2010 Field Day

The Beach Boys Amateur Radio Club went to work on Saturday morning and rested five hours later after prepping antenna systems. I was tired and a few aches reminded me that taking care of myself is really important. Our team enjoyed its morning and afternoon beneath the solar disc with the blue Pacific over our shoulders. The day was ideal for tackling Field Day logistics and preparation.

We are passionately committed to our project goals such as ham radio fun, operating outdoors, learning, and deploying a competitive signal from our location. The Beach Boys Amateur Radio Club is an informal group letting our enthusiasm for the hobby drive our organizational goals.

Our antenna systems arrived to include a 30 foot tower, a tri-bander, a vertical, a VHF quad, and a flat top dipole. The biggest challenge inside the project is the tower. We brainstormed safety principles and focused on the tower base plate. It required 3 foot steel stakes with clips and washers. The team concurred that a stake system in addition to proper guying will maximize our safety.

Our next goal is a practice run at deploying and guying the tower with the tri-bander attached to the rotor mast while keeping safety in mind at all times. Additionally, keeping the rules out in front of us, the entire system is dissembled prior to Field Day operation.

Flat Top Dipole.
Ham radio fun picked up momentum after a pair of operators slung rope into a pair of trees for the flat top dipole. Theoretically, launching rope into tree branches as easy on paper as it seems, is not a straight forward process. It was work and required a few attempts before achieving success. The moment was sweet when we fired up a TS440S on 40m lower sideband and logged a Nevada along with a California station.

The buzz around the work party, “What was the signal report?”

Another team of operators deployed our vertical antenna system for operational testing on the low bands. It’s intentionally positioned at the furthest end of our site to thwart cross band interference. There is nothing more discouraging when stations begin interfering with each other. It is the fast track to frustration.

Counterpoise is everything for a vertical. Pundits may say otherwise, however, I advocate wire beneath one’s vertical. We have the benefit of a large metal-like cage near the feed point surrounding this antenna as an added bonus. The antenna analyzer data suggested reasonable standing wave ratio although I’m learning how-to calculate efficiency.

Additionally, we will deploy a rudiment counterpoise system of quarter wavelength radials or near quarter wavelength given our on-going debate. This system will be above ground but not equal to the height of the feed point.

The Beach Boys Amateur Radio Club party benefited all those in attendance. We tested two out of three antenna systems, assembled the tower with rotor, improved base plate security, and ended the day exhausted. Everyone enjoyed working outdoors, getting their hands dirty, and learning about antennas in preparation for this year’s Field Day.

73 from the shack relaxation zone.

Scot Morrison, KA3DRR, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from California, USA.

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