This year I participated in Winter Field Day 2022 with some wonderful club members from W8LT.
We arrived at the local state park on Friday, 28th January, 2022. Originally, we wanted to arrive on Friday and set up the radios and antennas, but we ended up getting the fire set-up, eating dinner, and socializing. Chris (
KE8TQQ) brought his RV, which served to keep us warm (it was freezing), generate power, and provide sleeping spaces for those of us who stayed the night.
Keeping warm was extremely important since the temperatures were in the single digits during the night and mid-teens in daytime – without factoring in the wind chill! All of us ended up wearing multiple layers of clothing just to keep warm & toasty.
Saturday morning we started the day with a delicious breakfast of eggs & bacon cooked over the campfire. We then grabbed two picnic tables to form an “L” shape near the RV for setting up the radio equipment and antennas. We used my EFHW8010 and MP1/Super Antenna, along with Nate’s (
KE8PIW) Buddipole, which we placed on top of the RV.
We strung the EFHW8010 up between two trees about 70 feet, it was a bit difficult to securely lodge it in the trees so it would stay tight enough and off the ground – but we did it with help from the club faculty advisor Larry (
K8HTC)!! Thankfully, the feedline we brought was long enough to run from the tables to the end-fed hook up.
The MP1 / Super Antenna was set up on the ground away from the EFHW8010, but near some other trees and we used a feeline back to the tables.
For the Radios we had a handful! I brought my Yaesu FT-857D set up with a MFJ-949E tuner connected to the EFHW8010 and the MP1. Nate brought along his ICOM 7100 that we hooked up to an automatic tuner which connected to the Buddipole set up on the roof of the RV.
During set up Chris took the opportunity to start a giant pot of homemade chili which was finished just in time for us to complete set up and dig it! It really kept us warm on the inside and filled our bellies!
Once lunch was over Chris disconnected us from the campsites main power line and flipped on the generator.
We were in business!
The competition started at 2:00 PM (EST / UTC-5).
Once the clock on our phones hit 2:00 PM, Nate and I started in on responding to folks calling “CQ Winter Field Day”.
For several hours we ran through as many contacts as we could make. Primarily starting out on 20m and 40m. We eventually had to switch my MP1 to 15m, so Nate could operate on 20m or 40m using the buddipole, otherwise we were on harmonics and kept interfering with each other.
Many contacts were made throughout the day with us stopping at various points to eat chili (there was a lot!) and to warm up. My best investment was a balaclava to keep my face and head warm.
Here is me near the start of the competition all bundled up and making contacts!
Throughout the day we took many breaks to warm up, and even got the fire going much better than the night before.
During most of Saturday, we had many visitors! Many alumns and other members of the club stopped by for a short while. There were probably at least 4 folks who stopped by to see our operation with a few jumping in to participate in the action!
Logging-wise, Nate and I rotated between the laptop and the paper logbook while recording contacts. It was a bit difficult to record on the paper logbook since it was set up for regular logs and not so much for Winter Field Day, but we made it happen.
Operations ran late in to the night with us taking a break to socialize. We were up until 1 AM!
On Sunday, we woke up surprisingly early considering how late we were up, but we unpacked the radios after we had packed them up the night before so they wouldn’t sit out.
Contacts came pouring in, and we even had luck with several DX stations on 20m and 15m. Nate made contact with Czech Republic and I pulled in Italy, Northern Ireland, and Spain! Unfortunately, we don’t get bonus points for working DX stations, but for us, operating with our equipment quickly set up, we were impressed and excited!
Another notable contact was
N3FJP! The creator of some of the most popular logging software for amateur radio!
2:00 PM rolled around on Sunday, and we wrapped up the contest. Radios and antennas were soon packed up and we put everything away in roughly an hour. I was worried we would have trouble getting the EFHW8010 out of the tree that, but it came down surprisingly easily and without getting stuck!
We said our goodbyes and headed home.
We might have had only 94 contacts in N3FJP, but hey, we had a blast hanging out, socializing, and just being outside doing ham radio.