“I need your information again please”
“KE9V and I’m one-delta in Indiana”
“Kilo-Echo-Nine-Victor, one-delta, one-delta in the state of Indiana”
“Got everything but your call sign, your call sign again please”
“KE9V, KE9V — Kilo-Echo-Nine Victor”
“No, I got the KE9V — I need the last letter”
“It’s just KE9V, Kilo-Echo-Nine-Victor — nothing after the Victor”
“Oh, sorry, I didn’t know there were call signs with only one letter after the number”
True story. But then, Field Day is not really about A-list operators, it’s an event for the every-man. It brings radio hams out by the tens of thousands and for many of them, this is their annual exposure to the hobby. The only time of the year when they become radio active — at least on HF.
Inside the fraternity the debate to define Field Day has never been settled.
Some say it’s a contest, others say it’s an emergency preparedness exercise. Some say it’s just a fun event that brings friends together over grilled meat, campfires, and mosquito swatting. Still others say it’s our annual “dog and pony” show for the media — who do seem to lap this sort of thing up!
I prefer to think of it as a celebration. Our once a year party where the operating is casual and friendly and where lessons can be learned about what does and doesn’t work well in the field. It’s also a rare opportunity to focus on working stations just one or two states away as opposed to the obsession so many hams have with working DX.
That may seem like a rough thing to say, but it’s true. I enjoy working DX and chase it on occasion, but there are thousands of interesting radio hobbyists within 250 miles of our QTH — why do we tend to believe contacts with these souls are less “noble” than a five-second exchange with a chap in some faraway land?
For a second year in a row I operated from home, inside, from commercial power. I’m such a slacker. I didn’t have the time to arrange for a weekend operation from the field so I took the easy way out. Again. Sure, I’m ashamed but at least I’m not scratching insect bites this morning.
So let’s see, four hours in front of the TenTec Eagle operating phone and CW in almost equal number, on 40 and 20 meters only. 100 watts to the zepp at thirty-feet yielded 117 total contacts. Fifty-three of them on phone along with 64 CW contacts. I haven’t tallied the number of states and sections worked yet.
I’m just guessing that 25 different states were worked — it was fun listening to some of the operations and easily imagining their working environment — from sweaty canvas tents to air conditioned campers.
Next year my son (N9AVG) and I plan to rent a cabin overlooking a lake somewhere for Field Day weekend. An almost full-time, almost serious effort to break at least 500 contacts with a single transceiver and wire antennas. But that’s next year…