OCRA/DFMA Field Day – Some Field Day Miscellany from Dave, W4SAR

Not yet the promised message on submitting your scores, that will come soon. BTW, you have a full month after Field Day ends to get your scores submitted. Instead, for this message I am adding a few more tips on Field Day operations and rules.

Test your stations, as soon as possible. Better to find out that your antenna will not load on 40 meters, or that your Digital setup is not putting out any power now, so that you have time to remedy it, rather than at the very start of Field Day itself.

Remember that if you are using the emergency power bonus, that if you are using a computer to control the radio, or using it to modulate digital modes, it is considered an integral part of your station and must be on emergency power also. On the other hand, if your laptop is used just for logging, it is considered auxiliary equipment, in which case leaving it on commercial power is fine.

If you are guest operating at another person’s station, and then going home and operating your own station, you are not allowed to contact the station at which you have worked.

All digital modes are equivalent. If you work someone on FT8, you cannot come back on PSK31 and “double-dip”.

Remember that working the same station on different bands is not a duplicate contact, neither is working a station on the same band by different modes (phone, CW, digital). i.e 5 bands X 3 modes can be 15 legal contacts with one station.

Chase the propagation, 20, 15 and 10 meters are primarily daytime bands, 40 and 80 better at night, but there is often overlap. With the solar index being bad right now, 10 meters will likely not be reliable, but be prepared for openings. If your run is slowing down on 20 meters, take a quick look at 15 or 10 meters for activity. This easier if your radio has dual VFO’s as you can look at other bands quickly and if nothing is happening, go right back to where you were working. I would also suggest that club members notify us on the email reflector of any openings they see on the bands.

Mix up your operating, you can “hunt and pounce” up and down a band, when that tails off in productivity, find a quiet spot if you can, and call CQ.

Make sure that battery is topped off, best is having another one or two topped off and ready to swap in.

For Digital communications, if you are not running QRP, 25 Watts is plenty for modes that favor weak signals such as PSK31 and FT8. Digital modes have heavy duty cycles on transmit, that heat sink will get pretty hot if you run 100 Watts. Besides, you’ll extend battery usage keeping that output power down.

Back up electronic logs frequently on a USB drive. You can back up paper logs by photographing them with your smart phone, or use the copy or scan function on a printer.

Anyone else have any tips? Reply to this message so we keep them handy in one thread.

Dave, W4SAR

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OCRA/DFMA Field Day – Logging Contacts, Bonus Points, Maximizing Score

Hi All from Dave, W4SAR,

In my last post, I wrote a bit about how Field Day works, and what the information exchange consisted of. Here I will talk about recording those contacts, strategies to maximize the number of contacts, and using multipliers and bonus points to get yourself the biggest final score. My next and final message in this series will go over the submission of your final score to the ARRL.

First off, though getting the maximum score you can is the primary goal of any amateur radio competition, it is not the only goal. You need to make it an enjoyable experience for yourself, and learn a few things in the process so you can do it better later on. In other words, don’t obsess about not getting 500 QSO’s, glory in making your first contact, your 10th contact, your 100th. Hey look I just worked South Dakota! Look , I just worked N1LN on three bands! Set yourself some fun goals, and celebrate them with us. We’d love to see how you are doing on Field Day, post messages to this reflector so everyone can see each other’s accomplishments.

Now on to LOGGING:

Logging your contacts:

You need to preserve a record of the contacts you have made, your logging entries will be the exchange information of the stations you had worked, and the time you worked them. It is best to use UTC, Coordinated Universal Time, rather than local time, that avoids the problems of logs listing a variety of local time zones, in short, everyone will be on the same page for time signatures. Field Day will run from 2:00pm local time on Saturday, June 27 to 2:00 pm local time on Sunday June 28. In UTC, that translates to 1600 hours Saturday to 1600 hours Sunday.

If you are logging by computer, make sure your computer is set to the correct local time and date. Electronic logging programs have the ability, based on local time, to correctly record the entry in UTC, but you will need to check your settings to make sure that the time offset is correct.

For those of you performing paper logging, I suggest setting a digital clock to 24 hour format, and then set it to UTC.

Here is what a string of log entries should look like, it will have the time/date in UTC, callsign, station type and location of the station worked:

1601     6/27/2020      N1LN        2E      NC
1605    6/27/2020       W2LOP     5A      NNJ
1608    6/27//2020      N6HHI      1D      LAX
1611    6/27/2020       XE1L        1D      DX
1615   6/27/2020       W3AO       45A    MDC
1616   6/27/2020       VE1AA      1E      GTA

Notice that the locations are abbreviated to 2 or 3 characters. Electronic logging programs will have this standard list ready to plug in (more on that later). For paper loggers, on page 47 of the PDF packet for Field Day is a list of the ARRL/RAC sections and their standard abbreviations, I suggest printing it out for reference. There is a misconception that we may only work stations from the USA (and it’s territories) and Canada. Not so! You will notice a station from Mexico in the list above. Just mark any station outside the USA and Canada as “DX”, if they don’t provide a correct station type, just ask them if they are a home station using commercial or emergency power, and mark it down accordingly, a little bit of work, but it nets you another QSO point.

Electronic Logging:

Likely most of us will do this as it offers a number of advantages, especially when you have managed to work a few hundred contacts. Among those advantages are:

Backing up of information- most will automatically back up at set intervals, Additionally, you can backup to a USB drive as often as you like. I do this on a frequent basis just in case the laptop crashes.

Duplicate checking- When you type in the callsign, it will automatically warn you that you had already worked this station. saving you time so you can move on. If you ignore the warning, most will not let you make the entry.

Autofill- If you have already worked a station on another band/mode, when you type in the callsign it will automatically y fill in the station type and location. Again, a time saver (BTW, working the same stations on a different band or mode is not a Duplicate entry).

Statistics- If it interests you, you can see how quickly you are making contacts and see how many you are making on different bands/modes. A fun one for me is looking at the map of the USA and Canada and seeing it fill in with locations I have worked.

Report generation- I will cover this in my next posting regarding submission of final scores to the ARRL.

By far, the most popular electronic logging programs are N1MM, and N3FJP, there a few others out there , but I am not familiar with them. Those of you who are Excel capable can also like set up a spreadsheet for logging, including Duplicate checking. I will speak to the two I know:

N1MM- Probably THE most popular amateur radio logging program. It is an open-source collaboration, and the price cannot be beat, it is FREE. It is fully capable in dupe-checking and autofill and statistics, you can customize the windows, and generate a Cabrillo file for your report (again, more on that later). If you are new, there is a bit of a learning curve on using it. Bruce, N1LN, is probably our best local resource regarding the use of N1MM. He can answer questions, but with less than a week to Field Day, I don’t see us having much , if any time for a clinic on this. I you want to use it, the download is free, as are any updates. If you already have it,make sure you have the latest update before using it for FD 2020. Keep in mind that when we go back to regular Field Days as a large group, this is the program we will use.

N3FJP- I have used this one for many years, until I started learning to use N1MM for the past few years. As I am operating my station by itself, I am once again using the N3FJP Field Day Logger. It is not free, you can download and test drive it for up to 20 QSO’s, but to validate it for perpetual use, the licensing fee is quite reasonable at $8.99. The interface, in my opinion , is more user-friendly for a new user, the template is dedicated for field day . So just set your laptop correct local date and time, use the settings to input your callsign, station type, and location. Then, just plug in the info from your QSO’s as they come. The report generation id Field Day dedicated, so a summary sheet and dupe sheet can be readily generated for that final submission. I am very familiar with this program and can be a resource if anyone wants to go with it.

One other thing with these programs is to make sure to have it set for input on the same band and mode you are working (i.e. 20 M Phone , 40 M CW, etc). when you change bands or modes on your radio, be sure to match the change on your logging program, or you will have Dupes flagged incorrectly or have new QSO’s with incorrect information. I speak to this from experience.

Paper Logging;

If you just plan to casually work Field Day, and don’t plan on lots of contacts, or just plain don’t want to use a computer while working that radio, you can go old school and just do paper logging. Page 46 of the PDF for the FD information packet (downloadable from the ARRL website) has a logging template you can print out and use. Again , the info is the time of contact in UTC, callsign, station type , location, and what band and mode was used. However, you would be on your own for duplicate checking. If you have a short list, you can just scan it to see if you already worked that station. If you have gone to multiple pages, this is more difficult and time-consuming. The ARRL has not recently added the manual dupe sheet to their info packets, with so many now doing computer logging. However, I have found the old template from years past and will attach it to this message. It is a grid divided up by call sign prefixes and call zones . Just fill in the call sign suffix on the proper grid square. Now you have a quick reference you can scan for duplicates. For the final report, you will have a bit more work than most, to be covered later.

Multipliers:

Each QSO by phone that you log is 1 point, whereas QSO’s by CW or Digital modes count as two points each. Additionally , there is a multiplier applied to these based on power level used and power source. The multiplier applies to the highest power level used by that station throughout Field Day, you cannot break them down between power levels.

5X Multiplier- 5 Watts maximum output at the feedpoint for your coax AND power source other than commercial grid or fossil-fuel driven generators. By definition, this would only apply to Echo Stations (home station using emergency power), or Bravo stations if any of you are doing that. So with a 5X multiplier, each phone QSO equals 5 points, each CW or Digi QSO equals 10 points.

2X Multiplier- If your power output at the feedpoint will be between 5 and 150 watts, the 2X multiplier applies for all station types. If you are a Delta station (home station using commercial grid), your multiplier remains 2X even if you are using 5 Watts or less. Phone QSO’s equal 2 points, CW and DIGI are 4points.

1X Multiplier- Between 150 and 1500 Watts.

The multiplier is up to you, based on your capabilities and strategy. If you have really efficient antenna systems, going for 5X is an option, as that strategy is what helped our FD operation place so high in the rankings. But you will hear a lot of stations that will not hear you.

I personally plan on going with the 2X multiplier, since I only have a G5RV multiband wire antenna and a 1/4 wave vertical for 40 meter digital to use. The strategy is that I’d make more then 2.5 X the number of contacts at this power level to make up the difference from a 5X multiplier at QRP levels.

As for the 1X  level, they will be heard! When the lights brown out in Orange County, that is Bruce and Laurie keying down.

Bonus points;

In addition to QSO points, there are bonus points to add to the score (multipliers do not apply to these). The information packet goes into detail on these, I will just do a quick run-through on those that apply to home stations (Deltas and Echoes).

Emergency Power- 100 point bonus for each transmitter using emergency power only for entirety of Field Day (100 points for one transmitter, 200 for two, and so on).
Media Publicity- sending out a notice to news media about your station. You need to retain a copy of the press release and who you contacted for documentation, document any media response. 100 points
Message Origination to Section Manager- report on your station , number of personnel, ARES personnel. Must be sent via RF. 100 points.
Message Handling- 10 points for each message sent through traffic nets, up to 100 points.
Alternate Power- at least 5 QSO’s made using anything other than direct power or battery power derived from the commercial power grid or fossil fuel driven generators. Examples are solar panels, batteries charged solely by solar panels, manually driven generators, fuel cells etc. Document which QSO’s in your log were done vis Alternate power.100 points
W1AW Field Day Bulletin- These are generated by phone, CW and digital modes. Copy must be submitted for documentation. See the ARRL FD Info packet for the schedule. Personally, I use PSK 31 to copy the message, and then cut and paste it into a Notepad file for documentation. If you go by phone, try to record it for transcription. Tip- The bulletin is first put out on the Friday evening before FD itself, it is a good time to catch it and it is perfectly within the rules to do so. 100 points
Elected Official- If you can get one to come to your QTH, document it. 100 points.
Served Agency Official- A visit to your QTH by any representative of an agency served by ARES, these include Emergency Management, American Red Cross, Municipal Fire Departments. 100 points
Youth Participation- 20 points for each operator 18 years of age or younger at your station, up to 100 points total. You must document Name or Call sign and age of each youth op, and document which QSO’s are theirs on your log (at least one QSO for each).
Web Submission- Using the ARRL’s web interface to submit your final score (details later). 50 points.

Other bonus points are available only to Class A, B and F stations. Unfortunately, the 100 point Satellite contact bonus does not apply to home stations. But you do get the hugest of bragging rights.

I will add the ARRL Field Day Info Packet and the Dupe Sheet template to the files section of this IO group. I can also email those directly to anyone that requests them.

Okay, my next and last message will go over the final submission of scores, and maybe a few more operating tips. Stay tuned.

73,

Dave Snyder, W4SAR

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OCRA/DFMA Field Day Operating Tips

Hi All from Dave, W4SAR

So pleased to see so many of us will be participating in Field Day this year, despite the fact that for safety’s sake, the two clubs cannot run the usual top-ranking mega-operation. In stead most of us will operate out of our homes, but as part of your score submission, you can still declare your club affiliation which will allow us to show an aggregate club score. I will talk about logging contacts and score submission on a separate posting.

Here , I will tell you a bit about how Field Day works, and some tips from a number of us who have operated over the years, to help make your participation more enjoyable.

First off, Field Day is a bit different than most contests. As a matter of fact, The ARRL officially does not call it a contest, it is a very big disaster drill involving all of the United States and Canada. No prizes for high scorers, just bragging rights. Although our fantastic joint club operation got us as high as #2 in the total rankings, the real contest has always been with ourselves, can we outdo what we did the year before? In most cases, we did, and we have learned how to make our stations more efficient as a result.

So, how do I take part in Field Day?

THE EXCHANGE-

In most contests, stations make a quick exchange of information, usually callsigns, locations , signal reports, possibly a listing number.

For Field Day , the exchange is very simple: CALLSIGN, STATION TYPE , LOCATION.

You will note there is no signal report , if you can hear them well enough to exchange info, that is enough. (It is amusing to hear on other contests things like “What is your callsign…again… again…got it, you are 5X9!)

CALLSIGN – Yours if you are using your own station. If you are a guest operator, then use the control operator’s callsign

STATION TYPE: For a full run down, look at the Field Day rules. either online or download the PDF. For most of us , we will be either “DELTA” stations, or “ECHO” stations
DELTA- A home station using commercial power. A rule waiver this year allows Delta stations to work *all* stations, under the usual rules, Deltas could not work other Deltas.
ECHO- A home station using emergency power. You may use batteries (not recharged by commercial power during FD), generators, solar panels. Echo stations continue to work everybody.

The other part of station type is a number indicating the number of transmitters that can put out a signal at the same time. So if you are a Delta station with only one radio , you will be a “One Delta”. If you are an Echo station that is running two transmitters at the same time, you will be a “Two Echo”. I noticed some confusion regarding number of operators, that is irrelevant for the exchange information. Whether you have one operator for all of Field Day, or have 20 operators rotating in for relief, your “One Delta” will stay “One Delta”.

Lastly, your location is part of the exchange, which will be either the ARRL Section, or RAC section for Canadian stations. For us it will be “North Carolina”.

So I will give you examples of an exchange by both Phone  and by CW/Digi.

By Phone:
My station – “Whiskey Four Sierra Alpha Romeo, One Echo, North Carolina”
Other Station, “Whiskey Four Sierra Alpha Romeo, this is Kilo Three Zulu Papa, Two Delta, Eastern Pennsylvania”
My Station- “Kilo Three Zulu Papa from Whiskey Four Sierra Alpha Romeo,  I copy Two Delta Eastern Pennsylvania, Thanks and 73”

By CW or Digital:

My Station: “W4SAR 1E NC”
Other Station: “W4SAR DE K3ZP PSE COPY 2D EPA”
My Station: “K3ZP DE  W4SAR  QSL 2D EPA, TU and 73”

Both stations have exchanged the necessary info and have politely moved on. Depending on who you talk to, it may be even more terse or more wordy.

Now some operating tips:

You may work the same station on different bands and different modes. For Example I can work K3ZP on 80, 40 and 20 meters by phone. I can also work him on 20 meters alone by phone, CW and Digital modes. Do note that Digital contacts only may be done once , by whatever method is used. You can’t work someone on FT8 and then work them again on PSK31,only one digital contact is allowed.

Have a comfortable chair, you can operate longer with good back support.

If a lot of people are working a station you are trying to get, move down the band and work one without so much competition, you can get back to them later when the big guns have moved on.

Even if they sound in the clear, if a station does not respond to you after three tries, move on and try again later. The propagation may improve in the meantime and then they may hear you, this is especially true if you are running QRP (5 Watts max).

Mix it up, I usually “hunt and pounce” running up and down the band and calling to stations I hear, but occasionally stop in a clear zone and call CQ for them to come to me.

Just have fun with it, take breaks and let other operators relieve you. If you are operating solo, take breaks and be sure to eat and stay hydrated.

Keep an eye on the weather, if thunderstorms are approaching, shut down your station and disconnect the antenna feed line until the storms are well past.

Listen on different bands for activity, even ones not likely to be productive. At FD’s past, even with poor solar indices, occasionally 10 meters had productive openings.

Jus plain have fun with it!

In my next post, I will talk a bit more about logging your exchanges, ways to maximize your score, bonus points you can catch, final score submission.

73,

Dave, W4SAR

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2018 Field Day Operator Schedules

Link

Here are links to spreadsheets or whom to contact to schedule operating time for the Field Day stations below.

For spreadsheets, enter your call sign (or name if unlicensed) on any unoccupied block of time. For the other stations, contact the band captain with times you are available.

The 40/15 SSB station (air-conditioned trailer) scheduler can be accessed via this link:

http://tinyurl.com/W4EZ-40-15-SSB

The Digital Stations (40/20 and maybe 15 meters) will also double as accessible stations for those who cannot negotiate stairs. One station (Access1) will be available for accessible SSB operation, and change to that mode as required, and back to digital when not.

https://tinyurl.com/W4EZ-Sched-Access-SSB-DIGI

For the 20 Meter SSB station (in a trailer) see this link:

https://tinyurl.com/20M-SSB-Operator-Schedule

To operate a CW station, coordinate with Bruce, N1LN.

For 80M SSB, contact Steve , W3AHL.

For VHF, contact Doug, W5ETS

For 10M SSB, Dave NA4VY

Dave, W4SAR

Temporary Changes for September Meeting

Hello All-

We do have a couple of temporary changes for the upcoming club meeting in September. As renovations are being made on the rooms we use in the EOC, we will meet instead in the Fellowship Hall of the Efland Baha’i Center, a site we have used in the past for exam sessions. It has plenty of room for us, a gravel lot for parking and ready access to Interstate 85/40 and Highway 70. The physical address is 119 Maple St, Efland NC 27243. I am one of the caretakers, so I can provide a key for access, which I can provide. That brings me to the second temporary change for September.

I had an accident on August 26, I took a 6 foot drop to avoid wasp stings and managed to shatter my left heel. It will require surgery to insert screws and a plate to pull the bones back together so they heal in proper alignment. If I do not have the surgery, I will be left in chronic pain with some disability. Currently, I am at home in a cast, waiting for the swelling in the area to subside enough so the surgery may be performed. I have a CT scan coming up for a detailed study of the fracture, and an orthopedic consult for the surgery on Sept 7. If the swelling has subsided enough, the surgery will be performed as soon as Sept 8. For two weeks after that, I will strictly be on orders to stay off my feet, and I will be in a cast for a few weeks beyond that.

So, that long narrative is to let you know that I will not be available for the September meeting, as that will be held shortly after the surgery. I will need to make arrangements for someone to come by my place (which is just north of Efland) to pick up the key to the facility, as well as the exam materials for the exam session, which we can hold in one of the classrooms. I have already had the ARRL VEC publish the new address for this one exam session. I will post directions and updates, shortly.

I apologize for any inconvenience to the membership, I know that for all involved, it will indeed be temporary.

73, Dave, W4SAR

Field Day is upon us!

The week of Field Day is here! Our biggest event every year is just a few days away. If you have been following the posts on the Field Day category of this blog, you will see that a number of people have been putting in a lot of work in preparation. This coming Friday as of 8;00am, we will commence with setting up the stations themselves. Lots of hands are needed to help with safely assembling beam antennas, mount them on towers and get the towers raised and anchored. Help will be needed hauling lines to raise wire antennas, as well as spotters to keep personnel clear of fall zones when we lob missiles to get pilot lines over the trees. Hands will be needed to help band captains move batteries and get their stations assembled. Help will be needed driving in ground rods . Captains need to bring their logging computers on  site aas early as possible to be sure they are properly configured for the logging network, and for testing. We will get this work out of the way on Friday, rain or shine, pausing only if we have a threat of lightning in the area.

Help will be needed with other aspects as well. the pot luck around 6:00pm this Friday is easily the largest social event that the two clubs engage in together, besides food contributions, chairs and tables are needed , many hands helping here with set up and then clean up will make it more enjoyable for everyone.

On Saturday, the big day itself, final testing and tweaking of the radio stations will take place, then at 2:00pm, we are off to the races! Operators will be needed to relieve those getting fatigued as we will be working any open propagation for the next 24 hours! Around 5:00pm or so, the field canteen will need help setting up for feeding everyone dinner ($5 each). Overnight, there will be operations ongoing on 80m Phone, the lower bands on CW and digital, ops will be needed for each!

Sunday morning, breakfast at the field canteen, around 9:00am (another $5 each), and then the final push until Field Day ends at 2:00pm. Once again, many hands will be needed to safely take down antennas and towers, and to assist in packing away the stations and equipment. Since many persons will have been on-site throughout Field Day and will no doubt be tired, a lot of help here would be greatly appreciated!

Field Day is fun, and it is an opportunity to learn, you van participate in all aspects of amateur radio, from setting up and testing antennas and power supplies, to a chance to operating in modes that you normally don’t . How to deal with problems in an outdoor environment, how to turn around exchanges quickly in a competitive environment. Most of all, there is enjoying some fellowship and quality time with your fellow enthusiasts in this great avocation of ours.

So come on out, put in as much time as you are comfortable with giving, it will be rewarding to be a part of this!

73,

Dave Snyder W4SAR

 

Field Day info and timeline

Starting 2:00pm local time on Saturday, June 24
Ending 2:00pm local time in Sunday June 25

Location: Lamb Family property-
3117 MOOREFIELDS RD
HILLSBOROUGH, NC 27278

Callsign: W4EZ
At this time, we will be a 9A operation, meaning a club sponsor, 9 HF stations, using only battery power for transmitters, 5Watts maximum output.

Exchange for a complete contact is call sign, class of operation , and ARRL/RAC section.

For us our info is:
W4EZ 9A NC

Stations planned:
80/40/20/15 CW in the MCU, (three transmitters),
the CW gang

40M Digital in barn W4SAR
20M Digital, in barn, WB4OSU

80M Phone, in RV W3AHL
40/15M Phone, in camper KV7D/K4SAR
20M Phone , in camper W4ORD
10m Phone, in barn NA4VY

VHF- open
Satellite- W4FS

Logging: N1MM freeware logging program, a wireless network will merge all input into one master log

Some personnel:

Safety Officer- W4SAR
Public Information Table: W4MKR
Pot-luck coordinator: KM4MDR
Field Canteen Coordinator: W4ORD
Network: W3AHL
N1MM Logger consultant: N1LN
Overall Coordinator: W4SAR

Volunteers needed to provide relief operators, loggers, field canteen assistance, various other jobs throughout the 3 days of operation.

Recommended Timeline for Field Day Operation:
(All timepoints are local Daylight Saving Time)

Friday June 23

8:00am -Start of Set-Up.
By the FD rules, as of 8:00pm Thursday we could use a total of 24 hours in aggregate for station set up before the official start of FD on Saturday at 2:00pm. We will start with good daylight on Friday morning.
As much heavy work (tower lifting, antenna raising, ground rod driving, battery lifting, etc ) should be accomplished on Friday. Many volunteers will be needed so that this work can be done safely, and without overexerting anyone.

11:30am – Sandwiches and refreshments will be provided by Skip, WB4P

When time allows: preliminary testing of wireless network, power drops for auxiliary equipment

6:00pm Pot Luck Dinner, heavy work should cease.

9:00pm- copy ARRL FD bulletin from W1AW via PSK31
(100 bonus points)

Saturday June 24

As of sunrise: Complete station setups and final testing.

As early as possible, test all logging computers simultaneously on network. Final tests of stations.

2:00pm: START FD OPERATIONS

Circa 6:00pm- dinner provided at Field Canteen, $5 a head, volunteers are badly needed to assist W4ORD in set up and grilling of food

Sunday June 25
Circa 8:00am, Breakfast at Field Canteen, $5 a head, volunteers needed to assist.

2:00pm: FD OPERATIONS END

Many hands will be needed to safely tear down stations (there will be many tired people present), clean up.

Field Day Update May 10, 2017

Hi All-

We worked out some more logistics for Field Day. Bruce N1LN’s classes on the N1MM logging program are progressing nicely, with all of the band captains having been exposed to at least part of it. We should have everyone up to speed on using this one program this year. Testing will be done this week on Wilson’s property for the wireless network that will link all of the logging computers. If all goes well, all stations will be feeding their contacts into one master log, making it a snap for making our results submission. In the event of a network failure, or if someone’s logging computer just cannot access the network, we will go to the old tried and true method of backing up logs from the laptops onto a thumb drive, so that I can perform a merge afterward.

We have had to make some shifts to maintain a 9A Battery classification, but it also looks like we will am almost 100% Elecraft operation. Here is the current lineup:

CW:
3 transmitters on 80/40/20/15 meters, Elecraft K3 – in MCU

Digital:
40 Meter PSK31 Elecraft K3 – barn loft
20/15 Meter PSK31 Elecraft KX-3 – barn loft

Phone:
80 Meter SSB Elecraft K3- out of RV
40/15 Meter SSB Elecraft K3- out of camper
20 Meter SSB Phone Elecraft KX-3 – out of tent
10 Meter SSB Phone Radio Shack HTX-10 – out of barn loft

Skip, N4SKP will be providing a sandwich platter at Noon on that Friday for the work crews. John, KM4MDR will be coordinating the pot luck to be held that Friday night. Lad, W4ORD is working out the food supplies for the Saturday night dinner and the Sunday morning breakfast,, he will solicit side dishes or desserts that anyone may want to supply.

Attached is the first draft of this year’s site plan, not too many changes from last year save the shifting of digital stations to the loft.

Also, both to garner the 100 point bonus for Social Media Publicity, and to provide yet another channel for members  and visitors to get updates on our Field Day operation, I have created a Facebook group:

OCRA-DFMA Amateur Radio Field Day W4EZ

Facebookers, feel free to join and help provide content, photographs from previous FD operations would be great to add!

 

 

 

Field Day Update April 2017

Hi All, more of the plans are starting to gel, we do need to solidify more of the logistics for Field Day. For one, I was mistaken when I said we were on track to be a 9A operation. As it turns out the CW operation out of the MCU will be running only three transmitters, not the four transmitters I had presumed, so we are an 8A operation as it now stands. Here are the current stations planned and band captains:

CW in the MCU: three transmitters on 80/40/20/15 meters. Bruce N1LN and the CW gang.

40 Digital- in barn loft, Dave W4SAR
20 Digital- in barn loft, John, KM4MDR

80 Phone- Steve , W3AHL in his RV
40/15 Phone- Adriano KV7D and Joe K4SAR in camper
20 Phone- Lad, W4ORD in tent.

Currently, there are no plans to work 10 meters due to very poor prospects for propagation. VHF is open if anyone wants to try it, that station will not change the count of stations for our category. I am working on a possible temporary split out of 15M phone so that we do keep a 9A designation, stand by for more on that later.

Bruce N1LN has agreed to run a teleconferenced class to get the band captains (and anyone interested in helping out with logging) up to speed on using the N1MM logging program. See the NCOCRA Yahoogroup for postings on this, I believe Bruce wants to start the initial session this coming Wednesday.

I will be contacting the band captains on their final arrangements for radios, to confirm what antennas they are using and where they will be placed, an updated site plan will be posted shortly after that is done.

Food- Lad W4ORD and Noble N4UOQ have agreed to step up and form the nucleus of the group operating the field canteen, they will be needing some more people to help with that work. Besides providing cold water and soft drinks throughout the operation, he canteen will also grill dinner on that Saturday and Breakfast on Sunday morning. John KM4MDR will coordinate the Pot Luck planned for that Friday night. Skip N4SKP will be providing a sandwich spread for the work crews on Friday around noon.

Bonus Points- We have several members volunteering to help chase down some of these points for us. Stand by, I will get all of you more solid information shortly.

Things are moving for Field Day, and the pace is picking up considerably the closer we get. I will be putting out notices on a more frequent basis now as we deal with the inevitable changes and tweaks that occur to every plan. I am looking forward to another great Field Day this year!

73,

Dave Snyder, W4SAR

Field Day 2017 plans

Field Day plans for 2017 are starting into motion. So far it looks like we will again have a 9 Alpha Battery operation, a club operation using battery power only to power transceivers, 5 Watts maximum output.
Here are the current stations and band captains:
80 M, 40 M, 20 M and 15 M CW- Again run by the CW gang out of the MCU
40 M Digital (W4SAR) 20M Digital (KM4MDR) out of the barn loft
80 M Phone (W3AHL) out of RV
40/15 M Phone (K4SAR & KV7D) out of camper (suggestion made at meeting to split out 15)
20 M Phone (W4ORD) out of tent
Due to poor prospects for propagation, 10 meters will not have a dedicated station. The VHF band captain from last year cannot participate, so that slot is open if anyone is interested.
Food- Dee KU4GC and M.K. W4MKR have stepped down from running the field canteen, we’re looking for others to step up and fill this important function. So far, John KM4MDR has agreed to coordinate the Friday night potluck, probably the biggest single social activity between the two clubs. Lad W4ORD has agreed to run the grill on that Sunday morning for breakfast. We still need to work out dinner for that Saturday evening, as well as keep cool drinks on hand for the entire operation.
Logging/Networking- This year we will try to have everyone up and running on the N1MM freeware contesting log program. If we all use the same program with a wireless network in place, one master log will be compiled on the fly. Bruce N1LN is willing to run a couple of clinics, we will have an introductory demonstration of ZOOM teleconferencing at the April OCRA meeting. In May, a hands-on clinic for the band-captains will be held working with the N1MM Field Day template, using ZOOM teleconferencing on their logging laptops. Some volunteers are stepping up from both DFMA and OCRA to plan out the wireless network to be used for Field Day, all logging computers must have this capability.
Bonus Points- We actually had more QSO points than our close competitor in California last year. However, they still edged us out from second place by strenuously making all the bonus points they could. This year, we need more volunteers to assist in making up all the points we can. We did not have an ongoing educational activity last year(100 points), and never had anyone passing traffic (10 points each). If you don’t want to operate the full weekend, getting bonus points may be more your speed!
I look forward to the continuing discussions, and eagerly anticipate what further plans we come up with for Field Day this year!

73,
W4SAR

Preliminary Plans for Field Day 2017

 

We are a little under 4 months from Field Day 2017, so we need to start our initial planning.

Of course, some things will be the same, OCRA and the DFMA will run a joint operation. The Lamb Family once again will be hosting the location, we will again run an “Alpha Battery” club operation. That means transmitted output will be no greater than 5 Watts, all transceivers will be on on battery power. How many stations we run will need to be determined, returning band captains get the “right of first refusal”, and then we can fill slots for non-returnees as well as welcome some trying something new. We do get 100 bonus points for each HF station on emergency power.

Now for some of the changes:

Food-     Fear not, we will still be eating well! However, after many years of hard work and excellent service, Dee KU4GC and M.K. W4MKR are bowing out of running our field canteen. They are willing to give advice but no longer wish to do the heavy lifting. I believe a committee needs to be formed right away to carry on the planning and staffing of our field canteen. This will be to provide two meals during Field Day operations, a Saturday dinner and a Sunday Breakfast, as well as have water , soft drinks and snacks available throughout the weekend. John KM4MDR has volunteered to coordinate the huge potluck which is held on that Friday night, which is one of the two largest social events we hold each year (the Holiday Dinner being the other). If you have an interest in working on the committee, let us know!

Logging-     The other change will be in how we will be logging results. In the past , we had used several different logging programs with a ADIF output capability. The output was never completely compatible, so not all of the logs would integrate into the master log. This meant many hours of editing and formatting had to be done by me to pull a master log together. The CW operators have been using the N1MM freeware logger, which allows multiple computers to simultaneously make log entries via a wireless connection. I asked if this capability could be extended across the whole Field Day site, and it can be done.  If the entire Field Day operation enters into one master log, my work in preparing our FD submission will be much easier. You would also be able to watch the results for the entire operation in real time. This means that all logging computers must have wireless capability. Also, all of us will have to learn how to use the N1MM software. Bruce, N1LN has agreed to give a tutorial at an upcoming meeting, I am looking forward to that.

Bonus Points-     One reason our closest competitor in California keeps beating us, is that they strongly pursue all the bonus points they can get. Some members in the past have taken on various bonus activities. I strongly recommend that we put together a bonus point committee to help coordinate these activities, and explore ways to get even more points added without overburdening anyone.

As always, I eagerly anticipate our operation.  We have a corps of dedicated, technically gifted amateurs, who enjoy each other’s company, I can’t wait to see what we come up with this year!

73–  Dave W4SAR

OCRA President’s Notes, March 2017

Hello, I am trying something new, our blog on the OCRA website! Joel, KM4NOU our new secretary has done a capital job putting it together! Our thanks to him. Dan, KR4UB our treasurer, also worked with Joel to integrate the club’s database. Years past, we had a club newsletter, which though useful, went away due to lack of contributions and not having an editor who could make time to keep it going. The blog will fill that gap. But it will only be useful if YOU, the membership, contributes to it! To set the example, I promised Joel a monthly contribution as your president. you will need to contact Joel for a password, and then get on the “dashboard”, type in your text and insert photos!. It was so easy, even I could do it! Karen, KD4YJZ was elected as your Vice President, she will be looking for monthly programs, I may suggest to her that Joel present on the blog at the next club meeting. He can demonstrate how to get in and use it, he gave a brief presentation at the recent board meeting, and I think the membership will find it useful! So please, come on in and help make the OCRA blog your own! –73 W4SAR