WVARA Field Day 2008

WAHOOO!!! West Valley Amateur Radio Association ROCKS!!!

Not only were we #23 overall for all 2410 Field Day entries (all
categories) in 2008:

1) We placed second out of 38 entries in Santa Clara Valley (behind
the Stanford Contest Station W6YX with their massive permanent
antenna farm)

2) We were second place out of 138 entries in the Pacific Division

3) We scored highest of the 12 entries in the 8A and 8ABattery
categories for the whole country,

4) We were #4 out of 252 entries at the QRP level nationally

5) And we set a new national all-time record for 8ABattery.

Fantastic job, folks!

Band Captain and Volunteers List
Mar 9, 2008 - K6EI/W6ZZZ

Date - June 28-29, 2008
(setup starts Friday 11AM, operation is 11AM Saturday to 11AM Sunday)
Rules - http://www.arrl.org/FieldDay
Call Sign - request a 1x1 special event call sign (K6EI)
Category - 8A QRP/battery (number of simultaneous transmitters, see Note 2)
Location - Mora Hill, Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve (access is Mora Drive)
Lat/Long - 37.3358 -122.0993
Topo Map - http://topozone.com/map.asp?lat=37.3358&lon=-122.0993&datum=nad83&u=5

Map - look for the "water tank" halfway to the right of the middle

Picture - the flattest area is just East of the water tank

FD Chair - Jim Peterson K6EI
Committee - Jim Deloach WU0I, Tom Dunbar W6ESL, Scott Emery AD6RY, Dave Hartzell N0TGD,
Phil Verinsky W6TQG, Grant Willner AD6RE, Marc Ziegler W6ZZZ


HF Band Captains
Band Phone/CW/Digital Cat Notes
---- ---------------- --- -----
80m-10m CW K6EI (1A) Note 1
40m-15m Digital W6TQG (2A) and W6ZZZ, Note 1
80m-10m SSB AD6RY (3A) Note 1
80m-10m Flex WU0I (4A) Note 1
80m-10m GOTA SSB AD6RE (free) Note 1 & Note 2

VHF/UHF Band Captains
Band Phone/CW/Digital Cat Notes
---- ---------------- --- -----
6m SSB/FM W6ESL (5A)
2m SSB/FM W6ESL (free) Note 2
220 MHz SSB/FM W6ESL (6A)
440 MHz SSB/FM W6ESL (7A)
1.2 GHz SSB/FM W6ESL (8A)
Satellite SSB/FM N0TGD (free) Note 2


Bonus Points (sections 7.3.1 - 7.3.15 of the ARRL Field Day Package)
100 points for each item unless noted otherwise

??? = volunteer needed !

1. 100% Emergency Power - 100 points/station (free VHF, GOTA and Satellite excluded)
2. Media Publicity (invited) - ??? (only need to invite them to get the bonus)
3. Public Location - K6EI (done), Mid-penninsula Open Space District Mora Hill
4. Public Info Table - ??? (use materials from ARRL)
5. NTS message to Section Mgr - WU0I
6. Formal NTS Messages (10+) - WU0I (10 points each msg with a max of 10 msgs)
7. Satellite QSO - N0TGD
8. Alternate power - ???, solar charged batteries
(minimum 5 QSOs made using natural power)
9. Copy W1AW Bulletin - W6TQG (RTTY Friday at 6:00 PM)
10. Educational activity bonus - ??? (new bonus in 2008)
11. Site Visit, Elected Govt Off - ???
(they have to axtually visit the site to get this bonus)
12. Site Visit, Served Agency - ??? Red Cross served by ARES/RACES or somebody else
(they have to actually visit the site to get this bonus)
13. GOTA Station (max 5 x 100) - AD6RE (additional 2x bonus if a full time mentor/coach)
14. Web Submission of Results - ??? (this is a 50 point bonus)
15. Youth (<18 age) Participation - ???, (20 points each, max of 5 youths each making 1+ QSOs)

Site Operations
Reminder #1 - no open flames at Mora Hill (no campstoves, Coleman-type lanterns, etc.)
Reminder #2 - no generator running after sunset or before 7AM (quiet time)

Batteries - ???
Coax for HF ants - ???, ??? and others
Daytime Generator - ??? (Red Cross generator), can only use it to run fans and non-radio stuff
Digital Photos - ???
Dunestar filters? - do we need them for QRP?
(club has 2x20m, 2x40m; K6EI has 15m, 20m, 80m; W6ZZZ has a switch-pack)
Fire Extinguishers - ??? (need 15 of them)
Guest Greeters - ???
Porta-Potty Rental - ???
Ranger Interface - K6EI
Safety Officer - ???
Site cleanup coord - ???, everyone needs to take a garbage bag home
(leave the site cleaner than when we arrived,
check the grounds before leaving for tape, cable ties, twine, etc.)
Video Camera - ???
Wi-Fi Router and - W6TQG
WriteLog Network


Note 1:

Plan is that each of the HF stations have their own "mast" and set of antennas. (The Flex station will share the tower antennas with the SSB station). We will have a rotating set of "primary" stations and in the case of interference the non-primary station(s) will have to mitigate the problem (rotate their antenna, move to another band, etc).

Antenna volunteers:
CW K6EI - 50' mast with C3S Yagi, 40m dipole
CW & Flex WU0I - 80m balloon-assisted quad loop, 40m 2-el delta balloon-assisted loops
Digital W6ZZZ - 50' mast with 2-el 20m quad, 40m dipole
SSB & Flex ???? ñ share the tower trailer with C4S Yagi, 15m Delta loop, 80m dipole
GOTA AD6RE - TW-2010 portable vertical dipole


Note 2: Free stations (from the ARRL Rules)

Rule 4.1.1. Get-On-The-Air (GOTA) Station. Any Class A or F entry whose transmitter classification is two or more transmitters may also operate one additional HF station without changing its base entry category, known as the GET ON THE AIR (GOTA) station.

Rule 4.1.2. Extra VHF Station: Any Class A entry whose category is two or more transmitters may also operate one additional transmitter if it operates exclusively on any bands or combination of bands above 50 MHz (VHF/UHF) without changing its basic entry classification. This station does not qualify for a 100-point bonus as an additional transmitter.

Rule 7.3.7. Satellite QSO: .... Groups are allowed one dedicated satellite transmitter station without increasing their entry category.


"Do something each month" Saturday meetings to get us prepared in time for Field Day:

2008-02-23 - First planning meeting: AD6RE Grant, K6EI Jim, W6TQG Phil, W6ZZZ Marc, WU0I Jim
2008-03-08 - WiFi router, laptops and WriteLog network (version 10.65 or later) setup and testing: AD6RY Scott, K6EI Jim, W6TQG Phil, W6ZZZ Marc, WU0I Jim
2008-04-xx - C3S Yagi antenna assembly/test on a push-up mast in a park
2008-04-xx - Tower trailer right-rear jack needs to be fixed (sooner is even better)
2008-05-xx - C4S Yagi antenna assembly/test/tutorial on the tower trailer
2008-05-xx - WriteLog and networking final testing


Previous Field Days

Follow the links below for information and pictures from past WVARA Field Day sites:

For more information

For rules and more information see the ARRL Field Day web page.

For an overview of the 1994-2002 Field Day efforts see WVARA Field Day Through the Years.

WVARA FD Quick Links WVARA Field Day Band Captain's Handbook
WVARA Field Day Station Checklist (54K PDF)
WVARA's FD mail list
WVARA Field Day History
What is Field Day?

That's a good question, and if you asked ten hams, you would probably get ten different answers. Some would say that Field Day is a contest, others would say that it is an emergency preparedness exercise, still others would say that it is a party and yet others would say that it is a public relations exercise. Who is right? They all are! Field Day is all of those things and more. The best description anyone can find is that Field Day is all of ham radio in one weekend!

During Field Day, ham radio clubs, groups and individuals take to the field in simulated emergency conditions (living in tents and running on generators and batteries). They are given 24 hours to set up as many stations as they are able. In the next 24 hours they are try to make as many contacts as they can with those stations. All aspects of ham radio are used in this pursuit. More than a million contacts will be made on HF and VHF, CW, SSB and digital modes this weekend. Bonus points are awarded for making an extra effort such as making contacts via satellites or sending and receiving message traffic.

Field Day isn't just about radio though. Clubs use this biggest of all yearly events for many other activities. With much of the clubs membership assembled it is a natural time for BBQ's and other gatherings. Also with all of ham radio on display this weekend it is a choice time to show off what we do best. The media and government officials are invited to attend to view what ham radio can do.

As you can see, Field Day is indeed all of ham radio in one weekend and anyone that attends their first Field Day rarely misses one again!

How to Contest

While Field Day isn't strictly a contest, that is how the entrants are rated and why not? A contest is a great way to evaluate a stations performance. It is also a great way to simulate message handling which will be a big part of any response to an emergency.

So what is a contest? Put most simply, in a contest the objective is to make as many contacts in as many places as possible in a prescribed ammount of time. For Field Day, the objective is simply to make as many contacts as possible in the 24 hours you are alloted. To make those contacts valid, you have to exchange a certain ammount of information. The "exchange" for Field Day is your entry class (number of transmitters) and your ARRL section.

So how do you go about making these contacts? Just as you would for any other QSO in amateur radio, there are only two ways to initiate a conversation. You either have to answer someone who is calling CQ or call CQ yourself and wait for someone to answer you. Which method is better? It is generally accepted that staying in one place, calling CQ and letting the other stations come to you is quicker and less tiring. However, this only works if you have a signal that is loud enough to attract other stations. If you aren't making any contacts or aren't making them fast enough, you are forced to switch to the search and pounce method. Excelent operators can rack up the QSOs almost as fast this way. Which ever method you employ, a Field Day contact sounds like this:

CQ Field Day CQ Field Day this is W6PIY Whiskey Six Papa India Yankee calling CQ Field Day and listening.
Whiskey One Alfa Whiskey.
W1AW thank you, we are Eleven Alfa, Santa Clara Valley, over.
Thank you, we are Six Delta, Connecticut, over.
Thank you, this is W6PIY Whiskey Six Papa India Yankee, QRZ?
All that is left is to record the contact on your log sheet and get ready for the next contact.

Obviously because of the variability of radio propagation and other factors, many contacts aren't this neat and clean. This is especially true when multiple people are calling you or you are getting interference from another station, but learning to deal with these conditions are part of the lure and purpose of Field Day!