Field Day 2017 – Event details and Operations

3 Apr

Event location and timetable

When: June 24-25, 2017

Where: Saanich Historical Artifacts Society (Heritage Acres), 7321 Lochside Drive, Saanichton. BC. V8M 1W4

Washroom facilities are available on site. Bring plenty of sun cream and a hat as the site can be very hot. For those staying for the BBQ and beyond, bring some bug spray as well. Make sure you also have personal supplies of water although we’ll strive to make sure everyone stays hydrated.

Time: Stations start transmitting 11 am Saturday until 11 am Sunday. If you’re coming along to help with setup, please aim to arrive around 9 am. After 11 am on Sunday, tear-down of antennas and stations begins. Help is always appreciated.

Talk-in: If you’re travelling from outside the Victoria area, require directions or any general information, call the talk-in station, VE7VCC, on the WARA repeater: 146.840 (-100 Hz tone). For more detailed information you will be handed over to the simplex frequency, 146.580 MHz, to free up the repeater for other callers.

Welcome!

 

We look forward to welcoming old and new friends to this great summer event. If you’re new to Field Day, returning to amateur radio, or just rusty around operating a transmitter, why not try out some FM, SSB (phone) or even CW (morse) operating with the expert guidance of experienced operators in a safe, relaxed environment?

Alternatively help out with antenna installation or just soak up the atmosphere, browse the bring-and-buy table, view the sun safely through a special telescope. If you’re new to the HF (high frequency, 1.8 – 30 MHz) amateur bands, don’t have a licence yet or are just curious about the hobby we can help you make HF contacts at the Get-On-The-Air (GOTA) station.

Everyone is welcome and we want to see you there. Above all, have fun and enjoy the event.

Setting up Field Day equipment

 


Station Equipment

  • SSB (phone) station: Icom IC-718 
  • CW (morse) station: Elecraft K3 
  • Get-on-the-air (GOTA) station: this is being offered to us through Emergency Management Victoria’s Vehicle 29. If you’re not yet licensed or are thinking about becoming an amateur radio operator, this is your chance to see what it’s like! If you fancy participating in the GOTA station please make contact in advance to the email address at the bottom of the blog. Alternatively you can register to operate on the day itself although advance notification will help plan an operating schedule.
  • VHF/UHF station: a separate VHF/UHF station will also be active for voice and digital (packet) contacts.
  • This year both HF stations will use bandpass filters to minimize interference between stations. They give a high level of signal rejection outside of the receiver’s passband.
  • Antenna Tuning (matching) Units (ATU) will also be inserted between each bandpass filter unit and antenna to protect the filters in the event of a high standing wave ratio (SWR) condition occurring.

Antennas.

Supervising semaphore class, err, antenna installation at Heritage Acres.

 

  • We will be using two HF dipole antennas and a square loop antenna:
    1. 80m through 10m multiband dipole
    2. two-band dipole for 40m and 20m
    3. large square loop as a comparative and standby antenna
  • We have an antenna advantage in VE7 since we only have to aim our signals south-east to cover most of North America. Don’t forget that contacts across the border in the W6/W7 call areas count the same as stations on the ‘DX’ (long distance) east coast. The goal is to keep the contacts flowing and points coming in!
  • At the present stage of sunspot cycle 24, it’s unlikely that the higher bands of 15m (21 MHz) or 10m (28 MHz) will be open during the day. However 15m might be ‘open’ during field day as operators often regard a band as ‘closed’ when most stations are only listening. If we get a good opening it could be very productive. In the evening 40m (7 MHz) and 80/75m (3.5 MHz) will be the money bands.
  • Depending on the number of SSB operators remaining for the night-shift, we have the option to activate a second CW station.

Computers, logging software and operator functions

  • Each station will have its own computer with N1MM+ logging software

Main entry window in N1MM+ Logger

 

  • All stations will be connected via a cabled local area network (LAN) so that the software can keep track of all contacts automatically
  • N1MM logging software greatly simplifies contacts (QSOs or ‘Qs’) as well as keeping track of scoring and providing real-time viewing of other stations’ performance. An excellent video introduction on its use at Field Day can be viewed here: Field Day and using N1MM
  • The SSB station can accommodate one or two operators. A single operator can perform both functions but having someone to log will allow more contacts to be made as well as provide a valuable introduction to Field Day operations for a new or prospective licencee.

Working SSB stations at Field Day

 

  • The CW station is operated individually and all contacts are made and logged with N1MM via the computer’s keyboard.
  • Please DO NOT bring hardware such as keys, paddles, bugs etc. as they are not needed since the keyboard does all the heavy lifting (trust me, it’s great fun!). That said, by all means bring your own headphones.

No keys or paddles needed!


Powering Field Day

  • A Honda 2 kW generator will provide AC power to the main operating tent for both stations, with a backup Honda available.
  • Battery backup will be provided for each station acting as a DC uninterrupted power source (UPS). Should the generator fail, battery power will take over seamlessly. Once AC is restored, the batteries are charged ready for use again.
  • RigRunner 12V DC power distribution panels using Anderson Powerpole connectors will provide power for all station accessories.

Food and Drink

Top priority: getting the coffee ready!

 

  • A critical component of any Field Day! It’s hungry work installing antennas and setting up equipment in an unfamiliar environment. WARA provides a pizza lunch Saturday for helpers which always goes down well. After 5 pm the aroma of BBQ wafts across site. Although operating continues, everyone takes a break and fills up with delicious grilled food and sides. It’s a relaxed time and for many, a highlight of Field Day. Relax with friends and soak up the atmosphere.
  • For those remaining on site for the night shift, hot food, snacks and drinks are available. A hot bowl of chili at 3 am goes down very well!

Field Day positions and personnel

Field Day Honorary Chairperson: Al Muir, VE7BEU
Field Day co-Chairs: Steve Pocock, VA7KH; Hans Oeste, VE7OES
Site supervisor: Steve Pocock, VA7KH
Safety Officer: Glenn Lindsey, VA7HC (supported by Bill Acosta VE7BTZ)
Station manager (CW & SSB): David James, VA7VK
Station manager (VHF/UHF/Digital): Hans Oeste, VE7OES
GOTA principal control operator: Andy Woodsworth, VE7PT
Welcome & Public information table (tour guide/s): TBC
Media Publicity: Chris Munz-Michielin, VE7ALB
Talk-in station: TBC
Social media: TBC
BBQ: Audrey Chew, VE7ODD
Solar observations, Educational activity: Larry Gagnon, VE7EA
Bring-and-buy: TBC
First Aid: St. Johns Ambulance (Saturday)


Important date for your diary

  • A contact and logging demonstration will be part of the overall Field Day presentation at the WARA Club meeting on May 18th at 7 pm, Red Cross House, 909 Fairfield Road, Victoria V8V 3A3.
  • If you are planning to do some operating, in particular CW, you are strongly encouraged to attend. If you can’t make it, please watch the YouTube video from the link below.

73 de Steve, VA7KH/VE7GTU
Email: ve7gtu@arrl.net


Web links and Field Day resources: