See my blog post recap to N7Q’s FD 2017

Field Day this year for 2017!   June 24-25th 2017

This is a work in progress document as information comes in, we will post it here!

Location

As most know we will be using our Special Call of N7Q for the event as we have done in the past years. We will be on the Mogollon Rim for this event which is approx. 35 miles Northeast of Payson off of Hwy 260 which heads to Showlow. We will not know exactly where we will be until about 2 weeks out from the event. If all goes well we will muster at Carr Lake Campground which is off of Rim Road /FS 300. If by chance they close down the campground due to thinning the forest we will be on the other side of Rim Rd/FS 300 on FS171. I will have more info in a couple of weeks after I find out if Carr Lake Campground will be open or closed during that time around the event. More info to come on that so keep an eye out for the updated email in a couple of weeks. (May, 2017)

Ron (K7RWE) has agreed to make his pork again like he did for the 2017 Winter Field Day which was excellent. Ron has to leave Saturday evening, so not sure yet as to what time of day on Saturday the feed will happen.

N7Q setup

We are planning on running 4 stations, all battery power.  Therefore, a 4A Class station. We plan on having community antennas; meaning, when the folks that want to go to sleep they can unplug their rig from that antenna and you can use that antenna with your rig and run into the wee hours of the night or morning.

We plan on putting up to two different 3 element beams which are 3 band antennas (10,15,20) thanks to Jay (N1RWY).   One will be on one of the voice stations, the other on the CW station.

We also having three of Off Center Fed dipoles up as well and I would imagine that we will also have a G5RV along with a UHF/VHF antenna up as well.

If you are one of the 4 transmitter stations: Be sure to let Dave know what you are bringing for a radio and antenna combination.

Emphasis should be put on finishing all of the stations before dark on Friday.  Do not wait until Saturday AM for setup.

One other thing to take care of on Friday night is the W1AW bulletin. It will be broadcast on voice, teleprinter, and CW at various times on Friday afternoon and evening. You should try to copy it down. The ARRL has been known to inform you of extra bonuses in the bulletin.

On Saturday, you should prepare for the upcoming contest by “reserving” a frequency. Find an open frequency 10-20 minutes before the start of the contest and call CQ and if possible start a QSO to occupy the frequency. Then as the contest starts, you can sign off from the QSO and start calling CQ Field Day.

Participation

The more the merrier!  However we need to know who is coming so we have room for you at our sites.  It gets VERY crowded up there on the RIM, which is why a few of us are going up days early.

At that same time, when you get there for Field Day, sitting in front of a radio and not using it does not help us out.   Jump in and make contacts.  Don’t worry if you are new to the radio or new to “contesting” folks will be there to help you.   Try to plan on at least a few hours at a time on the radio.  We want you to feel that you have contributed and to have enough time to get into the swing of the contest.  Trust us, it might take several QSOs before you get into the rhythm of the event.  If you want to operate –  ask the other operators how long they would like to spend in front of the rig and schedule accordingly.  For example, Jay N1RWY will be operating for the full 24 hours from his station.  While others might knock off by 9 – 10 pm at night.  Find an open station and jump in!

One thing to be considered is the rough shifts to operate, the Vampire Shift (middle of the night) and the Grind (the last shift).

We will probably have no problem filling shifts in the middle of the day and especially right after the BBQ.

The wee hours of the morning may be another story entirely. If we can find an operator that wants to run that shift, hurrah! There can be a lot of activity at night on some of the bands. Bands such as 40, 80 and 160, (if we have the antenna space) the wee hours of the morning is prime time.

The Grind is another story. The last shift is always the hardest. It seems like you CQ endlessly with few takers. If you search and pounce, it seems like everyone you find is a dupe. This is the time when we  needs to buckle down and keep at it. A lot of contests are won and lost in these last few hours, at the same time our overall place in Arizona as well as the country.

Antennas

We are going to have a lot of antennas which means we need to space them out and think about where they are radiating a signal.   We are going to be spaced out farther than we have been in the past.   Because of that, be sure to bring plenty of coax.

The most important thing to do is to measure the amount of coax you will need. Some runs can be quite long at Field Day and you won’t want to eyeball the distance and then find out that you were off by twenty feet! That being said, it’s probably a good idea to bring an extra length of coax and a barrel connector just in case.  Plan on 200′ if you have it.

Shelter

The next area to consider is shelter. Conditions at the top of the ridge can be quite variable. It can be cold, hot, sunny, cloudy, windy, or still, sometimes all within a couple of hours. Your shelter should be able to accommodate all of that. Large dome or cabin tents seem to be the best compromise. (If not an RV or trailer) Another popular solution is the screen pavilion. Some operators erect both and if the conditions warrant, they move their operating position. The roof material can be another concern. A light color can let in too much light and wash out the display on your computer. A blue colored roof can wash out the blue displays of some older rigs.

Another consideration is sleeping arrangements. While it is another item to pack, setup and tear down, most operators prefer to have a separate sleeping tent. While some operators (especially at the CW stations) can get away with sleeping in the same tent with a Field Day station, in most cases it is easier to sleep somewhere else.

The last thing to consider is spares. In a perfect world, you would only have to bring one of each item up to the site. Unfortunately we have to live in our world where things tend to go wrong. It is wise to have some spare parts around. The ultimate would be to have a spare one of everything, but who has the room and resources for that? Also, anything you bring to Field Day is something that could be dropped and broken. Spare rope, coax, and backup dipole antenna are all reasonable items. A spare rig if you are more aggressive. You will have to make up a list that you are comfortable with.

Operating on the Microphone

Here is a sample of what we will be saying for Field Day.

CQ Field Day CQ Field Day this is N7Q, November Seven Quebec calling CQ Field Day and listening…….

Replying station>>Whiskey One Alfa Whiskey.

W1AW thank you, we are 4 Alpha, Alpha Zulu, Arizona  – OVER

Replying station>>N7Q- Roger Roger, we are 6 Delta, Connecticut, over.

Roger, Roger 73 – November Seven Quebec, QRZ?

You should be logging this real time or your logger working with you to have it logged before you go to the next qso.   Make sure the qso is logged correctly before you take or start the next QSO!  Field Day can be very fast paced and we want to take advantage of all the points we can.

Rules

The rules are available here:  Field Day 2017
Make sure you have read the rules.  There are a lot of points that we can take advantage of by understanding the rules completely.

Operator List

The most important slots on the operator list are the SETUP and TEAR DOWN slots.
Yes, after a 24 hour event you are going to be tired and just want to go home.  Trust me, ALL of us are in that same boat.  Please stay to help the last station tear down and pack up if needed.

Some folks will be operating the whole 24 hours, others 1-2 hours.  All level of participation is encouraged.  Unused transmitters do not make contacts!

Take a peek at the list below and send off an email to Dave as to when you think you will want to be on the radio.

Time		Operator			Phone #			Email		
Saturday
11:00
12:00
1:00
2:00
3:00
4:00
5:00
6:00
7:00
8:00
9:00
10:00
11:00
12:00
Sunday
1:00
2:00
3:00
4:00
5:00
6:00
7:00
8:00
9:00
10:00
11:00

Set Up Help - 

Tear Down Help - 

Station Equipment Check List

THIS list is for those that have committed to bringing a “station” that will be used for several hours as part of the N7Q transmitter list.

Right now that list consists of: Dave, Jay, Dennis and Christi (4).
Those stations should make every effort to match this list as a minimum set of gear.

RADIO
Antenna tuner (if not already inside the transceiver)
Antenna(s)
Antenna supports (masts, towers, guy wires, nylon rope, etc.)
Coax 200' + several barrel connectors (depending on location to antenna(s))
RF power/SWR meter
Bandpass filter for each band you will operate on
Headset
Foot switch
Y- adapter cable for 2 headsets (logger and you)
Microphone (off the headset is preferred)


POWER
Power supply: Two large 12V batteries (90 Amp hours + each)
A. Generator minimum 8 amps / hour
B. Solar = minimum 12 amps / hour (2 100W panels)
Extension power cords 100'
Power strips 

LOGGING
Logging computer  (WILL BE PROVIDED)
Logging computer power supply (WILL BE PROVIDED)
Logging software  (WILL BE PROVIDED)
Headphones for you and logger
Y-adapter for both headsets audio
Pen/pencil/notepaper for scratch notes  (NOT FOR LOGGING)


NICE TO HAVE:
Digital voice recorder to call CQ (A really nice option) 
CW paddle interface cable for CQ calling 
Antenna analyzer
Misc coax adapters and jumpers

OPERATING STATION
Inside or Outside
Tent / EZUP and stakes 
Table 
COMFORTABLE Chairs 
Fan(s) 
External clock 
Lights for late night operating 

MISC:
Tools (wrenches, screwdrivers, hammer, etc.) 
Antenna erection equipment (ladder, slingshot, climbing harness, etc.) 
Accessories (tape measure, zip ties, soldering iron, connectors, etc.) 

FOOD:
Nothing NEW!  Field Day is not the place to try a new style of food and have your stomach going in flip/flop mode for 24 hours.  If you are operating and eating, have food that is easy to eat with one hand. (Not tacos)
Breakfast X3
Lunch X3
Dinner X2  
Beverage of choice (stay hydrated!)

Realizing that there will be a community meal at some point.

It should be mentioned that last year we ALMOST brought 1000W of solar power to Field Day.  Let’s try to break that number!  Three reasons:

  1. It will give us plenty of charging power for all the batteries
  2. It is a SUPER COOL amount of solar in one place, think of that.. over 1000W of portable solar use (I bet we can get closer to 1500W)
  3. It will almost guarantee a spot in QST magazine, if not an awesome cover photo!

So bring your solar panels, connector cables and chargers.

We will also have a few gas generators on site to help power lights, charge batteries and other non radio items.   If you want to bring solar or a generator, please let Dave know.

Participant Checklist

Comfortable clothing
Willingness to learn
Willingness to have fun
Willingness to step out of your comfort zone
Positive attitude
Mindful of all the wires all over the place
Sunscreen

 

Camping Gear

Sleeping area
Tent / RV / back of pickup truck / hammock
Sleeping bag, pillow
Clothes (light clothes for the day, warm clothes for the evenings)
Water, drinks
Ear plugs
Eye mask (if sensitive)
Food  (lunch and snacks)
Toiletries (soap, washcloth, tooth brush, tooth paste toilet paper, etc.)
Insect repellent
First aid and medicine box (band-aids, aspirin, etc.)
Sunscreen
Hat
Alarm clock
Flashlight + backup light