2021 Winter Field Day
2021-01-31 Well, it's over! for me it was over yesterday late afternoon as I had other commitments last evening and today. but it was fun anyway. My main objective was just to do it! The hand full of contacts were more than enough to "prove" that I could set up the rigs and antenna, survive the cold and make contacts. And two ham friends stopped by to rag chew and drink hot chocolate and wonder about a guy who would sit in an unheated garage freezing his buns! I used two antennas: a DIY 20 meter 1/4 wave vertical and a QRPGuys EFHW. It was a total success from my perspective.
The pictures show my x5105 QRP rig (not shown is my G90 which I also used), the 20ft carbon fiber mast that supported both antennas, the tie off of the vertical to the mast and the loop supporting the center of the inverted vee to the mast. The last one is of my DIY drive-on/stand alone support for the mast and the 30/40 meter loading coil for my DIY 20 meter 1/4 wave vertical antenna. Everything performed as I expected it to. I use all of these when I activate POTA parks as well so no surprises.
2021-01-27 A year ago I participated for the first time in Winter Field day 2020. It was a lot of fun. My interest in "outdoor" Ham Radio has been spurred on by getting involved in POTA, Parks On The Air this past summer and fall. So I've decided to have a go at Winter field Day 2021. With the mild fall this year I was hoping this year would be less cold. But alas, just this week winter decided to arrive with five inches of snow two days ago and coldest overnight and day time temperatures of the year so far! And more snow and cold is predicted for this coming weekend as well. But in good faith, and pretending to be courageous, I started preparing earlier this week.
Using my QRP POTA kit I put up my EFHW antenna using the garage door to support one end and the porch railing to support the other with my 20 ft carbon fiber fishing rod in the center forming a awkward inverted vee. a short piece of RG-174 coax connected the antenna and my Xiegu x5105 sitting on my garage work bench.
Donning gloves and with my coat collar up around my neck and stocking hat, I tuned around on 40 meters, settling on 7.053 and called CQ. The result was two solid SKCC contacts within about ten minutes.. Good signal reports both ways. My mind was made up, I'm doing Winter Field Day this weekend. I may only be on the air an hour or so but I'll be there.
Still need to decide whether to use the x5105 QRP or my Xiegu G90, 20 watt rig. The G90 is a bit more involved to set up but not much. I've used both for POTA and know they both perform so we'll see. Also, for Christmas my son gave me a popup ice fishing hut specifically to use in activating POTA parks. Until the five inches of snow covered my yard I was planning to set up in that. But I really don't want to tramp through the snow and set it up on/in the snow. I know I'd freeze! As a compromise I may set it up in the garage! We'll see.
Finally, today I set up a new Off Center Fed Dipole (OCD) in my driveway. It worked well, so there is another antenna option. Now I have to decided between my trusty EFHW, an equally trusty 20 meter 1/4 wave vertical with loading coils for 30 and 20 meters, and now this OCD antenna! Decisions, decisions, decisions!