News

Updated July 13, 2017

Field Day 2017

Click the gallery to open in a pop-up.

MARS QTH in Argyle: the Meadows cabin at the Briarwood Retreat Center. An excellent location with plenty of space for antennas, air conditioning, restrooms and a kitchen. Easy to get to from Carrollton and surrounding towns.

Kevin Grantham, N5KRG, with Bob Bailey, W5TFY, and Judy Bailey, KB5IMY.

About this flag: Kevin Grantham’s brother-in-law is an Army Reservist and has deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan nearly every other year for the past ten years. His latest deployment was to the Pentagon where he discovered a program where one can a request a Flag and certificate that has flown over the Pentagon. He gave Kevin one and that is the Flag he brought to fly over our Field Day. Thanks to Robert Reuscher, NR5AR, for help putting it up and taking it down after the event.

Venzula Mathews, KF5PJH, Kevin Grantham, N5KRG, Annie Ackors-Bruce, KG5OVU, future ham Henry Chen, Seth Bruce, AF5YN, and Liz Brown, K5EMB, bring out the welcome sign.

Seth Bruce, AF5YN, and Liz Brown, K5EMB at the Welcome Table.

Dale Hiatt, KC5MAY, outstanding in his field.

Chameleon antenna.

Chameleon antenna ballast.

G5RV put up by Tom Yenny, K5LOL.

Andy Parcel, KE5KOF, Robert Reuscher, NR5AR, and Kevin Grantham, N5KRG, put up a fan dipole expected to work 160, 80 and 40.

James McCormick, KG5KBP, working with Kevin on the multi-band monster.

This is the RATT: Radio Teletypewriter Set of Korean War vintage.

Another RATT rendering.

James McCormick, KG5KBP, John Hardin, KE5WQD, with his daughter and future ham Julie, and Dan Howard, KE5CIR, pose with the RATT.

Erick Guzowsky, KO0M, anchoring the RATT aerial.

Dan Howard, KE5CIR, sorting some ham spaghetti.

Dan Howard, KE5CIR, explaining the mysteries of the RATT with a future ham.

RATT Rig Rack

All rigs ran on emergency power.

Inside the shack, operators are readying their rigs.

Ken Wendell, W5RPS, worked a lot of digital.

David Lewis, AC5DL

Liz welcomed Carrollton City Council Member Mike Hennefer, KD5ZCF.

Mike helped log for David Lewis.

Arnold Krusemark, K0YVI

Dennis Allen, WA5LXS, looking for CW QSOs.

Dire warning to operators to stay in band lest there be smoke emissions.

Safety Officer, Venzula Mathews, KF5PJH.

Time for lunch and Erick Guzowsky, KO0M, is ready. Food is the highlight of any Field Day.

Chef Dale Hiatt, KC5MAY, takes a breather.

We worked 60 ARRL sections, including Puerto Rico, Hawaii and five Canadian sections.

     You can hear the static as you open the door to the Meadows lodge. It sounds a bit like garble, but then you start to understand, “Kilo Bravo, five, Alpha,” as an operator calls out into a hand-held microphone. Another one calls out, “Kirk Battles five Aliens.” There are two people sitting at each of three small tables. One in front of a radio system and a piece of paper, the other with hands on a keyboard typing in the call signs and sections. There is a projector showing a map of the United States and Canada divided into ARRL sections. Suddenly, one of the operators shouts, “New State!” and that state changes color on the projection. What have you just walked into, a secret war room? Are black helicopters going to fly over next? No, it’s just one of the many ARRL Amateur Radio Field Day locations. In fact, it was the MARS Field Day location at the Briarwood Retreat Center in Argyle.

     For those of you not familiar with ARRL Field Day, permit me to share the ARRL’s description in their own words:

     “Every June, more than 40,000 hams throughout North America set up temporary transmitting stations in public places to demonstrate ham radio’s science, skill and service to our communities and our nation. It combines public service, emergency preparedness, community outreach, and technical skills all in a single event. Field Day has been an annual event since 1933, and remains the most popular event in ham radio.”

     Despite the early morning Saturday rain; poor solar conditions hampering communications; an antenna that fell on my head (yes, I brought a hard hat, no, I wasn’t wearing it); people found sleeping in our kitchen area; and outrage of outrages, no toilet paper when we at first arrived, we overcame and made over 130 contacts from Canada to south Texas. We hams are very resourceful.

     Field Days are more than an unofficial competition to see which club can make the most contacts. Amateur radio, to hams, represents free communication across the globe and Field Day events are a type of simulation of how communication networks would be set up following a cataclysmic event that knocks out other digital forms of communication such as internet, cell phones or land lines.

     This year we had a new addition to our setup. A RATT (Radio and Teletype) ex-military communications hut mounted on a trailer complete with camouflage netting brought by Dan Howard, KE5CIR and his friend, Eric Guzowsky, KO0M. This setup was a big hit for the public to see. Go to this site for more information on the rig:

http://www.rattrig.com/AN-GRC-26/26.htm

     We worked stations from 10 through 80 meters. As of this writing we made 86 phone contacts, 17 CW contacts, and 34 digital contacts. We got extra points for:

  • Operating on emergency power

  • Setting up in a public location

  • Having a public information table

  • Receiving the W1AW bulletin

  • A visit by a public official (Mike Hennefer, KD5ZCF, a MARS and Carrollton city council member)

  • Submitting our report via the web

  • Posting on social media (Facebook)

  • Having a safety officer (Venzula Mathews, KF5PJH)

     My thanks go to the MARS Board of Directors and members for their support and especially to each operator and guest who came that weekend. We all had a great time at Briarwood Retreat Center in Argyle. We are already making plans for next year.

73,

Andy Parcel, KE5KOF
Vice President

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