Field Day 2020
Location: Washington Monument State Park (Boonsboro, Maryland)
June 27-28, 2020
FD2020 came amidst the virus pandemic and its accompanying restrictions. All Maryland park shelters were closed up until eight days prior to our event. Still, it was a difficult decision individually whether to attend or not. The ARRL permitted home operators to list a common club for reporting purposes, plus class D stations (mains powered at home) were allowed to contact all classes. We cut down a little bit and combined the Three and GOTA stations, and erected fewer antennas than usual. As it turned out, the weather was good enough throughout.
In fact one of us came down with very mild Covid-19 symptoms (confirmed by testing positive) the day after FD, meaning he must have been contagious throughout the weekend. But nobody else from the group acquired any symptoms in the following weeks, although to be on the safe side several of us got tested just to be sure. All negative, but it took 8, 1, 6, and 6 days to get those test results (not particularly useful). Apparently our precautions were sufficient.
Hard to believe, but this was our fiftieth consecutive year for RARC Field Days! Paul made up a commemorative Tee shirt to celebrate; which he (not so) shyly models above.
Our crew arrived Friday afternoon. Above is the assembly of the tribander yagi; the finished product with Victor above right. Victor couldn't be with us over FD weekend sadly because his father suddenly became a silent key.
Paul and Frank use the Potato Launcher to put lines into the trees for the wire antennas. Frank with a bent gin pole we had used to raise Al's Tower and the CL-33 antenna. "Usually that goes on the rocket launcher, but because we thought it might be easier to just use Al's tower, we tried raising the tribander on his tower, Iwo Jima style. The load was so heavy, it bent that Pole, and we weren't sure we were going to get it up. You'll notice from the breakdown photos that Al combined 3 poles to try to strengthen it enough to hold the weight!"
We wanted to permit remote FD operation so that our non-traveling ops could make contacts, but to do that we needed an internet connection. The plan was to put a microwave link between the park shelter and Sid's home. Here Al (safely) climbs Sid's tower to install a suitable link antenna. Unfortunately, after several attempts we couldn't establish the link and remote operation had to be abandoned. You can see why Al is our safety officer!
The lower dipole, Jim's 40m beam... It's hard to pick out the wire antennas in other pictures, so didn't post here. No pics this year of Robert putting up a 50-year-old 80m dipole with a 50+ year old bow and arrow.
Mike hammering nails for his shelter extension tarp; tents set up for later; Paul brings his Model 3 to keep Robert's Model S company (Lee's Model 3 safe at home).
All cw: Robert, top op Bob, Paul
Jim (phone), Al (cw + phone), Mike (phone)
Logan got his GOTA QSO's; Sid and Alan N3IKI (from My Mini Mart in Boonsboro) on 6 meters
We had the four stations spread out to the corners of the shelter, but here N3IC is taking pictures. We each brought our own personal headphones.
N2DA added his 1D points to ours operating at home.
LED arrays make it almost like daytime!
Mike attached a large tarp to extend the shelter so that we could separate amongst ourselves and from the ops; Joel; Frank; We eschewed common food and grilling this year and instead ordered separate meals from a nearby restaurant, or brought our own.
After removing all of the wire antennas, the tribander had to come down. Sort of a reverse Iwo Jima!
We went with three transmitters:
QSO's: 1566 cw/digital x 2 = 3132
Congratulations to Bob, who truly dominates as our top operator! Look at the Operators worksheet in the Logs & Analysis spreadsheet for breakdowns by band, mode, operator, bonus point allocation, pie charts, QSO rates, and more (operator rankings including bonus points differ slightly). The year-to-year comparison worksheet is updated.
--- Results from December 2020 QST ---
This was our highest cw score ever; our highest total QSO-Points score except for 2017; of course, most of the other years were 1A or 2A! See the RARC Home Page and the year-to-year worksheet in the spreadsheet for comparisons.
We scored 3rd out of 366 (99.2 percentile) in the 3A category, which is the highest ranked we've ever been (this was a strange COVID year). We had the high score in the Atlantic Division (DEL, MDC, EPA, WPA, NNY, WNY, SNJ).
(The overall 3A high score was 17,330 -- ours was 9,724)
This doesn't count the total reported scores attributed to AJ1DM and N2DA; QST simply showed these alphabetically.
Here are the 2020 FD Weblog notes. You can open them in the main browser window by clicking this.