[CQ-Contest] Field Day is a Joke...

Jon E Hamlet w4zw at juno.com
Tue Jul 1 11:33:17 EDT 1997

Ken, N4UK

Ken, you need to join a different Club if the your Club is into mega
Field Day productions.  Contrast your situation with mine.

After spending five years almost fulltime in Russia, I was home last year
for just a few days that coincided with Field Day weekend.  We had just
bought a house here in SW Florida and I started calling around to find a
local club so I could participate in Field Day.  Remember, this is a
retirement area, and by June all the snowbirds have gone back North.  The
local Club more or less commented that they didn't "do" Field Day.  So,
with their permission to mount an event in their name on one day's
notice, we put together a field day station in the purest sense of a
quick response, on-the-air station.  I managed to beg a few more club
members to come out and operate on Saturday for awhile.  My Father-in-law
and I put up temporary antennas on push up masts, and by the time the
help arrived we were into the contest.  We manged almost 1,000 Q's in 1A
and introduced computer logging and the concept of running and S&Ping to
a few guys. 

The result?  Our Club President made a coffee and donut wager with
another local Club.  They did 680 Q's last year;  this year they did over
2000 Q's, still in 2A.  This year we had a turn out of retirees helping
in every phase.  One member who just lost his eye to cancer was here
putting together antennas and operating the VHF station when he probably
should have been resting at home.  My six year old son kept asking me if
he was a pirate.  Another with a game leg pulled up support ropes and
helped in raising the tribander.  I saw more activity this past weekend
from our club that I've seen all last year.  My eight year old daughter
helped from the start, spent the entire night marking all the sections
with stickers on a giant map as we worked them, and ended the weekend by
asking me if I would help her get her license!

Field Day has always been, and always will be that special magic of ham
radio.  We all remember our firsts.  I vividly remember my first Field
Day as a kid, marvelling at the legendary Super Pro's, Nationals, and
HQ-129's and the clickety-clack of the home made W9TO keyers.   All the
equipment I could only dream about since I owned a home made 6L6 rig.   I
drove my first car and smoked my first cigarette at a Field Day long
before I was old enough to do either.  But the magic is still there.  By
the time my daughter remembers her first Field Day, we'll probably be
discussing bandwidth and nodal QRM, the fairness of robot stations, and
"Cluster Crawlers", but we'll still be remembering... and looking forward
to next one.

Jon, W4ZW

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