My backyard Field Day operation went mostly as planned. I used the KX3 powered by batteries into a wire that sloped up to a tree in the backyard. It was five watts, CW only, and 40 meters only. It was also all search and pounce and every dit and dah generated was sent by hand. No memory keyer used here.
I planned on 100 contacts but stopped short after I had logged the 50th contact. I didn’t even attempt the one satellite QSO that I had hoped to make. The ‘birds’ are crazy busy during FD and most who try to work them are disappointed - so I didn’t even try. Later I caught this tweet from WD9EWK who used NO84 to make some packet contacts. Wish I had thought of that.
I didn’t jump into the fray until the sun went down and then worked an hour and a half on Saturday evening then awoke early on Sunday morning and spent another hour pounding brass. 40 meters wasn’t particularly good but there was enough activity that with low enough expectations, I was able to feel pretty good about this “portable” operation.
The QSB was wicked fast at times. An amazingly strong station would call CQ FD but when returning his information would drop almost below the noise. This was the first FD that I didn’t work California. That was disappointing as I enjoy hearing the West coast begin to roll in on 40 meters after dark. I copied several 6’s but none heard my peanut whistle.
And that may be a lesson learned. No more QRP Field Day for me. In a real emergency low-power would work fine. I am supremely confident that if I absolutely had to get critical radio traffic out of my station during a full-on disaster that I could do it and do it well using low power, wire antennas and battery power.
But who are we kidding? Field Day is a contest and social event. During a real disaster there wouldn’t be 100,000 stations on the air calling CQ on top of one another. But that’s the reality of Field Day and I see no reason to suffer with QRP while only pretending to respond to an emergency with a hotdog in my hand and a cooler full of beer.
From now on it’s 100 watts or bust for Field Day for me. More if I can manage it. By the way, thanks to all the great ears who pulled my puny signal out of the noise!
Some button pushers have got to lighten up a little. I was set at 20wpm and often didn’t have time to send my callsign before a station calling CQ would start calling again. Punching the memory button is too easy and occasionally there isn’t sufficient pause for a reply. That didn’t only happen to me, I heard offending stations do that often and if they thought they were helping their score by going faster, they were losing points.
When sending CQ FD you’ve got to do a few “one Mississippi’s” or something before sending again. Stations with 2x3 calls would need to send at 100wpm to squeeze their calls in-between some of the rapid-fire CQ’s I heard.
And just like that, Field Day 2018 is done and half the year has passed. Coming up is one major DXpedition and a few State QSO Parties and then the serious contest season gets underway.