June 2011 Field Day

Bob W4ZST, Fourlanders President

The Fourlanders decided to do Field Day as a group this year and set up portable at the W4ZST QTH. The NGARC members were also invited to participate since this would be in Dahlonega and the NGARC had not done FD for the past several years.

It was nice setting up portable, but not having to go on the road. We used the Operating Trailer "Great White" set up in the driveway and used the Tower Trailers and a long wire dipole strung up in the trees for the antennas. We decided to do Class 3A - commercial. Commercial power just seemed so much nicer than having to listen to a generator banging away for 24 hours. We of course could have been on generator power quite easily with the set-up we had. Are these signs of getting lazy or just getting older and wiser?

With class 3A we were also able to have a 6m station in the mix, so there were 4 transmitters and 4 antennas. Two HF stations for either phone or CW, one on a tri-band (10/15/20 meter, Mosley Classic 33) beam, and one on the long wire dipole antenna (130 ft center fed with ladder line). Another HF station was for digital modes, running mostly PSK-31 the entire time and operated on a tri-band vertical antenna (an old Cushcraft R-3). The 6m station had one of the Fourlanders five element 6m beams up at 30'. We didn't put up an omni this time and the ops said that it might have been very useful since we had such a good band opening on 6m. We really had very little inter-station interference even with the antennas fairly close together.

The HF stations were an Elecraft K3, brought by Tom K4TJD, a Yaesu FT-1000MP from the W4ZST station, and Kos N4NIA brought his K3 for the digital station. Ivan K4VJM supplied his Yaesu FT-920 for the 6m station. The logging computers were supplied from the W4ZST shack along with Kos' laptop for digital. We used WriteLog for the logging program and had a few network problems early on, but things settled down for the remainder of the contest.

Thanks to Kos for the flawless digital station and showing so many of the visitors how to work lots of stations on PSK. He was running in Ham Radio Deluxe with DM 780 and it is pretty impressive.

Tom K4TJD brought his pop-up camper and he and Kos N4NIA stayed there on Friday and Saturday nights. Ivan K4VJM stayed in the house with Bob on Friday and they were joined by Jim W4KXY on Saturday night.

Besides the operators mentioned who were band captains and did the setting up, we had a great number of visitors, some who operated, some who listened and some who just observed. I think it was a good experience all around and useful to some of the newer hams who showed up to see what was going on.

Jim W4KXY, Jeff W0ONR and Ryan W4RLW are other Fourlanders who operated along with Chris W4ONT and Mary W4MWP. Very special thanks to Chris and Mary for supplying the excellent BBQ pork and smoked italian sausages we had for dinner on Saturday night. That food was originally for the VHF contest 2 weeks earlier, but as most of you know, Jeff feeds us so much on the mountain, we were unable to even slip the BBQ in for a tasting there. I froze it and saved it for FD and it was excellent. We had buns for both along with slaw and potato salad and I don't think anyone went hungry on Saturday evening and there was a good crowd there too. Thank you again, Chris and Mary.

We had breakfast for the overnighters on Saturday and Sunday mornings. W4ZST cooked eggs and bacon on Saturday and Jeff cooked Pancakes and Sausage for Sunday morning. As usual for a Fourlanders function, there was plenty of food and none left over! Except, Thanks to whoever left the Rooster's 'Tater soup in the fridge. I had it for supper on Sunday night and it hit the spot.

Folks from the NGARC club who came at various times and observed and/or operated were Diana KB4SNU, Mike KF4ZFP, Dan KJ4JZP, Joe KJ4JBG, Andrew AK4EU, Shawn KJ4MLS, Russ KJ4WIS, Bob W4DXW, Rob WB4GKI and Ruedi KJ4NUP. We were also visited by Randy WA4ZBO, a friend of Jim's from their Ga Tech radio club days, who is interested in the Fourlanders contesting activities.

Now for the contest details you've been waiting for:

40 Phone6868
20 Phone115115
20 CW107214
20 Digital3570
15 Phone193193
15 CW612
15 Digital138276
10 Phone1010
10 CW1020
10 Digital51102
6 Phone182182
6 CW714


I think this is a pretty good showing for the group. It compares with the number of Q's we make on the mountain top for a VHF contest and we did have a good time doing it. I'm not sure if there are other points that we may get, but I'll see when I get into sending the entry in to ARRL after I review and double check the logs. I don't have our older W4QQ logs handy to compare for FD, but I think this is a good outing for us.

A reminder that the Fourlanders will also do the CQ WW VHF contest (6 and 2 meters only) at the W4ZST QTH on July 16th and 17th. We will also have the annual business meeting with election of officers, etc. before the contest starts on July 16th.

Thanks to everyone who participated in any capacity with us for this Field Day and I hope everyone went away with some new knowledge and memories of a good time playing with Ham Radio.

73, Bob W4ZST, Fourlanders President

June 27, 2011

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