News

July 29, 2022

Field Day Wrap-Up

   MARS enjoyed a very successful 2022 ARRL Field Day June 25–26. We had 31 hams and visitors turn out for the two-day event. Among our special invited guests were Farmers Branch Councilmembers Richard Jackson and David Merritt along with Farmers Branch Emergency Specialist Luke Parten and Assistant City Manager Ben Williamson, KF5LPB. ARRL NTX Section Manager Steven Smith, KG5YK, and NTX Affiliated Club Coordinator Ken Hansen, N2VIP, dropped by as well.

Denton County ARA member Michael Porter, KF5LDJ, posted a nice video that featured KB5A’s Field Day site. Please go here to check it out on YouTube.

   Using a Raspberry Pi server designed and built by David Duke, KM5YQ/SK, we easily connected our logging computers without the hassle of last year. I don’t think we ever lost our network connection during Field Day. Thanks to David’s efforts and those who tested their computer setups during the last Play Day, we operated our radios rather than messed with Microsoft. Thanks David. We miss you.

Preliminary Box Score (but it’s not a contest)
  • 171 contacts: 28 digital; 143 phone

  • 199 QSO points

  • 870 bonus points

  • Total 1069 points

  • Average 20 QSOs per hour (for on-the-air periods)

  • 20 meters led the way with 83 contacts followed by 63 contacts on 40m, 19 contacts on 6m, 3 on 15m and another 3 on 10m.

   FT8 aficionado David Gilpin, K5GIL, made the first Field Day QSO using FT8—of course! Tom Yenny, K5LOL, was the QSO King with 95 contacts logged. Tom brought some help to Field Day—brothers-in-law Jim Litton, K0VEZ, and Guy Schofield, KI5IWB.

   We had 3 other stations contribute to the Metrocrest ARS aggregate score this year: KG5E, WA5LXS, and WB5QNG. Look for the results in the December issue of QST.

Antenna Stats

   So how did our antennas perform? A study of the log knowing which operators were using which antennas revealed some interesting statistics.

•  76 – Tom’s Vertical Dipole on 20m running SSB

•  60 – Tom’s Vertical Dipole on 40m running SSB (19 by Tom and 41 by Grant)

•  19 – The 6m Hamstick Dipole running FT8

•    5 – Kevin’s 80-10m DX Commander Fan Vertical on 20m running SSB

•    3 – Kevin’s 80-10m DX Commander Fan Vertical on 15m running FT8 and SSB

•    3 – The 10m Hamstick Dipole running FT8

•    3 – Jordan’s 20m / 40m Trap Dipole on 40m running PSK31 and FT8

•    2 – Ron’s 40-10m EFHW on 20m running PSK31

•  The 2m / 70cm dual band antenna was used for local comms only.

   The bottom line was that every antenna we set up was used to make at least one contact. Tom’s vertical dipole might look like it is the most effective but remember our QSO King was the primary operator on that antenna.

   The statistics also tell us the high contact bands were 40m, 20m, and 6m. 15m and 10m gave us a few points but primarily contributed by being band multipliers. We didn’t log any QSOs on 2m or 70cm despite having sent out emails to local clubs prior to Field Day asking them to be on the lookout for us.

Operator Highlights

   Jordan Lichtenwalter, KE5BRT, brought his Icom IC-7100 “shack-in-a-box” and a dual-band trap dipole. He ran PSK31 and FT8 on 20 and 40m. Jordan was able to copy part of the W1AW Field Day Bulletin through the QRM on CW. Copying the CW bulletin is a challenge due to fading and the number of competing CW signals. It’s exciting to have so many stations on the air.

   Mike Brown, W5MDB, and David Gilpin, K5GIL, took a break from operating FT8 to copy the W1AW Field Day Bulletin using RTTY, PSK31, and almost perfect copy using MSFK16. Great work guys.

   Grant Gilliam, KE5ERW, and Amanda Gilliam, KG5QWT, were on the air with 5-year-old Robbie, a future ham. Amanda made a few contacts and Grant made a ton of contacts. Even Robbie got on the air and made at least one contact! Grant and Amanda have since joined the Club, so we welcome the entire family.

Final Thoughts

   Where was Oklahoma this year? They must have had a private party going on with Wyoming and the Northwest sections. West Virginia, South Carolina, Vermont, and tiny Delaware were also missing. South Florida was noticeably absent. Normally we blast throughout Florida. Hawaii, Alaska, and the Santa Barbara section in California must have been out surfing. Nothing heard from any of these sections at KB5A. On the other hand, had you been working towards WAS, you would have chalked up all but 10 of the 50 states.

   Some Play Day soon, let’s set up a 20m dipole about 12 inches off the ground using some tomato vine stakes and see how many states we can contact. We could try a 6m tomato dipole running FT8 as well. We’re would need a 6m bandpass filter. Speaking of filters, we need a pair of custom 20m bandpass filters; one centered on the very low end of the band for digital and CW, and one for the high end of the band for SSB. This will allow us to run two 20m stations at the same time. Another project.

   Thanks to everyone who pitched in to make Field Day 2022 a success—those who brought rigs and antennas, those who came to operate (many), and those who came to support the club, help out, and socialize with other hams. This includes Kevin Grantham, N5KRG, Steve Darrah, KD5YPB, and Liz Brown, KE5MDB. Thanks as well to the staff of Farmers Branch Fire Station 3 for the use of their air-conditioned training room and the adjoining kitchenette. We had a great time and we stayed out of the sun (mostly).

   We’ve started a list of things to improve for next year. We’ll have Play Day activities this year oriented towards preparing us to work Field Day. Mark your calendars for the last full weekend in June 2023 and get your spouse licensed so you can make Field Day 2023 a family affair.

   73 Ron Reeves, NN5R, 2022 Field Day Marshal