We're getting the ball rolling on Field Day, Wilson has posted a message looking for 15 meter captain. As always those who were captains last year may step up again, or ask someone else to captain a station. A band captain essentially takes on coordinating a station for a particular mode, and one or two frequency bands (i.e. 20meter CW, 40 and 15 meter phone, etc.). They do not have to do all of the work, just see to it that the station is up and running, that all contacts are logged, and that the logs get turned into the FD coordinator at the close of Field Day. So anyone wanting to be a band captain, let me know the bands and modes of interest. Our first step will then be how many separate stations will be running for our classification.
Another matter we will have to discuss- Blackwood Farm is available again this year. However, it will be the last year in which we can use that field. After July 2012, it is slated to become a community garden, breaking that hard ground will be a chore. So another matter we will have to bring up is where we will work Field Day. Do we work the same site again this year which is familiar to all of us? If so, good, I have the application and we can start planning right away.
Do we go to another site this year? If we do, surveying has to start immediately! Absolutely for 2013 and beyond, we will have to work another location. BTW- other areas of Blackwood Farm would still be available to us.
What do we look for in a Field Day site? From my experience over the years, there are several factors which will please the majority of attendees. No one site will be perfect in all aspects for everybody, but basically what we need are:
Space- Enough room to spread out the stations, allowing full deployment of large antennas, and to minimize coupling of signals.
Terrain- A mix of open space, trees, and level non-paved ground. This is the best terrain to allow deployment of a mix of towers, long wires, and self supporting antennas. Soft level ground is best for easily affixing and removing anchors for both antenna systems and tents. Also, soft ground is best for grounding systems. For these reasons, parking lots are not suitable.
Safety- A big one, there should be no overhead power lines near the fall zone of any antenna systems. Parking and foot traffic should not be along a high-speed road. Setting up in an area prone to flooding would also not be good practice.
Public Exposure- The site should be relatively visible to passersby and allow ready access and visitor parking.
Non-Residential Area- The site should be far enough away from occupied homes that we do not create a disturbance. We don't want a Sheriff's Deputy showing up because our generators are keeping a home owner up at 2:00am.
Aesthetics- Some FD participants like to camp out as part of the experience, hence parks, landscaped private property or such would fit the bill. I know I wouldn't want to spend 48 hours in a parking garage.
Cost- Free is always best, next best is a reasonable use fee if both clubs agree to it. We used to use Orange County Board of Ed properties until they changed their policies. Essentially they went from a reasonable flat fee of around $25 to an hourly rate that would have cost hundreds of dollars for 2 days. We went elsewhere.
Reasonable Use Rules- Site should not have any restrictions on antennas, overnight activity, cooking on site or other onerous rules that would impact operations.
Okay, that's a lot to chew on, we'll start discussing and agreeing to location and number of stations, from there we'll start filling in the details.
Dave Snyder, W4SAR
OCRA/DFMA Field Day Coordinator