As usual, we had a great time during Field Day 2016. There was food, drinks, people, VIP’s and other visitors – including some from other clubs that dropped by to chat with us (and one or two helped us operate the radios!). We were visited by local Police, the City Manager, a City Councilman, and the City Emergency Operations Director.
We began our 2016 Field Day experience the day before, hanging up a new halyard off of the side of the Civic Center. We planned to use our shack location at the Madison Civic Center because our shack is a designated Emergency Operations Center (alternate) for the City of Madison, in the event of a catastrophic disaster. Off of the halyard, we were able to raise the end of our multi-band dipole antenna, enabling comms on 80m/40m and we also placed a fan dipole into an inverted “V” configuration in an adjacent tree, which enabled us to comm on 20m, 15m, and 10m. After getting setup the following day, two additional antennas were used, a “Super Antenna” provided by one of our members and a make-shift 80m dipole was crafted our of a roll of staple wire for a copying machine. Matched with a balun, this “staple wire” antenna proved to be very useful in making 80m contacts.
Throughout the day, operators were utilizing various radios to make contacts on the HF bands, along with operators on VHF and UHF. Working in shifts, operators were able to make a variety of contacts along with testing various configurations between the multiple radios and antennas.
On the outside of the building, we had a public relations table setup with a demonstration of radio operations. Operators were actively making contact on these stations as well as handing out information pertaining to ham radio and the ARRL. During the operations outside, a brief educational period was held, discussing antenna feedlines and matching the impedance of the antennas vs. an unbalanced feedline.
Saturday afternoon, our VEC John Holstein and the CCARC VE Team gave a scheduled exam session through the ARRL at nearby Madison Volunteer Fire Department where candidates tested to obtain their licenses and current hams tested to upgrade their existing licenses.
Overall, we had a pleasant experience. We met some new friends, had a good laugh or two. We engaged in a lot of amateur radio discussion and rubbed elbows with some of the city officials. Our capabilities are strong and our membership was strengthened through the camaraderie. We hope to be involved in Field Day 2017 and look forward to hearing you on the air!
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