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© Copyright 2017-2018
Durham FM Association Inc.

Durham FM Association

POBox 2411 - Durham, NC 27715

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

Sunset, Field Day 2013
Picture courtesy of KU4GC


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. For the past two years, we have come in third in the nation of over 2500 entries. We have been in the top ten several years before that.

Field Day also has many educational and social components. It gives new hams and 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.


Friday, 6/23
  Setup: 8am-8pm
Saturday, 6/24
  Final Setup: 8am-2pm
  Operation: 2pm-Midnight
Sunday 6/25
  Operation: Midnight-2pm
  Break Down: 2pm -

Friday, 6/23
  Lunch: 11am
  Potluck Dinner: 6pm
Saturday, 6/24
  Dinner: 5pm
Sunday 6/25
  Breakfast: 9am

*** Check Details Below

OCRA-DFMA Field Day 2017

[Click Here] for Map & Directions,

Field Day 2017 Update

We will use Callsign: W4EZ
At this time, we will 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 planned:
80/40/20/15 CW in the MCU, (three transmitters), the CW gang
40M Digital in barn W4SAR
20M Digital, in barn, WB4OSU

80M Phone, in RV W3AHL
40/15M Phone, in camper KV7D/K4SAR
20M Phone , in camper W4ORD
10m Phone, in barn NA4VY

VHF- open
Satellite- W4FS

2017 Field Day site: W4BOH qth, 3117 Moorefields Rd, Hillsborough, NC 27278 (36.04, 79.14)
Artwork courtesy of W4SAR

Logging: N1MM freeware logging program, a wireless network will merge all input into one master log

Some personnel: Safety Officer- W4SAR; Public Information Table: W4MKR; Pot-luck coordinator: KM4MDR; Field Canteen Coordinator: W4ORD; 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 2017 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 NCOCRA email reflector. (NCOCRA@yahoogroups.com) Many DFMA members already follow that. It is particularly convenient for joint activities. As stated in The Link and at DFMA meetings, this reflector is for DFMA use as well.

The basic Field Day consists of:
1. Setup: 8am-8pm Friday, 6/23
2. Final Setup: 8am-2pm Saturday, 6/24
3. Operation: 2pm Saturday 6/24 through 2pm Sunday 6/25
4. Break Down/Clean Up: 2pm - …, Sunday 6/25

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 started in 2015 is back!


  1. As he did last year. Skip, WB4P will provide two trays of sandwiches at about 11:00 for the benefit of people doing setup work Friday morning.
  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 (km4mdr at yahoo 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.


  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.) You do not have to give advance notice of your intention to eat with us Saturday or 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 de Dee, KU4GC

Preliminary Plans (3/2/17)

2017 Field Day site: W4BOH qth, 3117 Moorefields Rd, Hillsborough, NC 27278 (36.04, 79.14)
Artwork courtesy of W4SAR

We are a little under 4 months from Field Day 2017, so we need to start our initial planning.

Of course, some things will be the same, OCRA and the DFMA will run a joint operation. The Lamb Family once again will be hosting the location, we will again run an “Alpha Battery” club operation. That means transmitted output will be no greater than 5 Watts, all transceivers will be on on battery power. How many stations we run will need to be determined, returning band captains get the “right of first refusal”, and then we can fill slots for non-returnees as well as welcome some trying something new. We do get 100 bonus points for each HF station on emergency power.

Now for some of the changes:

Food Fear not, we will still be eating well! However, after many years of hard work and excellent service, Dee KU4GC and M.K. W4MKR are bowing out of running our field canteen. They are willing to give advice but no longer wish to do the heavy lifting. I believe a committee needs to be formed right away to carry on the planning and staffing of our field canteen. This will be to provide two meals during Field Day operations, a Saturday dinner and a Sunday Breakfast, as well as have water , soft drinks and snacks available throughout the weekend. John KM4MDR has volunteered to coordinate the huge potluck which is held on that Friday night, which is one of the two largest social events we hold each year (the Holiday Dinner being the other). If you have an interest in working on the committee, let us know!

Logging The other change will be in how we will be logging results. In the past , we had used several different logging programs with a ADIF output capability. The output was never completely compatible, so not all of the logs would integrate into the master log. This meant many hours of editing and formatting had to be done by me to pull a master log together. The CW operators have been using the N1MM freeware logger, which allows multiple computers to simultaneously make log entries via a wireless connection. I asked if this capability could be extended across the whole Field Day site, and it can be done. If the entire Field Day operation enters into one master log, my work in preparing our FD submission will be much easier. You would also be able to watch the results for the entire operation in real time. This means that all logging computers must have wireless capability. Also, all of us will have to learn how to use the N1MM software. Bruce, N1LN has agreed to give a tutorial at an upcoming meeting, I am looking forward to that.

Bonus Points One reason our closest competitor in California keeps beating us, is that they strongly pursue all the bonus points they can get. Some members in the past have taken on various bonus activities. I strongly recommend that we put together a bonus point committee to help coordinate these activities, and explore ways to get even more points added without overburdening anyone.

As always, I eagerly anticipate our operation. We have a corps of dedicated, technically gifted amateurs, who enjoy each other’s company, I can’t wait to see what we come up with this year!

73– Dave W4SAR

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’s flags. At night, guy lines at risk should be marked with “glow sticks”.
  • When moving batteries, don’t 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– Dave W4SAR