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Durham FM Association

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OCRA-DFMA Field Day

W3AHL & N1LN connect a beam
to a push-up mast, Field Day 2016
Picture KU4GC

Sunset, Field Day 2013
Picture KU4GC
 

History

Since 2009, OCRA and the DFMA have joined forces to produce a combined Field Day operation. Field Day is an annual, national, emergency preparedness and communications exercise. It is essentially framed as a contest where radio contacts with other stations across the country earn points. The results of this collaboration have been spectacular. A few years ago we earned the #2 spot in the nation. In the previous three years, we came in third. This is out of well over 2500 entries. Since the Covid Pandemic, we've changed our operating model some and now include home stations. We have also changed from QRP (5 watts max) to 100 watts and now use commercial power where in the past we were wholly battery powerd.

Field Day also has many educational and social components. It gives new hams an opportunity to operate in the HF bands in the presence of much more experienced hams. The setup and use of high-quality antenna systems demonstrates how even with only limited transmitter power, it is possible to communicate across the country. Socially, hams get to know other hams in a setting rather different from the monthly meetings. Excellent food rounds out the experience.

OCRA-DFMA Field Day 2024

KEY TIMES 2024

Friday, 6/21
  Setup: 9am-6pm
Saturday, 6/22
  Final Setup: 8am-2pm
  Operation: 2pm-Midnight
Sunday 6/23
  Operation: Midnight-2pm
  Break Down: 2pm -

MEALS ***
Friday, 6/21
  Lunch: 11am
      (for the setup crew)
  Potluck Dinner: 6pm
Saturday, 6/22
  Dinner: 5pm
Sunday 6/23
  Breakfast: 9am

*** Times are approximate *** Check Details Below

Field Day 2024

We will use Callsign: W4EZ
We will be a 5D operation, meaning a "home station", 5 HF stations, using commercial power for transmitters, and 100 Watts maximum output.

Exchange for a complete contact is call sign, class of operation , and ARRL/RAC section.

For us our info is: W4EZ 5D NC (voice: whisky 4 echo zulu, 5 delta, november charlie)

Stations and Band Captains:
- All band CW in the MCU, Wilson W4BOH Captain
- 40/15M SSB in K4SAR camper, Joe K4SAR Captain
- All band Digital FT-8, PSK-31 in garage (accessible), Dave W4SAR Captain
- 20/80 SSB band in garage (accessible), Jack KM4MBG Captain
- 10M & 6M VHF in barn, Paul N2XZF and Dave NA4VY Captains

Logging: N3FJP logging program (W4SAR holds the license for W4#Z). It will be installed on all of the logging laptops at the site and will be ready for Field Day 2024.

Some personnel: Safety Officer- W4SAR; Education (Baofeng Programming): KU4GC; Pot-luck coordinator: KM4MDR; Overall Coordinator: W4SAR;

Volunteers needed to provide relief operators, loggers, field canteen assistance, various other jobs throughout the 3 days of operation. Signup lists have been mailed to the email reflector so you can sign up for operating slots.

Field Day site: 3117 Moorefields Rd, Hillsborough, NC 27278 (36.04 N, 79.14 W)
(Showing past layout; Operation is smaller this year with only 5 stations)
Artwork: W4SAR

73 Dave, W4SAR

Field Day 2024 Logistics

I wanted to update everyone on the upcoming OCRA/DFMA Field Day activities. Most of this has been covered at the last DFMA and OCRA meetings. Much of the traffic with regards to Field Day takes place on the OCRA-DFMA email reflector. (OCRA-DFMA.groups.io)

The basic Field Day consists of:
1. Setup: 8am-6pm Friday, 6/21
2. Final Setup: 8am-2pm Saturday, 6/22
3. Operation: 2pm Saturday 6/22 through 2pm Sunday 6/23
4. Break Down/Clean Up: 2pm - …, Sunday 6/23

All hams are welcome to participate in as much or as little as is desired. All are welcome to chip in. If you don’t have much time, at least drop by and see this impressive operation put on by our clubs.

Some important comments on food and drink. The potluck dinner initiated in 2015 is still going strong!

Friday:

  1. John, KM4MDR will provide lunch around 11:00 for the benefit of people doing setup work Friday morning. Thank you John!
  2. Potluck Dinner at about 6:00pm. Wilson, W4BOH, will smoke Boston Butts for all who sign up for the associated Potluck Dinner. This means you should sign up and be willing to bring something. (Wilson needs a count to do his part.) If you plan to attend, send email to John, KM4MDR, who is coordinating this dinner (jsboone at msn dot com). Let us know you are coming (your name and call), what you are bringing and how many are coming in your party (spouses are invited!). Water and Gatorade will be provided. You may, of course, bring you own beverage (but provide your own cooler if needed).

Saturday:

  1. You are on your own for breakfast and lunch.
  2. Dinner at about 5:00pm. Dave W4SAR - will provide pizzas for the Saturday dinner.

Sunday:

  1. Breakfast/Brunch at about 9:am. We will use the grills to provide pancakes, sausage (and a veggie version), maple syrup, scrambled eggs, uice, etc. The food for this is being donated by Dee, KU4GC with fresh(!) eggs donated by Peter Lamb, KM4DMU.

Drink: Just to repeat the message imbedded in the text above. There will be water and free Gatorade available during the whole three day event. It is important that you stay hydrated, especially since we're slated to have a very hot weekend, as we often do this time of year.

73, David, W4SAR and Dee, KU4GC

Safety Guidelines for Field Day

We will be operating in the open in a rural setting. We will be dealing not only with outdoor concerns, but also dealing with electricity, RF energy, power cords, and pointy pieces of metal. So to keep it safe, please mind the following guidelines:

  • Be prepared for any kind of weather, our Field Days have had anything from muggy, oppressively hot days to chilly nights. Bring adequate clothing for the conditions.
  • Watch out for each other, and be alert for the signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. If someone is feeling nauseated, feels faint, seems slow to respond or is not responding appropriately to questions, or feels chills when it is hot, that can be heat exhaustion. Get them into a cool place and have them rest and drink fluids under observation until they recover, and urinate at least twice. If they FLUSH RED AND STOP SWEATING, that is a red flag for heat stroke, cool them down immediately by any means externally - ice packs, cold water- and call 911, this is a dangerous condition.
  • Shelter is very important, a large tent or an elevated tarp will protect you and your equipment from direct sun and rain.
  • Stay hydrated! We will have a bottomless supply of water and pots of Gatorade, indulge yourself!
  • Be aware that the brush lines may have Poison Ivy, watch where you step. Ticks and mosquitoes are a couple of the unlikeable examples of wildlife you will run into. Use a good quality insect repellant containing DEET to keep them off. Be sure to wipe any DEET off the insides of your hands as it dissolves some plastics, and you might etch your fingerprints into your microphone.
  • When raising antennas, first off, be sure you have adequate help. If you are stacking metal, helmets and gloves should be worn. If shooting pilot lines with a bow and arrow, have a spotter to keep the target area clear of personnel.
  • All guy lines and feed lines should be clearly marked with fluorescent flagging tape or surveyor’s flags. At night, guy lines at risk should be marked with “glow sticks”.
  • When moving heavy stuff, don’t be shy about asking for help.
  • All wiring harnesses must be fused. All stations will be securely connected to grounding rods.
  • Band Captains are urged to keep both a fire extinguisher and a first aid kit at their operating position.
  • In the event of an approaching electrical storm, shut down the station and disconnect the feedlines. If lightning, high winds, hail or other hazards are approaching, most likely the best option is to take shelter in the garage or your vehicle.
  • Report any injuries immediately.

73– Dave W4SAR