Help everybod and welcome back to my blog! Today we will be enjoying a guest post from Ken Bush, KB5YBI. Ken take it away…
Hello Everyone This is KB5YBI, My name is Ken Bush and I am the American Radio Relay League appointed Emergency Coordinator for Amateur Radio in Johnson County. Curtis asked for someone to write a short blog about Field Day 2015 and I appreciate the offer and will try to give you a feel for what we experienced this year.
I have been involved in Amateur radio for 22 years and been to several different Field Day operations with various clubs and groups over the years. This included small clubs, large clubs, and several in between. They have all provided learning opportunities and fun times with various setups and operations.
This year the Amateur Radio Emergency Services (A.R.E.S.) team from Johnson County chose to conduct their own Field Day operation rather than combining with one of the larger clubs. We built several wire antennas and used one of the dual band VHF/UHF J-pole antennas we built last year as well as one homemade 220 antenna provided by one of the team members. We also had a professional built Tri-Band Beam antenna and a 2 meter beam installed horizontally for side band operations provided by two of the members. We chose to hold our event at the Alvarado Old Settlers and Reunion Grounds.
The Wire antennas the team built were used on 80, 40, 20, and 10 meters and the beam was used on 40, 20, and 10 meters as well. We had 7 licensed operators that conducted operations on 4 stations and 3 unlicensed operators that we were able to share the experience with via the GOTA or Get On The Air Station which is used for operators licensed since last field and unlicensed visitors that might be interested in getting their license. One of our 7 operators qualified for GOTA operations and then we helped 3 youth operators with the GOTA operations. We made a total of 279 contacts all across the county and Canada. 75 of the contacts were made by the GOTA operations.
This being the first year for the A.R.E.S. Team to hold their own event made it a trial by fire operation which actually went very well since all of the operators had participated with other groups over the years. I thought the idea of building our own antennas would help some of the team members who had never done so gain more insight and knowledge about how to do so and encourage involvement for a neat aspect. We had several work days the month leading up to Field Day in which various members met at the Johnson County EOC to build antennas, check coax and install connectors. This turned out to be more time consuming than I first thought and we wound up finishing the final tuning and cutting of the antennas Saturday morning before the event started. We did not start operating until about 130 in the afternoon due to completing this tuning and setup. We used two aluminum tripod pole setups, one temporary 30 foot tower set up and then hung one antenna from a light pole and tied the ends off on two others. This gave us a totally improvised temporary setup to simulate what we would actually have to do in a real emergency situation. None of us visited the site prior to the event so we had to decide where to set and how to orientate the antennas and radios once we got there. This again was the best simulation we could conduct of a real emergency where we would not know until the last minute where we would be needed or where we would set up at. The setup proved effective and we all had a fun time during the event. We were not the biggest, strongest, most efficient setup operating for field day but we successfully proved that we could set up and operate pretty much any where at any time and provide the emergency communications needed in the event of a real disaster.
I consider the event a total success and would like to encourage everyone to mark the calendars for the last full weekend of June in 2016 and plan on being involved next year. Now that we have antennas built the preparations will be a little less time consuming but we still intend to look at the set up and see where we can improve and grow.
I would also like to offer my personal thanks to all the members who helped make the event successful by either building antennas, providing coax, radios, antennas, various supplies, time, talent, labor for setting up and tearing down, and including working with the youth at the GOTA station and operating during the event. . Jay WB5UDA, Matt KY5O, Jason W5NEC Brad K5NHR, Richard, KG5DDX, Steve KY5M, Jim K5JMC, Matt’s son Colten, my son Isaac and Edder K5HRA’s son Erik. We also had several visitors that we appreciated stopping by. I also want to thank the committee of the Reunion Grounds for allowing us to use the grounds and Billy WA5OPZ of the Johnson County Amateur Radio Club for the use of a motor home for restroom needs and the Johnson County Office of Emergency Management for the use of their command trailer and generators as a radio station and sleeping quarters for myself and my son so that we could spend the night on sight in the air conditioning instead of my tent.
Thank you to Curtis K5CLM for maintaining this blog and allowing me the opportunity to share the teams experience with you.
73, de KB5YBI
Thanks everybody for coming and check out my blog! I would also like to extend a great big thank you to Ken for witting a post for me?’! Please following me on Facebook, and follow me twitter, google+ and LinkedIn. Links to all are on the top right corne of the screen! P