1994 Field Day : Our First Big Event!

PARC had been founded early in 1994. The first big club event was to be participating in ARRL Field Day (an operator training and emergency preparedness excercise using a contest format) in June of that year. For reasons unknown they decided to recruit an advisor, someone with a background in antennas and contest operating. They chose N1BUG, who agreed to help out.

Any great undertaking starts with a plan. Ours was brilliant: we would operate from the EOC (bunker) in Milo, our club meeting place. There were three 105 foot towers at the site, each having cross arms at approximately the 60 and 90 foot levels. We figured the easy way to get our antennas up there was to use a fire truck with extension ladder. Brilliant, yes? Being new at this we decided to start our setup weeks in advance instead of on the day of the event. This meant operating in a different competition class, but we figured best to play it safe and make sure we would be able to get everything ready.

Not so fast! It is Spring in Maine and the ground is soft. Very soft.

This thing is really stuck!

Heavy trucks and Maine fields in Spring are not a good combination.

So the thing to do now is contemplate what went wrong and see if anyone has a plan B.
Left to right: Chad, N1SDR; Ernie, N1GTY; unknown, we think the truck driver; Paul, N1BUG; Ted, N1CUR.

Plan B is born! We'll use a sling shot to put lines over the tower cross arms!
Ernie, N1GTY takes aim while Paul, N1BUG watches intently.

When one hot shot fails, pass the reins to another.
Chad, N1SDR; Ernie, N1GTY; Paul, N1BUG.

And another. But this one shows promise!
Ted, N1CUR, watches Chad, N1SDR, prepare to take a shot at one of the towers.

Keep at it until you succeed!

Once you have a line over a suitable support, it's time to make an entenna! This started out as a simple one band dipole but ended up being 6 dipoles in fan shape (fed by one coax): 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, and 10 meters. That is a lot of wire (we found a huge coil of it sitting at the EOC) and rope. We sent someone into town to buy more rope half a dozen times or so. No one knows for sure, becasue we stopped counting after a while. Our Field Day Advisor calculated we used some 1200 feet of rope on this monster! Of course, we don't know if his calculations are to be believed.
Paul, N1BUG solders while Ted, N1CUR, assists.

Next step: haul the antenna up! Here we see it prepared for hoisting. This thing was heavy! As it neared the top we had three people pulling on the rope and it almost lifted the three of them off the ground!

Sweet success! Our Frankenstein of antennas is up!
We also had a multiband trap vertical out in the field.

Filed Day arrives... and there's food!

On the air! Howie, WA1SBI, operating; Paul, N1BUG, and Chad, N1SDR observe. Now there is a crude contraption: N1BUG's home made CW paddle, made from two straight keys, is held to the desk by a C clamp.

Harry, N1PGW, our club President takes a turn at the rig.

Ted, N1CUR, operating CW. He elects to use a real paddle, not that silly N1BUG contraption.

Howie, WA1SBI, operating CW with our advisor standing by.

Why is this guy always just standing around?!

Ernie, N1GTY, in the generator room.

George, WA1JMM, operating.

Wanda, N1NPM, takes a turn operating.

OK, that's the last straw! Advisors are useless! Here we see he has fallen asleep on the job!

page last updated March 7, 2012

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