Field Day 2012 once again found me in Brunswick and working over the weekend, so I operated 1C (one transceiver, mobile) from the mobile station. Even though I only operated for a total of 3 hours during the weekend and only put 25 stations in the log, I still had fun. For the reader not familiar with my mobile station, it consists of a Yaesu FT-897 transceiver, an LDG AT-897 antenna tuner, and an Opek HVT-400B antenna. It isn’t very efficient on 80 Meters, gets the job done on 40 Meters, and doesn’t do too badly on 20-10 Meters.
After I woke up on Saturday afternoon (I work midnight shifts) I dropped by the Logan’s Roadhouse at Exit 38 off of I-95 for some lunch then headed out to Jekyll Island to operate. I found a nice shady spot near the beach at the Great Dunes Park parking lot and got on the air around 3pm. Between the shade of the trees and a nice breeze off of the beach operating conditions weren’t too bad. Propagation didn’t seem to be very good; there was a lot of fading even mid-conversation during the short Field Day exchanges. 20 Meters had the best propagation but was jam packed so with relatively inefficient antenna (compared to wire antennas, etc.) it was somewhat difficult to get through. Operating later in the day instead of just after Field Day opened likely would have yielded better results but I did put 15 stations in the log between 20 and 15 Meters. I also checked 10 Meters a couple of times but I didn’t hear anything. States logged were California, Ohio, Oklahoma, Maryland, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Texas, Vermont, and Virginia as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. I also logged the Canadian province Ontario.
After work on Sunday morning, I operated for about an hour between 6:30-7:30am before going to bed. Less band congestion and better propagation allowed me to put 10 more stations in the log off of 40 and 20 Meters. States logged were Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York. North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia along with the Candian province Nova Scotia. Although they weren’t coming in at levels strong enough for me to work with the mobile antenna, I could hear stations on 40 Meters from Colorado to California; I’ve no doubt that if I had been at a normal Field Day site or at home I could have logged some of the west coast stations. Sunday morning was a good time to be on the air for Field Day!
Over the years, I’ve come to enjoy operating a Field Day station early on Sunday morning more than early in the weekend. The bands usually aren’t nearly as crowded, there’s less of a contest atmosphere, and exchanges, for lack of a better term, are friendlier. The late night and early Sunday morning hours seem to be the domain of those operating more for the fun of it as opposed to those working to rack up a high score.
Just as during the Museum Ships on the Air weekend a couple of weeks ago, the words of the weekend were patience and perseverance. Operating as a C-class station you have to realize that you’re at a bit of a disadvantage to everyone else except QRP stations. You have to exercise patience to keep on answering QRZ and CQ calls. You’ve got to persevere; you’re probably not going to be answered on your first call (or second, third, or maybe fourth!) but if you keep trying you’ll get through. I’m not suggesting that you stop operating at a club field day site at all, but if you find yourself unable to, don’t let it keep you from participating in Field Day. Set up a mobile station and get on the air for a bit, you’ll enjoy it!