Field Day, N7FKI, 2016
w7zoi, 2July2016, edit on 11July16
Saturday, June 25:
The annual ARRL Field Day (FD) has always been a favorite
operating activity for me. I favor FD operations that are
truly remote, trips that combine backpacking with amateur
radio. These kinds of treks are, however,
becoming more difficult. Not only are my kids
(hiking partners) pretty busy with their own activities, but I'm
getting older, generating a limit on the places we might go.
My good friend Bob, N7FKI, has a more civilized take on
portable operation. His approach to a good FD junket
is to drive to a scenic location and erect an antenna that can be
used while operating in the driver's seat of his car.
He may also succumb to using a nearby picnic table, if available.
Bob and I have done numerous FD operations, but
always from one of many local parks or school yard.
This year, we decided to drive to Mt. Hood and see what would
happen from the parking area there. We still have
some plans for mountain hikes with the rigs, perhaps for a SOTA
We headed out with the goal of arriving at Mt. Hood's Timeline
Lodge at the official 11 AM FD set-up time. The
parking lot is about a 1 1/2 hour drive from our house in
Beaverton, OR. We made it with time to spare and
proceeded to set up a vertical antenna. It was
attached to a cement barrier at the edge of the parking
This photo shows Bob installing the vertical. Some
woodworking clamps were used to hold the 17 ft whip in place for
use on the 20 meter band. Only four radials were
used. We made a few contacts on 20 Meter SSB,
and a few more on CW. However, it was difficult
at the beginning of the event with just 10
watts. Conditions were less than ideal with a
Sunspot count of 0. (Yea, zero!)
We decided to abandon the vertical and operation from the car in
favor of a new location in a nearby meadow. The
site was close to the edge of the parking lot. It was just
enough over a hill that we still had a view of the mountain, but
saw none of the sea of cars.
is the shady stand of trees where we set up
is the view that we saw from our operating
site. It's been quite a few years since
I've seen the weather that clear on Mt. Hood.
We set up a 20 meter half wave dipole in a tree close to our
operating position. The dipole immediately
seemed much more effective than the vertical, even when only 20
feet or so above ground.
photo--tnx Bob) This shot shows our operating "table," a
folding chair that Bob found in his car trunk. The rig
was a Ten Tec Argonaut-6 powered by a 7 Amp-Hr 12 volt SLA
battery. The other items are a homebrew transmatch and
an electronic keyer in a plastic box. We ran the
rig at the 10 watt limit. Both 20 Meter CW and SSB seemed to
be effective, providing us with numerous contacts all over North
America. We finally ended our N7FKI-FD operation
when we were greeted by a chilly albeit refreshing breeze.
Sunday, June 26:
I awoke on Sunday morning, still wanting to be on the
air. The end of FD on Sunday is always a
productive and fun period so I set up a portable rig and ran in
the "1E" class with emergency power, using my own call.
The setup is shown below.
This little 1 Watt CW transceiver with battery
power provided another dozen contacts before the FD event ended.
As always, I came away with a desire for more Field Day, or at
least some more portable activity. There is always
next year.... Many thanks to Bob for
a really enjoyable Field Day.