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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. Last year 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.

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 5 Watt 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 2022

KEY TIMES 2022

Friday, 6/24
  Setup: 8am-8pm
Saturday, 6/25
  Final Setup: 8am-2pm
  Operation: 2pm-Midnight
Sunday, 6/26
  Operation: Midnight-2pm
  Break Down: 2pm -

MEALS ***
Friday, 6/24
  Lunch: 11am
  Potluck Dinner: 6pm
Saturday, 6/25
  Dinner: 5pm
Sunday, 6/26
  Breakfast: 9am

*** Times Approximate
*** Check Details Below

OVERVIEW

This year we are back to "live" Field Day (see site map below). But there are several important differences. First, it will be a hybrid operation. This means that we'll again be operating from the wonderful Lamb properties, but will have a home component like last year. People who have not been vaccinated for Covid or are afraid of exposure with multiple people can, and are encouraged to, work from their own house. Another difference is that our major goal is to have fun and make it interesting for new hams. We will pay less attention to trying to be one of the highest scoring operations in the nation. In that vein, we will be operating at up to 100 Watts instead of our traditional 5 Watt (QRP) limit. This should make it easier for us to be heard (and thus less frustrating as when remote stations couldn't hear our low power signals). We will also be operating fewer stations with the hope of staffing the ones we do run for a larger percentage of the 24 hour operating period.

Please Note: At the request of the OCRA and DMFA Boards and of the family hosting us on their property, only Covid Vacinnated people may attend.

Many other things should work as they have in past "live" years. The actual operation (contest) will run from 2pm, Saturday, June 25th thru 2pm, Sunday June 26th. Most setup will be done during the day on Friday, June 24th (there will be some time Saturday morning, but it's best to plan to finish on Friday,) Friday's schedule will culminate in a Pot Luck Dinner. This is a great social event with spouses or SOs invited. Our host, Wilson, W4BOH, will cook some pork butts, but the rest is up to you. John, KM4MDR, is coordinating the Pot Luck to make sure that everybody doesn't bring the same thing and will see that sufficient chairs, tables, etc. are available. This dinner will be in the great HAM tradition" of "Have Another Meal".

Food Details

Person who have participated in past Field Days with us will find it very familiar. The Friday Pot Luck has already been described above. Click here to see a PDF of John's email requesting your information.

The other food components are the meals available during actual Field Day operation on Saturday and Sunday. The goal here is to provide simple nourishment without distracting too much from keeping the stations active and logging contacts. So about 5pm Saturday we'll have the grill going with hamburger, hotdogs, etc. And, Sunday, aound 9am we'll use the grill to cook pancakes, sausage, eggs, etc. In contrast to the Pot Luck, there'll be a $5 charge for each meal. Not only that. To make it possible to buy the correct amound of food without having too much, you have to sign up for the meals in advance. As with the Pot Luck, there has been mail with details on the OCRA-DFMA@groups.io reflector which includes telling you how to sign up. Click here to see a copy of this mail.

Note that beverages will be handled differently this year. We are asking people to bring their own water bottle or similar container and to fill up with water from a dispenser in the garage. Similarly, we will also cut back on canned soda and ask people to fill up their own container from a Gatorade jug in the garage. (Of course, if you have special needs or tastes, please feel free to bring your own beverages and coolers.) It is as important as ever to stay hydrated.

More

Field Day 2022 site map showing 2018 station layout - Fewer Stations This Year
3117 Moorefields Rd, Hillsborough, NC 27278 (36.04, 79.14)
Artwork: W4SAR

I was reviewing the rules for Field Day, and I found that only the "Alpha" class stations qualify for having a "Free" VHF/UHF station, that does not add to the station count.

Since we are running as Delta class this year, the VHF/UHF station in the barn will have to be counted in the total of operating stations.

So we have:
1) 40/20 Digital Station in Garage
2) 80/20 SSB Station in Garage
3) All-bands CW in MCU
4) 40/15 SSB in Joe's Trailer
5) 10 Meter SSB/15 Meter Digital in Barn
6) All modes VHF in Barn

Unless we conjure up an additional CW station, with enough personnel to man it, it looks like we stand as a 6D or "Six Delta" operation this year.
73, Dave, W4SAR

Site Rules

This is an edited version of the Field Day site rules I had posted in previous years. Wilson, may add anything he feels in necessary. Dave, W4SAR
+++++++++++++++++++++++
We have been privileged in being allowed to use the Lamb Family's property for Field Day since 2014.

To stay in the good graces of our generous hosts, and to assure the enjoyment of the use of the site by all of us, please heed the following rules:

- Vehicles may be driven onto the field to offload only. Please park your vehicles on the shoulder of Dimmock's Mill Road, and get all of your wheels off the pavement. If your vehicle is your sleeping quarters, it may remain by your shelter. Be aware that there will be several "no drive zones." A septic field, and an area with low hanging antenna radials. I will mark these off with surveyor's flagging tape.

- No alcohol during set up or operations. Drinking is okay at the Pot Luck, but do so in moderation. After all most of you will be driving home.

- Be sure to ask for any help with heavy labor. By the same token, be willing to help others. Do be available to help the crews in placement of ground rods and power drops at your site.

- When lifting towers or shooting lines into the trees, use spotters to keep personnel clear of the fall zone. Crews must follow the directions of the lead spotter.

- Bring more rope, coaxial cables and batteries than you think you'll need!

- Do not pick flowers, cut wood or do any damage to the landscape.

- All trash is to be secured and disposed of properly, please leave the site cleaner than you find it.

- Take especial care to remove any metal from the ground as you leave, such as grounding rods, tent pegs, etc.

- Though children are welcome at the site, they must behave appropriately and remain in the charge of a responsible adult. Band Captains are not to be treated as babysitters, they'll be too busy operating.

- Disruptive behavior by anyone, adult or child, will not be tolerated and such persons will be ejected from the site.

- In the event of hazardous weather, heed the directions of the safety officer, disconnect feed lines, shelter in vehicles or in buildings until the all-clear is given.

- All hands needed for tear down on Sunday, we'll be tired, and though gravity will help , we want to lower everything in a safe and controlled manner.
73, Dave, W4SAR

OCRA-DFMA Field Day 2021

The communal Field Day activity for 2021 has been canceled due to the pandemic. Operators are encouraged to work from home and to pool scores as OCRA-DFMA. If you need any assistance, you are encouraged to seek help. Bruce, N1LN, is generating a list of home operations and also recording requests for assistance or loan of equipment. Note that some participants are willing to invite an additional operator to their home operation. See the OCRA-DFMA@groups.io mailing list for more information or as a place to ask questions of the local ham community.

OCRA-DFMA Field Day 2020

The communal Field Day activity for 2020 has been canceled due to the pandemic. Operators are encouraged to work from home and to pool scores as OCRA-DFMA.

KEY TIMES 2019

Friday, 6/21
  Setup: 8am-8pm
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
  Potluck Dinner: 6pm
Saturday, 6/22
  Dinner: 5pm
Sunday 6/23
  Breakfast: 9am

*** Check Details Below

OCRA-DFMA Field Day 2019

Field Day 2019

We will use Callsign: W4EZ
We will again be a 9A operation, meaning a club sponsor, 9 HF stations, using only battery power for transmitters, 5Watts maximum output.

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

For us our info is: W4EZ 9A NC

Stations and Band Captains:
- 80/40/20/15 CW in the MCU, Bruce N1LN Captain - three transmitters using three towers.
- 80M SSB in the W3AHL motor home, Steve W3AHL Captain - two 75M dipoles.
- 40/15M SSB in K4SAR camper, Joe K4SAR Captain - 3 element 40M wire beam and 3 element 15M beam on portable tower.
- 20M SSB in W4ORD camper, Lad W4ORD Captain - tower mounted beam.
- 10m SSB in barn, Dave NA4VY Captain - Moxon beam
- 40/20M Digital Operation in garage (accessible), Dave W4SAR & Sherri WB4OSU - two transmitters using PSK-31 and FT-8.
- 6M VHF in barn, Doug KA5ETS - all mode.
- Satellite Contact, Dan KR4UB & Bill N8BR.

Field Day site showing past layout: 3117 Moorefields Rd, Hillsborough, NC 27278 (36.04, 79.14)
Artwork: W4SAR

Logging: N1MM freeware logging program, a wireless network to merge all input into one master log is planned.

Some personnel: Safety Officer- W4SAR; Public Information Table: KU4GC; Pot-luck coordinator: KM4MDR; Field Canteen Coordinator: Jean (KR4UB XYL); Network: W3AHL; N1MM Logger consultant: N1LN; Overall Coordinator: W4SAR;

Volunteers needed to provide relief operators, loggers, field canteen assistance, various other jobs throughout the 3 days of operation.


73 Dave, W4SAR

Field Day 2019 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 - \85, 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\92t 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 started in 2015 is 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!). Bottled water and soft drinks will be provided. [Click here] to see (and possibly print out) John's Flyer about the Potluck Dinner.

Saturday:

  1. You are on your own for breakfast and lunch.
  2. Dinner at about 5:00pm. We will fire up the grill and provide hamburgers, hot dogs, veggie burgers, etc. This is all you can eat and costs $5 per person. (This charge and similar charge for Sunday, pays for the food plus the general supply of soft drinks and bottled water for the whole three day event. Any surplus will, by tradition, go to the OCRA treasury.) This year we are strongly encouraging people to sign up and pay in advance for the Saturday dinner and Sunday breakfast. While we expect to have some extra, there is not guarantee that there will be enough.

Sunday:

  1. Breakfast/Brunch at about 9:am. We will again use the grill to provide pancakes, sausage (and a veggie version), maple syrup, juice, etc. Again, this is all you can eat and costs $5 per person.

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

73, 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, very heavy batteries, 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 cooler stocked full of water and soft drinks, 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\92s flags. At night, guy lines at risk should be marked with \93glow sticks\94.
  • When moving batteries, don\92t be shy about asking for help.
  • All battery terminals should be shielded to avoid short circuits.
  • 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 a solid structure or your vehicle.
  • Report any injuries immediately.

73\96 Dave W4SAR