Field Day Memories

Discussion of ARRL Field Day event.

Field Day Memories

Postby Jamie_WB4YDL » Sun May 01, 2011 2:11 pm

Today is the first day of May and it's done nothing but storm and rain in torrents. :evil: However, we have just under 2 months before Field Day, one of my favorite times. :D Sitting around, looking outside at the rain, my memories of Field Day started flooding back - no pun intended. ;)

I have been at Field Day events in one form or fashion for the better part of 40 years. Many in that age category certainly have some memories and tall tales, I'm sure. But some hams with not as much mileage also have some Field Day memories. When I was in high school in Memphis back in the early 1970's, we would use the back field of my high school, MUS, to set up our stations. I was affiliated with the Delta Amateur Radio Club then. We would lug out the heavy hardware, such as Hammarlund and Hallicrafters, and stout enough tables to handle it. :shock: The weather at that time certainly wasn't any cooler than it is now, but there were exceptions of truly wonderful weather with clear skies and mild temperatures. Antennas at that time were strictly wire affairs and sling-shot and bow and arrow were the preferred method to get them aloft. Mosquitoes ? Are you kidding ?! Memphis mosquitoes were part B-52 ! :x We all got our turn to get on the air and to help log. It was all paper then with log check sheets.

When I was in training down in New Orleans, myself and an Air Force friend drove down with our wives and and set up on the beach of Bay St. Louis. This was about 1990. We pitched tents on the VERY HOT beach. My two very young boys had a good time playing on the beach, but it was too hot and muggy for the most part for them. :oops: We used a Butternut 5-band vertical planted on the beach with a ground in the salt water as well as an inverted-V. They played great ! :) I could tell that my XYL and kids were glad it was over ! After that, I flew June and the 2 boys over to Destin for a real vacation ! :D

Rain ? Really there were only 2 times (well 3) that I can remember being bothered at all with rain. Last year at "The Shop" of Glenn N4MJ, we had some pretty fierce thunder-boomers that shut the lights off for awhile. Luckily, except for a lightning delay, we were able to work right through it. Before I was a member of the RARC, Steve KQ4UB and I would get together at each other's QTH for 2B efforts. One year at Steve's QTH, we had to transfer operations to his garage for fear of severe thunderstorms.

On Field Day 2007, we were still setting up out in the park with tents at the South pavilion. This was the year that we had Winlink going strong and I was receiving messages into the wee hours on Saturday. One report out of San Antonio stated that they had to abandon their Field Day site due to severe weather. Yikes ! :shock: We were in the line of fire as Sunday rolled around. Sure enough, at about 7 AM, there came a flood !! :o Glenn N4MJ and I were in one tent with mine and, I believe, his radios. We were sitting in the middle of the tent when it started to leak from all the rain and wind. We started frantically covering the radios (which of course were off !) and pulling the tables out of harms way. As we sat back down in the middle, a large lightning burst with a near simultaneous huge thunder clap rang out. I happened to be holding one of the antenna coax cables. In my best dead-pan drawl, I said, "here, you hold this." :o BWAAaaahahhahhhaa ! :mrgreen: We both had a good laugh over that.

73, Jamie
WB4YDL
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Re: Field Day Memories

Postby Noel KJ4UNX » Mon May 09, 2011 3:40 am

Great stories and memories there Jamie. I have only been to 1 field day so far and that was last year. But I do remember how hot it was on Friday afternoon setting up antennas. Then Saturday I was late for the start because the XYL and I watched her 5 y/o niece Friday night. We stayed up most of the night watching boomerang and carton network. I figured I would take a short nap after she left. WRONG !!!!!!!!! I slept for over 3 hours and missed the storm and the first couple hours of field day. But due to that power nap I did get to stay on up into the wee hours of the morning on Sunday. I got to meet a lot of great people that weekend. Learned lots from the more experienced hams. And I learned we might need to get a battery charger for Robins van with the boom if we use it again. Since we had to jump it off a couple times last year. HIHIHIHIHI Great food, Great Fellowship and good contacts were had all weekend. Then came Sunday afternoon tear down. HOT HOT HOT and sunburn. But still a lot of fun and would not trade the memories for anything.

73 kj4unx
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