FT8 Allowed in Field Day for the First Time
Allowing FT8 mode in the 2019 Field Day contest (June 22, 2019) was reason enough to mount a Field Day effort this year. Searching for a campsite, even in the state parks, yielded no satisfactory results. The search began too late and campsites within an acceptable distance were already reserved. A great alternative is to the use the “park” already owned (for the remote base) but keep a large distance separation from the existing remote base. Setting up a dry-run operation at the opposite border a couple of weeks before the actual Field Day looked like this: Solar panel for power, suv with tarp attached for shelter, card table with laptop and IC-7300 radio. A minimalist operation for sure.
The antenna is a 130 foot long inverted vee with it’s apex 22 feet in the air, supported by camo poles. The low ends are 2 feet off the ground. An LDG RT100 automatic tuner, a 4:1 balun, and 300 ohm ladder line make it all work. Performance? Amazing. Test contacts were made on all bands 80 through 6 meters in the middle of the day, nationwide. Ideal.
Maximum output power is 25 watts, limited by the tuner. That low power level will preserve the battery, too, which is a Walmart Everstart 29DC MAXX, 100 AH deep cycle marine type. The hope is 25 watts will be enough to get through the pileups on Field Day and the battery will have enough capacity to keep the station on the air through the night. Mounting a single station operation has the advantage of not having high rf levels from adjacent stations to cause interference.
Hope to see you on FT8 during Field Day 2019, June 22, 2019.
Post Field Day followup: Wish the weather on Field Day was as beautiful as in the days before in these pictures. It rained all the night before, then rained again mid-afternoon, then a third time at dinner time. The operation survived until the dinner-time rain and the towel was thrown in.
The total number of contacts made, all on FT8, various bands from 40m up to 6m: 60.
Fun was had by all except during the rain storms. Lessons for next year: prepare for operation even during rain.