Last night I set up and participated in the John Moyle Field Day contest.
I have done many JMFD before as well as set up lots of portable stations. I thought I had seen it all.
I had some family obligations to attend to mid-contest so I chose a location nearby. The neighbouring suburbs scout hall car park looked big enough.
I checked on Google Earth before heading there and worked the best direction for a 160m dipole to fit in.
Once there I set about getting a rope in the tree to hang the balun for 160m from. It took a few tries but I got the rope up about 15 metres. I ran out off time and didn’t get a second rope up for my trapped dipole but I would be back later to finish setting up.
I got back to the site about an hour before I planned to be on air. I threw a second rope up about the same height in a different part of the tree and then started running out the 160m dipole.
I got the 160m dipole up and was just starting on the trapped dipole when the rain started. Really heavy rain followed by lightning and thunder. I sat in my car for 15 minutes while the worst of the weather passed and then got the 80m, 40m & 20m trapped dipole in the air.
This was my first field day set up since I changed car from a station wagon to a sedan. I sure missed the wagon when I was setting up. There is so much room in a wagon.
I set the FT7 up in the passenger seat with the SWR meter and the UTC clock on the dashboard. The UTC clock had lost its battery during the short trip and I had to reset the time. Turns out it was 2 minutes slow and my first 20 log entries were at the wrong time. I fixed the clock at the turn of the hour and fixed the log when I got home.
With the FT7 on the passenger seat I set the sometimes faulty FT757GX on the seat as well. I planned to use the FT757GX only for 160m. However when I turned the FT757GX on it failed. The display was full of 8s and it wouldn’t respond to any inputs. The front panel has an intermittent fault and today, of all days, it has happened again. So that means no 160m I was mildly annoyed as I had spent between 1 and 1 1/2 hours putting up the 160m antenna for no reason now.
I worked the contest on my FT7 and stopped twice to go off and collect children from their part time jobs.
I made over half my contacts on 40m with almost all the others on 80m. The bands were very noisy because of the electrical storms and this made 80m really tough to get contacts on.
My final tally of contacts was way down on last year so I don’t hold out much hope for a place this year.
I have sent my log off and now will just wait.
Next year I will try and get back to the mountain and run a VHF/UHF station instead of the HF.
When I find my camera I will takes some photos of the car set-up and add them here.