July 2nd, 2008


Field Day: Random fun

Besides operating radios, we had a lot of other fun adventures at Field Day. There were slingshots, fishing reels, rainstorms, and wonderful cookies...

Early on Saturday morning, we found that we needed to put up a horizontal antenna for the GOTA station. The horizontal antenna was a long length of wire attached to rope at either end that held it up and tied it fast into place. It was connected to the radio by a long length of coax cable, which fed into the middle of the antenna. There were plenty of trees on which the antenna could be strung, but how would we get it up high into the trees?

Enter the slingshot-fishing reel.

This was the tool of choice to send the rope up and over the high branches of the trees. The slingshot fired a small weight on the end of a fishing line that fed out as it flew through the air. We then had to find the weight and pull the fishing line. At the end of the fishing line was a thin rope. We then pulled the rope through. At the end of the thin rope was a sturdy rope, the one that held up the weight of the antenna. Once we got that pulled through, the antenna was aloft and we had only to tie it into place. It was quite simple. I hear this technique is quite commonly used by hams since it works so nicely...and is so fun!

As we were hoisting the antenna into the air, it started to rain. It wasn't too heavy of a shower, but it was foretelling things to come. Later in the day, after I made my first few GOTA contacts, I decided to give my friend K3WJH a call. He's the one who helped me to schedule my license exam (which was an adventure in itself). He was busy having fun in Pennsylvania with the CMARC group from Almedia. I even got to talk to their club president, K3QIA, and it sounded like they were really making the most of Field Day! I was enjoying the conversation, when the wind started picking up and the sky suddenly got very dark... I hung up the phone just in time to grab the food tent before a strong gust of wind tried to carry it away! Then, it started raining.

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Tomorrow's post: Useful information, troubleshooting, and trivia