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July 5th, 2008

Field Day: Interesting Facts

This will be my last Field Day reflection post for this year. I'll leave with some interesting tidbits that I picked up through the weekend.

1. How to troubleshoot high noise levels
When we set up the GOTA station, the radio was reading high levels of noise. It was hard to hear much of anything because of the noise. We first suspected the power supply, because some power supplies produce a lot of RF noise. When we switched to battery power and turned off the power supply, the noise level did not decrease.
Our second suspect was the generator outside that gave our site power. It was sitting very close to our vertical antenna... When we turned that off, though, we had the same results.
As it turns out, vertical antennas pick up a lot more QRM - interference caused by man-made devices - and our noise was caused mostly by this. When we got out the slingshot and hoisted up the horizontal dipole, a lot of the noise was gone.

2. Female voice
Even though most ham radio operators are guys, I hear it is easier to discern a lady's voice on the radio. That was good news for me, because it meant I could be heard more easily over the competition on Field Day :)

3. Two things
There are two things every ham should always have on hand: a flashlight and a pocket knife. I had neither. I will need to go to the store...

4. Morse code white-out
When you make a mistake sending Morse code, all you have to do is send didit didit (the abbreviated version of the question mark .._ _..) and then send the correct code. You can also use 'didit didit' to check to see whether a frequency is clear or in use.

Thanks for making my first Field Day a great one, everybody!

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