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ARRL Field Day 2017

HOTARC trailer in Hewitt Park

map to hewitt park

On Saturday-Sunday, June 24-25, 2017 HOTARC participated in a national annual special event sponsored by the ARRL. On Field Day ham radio operators across the country set up "emergency operations" and contact as many other stations as possible in a contest-like fashion. Folks began to arrive around 10:00 AM Saturday, and started erecting an "emergency operations center" with three radio stations capable of world-wide communications. At 1:00 PM, we began operating those stations—without commercial electricity, continuously, for 24 hours—wrapping up operations at 1 PM on Sunday.

This year we returned to our favorite location at Hewitt Park, in Hewitt, TX, to demonstrate our ham radio skills in action, enjoy food/fellowship with fellow hams, and welcome visitors and VIPs. For the first time in several years, we started out with a rainy day, so it was deemed too risky to mount our 40-meter quarter wave antenna on the pavilion roof, as is our custom. Instead we mounted it at ground level, located away from the pavilion, with an array of radial wires to define the ground plane. Apparently the wet ground helped a lot, too, because we noted remarkably good performance of the antenna—despite the lower altitude (i.e., not atop the pavilion).

KE5UBO and AC5CV tried again this year for a satellite contact, without success. Our tracking was spot on, but our transmissions just could not break through the "pile-ups" that occur on the satellites during such contests. Maybe next year!

Since this is also a national contest event, we kept records of all our contacts and submitted the data to the ARRL to compare our performance with other clubs and contestants. Clint AE5CA greatly helped the logging effort by setting up a "Ham Mesh" wi-fi network that connected all the logging stations' laptops, permitting a real-time analysis of our scoring, not to mention connecting each station with a live audio/video feed back to the the control station set up under the Pavilion! Ain't technology great?!

Below is a view of Hewitt Park (click image for larger view), with the layout of our stations, antennas, and other equipment this year. The Field Day Rules specify all radios and antennas must lie within a 1000-foot diameter circle, with which we complied.

HOTARC Field Day 2017 Photos

Location: Hewitt Park
Assembling beam antenna
Up she goes!
Station #1 ready to go!
Ground-mounted 40m antenna
GOTA dipole going up
All tools on deck!
Station #2 ready to go, with generator power
Welcome to Field Day 2017
HQ: All stations connected by a mesh network
CW op racking up the points at Station #2
CW "bug"
Passing message traffic
SSB ops and visitors at Station #1
Seeking those elusive satellite points
First class dinner with first class cooks!
We can even help with your video games! :-)
This is how we repair a connector on the spot, men!
"Doc" Anderson is faithful to visit us.
...and "served agencies" visit, too.
A lovely sunset. Thanks to KC5PRG for pics!

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