FIELD DAY 1947
JACK WALLACE, W2LCU
This article was first published in the GARC book "45 Years of History 1944 - 1989". Jack Wallace was a charter member of the GARC and the first Treasurer.
As the long winter draws to a close and warmer weather approaches (we hope) our thoughts turn to summer activity, such as mobile rigs, rebuilding and remodeling equipment and antennas or as is the case with this writer ham radio palls and interest turns to such things as weekend trips, swimming, picnics with our many ham friends and their families, baseball games, etc. However, one of the most interesting amateur radio events to which we look forward is the annual A.R.R.L. Field Day.
It may be of interest to the members of our Club to have an outline of what took place at the 1947 Field Day activities of the then newly organized Suffolk Amateur Radio Club, of which this writer is a charter member.
0ur Field Day was held jointly with the East End Radio Club at Rock Hill, L.I., an abandoned U.S. Army installation.
There were several ramshackle buildings which, though far from being all that could be desired, provided adequate shelter for equipment and personnel, and were much more to be desired than tents or operating from an automobile.
110 volt 60 cycle AC power was used on all equipment with the exception of an 80 meter CW station that was a war surplus tank set with power taken from storage batteries.
Several gasoline-engine driven generators were loaned to the Club through the generosity of the N.Y. Telephone Company.
There was a rig for each band. 80 meter CW, 75 meter phone. 40 meter CW, 20 meter CW, 20 meter phone, 10 meter phone, 11 meter phone, 6 meter phone and 2 meter phone.
Antennas ranged from a 5 element rotary beam on 2 meters, 5 element rotary beams on 6 and 10 to zepps and single wire end fed on the lower frequency bands.
Meals were prepared by W2LUD, a former U.S. Navy cook, and sleeping accommodations were provided by the use of army cots and automobiles.
A total of 358 contacts were made on all bands but we were handicapped by the lack of operators and the failure of some of our equipment. 0ur 11 meter rig failed to operate right at the beginning and never went on the air throughout Field Day, and some trouble was experienced with our 2 meter rig and valuable time was lost; however, the trouble was eventually corrected and the rig operated satisfactorily thereafter.
20 meter phone was almost a total loss due to serious feed-back in the transmitter and very poor receiving conditions and after a time that particular band of frequencies was abandoned; therefore we lost points from our score due to these failures.
On 40 meter CW 58 contacts were made and all U.S. call areas but the 7th were worked. 0nly one W7 was heard on this band and after calling him a total of 6 times he finally called "CQ no FD." Had he responded to our call we would have had all 10 U.S. call areas to our credit on 40 meter CW alone. 20 and 80 meter CW did an excellent job as did ten meter phone during the daylight hours and early evening of the first day. 6 and 75 meter phone did good work but thy were not in the same category as the others as pertaining to actual scores made.
As a matter of fact 20 meter CW ran up a very high score at our location and when it is considered that one man operated this station all by himself, from the opening gun until the wee small hours of the following day, it is to his credit that he did such an excellent job. He became glued to his chair and in his enthusiasm could not be budged even for his meals. He finally fell asleep with his hands still on the controls and was relieved by another operator.
There, gentlemen, is a rabid ham for you. Several amusing incidents occurred, such as the chap who tripped and fell over a guy-wire in the darkness and used some of our choicest Grumman epithets to vent his feelings toward the installation; however, space does not permit the narration of all that transpired.
We learned a good deal on our first attempt and feel that we did quite well, for an infant club.
Plans are now being formulated for our participation in the 1948 Field Day to be held the same time in June. Once again we will use the Rock Hill location as our base of operation, in connection with the East End CIub. Meetings are being .held, equipment assignments made and the membership canvassed for operators and helpers. In view of our former experience we intend to add some equipment that was lacking, and on the other hand we will eliminate such bands and/or equipment that proved ineffective last year.
Variable-frequency oscillators are a "MUST" if we are to run up a score commensurate with the equipment and operators we expect to have on hand, and as many of our members own war-surplus equipment that can be readily adapted to this purpose we should be able to corral enough VFOs to satisfy our needs for the lower frequency bands at least.
Another thing that is of prime importance (and was woefully lacking last year) is to have an operator and at least one helper at each operating position, the helper to keep a check on stations worked, by call areas, and to maintain the log, leaving the operator free to do the actual operating of the station.
Also needed is sufficient personnel to operate the equipment in shifts of not more than two hours at a time and to this end we are planning our operation to cover only three bands for which we will have sufficient operators and helpers to give best results.
We are fortunate to have recently added to our ranks W2AYJ and W2LIH who are both considered by all who know them to be first rate CW men. W2AYJ has had years of experience with Field Day activities with various clubs and we are more than pleased to number him among us.
As a member of the Executive Committee of the Suffolk Amateur Radio Club, a member of the Field Day Committee , and by authority of our club president, Paul L. Field, W2PDU it is my pleasure to invite the membership of the Grumman Amateur Radio Club, (licensed or not) to join us for a pleasant weekend among congenial companions and have a barrel of fun at ham radio in the rough.
We have the location, we WILL have the equipment and will be happy to welcome any additional operators or helpers who care to turn out.
All Things Considered
From National Public: Radio's "All Things Considered" on April 23. 1999
JONATHAN KERN: I grew up in a bilingual household. There was English, and there was this.
(Soundbite of Morse code)
KERN: Some of my earliest memories are of my father sitting in front of his ham radio set, the beeps of Morse code coming from his black Bakelite headphones, his hand on the telegraph key. By' the age of three or four, I could spell my name in code, though I didn't know the letters of the alphabet: da, da, da, da, da, da, da, dotted. I knew from the start that Morse code wasn't dots and dashes, as other people described it. It was sound. It was how we could talk to people who were far away. In fact, Morse code was a sort of digital Esperanto. Thanks to an international list of abbreviations, you could carry out a simple conversation in code with someone half a world away, even if he didn't speak any English. QRM meant there was interference. WX was shorthand for weather. 73 was goodbye, best wishes.
KERN: I learned all these things and the code itself the way anyone picks up a second language. As I entered adolescence, the code and ham radio connected me with my father. My dad used a special sort of mechanical key with springs that made it easier to send code quickly. His code had a swing to it. Da, da-da-dj, da-da, di.-da. My father and I aren't the only ones who don't use Morse code anymore. The Coast Guard gave it up a couple of years ago.
Earlier this year, the International Maritime Organization decided to drop the code in favor of a satellite-based system. Radio amateurs will continue to use it, but increasingly, even they will start thinking of the code as an antique, the electronic equivalent of a flintlock rifle. Like vacuum tubes, Morse code may have been primitive by today’s standards, but it has served us well for most of the century. For soldiers, for people at sea, it was literally a lifesaver. For me, it was a tangible connection with the earliest days of radio. We should all wish it "73".
(Soundbite of Morse code)
Patching and Kerchunking
Gerry Crenshaw, WD4BIS
The repeater is seeing lots of use these days. Our new members are using the repeater with enthusiasm and many things are being decided over the club autopatch: from getting a gallon of milk on the way home to meeting in the high school parking lot for a football game. But what about the patch? What is and is not permitted?
Auto patch Identification
All autopatch transmissions must be identified. The easiest way to do this is to use the following statement. This is (Give your call sign) with the K5QHD autopatch. This tells people you are using the autopatch and who you are.
Most autopatches have a time limit built into them. The intent is not to limit you being able to make a phone call. The autopatch is a shared resource and the intent is to give everyone a chance. In the case of the GARC repeater, the time limit is 3 minutes.
What numbers can you dial?
Our repeater autopatch has a 7 digit limit. This simply means you can dial a local number. You can't use this for long distance or a toll free call such as 800 or 888 numbers. This is causing problems for some of us in the Dallas area. Our area code of 214 has recently split into two area codes of 214 and 972. So, at this time only area code 972 numbers can be dialed. It was decided to live with this limitation and not open it up to 10 digits.
QSO or Patch priority
Many repeaters have been set up with priority assigned to the autopatch. For example the agreement on the E-Systems repeater K5QBN is the autopatch has priority. A person needing to make an autopatch can interrupt a QSO in progress - politely. The GARC repeater is considered QSO priority. Wait for any QSO in progress to finish before making a patch, and even then ask if the frequency is clear.
Regardless of patch priority or not, the autopatch is there primarily for minor emergencies. If you have an situation that requires the patch such as, the car won't start, flat tire, or to report an accident, simply announce your intent and the frequency will usually clear. Give the QSO in progress a few seconds to clear. Most of us have no problem with this as this is one of the guiding principals of our hobby.
Although there is a prohibition against using the autopatch for business. If you feel there is a threat to life or property, go ahead and call that tow service or service station.
We have been hearing some strange things on the autopatch lately so rather than ramble I think the FCC rules, Part 97.113 subpart (a) do a very good job of defining what is prohibited, so here is what the FCC says: 97.113 Prohibited transmissions.
(a) No amateur station shall transmit:
(1) Communications specifically prohibited elsewhere in this Part;
(2) Communications for hire or for material compensation, direct or indirect, paid or promised, except as otherwise provided in these rules;
(3) Communications in which the station licensee or control operator has a pecuniary interest, including communications on behalf of an employer.
Amateur operators may, however, notify other amateur operators of the availability for sale or trade of apparatus normally used in an amateur station, provided that such activity is not conducted on a regular basis;
(4) Music using a phone emission except as specifically provided elsewhere in this Section; communications intended to facilitate a criminal act: except as otherwise provided herein; obscene or indecent words or language; or false or deceptive messages, signals or identification;
(5) Communications, on a regular basis, which could reasonably be furnished alternatively through other radio services.
Although there is ongoing discussion of relaxing these rules, it has not yet happened. So until these rules are amended, you can't order a pizza, call in a prescription, or take an order for that home business regardless of how harmless it seems. Remember, in an FCC Action they would have to fine the offender and quite possibly order the offending repeater off the air.
This kind of thing really affects us all. Once a frequency is declared surplus, it is reassigned, and it is very hard to get any repeater frequency pair these days. A five to seven year wait to get a two meter repeater is the norm these days.
A Little Common Sense
Many of us who got into this hobby started by using a scanner. We know people are listening to our frequencies all the time. Just keep this in mind when you make that autopatch call on the repeater.
The repeater reads back the number dialed and you transmit the touch-tone digits on the input frequency. If someone wanted to catch and decode these digits, you can find decoding hardware in almost any Amateur radio magazine. With a sound blaster card and the right software, you can do the same thing as well on a home PC. I would like to suggest that you do not make that "Big Date" over the repeater, or key in any digits that have anything to do with security. Don't, for example, call your answering machine or phone mail and key in the access code to get your messages. There is simply too much mischief in the world to invite this into your home or automated system.
Kerchunking, What is it?
OK, we have probably all done it, but what is it. You pick up the mike or handi- talkie because you have not heard anything for few minutes. Then even though the display of the radio is on, that little bit of doubt creeps into your mind, is it the repeater....or me..... or is my radio working? Did the repeater offset slip? Did the PL tone get lost? Did the power setting go to extra low? Did that intermittent coax connection just go away again?
Finally, you just have to key the mike for a second or two to see if you hear the repeater identify or hear the courtesy tone. That second or two of dead air with no ID is a kerchunk. If you just have to do an on air test, say so: "This is (Call sign) Testing".
It will still bring up the ID or courtesy tone and is a legal transmission. Due to the increasing complexity of our radios, no one minds if you test as long as you say so. Anyone who has ever had a microprocessor-based radio lose its mind knows the complexities involved.
Anytime we use the repeater and autopatch, we become caretakers of it. The responsibility does not lay entirely in the hands of the repeater trustee and the communications officer. By our very use, we are taking this responsibility upon ourselves. If we use it, let's use it in a way that will provide this service for years to come. It's a shared resource, and in sharing we must all use it with these things in mind.
Copyright 1996 Gerald Crenshaw WD4BIS. All rights are reserved.
GRUMMAN AMATEUR RADIO CLUB
MINUTES OF GENERAL MEETING 2/16/00
BY Pete, N2PYV
The meeting was called to order by Pat at 6:37 PM.
All present introduced themselves. There were 33 persons present.
TREASURER'S REPORT - Ted, KD2UB
Ted read the financial statement. Finances continue to be in good shape.
REPEATER REPORT - Gordon, KB2UB
Gordon reported that both repeaters are working fine.
VE REPORT - Bob, W2ILP
Bob reported that there were 10 applicants taking tests this month. There were 7 VE’s present to administer the tests. Three Club members were among those passing tests. Keep up the good work!
WAG REPORT - Bob, W2FPF
No activity. Dave, AB2EF, complained that no one returned QSL cards.
Pat, KE2LJ, reported that the driven element on the beam on the roof of Plant 5 experienced a fatigue failure. Marty says he has a spare antenna that he will donate to the Club.
Zak, WB2PUE, reported that the Thursday night 2 Meter Net was so-so. The Sunday 40 Meter Net was good with about 12 check-ins. The Wednesday
20 Meter Net was good with good propagation conditions.
Mike, KJ6XE was spotted in Florida at a hamfest.
Marty, NN2C reported that the printer is still delaying the commemorative QSL cards.
The meeting was adjourned at 6:55 PM.
Bill, N2SFT, played a promotional video that showed all of the UL facilities throughout the world.
Bob, W2ILP, gave an interesting lecture about the new licensing requirements.
Bill, N2SFT, conducted another tour of the UL lab for those who had missed it last week.
In this month’s newsletter we have an article written by Jack Wallace, W2LCU. Jack was the first Treasurer of the GARC. I found the article in the 45 Years of History 1944 – 1989 published by the GARC a few years back and decided it was worth running in the new century.
The article describes Field Day in 1947. It seems at that time Jack was a member of the newly formed Suffolk Radio Club and he tells the story of their Field Day experiences and invites the GARC to join them the next time out.
It would be very nice if some member of the GARC would write a similar article for Field Day 2000 from the GARC point of view. What comparisons we could make.
If anyone is interested in doing this I will be glad to help out in every way I can.
The Editor, KA2FEA