Wow, six meters was wide open this morning to Europe. I started playing on CW, but the signals were so steady that I decided to go to JT65 so I could see where I was being heard. I have included a pskreporter.info map filtered for my station for the previous 6 hours. The snapshot was taken at 2016-06-13 at 18:05 UTC. Beam was between 45 and 60 degrees. The USA stations were all off the back of a 3 element Yagi. Running 70 watts. The rig was my Flex-5000.
The ARRL VHF contest this weekend also had great openings, primarily state side, although I did work an EA8.
We got up to some great news this morning. The Nashua Area Radio Club is once again Number 1Field Day!!
We are the Top Club in our Category (7A) for 2016 with a final score of 9,292. The next closest club was W6TRW with a score of 5,610. You can see all the 2016 results on the ARRL score page. For a more detailed breakdown of our score for 2016, check out our Field Day page.
Congratulations to everyone who helped to make our 2016 operation a success! Also, a special thank you to our planning team –
We certainly have many great memories from our 2016 Operation. I spent some time today looking at the photos from our 2016 Operation and the video from our 2016 Operation again. I picked out some photos to share here –
Our setup was well planned and the execution was top-notch!
Many folks in our club pulled together to build our setup and we operated hard during Field Day.
We also helped to introduce folks to Amateur Radio via our GOTA Station.
It’s fun to think about all the great things that went on during Field Day this year.
Our 2016 Highlights Video
Looking forward to our 2017 Field Day operation!!!
Now that a site has been identified, formal station planning has begun. Once again, we will be operating this year as a 7 Alpha, which means we will have 7-transmitters, plus a GOTA and a Satellite station. We will setup the following stations:
A Digital Station
A “Get on the Air” GOTA Station
Satellite Station with computer-controlled Azimuth / Elevation rotor
A VHF/UHF “talk-in” station
As there are many new members in the group, I wanted to take a minute to explain the complexities of this type of setup. Operating so many transmitters in close proximity is a recipe for disaster unless proper precautions are made. We must do this right so all the stations will be able to operate without interference to one another. If we don’t, it would be very easy to have de-sense or worse case physical front-end damage to a receiver where it would require repair.
To combat these issues, we are going to erect 3 towers this year, each separated by about 300-feet. Each of them will have a tri-band HF beam antenna directed to the southwest and pointed perpendicular to the axis of the towers. In addition, we will be using a device called a triplexer to separate the single antenna feed coming from the tribanders into individual 10m, 15m and 20m feeds to the radios. Each of these feeds will be further protected with a band-specific Band Pass Filter (BPF). This will allow 3 separate radios to transmit and receive simultaneously over a single antenna.
There will be several new concepts introduced this year, including the addition of a Wi-Fi Mesh LAN environment to connect all the sites computers together. This LAN will provide shared internet access as well through a 4G cellular connection.
We will be running the N1MM logger in network mode this year as well. This will allow for real-time tracking of our combined score, with a “dashboard” being available in the public information tent.
Another new concept will be a remote radio setup. Given the layout of the Hollis Brookline site, the third tower will be located remotely on a lower field. Although it’s still within the 1,000’ transmitter perimeter allowed by ARRL, the third tower will be quite isolated. We have decided to place two Flex Radio’s at the third tower for our GOTA and Digital operations. The operators will connect to these radios over the Wi-Fi Mesh network, allowing them to be anywhere on-site. The user interface for the GOTA station will be a Flex Maestro controller, which emulates a traditional “knob and button” radio.
Our primary objective is to make sure there is something for everyone. We want to be inclusionary, and give anyone that’s interested an opportunity to participate.
We have established a regular bi-weekly planning meeting at the Nashua Public library. Generally, the meetings are held on Sunday’s from 1 – 3 PM. However, the next meeting will be on Saturday, April 8th from 12 – 2 PM due to lack of availability of facilities on Sunday. We will resume the normal schedule on Sunday, April 23rd from 1-3PM.
I will be sharing additional details at club meetings and through N1FD.ORG as things progress.
As Field Day 2017 approaches, Dave, N1RF; Mike, K1WVO, Don, KC1CRK and I got together to assemble and test two of the Yagi’s that we are planning to use for Field Day this year.
I’ve contributed a new 6m Yagi for Field Day this year – an M2 Antenna Systems 6M5XHP. This antenna has 5 elements on an 18 ft boom. This antenna is fairly lightweight for its size and performs great – perfect for Field Day.
We installed it on two tower sections (20 ft) of so that we could properly adjust its tuning.
We found that we could adjust the antenna’s driven element and hairpin match for the best SWR performance with the tower tilted over and the antenna on its side. We got nearly the same SWR performance this way as we saw with the tower and antenna tilted up 20 ft off the ground.
After several adjustments with the tower up and down, we finally came up with an SWR curve that looked good.
The club purchased a WRTC tower and Triband Yagi a little while back and this Field Day will be the first time that we’ve had a chance to use this combination. We found that the phasing system and feed point for the WRTC Tribander had been misplaced so we made a replacement for these parts and we wanted to test the WRTC Tribander’s performance with the new parts.
After a quick check of the WRTC Tribander’s SWR performance with the tower tilted over, we stood the tower up and measured its SWR performance on 10m, 15m, and 20m.
The antenna’s SWR performance with its new phasing lines and feed point looked great on all three bands!
We ended the day by disassembling the two Yagi’s and taking down the tower. With this project done, we’ll be working on a falling derrick system for our third tower for Field Day.
A big Thank You! to Dave, Mike, and Don for helping with this project. It was a lot of fun!