Sunday, June 29, 2008

Folow-up on Field Day

Well, it's over. Another Field Day done and put away. The setup takes as much as a whole day before start to get things into place. There are radio positions to determin and folding tables or picnic tables to locate and place. There the antennas to be strung between trees or poles, or where ever the ends of two wires can be attached. Then there is the power sources, usually portable generators, but sometimes batteries or solar panels. Generators need to be placed at a distance for safety and noise interference. Batteries and solar goes close to the radios. And then there's the food and cold drinks. Usually a BBQ is made up with pot-luck dishes brought, cakes and cookies and pies magically show up. Cold drinks - water and a variety of soft drinks - are iced down and set aside in large "Igloo" type coolers. A lot goes into this event. Yes, it's supposed to simulate an emergency, but since it's not, there's no need to be completely primitive.

At the end today, the take apart goes much faster. Most all of the food is gone, a few bottles of water are left, litter is picked up and disposed of, and all that's left is to take down antennas and disconnect radios. It goes much quicker than the set up.

One of the side benefits of participating in Field Day is the earning of points based on how many contacts are made. There is a weighted system of point earnings based on number of persons running a location, number of contacts per frequency used, distance of contact, and a couple of other ways to earn points. What does all this point earning get an individual or club. Nothing tangible, but bragging rights mean a lot to many of the participants. Being able to claim most points is a badge of honor. It lasts until next year, then everyone involved starts over.

However, some of the "Big Guns" always manage to get into the top rankings year after year. "Big Guns" are individuals or clubs who have extensive antennas, high power signal boosters, expensive radios, and a "go-for-the-throat" kind of attitude in making contacts. Some folks stay awake the whole time so they can stay on the radio. They eat sandwiches at the radio, take minimum potty breaks, and drink a lot of coffee. The two clubs I belong to are not Big Guns and have a relaxed attitude toward points. If they get points, fine. If not, oh-well, everyone had fun, and maybe learned something or polished their skills under less than perfect conditions.

So now we anticipate and plan for next year. We look over what went wrong and maybe how to prevent it next year. After all, this is a practice drill for a real emergency and things go wrong and ways to work around them are better found when it's not an emergency.

Well, I managed to stay out until about 01:00CDT. Late for me, but I got to both club locations and engage in a pleasant social intercourse with my fellow Hams. ._._.

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