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CFARC FD Update- Meeting Notes

posted May 17, 2020, 8:59 AM by Cuyahoga Falls ARC   [ updated May 17, 2020, 9:02 AM ]

Notes from latest CFARC FD Meeting from Radio Officer Frank, W8EZT- 
Here's a detailed summary of the 5/14/2020 Field Day Planning meeting from my notes. Your comments, corrections and suggestions are encouraged.

We started with a review of the two-pronged approach to Field Day that the Club would take this year
    1) To designate a Club member to operate a station with the W8VPV call sign,
    2) To encourage (and support with online training) all Club members to set up and operate Field Day from home, using their own call sign.

A third idea was also briefly examined, the possibility that 3 or more Club members might live within a 1000 foot diameter circle and per Field Day rules, could set up temporary antennas and operate under emergency power as a A class station under the W8VPV call.  There was no significant interest in this approach so that idea was dropped.

1) The W8VPV call sign

Previously, it had become clear that there was a strong desire to keep the Club call sign in the ARRL Field Day records in despite the corona situation. To that end, we decided to designate one ham to operate Field Day using the Club call, hopefully being able to operate as a 1E (emergency power) entry. At the last meeting, one of our members volunteered, but to be fair, we asked for other members to e-mail Pat or me if they were interested in operating as W8VPV for the weekend. No other members announced their interest.  We then selected the member who volunteered at the previous meeting. More on that near the end of this summary.

During the discussion, we decided to develop a list of one or more back up stations, stations that could step in and operate as W8VPV in case the designated station is unable to get on the air. My understanding of the Field Day rules indicates the final decision would have to be made before the first Field Day contact is made under either the W8VPV call or the call sign of the backup station. A station can not change its call sign during Field Day.

If you are willing to be a backup W8VPV station, please e-mail me (w8ezt@att.net). We have one volunteer (N8OQP), but with the unpredictability of the current situation, it would be good to have a second or third backup. We suggest that volunteer backup stations have previous contesting or Field Day experience, that they have a General or higher license, that they have an HF radio and antenna, and are willing to make a good faith effort to make Field Day contacts and submit their results to the ARRL. This decision will be made at the next Field Day meeting.

2) Encourage Club members to operate Field Day

Our second goal is to encourage all our members to get set up and operate for at least a little bit during Field Day weekend. To that end, Anthony Luscre, K8ZT is putting together a presentation for our May Fellowship meeting titled "Field Day in Social Distancing". You can preview it at tiny.cc/fdsd . Realizing that some of our members may be limited to Technician frequencies or that they may not have an HF radio or antenna, special emphasis will be given to offering ideas and techniques as to how they can effectively get on the air and enjoy the Field Day experience. With a large number of area Clubs not doing Field Day this year, I would imagine there will be a lot of VHF activity this year.

Traditionally, the Club has thanked the member volunteers who have participated in or provided resources for our Field Day operation by providing them with the official ARRL Field Day pin. Since becoming a 501(c)(3) corporation, this is technically the return of a portion of their annual Club dues. A proposal was made to provide Field Day pins as an incentive for members to operate during Field Day and to submit their results to the ARRL. Cost per pin will be about $4.30, based on a $6 per pin retail cost, adding postage, and applying my 30 percent ARRL discount.

Another suggestion was made to offer a tangible prize (perhaps a $50 DXE gift certificate) to the member who either earned a significant achievement (such as the highest points, the longest contact, the most modes operated, and so on.) or perhaps even randomly among the members who submitted Field Day logs. Both suggestions received opposition due to budget concerns. Since we did not have the Spring Hamfest, and we will probably not be having a fall Tailgate Hamfest this year there was concern that our budget could not afford this expenditure. I then volunteered to organize a group pin purchase for Club members wishing to purchase their own pins, sharing shipping costs and using my 30% discount. An update from the Treasurer showed a comfortable Club balance, but a final decision was deferred until the next Field Day meeting.

Subsequent to this meeting, Vince, AC8XO, notified me pins were only $2!  I confirmed this price late Friday. Unfortunately, this was a Friday only price, and when I went to order 20 of them Saturday morning, the price was back up to $6 per pin. Anthony (and the ARRL) also alerted me to the one day sale also, but I didn't see the e-mails until Saturday.

Our designated W8VPV Operator

As far as the W8VPV operator, Evan Cihlar, KE8GMF, volunteered to operate Field Day as W8VPV during the previous meeting. No other members volunteered so Evan was selected. We still need to confirm with his parents that they are ok with this. Interestingly, when he volunteered, he was a Technician, but by the time of this meeting, he had taken the General test online, by an ARRL sanctioned VE organization, and had earned his General class license! Congratulations Evan!  He has just purchased a Hustler 6BTV vertical and is installing it with a large radial field in his back yard. The Club is committed to supporting him in any way we can to enhance the W8VPV score, however, several issues still need to be addressed, we need a small generator so he can operate 1E, I also understand that his HF radio is old enough that it does not have a computer interface, so we may have to come up with a solution to that. We expect to have solutions in place to all problems at least 2 weeks before Field Day, so he has time to get familiar and comfortable with operating the equipment. As a 1E station, he also qualifies for several bonus points, including the youth operator bonus (Happy Birthday Evan, he just turned 18 on May 14). These will be discussed at the next Field Day meeting.

Due to celebrating his birthday, Evan was unable to attend this meeting, but Pat provided him with an audio copy of it.  The following is a partial extract of his response to Pat and I:

I (and my parents) would be more than happy to have club members come out and operate for an hour or two...  it would give me a break and make it feel more like field day.  I would prefer to keep that open for technicians especially since this is really their only time to get on the HF bands, but anyone is welcome. I’m planning on setting up a tent or something similar for field day to get outside - making it easier to run off of the generator, and also allowing people to operate. I can supply sanitizers to make people feel more comfortable, although to avoid too large of gatherings, I would prefer no more than 2 people come at one time. We can discuss this further if you’d like. I’m honored to be granted permission of using the VPV call...  it means a lot especially since I’ll be going off to college (although I’m 10000% planning on coming back for field day...  maybe even winter depending on when it is). 
I plan on having all of my equipment set up by this Sunday/Monday... a group of guys from 28.337 that have also been helping me throughout all of this will be coming out to assist me this weekend. 

I plan on having everything set up the second to last week in June and running a few test hours (possibly a day depending on work) to make sure everything works properly.  As of now, these are the only materials I’ll need from the club:

1. (Possibly) an antenna tuner... depending on how well my antenna performs (I’m hoping I won’t need one) I may need an antenna tuner if I can’t secure one by field day.
2. (Not 100% necessary, but would ease 1-man operation) a radio that has a computer interface. My radio doesn’t have one since it’s from ‘88. I’m familiar with M1MM logging, as I’ve been to I think three field days so far.
3. A paddle (if anyone wants to operate CW) for CW operation, although those wishing to do CW could always bring their own.
4. Generator 

Thanks and 73,
Evan, KE8GMF

The Field Day committee will do what it can to provide the items he listed above. Regarding visitors and guest operators, whatever Evan decides is between himself, his parents, and the member(s) involved. Officially, the Field Day committee discourages any activity that may help to spread the virus.


Several decisions need to be made at the next Field Day meeting.  They include:
A list of back up stations willing and able to operate using the Club call sign in the event the primary station can not get on the air. Deciding whether the Club would provide Field Day pins for member participants
Deciding whether the Club would offer a tangible prize for Field Day [participation
Deciding on what awards the Club will offer members
Discussing what resources members can offer to Evan to help with this effort.

and lastly,

The next Field Day Planning meeting is set for Sunday, May 24 at 2 pm. While this is Memorial day weekend, we expect the meeting to be short, with most issues already discussed and simply needing a vote. The decisions will be announced during the May fellowship meeting and Zoom presentation by Anthony, K8ZT, on Wednesday, May 27 at 7:30.

That's all from my notes. Have a good weekend & 73!

 - Frank, W8EZT