Field Day 1998 for W7DHS

This was the best Field Day ever for W7DHS! Typically Northwestern Oregon is treated to at least some rain on Field Day but this time it was sunny all day and dry for the whole Field Day period!

Typically by 3:00 A.M. I decide to get some sleep. This time I decided to keep going for the whole 24 hours!


One Operator



Equipment List and Operating Conditions:
HF Antenna:
Segmented Inverted Vee with jumpered insulators to select the operating band. The antenna was up 45 feet on a telescoping pole with a halliard for quick lowering and raising.

2 Meter Antenna: 5/8ths wave vertical.

Power Source:

12 Volt RV Battery recharged twice using jumper cables to a Dodge Caravan.

HF Transceiver: Icom 730
2-Meter Transceiver: Kenwood TM 241A
Terminal Node Controller (TNC): AEA PK-232MBX
Lap Top Computer: IBM PS-Note 486/25MHz, 20MB RAM, Windows 3.11
TNC Software: XPCOM used for CW, packet and RTTY.
Logging Software: Digi-Ham'S Logbook by W7DHS.

Shelter: A Coleman tent trailer.

Band conditions were good on all bands, even 10 meters! Stations all over the country were being heard much of the time on ten. They say it was "Sporadic E." But you know, the thing that really amazes me each year is that Field Day seems to "open up" bands that were dead. Just listen to 15 meters before and after Field Day. Typically you hear a smattering of signals, mostly from Latin America. But on Field Day the band is usually full with signals from all over the country. At least that's my perspective from Northwest Oregon.

For the second year in a row, I have worked the RS-12 satellite on Field Day. That's a 100-point bonus! If you check the description of my RS-12 set-up, you might find it interesting.

My score? Thought you'd never ask. It's improving. I made 275 QSO points total on phone and CW. With other multipliers and bonus points I figure my total score is 850, probably somewhere near midpoint of the scores in my class.

How do some of those one-person stations make over 2000 points? I can see where I can do much better, but not twice as good. Maybe I need the 5X multiplier of QRP and yagi on each band. But.... why become fanatical about it?

This picture was posed on Sunday after Field Day.

Hmm. . . I guess I do look a little worn.

What's that you say? You're a fanatic? NO! NO! NO! It couldn't be! Look at all those quys who do contests every weekend (it seems). THEY are the fanatics! Not me! Field Day is the only "contest" I do. Had to put that in quotes because I was told by some that Field Day is not a real contest.

I say Field Day is MORE than a contest. Besides being a learning experience and besides preparing for a disaster, it's concentrated fun. It's done outdoors, so it's an enhanced camping experience. After you've done it, you're really tired, but you feel good no matter what the score.

From the past:

In 1959 I joined a Field Day group at Collins Radio Company (Burbank, California) where I worked. We set up our radios by a fire lookout tower near Crystal Lake in the San Gabriel Mountains.

This is Nate Welch, K6YYI,
filling the 6 Meter spot.
It was a full 24-hour on-the-air activity. What a grind! But what a memory! From that position we had line-of-sight over the entire Los Angeles Basin and beyond!

But aside from that experience, and occasionally setting up my ham radio while camping, I've only dabbled in official Field Day three or four times prior to 1987. In recent years, it's been my practice to establish an outdoor operating position in the small field near my home. Sometimes during the prior week I experiment with portable antennas, then take everything down before the weekend to comply with Field Day setup rules. Starting at 18:00 UTC on Friday, the real setup begins. The antennas and emergency power sources are put in place and tested. The operating position is then assembled within an appropriate temporary shelter. Then at 18:00 UTC on Saturday, the race is on!