Field Day 2008

A few weeks ago, for our third year, Matt (KK6CB) and I worked field day together.

For those who don’t know, Field Day is a very popular operating event for amateur radio operators.  One day a year hundreds of us leave the comfy confines of our “shack” and carry our gear out into the great outdoors.  It is actually a very fun day because there are so many of us operating that racking up contacts with other stations around the US and Canada is quite fun and easy.

This year, Matt and I decided that we needed a little more punch in our signal.  The last two years (last year in particular) was on the cusp of being frustrating instead of fun, because contacts took a lot of work.  Our location and power were working against us, so this year we changed both.

First location, in years past we have gone to a park near my house which is on the west side of San Francisco.  Unfortunately the west side of SF is all sloping up to the East, which is where most of the US is.  The slope ends at a sizable hill that we call Mount Davidson, which is only 800 ft tall but raises the horizon by a good 10 degrees, because we are so close to it.  This year, we set up on Crissy Field on the northern shore of San Francisco.  Five miles of saltwater to the east. Ahh!

Second power, this year we used the FT-897 graciously loaned to us for the week by Jerry (KG6PCA).  This also was great. Last year we had used Matt’s TenTec with 50 watts out.  So we doubled our power output.

The effect of the two changes can best be summed up by the fact that we worked the first station we tried, on the second call, 5 minutes into operating.  That beats the 30 minutes it took last time.

In the end we worked for 2.5 hours and made 32 contacts.  Not bad, and actually a huge amount of fun.  Playing radio outdoors with a friend is great.  I’d recommend it to everyone.