This year I participated in Field Day with the Hampden County Radio Association. Instead of dropping by a site and using their equipment, I decided to offer up my equipment for use as the “HF DIGITAL” station. Other than a couple of software issues, the Digital station was a success with over 170 contacts.
Here are the pictures I’ve taken from Field Day
Check out Hampden County Radio Association’s Website for information about Field Day.
I started my field day activities earlier in the week by prepping the computer for digital. HCRA wanted to use N1MM’s Logging software for field day. I’ve only used N1MM’s software one time before for the New England QSO party and never used it for digital. After some reading I’ve learned that Digital can be done with N1MM using the engines from MMTTY and FLDIGI. I Figured having digital and the rig controlled with N1MM that it would save a lot of time logging contacts.
On Thursday night I packed most of the Non Critical items like my tent, chairs, camping gear, etc.. I saved the electronics for Friday morning , just in case someone decided to break into the vehicles on my street.
On Friday I’ve packed the rest of my truck and went to a lunch that was planned at a resturant just down the street from my house. After lunch we went to the field day site and planned for what and where things will go on Saturday. I Also got a chance to set up my tent and camping gear.
Later that night the Western Mass VE team held a session in which I took part of (My first VE session as an examiner). I learned a lot about the VE process that night (Thanks to Jim, KK1W) and got to correct some tests. That night there were 3 new hams and a tech that upgraded to general. One of the new hams traveled over 2 hours to take the test. After the session, back to the FD site for pizza and drinks!
Saturday started later than was expected. But we managed to get all the towers erected and all of the stations operational for the start time of Field day. At the Digital station I had a real hard time using N1MM with the engines (core) of FLDIGI, Mostly to do with FLDIGI (I think) and not N1MM. I am also not sure if it was entirely FLdigi or the operator. I’ve used FLdigi in the past but I do all of my PSK using Ham Radio Deluxe’s DM780.With N1MM and fldigi I could not adjust the waterfall window to view a bigger (taller) fall and when you click on a signal it doesn’t give what was being sent before clicking on signal which is annoying. I am not sure if they are sending out CQ or replying to a station. So now I am wasting time sitting there looking at someone else’s QSO. We ended up using DM780 as the PSK software and run N1MM as the logger. It was a bit of a pain because we had to check the contact in N1MM to then switch back to DM780 to make the contact and then back to N1MM to enter the exchange. There was also issues with N1MM when it came to multiple CW stations using the networked N1MM as the keyer. However I was really impressed that you can see other stations activity at real-time and all the stations were logging to a master DB. I hope that N1MM works on the digital aspect of its software to include support for either MixW or DM780. I would really like to see DM780 integrated into N1MM but I know that a fat chance because DM780 is part of Ham Radio Deluxe which uses its own log book.
Overall I had a great time even with the lack of sleep (used to it). The digital station managed to get around 170 contacts which from what I was told is the digital record for HCRA. I know for a fact that we could have almost doubled that count if we were more dedicated to digital. My wishlist for next year would be a larger, Higher multi-band beam and either DM780 working inside of N1MM or using Ham Radio Deluxe with its logger and DM780 so I would be able to tell if I already worked the station I clicked on.