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.
A couple of us were there at the food tent chatting as the storm came upon us. We didn't want to let the tent blow away, so we all stood inside, holding it down, as the rain and wind blew in through the tent mesh. We looked like a bunch of metro passengers all standing, swaying, and holding onto the bars of the tent. It must have been very amusing to those on the outside, though I think they had all taken cover indoors. In the end, the tent was still standing and the food was mostly preserved. I consider that a success.
Speaking of food, we had a nice selection. Somebody brought macadamia cookies...I wanted to hoard them all for myself and hide them in the GOTA truck, but I managed to restrain myself. I only ate about five of them :p Then, there was the "real" food - pancakes for breakfast and hamburgers for dinner. They were all very delicious - my compliments to the chef/s. (I am not sure who did all the cooking, but you know who you are!) I also thoroughly enjoyed the last of the raspberry Snapple.
Other amusing things included:
One thing is for sure - the gnats were having fun. They continued harassing us the entire weekend! Running away didn't help.
I think that we all looked pretty funny while CW operations were taking place. We'd sit and chat while the automatic keyer took over, but then all of a sudden, you'd see everyone in the truck hush and lean close to the radio. When nobody responded and the keyer kicked back into motion, we'd continue the conversation. Then, wait- ...anyone?
It must have looked pretty funny to anyone outside.
It was sometimes tricky to remember that on Field Day, you use a special call sign and not your own. "KB3...I mean...K3...I mean W3...Oh man, what was our call again?"
Tomorrow's post: Useful information, troubleshooting, and trivia