Field Day 2008
June 28th & 29th
The BCRA Field Day event is held at the Fall River / Freetown State Forest picnic area.
We have a nice football field sized area to set up in. This event always gets a good turnout
of club members and visitors.
First we park the HAMCOW and start unpacking equipment
and uncoiling the cords and cables.
KB1NUX and his son, KB1OFX are unpacking the big aluminum.
Putting together the big 4 element HF Yagi is a snap with
the elements only needing hand tightened wing nuts to
stay in place.
Slip the Yagi onto the mast and hook up the coax.
Invite a few friends to help lift the array and guide the ropes.
And you end up with this! This took about 30 minutes
from start to finish get on the air.
Next we lift the satellite array into position. This whole process
is a matter of un-strapping the stowed array, lifting it to the vertical
position, installing a single nut, and connecting the
coax/rotor umbilical cable. Just a few minutes and we're
on the "birds".
Then I dropped the rotor & mast into the big tower.
Then I install the 2/220/440 Comet Tri-bander.
Then the 25-Element 432 Yagi gets installed. This has been made simple
because the U-Clamps are already mounted to the mast at the proper
heights and direction, and all I need to do is slip the matching boom
to mast bracket over the U-bolt studs, and screw on at least 2 nuts
to hold things steady. I'll install all 4 nuts if I think the wind may
kick up, but most times only 2 are installed.
Then I install the 14 Element KLM 2 Meter Yagi.
Same clamping system as the other Yagi's. It's all about
having a quick setup with no loose hardware to
Then I raise the top section of the tower a bit to make room for
installing the 6 Meter Yagi.
While things are at a comfortable level I take a moment and connect
the wires for the 160 Meter dipole to the SGC tuner installed just
below the Ham-IV rotor. Notice how even these connections are
quick connect. I use the bodies of a pair of 'N' connectors for a
strong mechanical connection, and a good electrical connection.
The wire leads and terminals on the SGC tuner have been strain
relieved so the tug of the long wires is on Dacron support
ropes and not the terminals themselves.
Then I slip the 6 Meter Yagi onto its mounting point and install
a couple of nuts. This Yagi has been designed to snap together
in about 1 minute using spring loaded rake handle wall clips
to hold the elements on.
Here is a close up of how the 6M elements attach. They clip in
and clip out during disassembly.
Then I clip on the 4 guy ropes and telescope up the big tower.
It's always cool to see such a big tower virtually raise itself
with almost no effort at all. All of the coax, tuner, and rotor
connections are quickly connected through the main umbilical
cable. The other end plugs right into the patch panel.
Then the EVDO & WiFi antennas slip into their bracket. This allows
us to have broadband Internet off the cellular system, and
provide a strong WiFi signal for a radius of hundreds of feet.
This way even operators inside tents across the field can be
linked into the N1MM logging software, and have full Internet access.
Next I break out the pneumatic antenna launcher. This launcher
can EASILY place a weighted tennis ball over a 100 ft. obstacle.
Some times I get too ambitious and crank up the air pressure
too high, then the string breaks and the tennis balls goes for a
very long flight. In this shot, the string broke and the ball was
never seen again.
So my attempt at the launcher failed, so I had to go to Plan B;
the old faithful lead weight and a bucket full of rope.
Check out that form!!
Now the 160 Dipole and G5RV antennas are installed into the
tree tops and ready for some action.
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