I will be participating in Field Day this year with the folks from the Hampden County Radio Assocation ( HCRA ). I’m excited because I will be using my FT-950 as the site’s HF Digital station (Mostly PSK, RTTY). So if you live or will be in the Western Mass area on the 25th and 26th of June and want to see Field Day up close, we’re going to be at Dufresne Recreation Area in Granby, Massachusetts. All are welcomed, licensed or not. Please visit the Field Day page on HCRA’s website. Also check out pictures and data from prior years
For those who don’t know about Field Day, It’s basically an event that takes place on the 4th weekend of June to test emergency communications and it’s deployment. Over 30,000 operators across US try to communicate with as many other field day operators as possible. Points are awarded to operators and/or clubs that make contacts and perform other tasks that would allow for more points ( For example: media coverage, getting Non Hams on the air [GOTA], Copying/fowarding messages). Some Hams treat this as contest even though the ARRL considers it an exercise. Whatever the case may be, it’s really fun and it can get you out of the house.
I’ve participated in Field Day multiple times at multiple hosts over the years. I’ve had a Digital setup back in 2004 and had a blast. I recall being very busy using digital back then, I hope that it’s even more popular this year compared to 2004 and hope to be more busy making contacts all over HF.
What: ARRL Field Day Hosted By the Hampden County Radios Association
When: Saturday, June 25th, at 14:00 (2pm), untill Sunday, June 26th
Where: Dufresne Recreation Area, Granby MA, 01033
Why: Because it’s fun, social and you get to operate all different type of equipment.
At the beginning of the month I participated in the New England QSO Party. This is the first contest that I’ve taken a part of to where I submitted logs. I’ve participated in contests by accident. Meaning that I just happened to be on the air when the contest was going on and thought it would be fun to make some contacts for the log book. The reason I wanted to take part fully in the NEQP is that I’m based out of New England and thought it would be fun to see how well I can do in New England considering I rarely hear New England stations. On Saturday night (May 5th), I’ve spent 5 hours planted on one frequency on 40 meters and started calling CQ. I’ve tuned the 950 so I can filter out most of the QRM and I have to say that I had a really fun time. I thought I would be horrible since I am not running with what I consider the big guns (expensive setups, beams, towers). With my 100w rig and a G5RV dipole I thought I did very well to the point where I was getting pileups. I would have never thought there would be a pileup to contact me. May 6th was not as exciting as the bands were dead (well, for me). However I kept on 40 meters and made an additional 50 contacts with brought the total to 256 X a multiplier of 31 = 7,936 points.
In days since, I received many QSL cards with SASE. Please be patient as I am trying to find a good printer, that is decently price for full color QSL cards. Once I receive them, SASE cards will be sent first followed by those who sent cards and finally, those who I promised a card to. I would also like to thank all the stations that contacted me. Also like to thank the NightWatch Net.
Now for a drink
This contest now brings me to my rant. I don’t like ranting because it causes nothing but trouble. This time I don’t care. During the contest I’ve heard a couple of people referring to me as “these contesters” like it’s a bad thing. I’ve also seen write-ups and videos of hams complaining about “Contesters”. I don’t understand what the big deal is. Oh no! you now have to move a couple khzs because someone is contesting on a frequency that you’ve used since 1909. For a hobby that is so-called “Dying”, I wouldn’t spend time complaining about other ham operators that are actually involved in this “Dying” hobby. Now if they just hopped on the frequency that you’re currently talking to your buddy on (or 1-3 khz near) and starting contesting without checking if it’s a clear frequency and/or calling QRZ, then I can understand. It’s happened to me and it’s just plain rude. But if they’re using proper ham etiquette then let the contesters play. I’m sorry, I can’t sit for hours listening to long-winded hams talk about their setup and the weather. It gets real old, real fast. That is just my 2 cents, I could be wrong!
I used all 4 of these tools to help get my license. In my own opinion, Out of the 4 tools, I say that Ham Radio Study for the android is the best phone app for studying. The application is rather buggy (Don’t rotate your screen!) and there are no diagrams to help with questions that use digrams. The reason why I think it’s the best is that if your trying to brute force the questions and answers into your head, this application will help. It will cycle random questions from the pool and keep asking them until you “Mastered” the question till the point where there are no questions left. That will mean that you learned them all.
Ham test prep (extra) for the iPhone is a paid application and it’s useful. What I like about this application is that you can work at one section at a time or create a practice test with or without random questions. This application also shows diagrams and is pretty useful. Another thing I like is that it tracks and show how well your doing in each subelement group. If they were to incorperate the feature that the “Ham radio study” for android has then It would be the ultimate questions preparation application
For when I am driving around I used the gordon west audio CD. I skipped over the stuff involving math because I find it hard to do algebra while driving on the turnpike. What is great about the CD is that he covers the questions and answers while giving you a general reason why. So he is actually teaching you why instead of learning the answers to the questions.
To mix it up a little bit I also used the eham.net’s practice exams. I knew I was ready when I kept scoring over 80% on these practice exams and the same with any other software/application I used.
Quick thanks to the Western Mass VE Team (WMVET) for their monthly testing. It’s been at the same place for as long as I can remember.
Hopefully that helps and say hello if you happen to catch me in the “EXTRA CLASS” portion of some of the bands.