bring it to use with a logging computer as some of them do not have good batteries and any power bump could shut them down. Computers used with the digital modes will also need to be on generator power and should have a UPS to clean up the power and keep the computer running during refueling operations. Additional lighting is needed for outlying stations and should have LED bulbs to keep our power draw to a minimum as we may have very limited power on the park system. 12 Vdc LEDs are radio quiet, so any 120 Vac bulbs need to be checked ahead of time to make sure that their switching power supply is radio quiet. Additional outdoor rated 3 wire extension cords and power strips are needed for the computer power system. Be sure to label any equipment that you bring.
The computers will be set up to interface with most of the radios which will help with logging as the mode and frequencies entries will be automatic. We will be using the N1MM+ logging software as it has very robust and easy to use networking capabilities. We have several modern laptops available for this use and we will need a couple more to cover all of the positions.
Here is your chance to try some different modes and equipment with lots of potential contacts out there ready to come back to your CQ. We will have 2 stations dedicated to CW, 2 dedicated to the digital modes and 3 stations on voice mode. Since we will have Extra class control operators available, every one operating will be able to use all the parts of the ham bands. Being a 24 hour operation, we are really looking for folks to operate in the late night and early morning periods. Virtually all of our 80M contacts were made late at night the last few years.
There is limited space under the main shelter, so some stations may need a canopy or tent for shelter. Thunderstorms like we have had in past years are accompanied by high, gusty winds so the shelters must be up to the task at hand. We will also need to hang some tarps around the main shelter to deflect horizontal rain, wind and the sun in the late afternoon and early morning. Stations associated with motorhomes will need to be set up outside so visitors and the general public can see the operations, and most recreational vehicles have canopies to help with that. A few extra tarps to put over the equipment during the storms are also needed.
There are plenty of park tables with attached benches, however while they are nice for a few minutes while eating, sitting on those benches for hours while operating can get old… Good folding tables with comfortable chairs really can make for better operating positions. Try out your combination at home first or bring your chair to our ‘on site’ meeting in June and check it with the end of the park tables. Most of the foldup camping chairs actually have you sitting too low to be comfortable at a table. For those stations that will not be operating on the cement pad under the main shelter, a large throw rug will help keep the dust down around your operating position and make it easier to use a foot switch and move your chair.
With all of the power cables, coax, CAT5 and other tripping hazards, we are in need of cable and cord shield covers to put across walkways. These will save wear and tear on the cables, keep people from tripping and, more importantly, prevent your radio from being jerked off of the table or the power disconnected in the middle of a contact…. I will bring some flagging for guy lines as they are also a potential hazard as we move around the site. If you are using rebar or other metal stakes to tie down your setups, you will need to cover the ends to prevent injuries—used plastic drink bottles make good covers. Hint—8 to 12” x ½” lag bolts with a fender washer make very good stakes for light guying and shelter hold-downs and can be driven flush to the ground with an electric impact driver which I will bring for use.
Saturday night, we will have a dinner at 1900 hrs local (7 pm or 0200Z Sunday). We have a great menu and Tri-Tip will top the menu. We are going to charge $7.50 per person for the dinner if you pay before 1700 local on Wednesday, June 23. Look for the signup on the SNARS.ORG website in the near future. After that time it will go to $15 and we do request that you RSVP so we can get enough food. We have a few renown chefs for most of the cooking, but can really use some additional help for prep and serving excellent meals to the crew as well as shopping for the vittles!
While the club has paid the group use fee, it is up to each vehicle entering the park to pay the $5 day use fee or the $15 camping fee if they are staying overnight. Out of state folks are charged a couple of bucks more, and if you have a park pass, it can be less. It gets really expensive if you do not pay and are checked. The park has been good to us, and the money goes back toward the operation and improvement of the facilities.
This is the biggest club event of the year, and we would like everyone to participate!!!! There are lots of ways to help, especially with the logistics of putting this event on. We have the biggest Field Day event in the State and it is a good place to try different operating modes and equipment. Be sure to mark your calendar for June 25-27 to attend!
Any Questions or to volunteer to help, contact Jim Shepherd at email@example.com. Thanks!!!