Success in Field Day 2019

So, there are many different approaches to success in field day with in Amateur Radio circles. Mine was very successful, albeit not the normal vision of success. I will not win any awards for the number of contacts nor will I be able to say I successfully completed a satellite contact. I even broke my buddipole antenna. Sounds like a failure, doesn’t it?

This is very interesting to me. I only booked about 30 contacts during field day 2019. I also got to see just how finicky satellite repeaters are, and how hard it is to make a contact. Let me explain on why, to me, this was a success.

I achieved 30 contacts on my outing with my complete emcomms set-up. A tool-box with batteries, wiring, and radio stuff. The only power I had was a 20 watt solar panel. I had a knock off EZ-up from walmart and a chair from aldis. These chairs are awesome, by the way. Aluminum frame, olive green type fabric and a table on the side. Comfortable, easy to put away and lots of pockets.

So, on field day, where, even at the solar minimum, I couldn’t find a clear frequency, I managed about 30 contacts. I managed this with a complete off grid set-up putting out only 20 watts and competing with stations putting out a heck of a lot more than that. My set-up worked, and I almost exclusively used my NVIS wire antenna because I broke a wire on a coil on the buddipole. Yeah, and when taking down my antenna, which was on an 18 ft painters pole, the whole thing tipped over. I managed to break one of my telescoping whips as well.

Another thing about field day weekend was that, while running my station, on a Xeigu X108G, both my kids and my wife each made a contact. The kids were very excited, and my wife couldn’t understand the operator on the other end. You know, for an outsider, this means nothing…

“X8XX CQ CQ Field Day”


“XX3X, please copy 13A AL”

“QSL 13A AL, I am 1B PA.”

“QSL, 1B PA, 73’s good luck.”

Very amusing to see her confused. I also got to use an Arrow antenna my kids (I ordered and said it was from the kids) got me for fathers day. Satellite comms. I printed up a copy of the 10 day forecast at the location I was going to be at for SO-50. Pointing at a satellite is very particular, and I know that now. Part of my emcomms set up is a compass, which is invaluable for satellite comms. I did not get a successful contact, but did copy some. I wish we had geostationary repeaters, because that would be awesome.

I also took my drone with me, which also charges off of the usb on the solar charge controller. I lost it the first night in a big open field, but was able to retrieve it on sunday morning. This drone connects to a smart phone via wifi, and has an app to see what the camera sees. Aerial surveillance, which is important for emergencies.

Probably my most interesting contact was to my radio club, who was less than 10 miles away, on 40 meters during the morning hours, about 11 am local time. I was supposed to go there for field day, but they went to a members house and used the station there, and I wanted to test my emcomms. It was nice to get a contact with them. I tried contacting them on the club repeater, but it seemed like no one was interested in making contacts that didn’t count for field day.

Another very interesting part of field day was that I was still able to check into a net that I am very fond of… The Wonderful Wolverines net based out of Michigan. I was very happy to be able to reach them with all the additional noise of busy bands.

I also got more than my fair share of sun, and I am sure I will be feeling it for days. The whole exercise was a success, and I personally found it much better than the AmRRON exercise I participated in last year. I took vacations days for that, used my home station, and heard… absolutely nothing. Not a single radio transmission. This time, I used my whole emergency communications set-up, heard a lot, and got contacts. This was also on my weekend off, so no wasted vacation. I heard all over Canada, even got my first successful Canadian contact. This adds into my DX contacts with Bermuda and Barbados.

So, with all that being said, I felt like my weekend was quite the success. Definitely a success for Amateur radio, but even more so a success in prepping 101. My next post will be based on the start of my water containment and conservation, along with a little about homemade laundry soap that will save us money and time. 73’s until next time.

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