This year the South Bay Amateur Radio Club’s Field Day activities began at 2:30 PM on 6/22/2018, the Friday afternoon before it started. We met at Joe’s QTH to load 2 trucks and 2 SUVs with antennas and support hardware. We had masts, antennas, tools and hardware to haul to the Field Day site on top of the Torrance Memorial Medical Center West parking structure. We had about 6 members to help load up and transport everything.
We arrived at the top of the hospital parking structure by the 4:00 PM planned time. After unloading, we set up 2 masts with the HF verticals on top. We then put up 3 masts with the UHF, VHF and 50 meter hardware. After that we put up inverted V antennas on the lamp posts on the west side of the parking structure. All in all we put up 9 antennas on Friday evening. We were done by 8:30 PM and headed home to get some rest.
Saturday morning we were back at 7:30 AM for the final assembly of the equipment. We fired up a gas generator to power the coffee pot (first order of the day). Donuts were on the menu. We located and fueled up 2 more generators to power the radios and computers, etc. Then we brought up 25 tables and 50 chairs from the hospital and set them up. We set up eating / R&R tables, a coffee /snack table, and the education booth.
We set up 2 areas for the HF stations, each one housed in its own EZ-Up to keep the wind and sun out. We set up a UHF/VHF station under its antennas to the south side of our area. The computer network was set up by Alex with workstations at each radio location. This year we added a large monitoring screen between the stations to display the score as contacts were recorded. One display option was a map of the US with the states colored in as they were contacted.
Another interesting display featured a stationary bicycle driving a 12 volt DC generator. Visitors could peddle the bicycle to generate electricity. They could then increase the electrical load by turning on one light bulb at a time. This allowed them to feel the effect on their legs as the electrical load was increased. There is quite an effort required to light up all 5 bulbs.
We were ready to go by the time Field Day started at 11:00 AM PDT. We started making contacts immediately around the country. Several stations came on the air at that time, and the contacts were abundant.
At lunch time we had sandwiches with chips and sodas. For dinner we had lasagna, salad, and bread, all cooked by Ed and his team. It was all excellent. We continued to operate and make contacts into the evening but the attending membership thinned down near midnight.
Ray and others spent the night making contacts on CW and digital, and they kept us operating around the clock. I lasted until about 8:30 PM and then went home for a good night’s sleep.
I returned about 7:30 AM, in time for a breakfast of made-to-order omelets and flap jacks with all the fixings. Ed’s special bacon technique was delicious.
Operations continued until 11:00 AM when Field Day officially ended. We ceased operation and immediately started the breakdown efforts. Alex shut down the computer network and saved the data files before stowing the PCs and network hardware. We broke down the tables, chairs, EZ-Ups and all equipment in the operations area. The tables and chairs were returned to the hospital meeting rooms.
On the top deck of the structure we tore down the masts and antennas, broke down the power setup of electrical generators, and stowed the power cords and coax. After everything was broken down we loaded up the trucks. Most of the hardware was delivered back to Joe’s QTH and stored for our next event.
I feel that we had a very successful Field Day with much comaradarie and good times enjoyed by all who participated. Much was learned about operating radios in the field and a few of the newer hams got a good look at how the old-timers setup and operated. I personally had the opportunity to dig a bit deeper into the filtering options of the HF rigs, adding to my ability to pull out hard-to-hear stations. Everyone pitched in for each phase of the effort and pulled it off without a hitch. I didn’t name many name names in this write-up, but you know who you are. I would like to say thanks to everyone who pitched in for the setup, operation, and tear down of everything for the weekend. I have to say it made for an excellent Field Day experience.
Details of the number of contacts made, points scored, and people involved will be available as they are tabulated in the coming weeks.