My Field Day 2014 plans

PrintARRL Field Day 2014 is already upon us, and once again, I’ll be captaining a mostly digital modes station for our club. Details about the day are posted at our club site and we will be using our club call, W4CAE.

We enjoyed Winter Field Day this year at the Calhoun County Auxiliary Emergency Operations Center, so we opted to base the summer operation there also. Since it is a functioning EOC, we will operate as 5F class. We will have two delta loops, a six-meter beam, and three OCF dipoles in the air. We’ll also enjoy the use of the SCHEART trailer for the “Get on the Air” station. We’ll have at least three operating positions inside the EOC for SSB stations. I will operate from the Calhoun County field operations trailer on a delta loop, and the 6-meter station will also hang out in there if we get an opening. One of our CW gurus will pitch a tent and go old-school. Madman!

We intend to log with N1MM. No “dashboard” to keep track of our state-by-state QSO count this year unfortunately.

My duties for the day will be extensive:

  • Arrive on-site before 10 a.m. for a club board meeting. (Antennas will be deployed Friday afternoon)
  • Ensure all logging machines have N1MM deployed, updated with the latest data files, properly configured, and ready to log.
  • Setup my own station (K3+P3).
  • Be on the lookout for visiting media. We had a couple stations and an internet news service stop by last year.
  • Gather quotes and photos. I’ll be shooting my normal images for the website, but will also be writing a story about Field Day for a local paper. I was first inclined to tell the editor of that paper that it wasn’t MY job to cover my own event — after all, I’d already composed a detailed press release — but some coverage is better than no coverage; so I’ll do what I can.
  • 1 p.m. meeting to go over use of N1MM, the exchange, and on-air procedures
  • 2 p.m. Field Day begins! I’m crossing my fingers for no computer glitch-ups this year.
  • There are perhaps two viable passes for SO-50, so I may break out the Arrow antenna and try to score a QSO for a sanguine 100 point satellite contact.

Last year I made 100 contacts. My “hard” goal this year is to double that; my “soft” goal is to triple it. My last performance in the NAQP RTTY contest proved that with experience and a better radio, I could dramatically improve QSO counts. Provided band conditions are good, and 15 and 10 meters open, I feel like I can branch into some very good numbers. Of course, I’m assuming that I won’t be QRMed all day by adjacent operators. I plan to stick with RTTY as long as possible on all bands, both running and pouncing before fooling with PSK, which has proved to be difficult to contest with in crowded band conditions.

If the well runs dry, I’d like to switch to CW. I won’t be bringing a microphone!

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