Winter Field Day woes

Hanging on for dear life?

Hanging on for dear life? Nope, just getting ready for SPAR Winter Field Day.

Rather than go into the whole narrative of SPAR Winter Field Day, I’ll provide a link to a brief write-up and a gallery of photos I did for our club website.

I usually enjoy Winter Field Day and this year was no exception. I took my K3 down to the Calhoun County EOC and was fortunate to operate out of a trailer on generator power for about 6 hours. Operating conditions were excellent at the EOC, probably owing to the 40-meter delta loop that Bill, W4SFV, quickly made for me just before the event began. We suspended it about 30 feet up and configured it diagonally to the ground.

The “woe” comes in when I look back over the minuscule number of contacts I logged. I decided to operate digital with the intention of working PSK31 and RTTY — mainly the latter. Problem is, the RTTY portions of all bands were jammed with folks in the BARTG contest, so I didn’t want to get in their way. The PSK portion of 20 meters was just jammed up with normal traffic and guys stepping all over each other.

I saw a grand total of about 3 guys calling CQ Winter Field Day on PSK, and I believe we all worked each other. I received so few responses to my CQ FD call I just started issuing a general CQ and finally started generating contacts. Problem is I caught a lot of ragchewers and I had to explain to each one about Winter Field Day and specifically ask them about their local temperature for the exchange. Had I attempted this strategy earlier in the day, I could have logged significantly more QSOs. Oh well. Lesson learned. I believe I had 17 PSK QSOs in the log.

Despite my lackluster performance, the club actually turned in an excellent performance for the day. Voice was the best mode, with more than 110 Qs logged on 20 meter SSB and nearly 50 on 40 meter SSB. I believe W4SFV also grabbed a few on CW. I can’t thank the guys at the Calhoun EOC enough, W4FSV and Dave, W4DMC, both went above and beyond the call of duty to make sure we were comfortable and had everything we needed to get up and running. Lunch was pretty darned good too, and the constant stream of coffee on tap kept us warm on a windy day with temperatures in the upper 40s.

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