Saturday, June 26, 2021

Field Day

Just North of Phoenix making the drive to Flagstaff

ARRL Field Day

June 26,2021

I'm so glad I attended!

Besides my videos, I am alone. My neighbor is a ham but he just retired and he hasn't had a shack in a while. I hate bugging him for questions... My mentor, K7TEJ is excellent but again, the problem is me.

Well the problem isn't me any longer. After meeting a bunch of experts and watching them, I am doing it right. 

My kit is comprised of HT's or hand held radios. I have different antennas for them and I really enjoy them however, they are low power and a little difficult to use with the antenna inside of the car. My radios are nice, basically 2m and 440. One of my Kenwood's will transmit on a third band but most of my activity is on 2m and 70cm. My activities must be focused to those bands and by no means am I bored.

But today?

I saw quite a few other types of radios and antennas. Although it is very interesting to me, my focus today was making new friends face to face and watching them communicate on their radios.

I'm feeling good about progressing into Amateur Radio now after Field Day 2021. 

I know what I want to do, continue what I'm doing and I know what my next move is. A mobile/base station. I'm going to set up a Kenwood TM-710G, a radio from a brand that I already know that transmits on the frequencies that I use now. Basically a radio that will be a step up from what I'm doing now that will allow me to grow secure as I advance in my craft.

I'll set this radio up on a small desk with a battery so that I can take it with me if I go somewhere. I'll purchase a power converter so I can plug it into the electricity at home. My base antenna will work very well with it and in short, I will operate what I have now and save for the next step.

Now, on to the Field Day.

From the ARRL web site:
ARRL Field Day is the most popular on-the-air event held annually in the US and Canada. On the fourth weekend of June, more than 35,000 radio amateurs gather with their clubs, groups or simply with friends to operate from remote locations.

 My mentor, K7TEJ was my first contact through a surface repeater. He was also my first voice contact through a satellite while we were on vacation at the beach in California. After our satellite contact, he asked me if I would like to attend the Field Day. We were already away for a week and the Field Day was the next weekend. My wife knew it was important to me so she gave me the go. 

Saturday morning came and there was an ISS pass that was broadcasting SSTV at 4a so I got up and was able to receive one image. I played with my dog, took a shower and was on the road to Flagstaff. There are several forest fires across the state and most of our forests are closed. As the sun rose, it was orange and there was smoke in the Verde Valley. I had previously loaded up my radio with repeaters along the way so when I got to the Verde Valley, I checked in with the Mingus Mnt repeater and was promptly welcomed to their morning net!

I announced that I was on a HT inside my car headed North in the freeway across the valley. Knowing the lay of the land, they gave me priority and I told a little story of what I was doing. Several people wished me well and before I knew it, I was on the other side of the valley climbing up onto the rim at Munds Park. Pretty soon I came into range of the Mt. Elden repeater and I called out and was picked up by the guys from the NADXA or the Flagstaff club. I told them I was headed to Jack's place and they all knew what was up. They too wished me well and I told them I was going to visit.

I arrived at Jack's place and was introduced to the crew. Everyone was busy doing something getting their radio's or antenna ready to make contact. I hung out with Rick while he made a half dozen contacts through a satellite. 

I felt guilty for heading out again after being on vacation for a week so I headed over to the other group at the Home Depot parking lot. I was warmly greeted, we spoke of our previous contact through the Mt.Elden repeater and I told them my story.

I'm so impressed, this is my first contact with other people that are into Amateur Radio. Like everyone else, the pandemic has really put a damper on face to face meetings but as we emerge from the pandemic, and the clubs begin to meet again in person, I will begin to put call signs to faces.

Thank you so much to all involved.

I'm sorry I didn't get to spend more time at the Field Day but I will be attending club meetings and next year, I will make plans to stay the whole Field Day as I will have much much more experience and I will know more people.

On the South Side of the Verde Valley there was a lot of smoke

Jack Lunsford NT7MM designed and built his home, he hosted the Field Day

Rick Tejera K7TEJ and his ELK antenna and Yaesu mobile system for satellite work

K7TEJ working "the birds" He made contact with WD9EWK

An ARRL representative visits Jack's house

Charlie KG7KRN, Walt NJ86, Mike Boger W7IJ and Jack Lunsford NT7MM

55' tall, any band 20m up, this is the permanent antenna on Jack's property

The "old" NADXA trailer. I was intrigued by it, I'm sure it has stories...

Mike from Ham Radio Outlet in Phoenix, Arizona hamming it up

Gary WK7B was very kind, here is setting up for the Field Day.

The gun used at Jack's place to shoot a line to pull up an antenna

Northern Arizona DX Association

Another antenna gun