[3830] Field Day 2002 W2GD (+W2CRA) 4A NNJ

John Crovelli w2gd at hotmail.com
Wed Jun 26 01:50:16 EDT 2002

Call:     W2GD (+W2CRA GOTA)
Class:     4A
Power:    150 watts or less
Section:  NNJ
Location:      Hunterdon County Library, Flemington, NJ
Organization:  Cherryville Repeater Association II + FRC
No. of Oprs:   +/- 40

Band	  CW	     SSB	Band Total

80	  426	     563	  989
40	1,006	     986	1,992
20	  971	     750	1,721
15	  259	     526	  785
10	   0	     353	  353
GOTA	   0	     400	  400	(490 QSOS)
6	  205	       6	  211
2	  118	      11	  129
Sat	    1         35	   36
Solar	    0	      10	   10
Totals  2,986      3,630	6,626

Claimed Bonus Points:  	1,400 (all except message relay)

Estimated Final Score:  20,600 points

Current 4A Record:  1998 W3AO 19,366 pts.

Station Descriptions:
80M  Inverted V at 50'       IC765    W2NO, W3BGN, K4PV + others
15M  4 el Cushcraft at 50'
75M  Inverted V at 50'       IC765    K4PV, N3OW, N2ZVY +
10M  4 el Cushcraft at 45'
40M  402CD at 50'          FT1000D    W2RQ, N2NC, K2TW +
20M  204BA at 50'          FT1000D    W2GD, WW2Y, K2TW +
6M   8 el Hygain at 50'               N2OCW, KA2OEE, +
2M   Long John
80/40 Inverted V at 75'      FT757    A cast of dozens!
A4 Triband Beam at 40'
Assorted Bits and Pieces              KB2EBL, N2RV + many others
Items foreign to HF operators :-)     W2CGX


After last year's monsoon that dumped 4+ inches of rain on our site, the
cloudless skies throughout the FD weekend were a welcome change.  No one
seemed to complain much about the high heat and humidity.  We start station 
up on Friday afternoon at 2 p.m. ET.  In just over 4.5 hours there were 5
towers (230 feet of Rohn 25G tower) in the air supporting 6 HF and 2 VHF
antennas.  The evening was capped off with a country picnic of dogs,
burgers, salads, and plenty of liquid refreshment.  Things were progressing
according to plan.

On Saturday morning one of the members drove in with a nearly new 100 foot
crane truck.  We determined the right place to park this attention getter,
quickly assembled the GOTA station's 40' tower + tribander, and then
used the crane to put it in the desired position.  Was that ever easy!  The
crane then made a great center support for the 80/40 inverted V at 75' for 
the remainder of
the weekend.

Sometimes FD planning comes up a little short.  This year the camping
trailer we expected to house the 80/15 and 75/10 stations hadn't arrived by
noon ...and a stop at the home of the owner found no one around. PANIC!
Fortunately with cellular technology we were able to track the owner down, 
make arrangements to get the trailer to the site ASAP.

Then as we started setting up stations, those little pieces that somehow 
get put into the box before leaving home started to become an issue.  No
microphone cable adapters for two rigs were the most serious problem...one
we managed to improvise easily after a quick trip to Radio Shack for parts.
But we didn't have a mic for the 15M station until later Saturday evening.

Then with just minutes to the start we encountered a series of unexpected
laptop problems...the display on one went blank after booting...never to
return...which left us a PC short.  Fortunately a guest op pulled out his
corporate IBM machine and we scrambled to load the logging software.
Another of our laptops complained bitterly about the 90 degree heat and 
humidity.  A
trip into the machine's bios to find the setting that slows down the
processor fixed the problem, but not until nearly a dozen unscheduled
shutdowns had occured during the first few hours....a real run breaker on

With all the problems in the early going the totals after the first
hour were understandably dismal, down 49% compared to 2001.  We had an up 
battle ahead.  But as the hours clicked
by things gradually improved, the rate increased....the temperatures cooled,
delicious chicken faitas with all the fixings were served for dinner, and
some relief operators stopped by the site to put in their time, allowing our
prime ops some limited opportunity for sleep.  By the half-way point the
overall score was up 6.5% compared to the prior year, the GOTA station had
already hosted over a dozen new operators and had 283 contacts logged, the
satellite station crowd had 3 contacts with the best openings still to come,
ten meter phone had yielded twice the contacts logged the previous year, 40
and 20 were "smoking", and our trusty war surplus trailer mounted 10Kw
generator had not lost a beat.

It was a really a perfect night for operating.  The temperature remained in
the mid 60's, there were very few bugs flying into the lights, a nearly full
moon was hanging in the sky, our computer problems had disappeared, none of
the rigs had failed, and the and hourly band by band score readings revealed
a continuing upward trend.  The bands were nearly QRN free (a
rarity)....which contributed to great runs on 80, 75, and 40.  Twenty meters
never closed, and interesting DX like P29, 5R8, ZS6, lots of VKs and ZLs,
etc. called in with regularity to keep things interesting.  And there were
short but frequent sporatic E openings on 6M to keep the operator awake.
Life was good.

The dawn revealed a cloudless sky - with no rain in sight.  Conditions on 80
and 40 were nearly perfect....and the rates were great.  Our 40M operator
was definitely  "in the zone" and would eventually break the 1000 qso
barrier on CW and nearly the same on Phone....an amazing feat.  As the sun
did its job stirring up the ions, 20, 15 and 10 really came to life.  The
last 6 hours flew by, with all stations maintaining above average rates.
And near the end of the operating period, the Satellite crew came up with a
QSO with the Space Station...with half a dozen kids participating...it
doesn't get any better!

As 1800 UTC rolled around, there was an air of anticipation throughout the
site, we all sensed the numbers were good, but we didn't know how good.
Within the next 30 minutes the scoring spreadsheet was updated....and it
became clear this had been a record year.  Our overall score was up over
15%, our best effort since we started operating in the 4A class nearly 20
years ago.  It was not until the next day that we realized the old 4A record
set by the PVRC gang at W3AO in '98 had been surpassed by over 1000 points.

Teardown of the site came off without incident.  We had a sufficient influx
of fresh personnel to safely drop our six towers and get everything loaded
back up on the club's tractor trailer.

The Cherryville Repeater Association II is a LOCAL CLUB the provides
communications services at numerous non-profit organization events
throughout the year.  Members of the Frankford Radio Club have assisted CRA
on an informal basis by providing operator talent for the last 20 years.

Everyone involved felt the addition of the GOTA station format was a huge
success.  It gave the potential hams and less experienced operators a chance
to experience the thrill of HF communications.

See everyone next year.

73, John W2GD
FD Co-Chairperson

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