My local club, the Valley of the Moon Amateur Radio Club (W6AJF), operated from Sonoma Skypark once again. It was an interesting outing in that we had to overcome multiple issues before things started to roll for us. This made the exercise a good practice run for solving problems on the fly in the field like one might experience in real emergency.
Here’s a wide angle shot of our operations. Three transmitters, each with its own shade. The tower closest to the camera is the club’s new tower trailer which we recently completed. There’s a wire sloper off that tower. In the distance to the right you can see a military surplus tower.
Carl (N6TTV) operates while Darrel (WD6BOR) and Dave (KD6FIL) look on.
Yes, we operate at an airport, on the edge of a vineyard in Sonoma wine country. Here’s a view of one of the operating stations from the field.
Leray (K7GTE) from Tempe, Arizona was visiting the area and inquired about being able to join our effort. He not only helped operate the radios but he also helped with guard duty overnight by sleeping onsite in his camper.
We had some issues with the battery attached to this radio. At random times the radio would just shut off. The battery consistently showed 12+ volts, even under load. Eventually we did detect a significant voltage drop right at the moment the radio died again. We were able to scrounge one of the spare batteries laying about that lasted through the remainder of Field Day.
Mike (WB6TMH) operating the club Kenwood TS-590 radio. At the start of Field Day this radio was dead as a doornail. Dave (KD6FIL) did a full factory reset on it and things were much better then.
At the start of Field Day conditions were also pretty bad, particularly on the higher bands. It wasn’t until around dinner time that things seemed to settle down and we started to be able to get some rate going.
As usual, the club hosted a potluck dinner on Saturday evening. Plenty of food and drinks to go around. This time we had the opportunity to eat in the Sonoma Skypark clubhouse.
Ed (W1EJ) operates CW at one of the stations after sundown by lamp light. Without these lights it would be impossible to type accurately.
Here are all three stations being operated after dusk on Saturday night. We shut the stations down around 11:00 PM and restarted early Sunday morning. We stopped operating at 11:00 AM Sunday and started to dismantle the stations.
In the end we worked around 350 contacts. Although a bit lower than previous efforts, given the adverse conditions at the start of Field Day and the problems encountered and overcome it was a success. And as always it was fun as well.