Winter Field Day in West Central Florida is a misnomer. However, it doesn’t stop Upper Pinellas Amateur Radio Club and Clearwater Amateur Radio Society clubs from having a great time!
The most important component are the antennas. Without them nothing matters. The antenna team and “The Band Boss” ensure antennas are installed, tuned and ready for contesting. I apologize. I meant to say an Emergency Communications exercise. That’s what we are doing. Absolutely NO competition at the event. None!
The primary antenna is a hex beam antenna. It handles the 10m, 15m and 20m bands. Installed on the top of a five story fire training tower it is higher than everything in surrounding area.
If you have never setup or raised a hex beam, it takes a village. Our antenna team gets the job done every time!
Below are two antennas used for the event. The aforementioned Hex Beam viewed from the ground (L) and a 132ft Off-Center Fed Dipole antenna.
The radios are not at the bottom of the tower. Hundreds of feet of coax are required to connect the radios.The contraption below is a PVC cable winder. It makes quick work of coiling the coax in preparation for storage. The alternative, winding by hand, is not fun.
Not all digital modes are allowed during WFD but PSK31is. Overnight operator Gerry WR6N managed a few dozen PSK31 QSOs into the log to help with emergency preparedness. It also adds points to the log!.
Youth & Satellites
The Amateur Radio hobby is desperate young, new hams to carry on the hobby. Fortunately a resurgence is happening across the US. More young people getting involved and getting excited! Below, the youngest members of the club are working PSK31. Another young member is learning from a couple of seasoned pros. Jeff NE4C (R) and Jason N4BOZ (C) are a power contesting team. Ton NY4I appears to be contemplating the next satellite pass strategy to get some bonus points.
Our clubs do love to collect the bonus points and what’s cooler than bouncing an RF signal off of a satellite in space?!?! Nothing! Here is the antenna setup used for the contacts. It’s like night and day!
More photos from Rob WD4IFT
For the first time since the clubs have been doing Field Day, we had a 160M antenna. Everyone knows Ryan KO4KGP never has enough antennas. He had the idea to string up the 270ft Double Bazooka 160M antenna between the fire training towers. If you look carefully at the following photos, you can see the antenna!