I wanted to provide an update to all club members on our progress related to Field Day 2017. We had our second field-day meeting yesterday at the Nashua Public Library. I’m pleased to report that we have selected the Hollis Brookline High School for a 2nd year as our site. Paperwork has been submitted to the school seeking formal approval.
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:
- 10/15/80m SSB
- 20m SSB
- 40m SSB
- 10/15/80m CW
- 20m CW
- 40m CW
- 6m VHF
- 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.