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ARRL Field Day 2024 Report

Hex beam on the Short Tower [Photo by W2SUB]
ARRL Sections Worked by the Stations

CARS and UPARC have used the Clearwater Fire Training Center for both summer (ARRL) and winter field day for quite a few years now. This year was no different. Members and guests from both clubs set out on Saturday June 22, 2024 bright and early to setup temporary antennas and operating positions at the wonderful Clearwater Fire Training Center off of Belcher Road in Clearwater. A total of 50 people stopped by to setup, operate, enjoy lunch, socialize, and tear-down the site all commencing at 8:00 AM on Saturday morning.

As the clubs have operated from this site several times and know the ins and outs of the site, this year we “mixed it up” a bit by using only the shorter of the two fire towers. This had the benefit of using just a single tower as well as forgoing the usual coax cables running across the road. It also made setup and tear-down much easier.

This year we also had a record 25 different operators as evidenced by this table of operators and the contacts they made: We even had non-licensed operators making contacts under the watchful eye of our club “elmers”.

Food, food and more food.

Field Day runs on food. This year was no different. The members and guests were well-fed throughout the weekend. Dean N0OAC and Sarah N0UKS managed the frill for lunch cooking up hot dogs (Nathans, of course) and hamburgers. The food team of Ron W4RFA, Ruth Appel, Robbin KJ4MPG and Karen KQ4HNI kept the food coming. Dinner was a pot luck with various dishes and Ziti, Meatballs, Greek salad and pulled pork courtesy of Michele Reese.

Gathered around the table in the chow hall [Photo by NY4I]
Lou KB4DSL (foreground) and Mike K4HN enjoying dinner [Photo by NY4I]
Dinner is served [Photo by NY4I]

Something Old, Something New

As with any Field Day, we always like to try new things. Along with the aforementioned switch to exclusively using the short fire tower, we added the following new items:

  • Use a low-band triplexer to split the resonant OCF for 80, 40 and 20 meters. This allowed us to use one antenna for 80 and 40 (and a bonus of 20) to again limit the numbers of separate antennas that needed to be installed.
  • Tried a 6m diplexer to split the 6m signals from the rest of HF so we could use the HexBeam’s 6 meter capability. This did not end up working very well so next time we will use a standalone 6 meter beam.
  • Sent the section manager Field Day message via WinLink on RF. In year’s past, I sent this via a simplex frequency to Dean W8IM. But this time WinLink worked well.
  • We had FT8 capabilities on 3 of the 4 radios. This gave the operators more options.

The Kids are Alright

The Luria Team [Photo by KO4VVX]
We are not a contest club. As both CARS ands UPARC are general interest ham radio clubs, we like to cater to a wide number of different interests. Training new operators and introducing others to ham radio is one of the tasks we all consider most important. The Luria gang including Josh KO4VVX, Charlotte KO4WNK, Gabe KS4GAB and Miriam (No call yet…yet!) made several contacts grabbing the group youth bonus points by getting on the air. We also had several scouts attend as an introduction.




Fred W2SUB conducted several education sessions at Field Day. The bonus points are awarded for conducting one session but there is lots to share and the new and old members alike enjoy learning the new material.

Fred W2SUB showing the GeoChron to a young visitor [Photo by W2SUB]


So how did we do?

A picture says a thousand words as they say. Here is a graph from our real-time scoreboard system showing the number of QSOs.

We also grabbed the following bonus points (not a complete list):

  • Satelite Contact
  • Natural power QSOs
  • Section Manager message
  • W1AW Field Day Bulletin
  • Educational Session
  • Youth contacts

To everyone that participated, we hope you all had fun. Both clubs are eternally grateful to all the people that put so much effort into making this a great event. We also extend our thanks to the City of Clearwater Fire Department for this gracious hospitality in letting us use this facility. We look forward to Winter Field Day on January 25th and 26th, 2025.


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