Well, that was one heck of an excellent weekend! Thanks so much to all those who participated and assisted in making Field Day 2016 a huge success!
We had two objectives for Field Day. The first was to practice those skills necessary to operate in an emergency – deploy to a remote location, set up effective stations without relying on commercial power, and make QSOs in an efficient manner. The second was to have a fun and interesting weekend. I can safely say that BOTH these objectives were met quite handily!
The setup crew started at 0830, and by noon had two towers in the air, complete with triband Yagis and inverted V antennas. The tents were easily set up, and by 1500 we had two stations in operation and a field galley set up. The logging software worked well, and our local network had very strong signals, thanks to our helical antennas – we probably could have separated our stations by 2 km and still maintained the network!
The stations themselves were very effective. We received numerous comments describing our strong signals, and it was easy to hold our frequency despite the incredible level of bedlam typical of Field Day weekend! We made approximately 500 QSOs, despite having not operated for the full 24 hours – the potluck featured outstanding food that was just too good to pass up, and we took the opportunity to sit around and enjoy some fine beverages and the incredible scenery from time to time! I guess it goes to show that while our primary focus was to set up an effective emergency communications facility in the field so that we can assist public officials, it is STILL possible to have excellent food and an enjoyable social occasion!
There was no doubt whatsoever that people had a fun and interesting weekend – not just our people, but also visiting Hams and general members of the public. Most of them mentioned that they had read about our plans in the two newspaper articles published in the past few weeks. We had approximately 40 visitors tour our stations directly, and several people left their contact information because they are interested in becoming Amateurs.
The REMO Coordinator for Annapolis County, Kevin Beard, visited our site twice. He was VERY impressed with our ability to deploy to a remote site and set up effective stations – a capability that he believes is essential when it comes to emergency management in Annapolis County. He has asked to get together with us later in the month to discuss how we can assist REMO in the future – I’ll keep everyone posted!
The NS Minister of Health, Leo Glavine, visited us on Sunday. He too was very impressed with our emergency communications capability, and presented the club with a certificate praising our efforts, signed by the Premier no less! I understand that he also had a certificate recognizing the Field Day setup that was at Cottage Cove last year. Most of the key people for last year’s effort were present at Cottage Cove again this year, so I guess we could have had a double presentation. In the end however, we advised him where the other group was holding their Field Day – I guess he didn’t receive an invitation from them this year.
I have to sit down and review the figures, but it looks like our score will be approximately 2300 points. That is an excellent score for a small club – congratulations to all those who took part or assisted in many different ways!
VO1NO / VA1AVR