Field Day 2011
The club had been looking forward to participating in the annual International Field Event since we finished last year’s event. This one event is the biggest single day for Hams throughout North America and is a great opportunity to practice our hand in emergency like conditions. This year the White Rock Club tried a new location – the grassy area next to the butterfly park in Centennial Park. We chose this area as it was within the boundaries of the city, was close to our reception centre, provided easy access and good visibility to the public.
Our day began with some members arriving on-site at 9:45, we quickly scouted out the area and decided where we would stretch out the random length dipole antenna and setup our operating station. That went quickly and soon the members were hauling equipment to the various locations. Though the weather was pleasant we were under threat of rain so we quickly set up our day tent and made ourselves ready for any rain which fortunately never came. While the tent and tables were being prepared, a second team was busy stretching out the antenna and erecting the centre mast. Soon that was in place and we spent some time tweaking the alignment of the mast and tension on the dipole wires. Ralph attached his tuner and cables to the antenna and hooked up his radio.
While the HF station was progressing Stuart started putting up his 220 MHz station for his annual contact to an operator on the island. Once the 220 was complete, Eric started the setup of a 2m station using his mast and backcountry equipment. Time was now 10:56 and we had all three stations ready to go and so we waited the final few minutes for the official start of the contest. The 20m band was soon flooded with stations calling and trying to work through the many pile-ups. We were able to hear stations from all over North America and managed to break through to a number from the east coast to the west. Surprisingly we heard very few from Canada as almost everything we could hear were from the US.
After operating from over an hour we finally heard the lone caller on the 220 band and quickly jumped to respond and get him in the log. During our HF work ew also had a few 2m contacts but we weren’t actively working that radio this year so only a few contacts were made on it.
We had a very visible location and with a special sporting event going on across the roadway there were a large number of people exposed to our presence even though only a few came in to talk. The city Fire Chief – Phil - did drop in and spend a fair amount of time with us chatting about our setup and how we were doing. He even bought the group of us a lunch which was quite unexpected but gratefully received – the donut holes were getting a bit worn. By around 2:30 we were worn out from our exertion and the 30+ contacts we had made, so we packed things away over the next 20 minutes and soon were on our way home.
The day was a huge success for us. We got out and set up within an hour, were on the air making contacts across the continent and having a fun time working together. Now to start ‘planning’ for next year!