Sunday, May 31, 2015

Field Day Rising

For those of us in North America, the ARRL Field Day event is right around the corner.  It's my favorite event of the year and the one for which I spend the most time preparing.  Most hams I know who participate do so as part of a club but, with one exception, I've been doing a solo effort for a number of years.  Class 1B Battery is a fun way to participate and allows for an enjoyable day of operating without the roar (or if you're lucky, purr) of a generator in the background.

I've traditionally set up for operation using the antennas I normally use for field operations - ground mounted verticals, end fed wires, and small doublets.  I've found that these just aren't very successful during the Saturday operations but seem to work fine starting Sunday morning once the "big gun" stations have all worked each other.  Unfortunately, that reduces the 24 hours of Field Day down to maybe 6-8 hours of operations.

This year I've decided to try something a bit different to expand my operating time and I plan to use a full size 80/40 meter coax-fed fan dipole.  I hope to also be able to operate on 15 meters via the third harmonic of the 40 meter section.  I'll erect the antenna using a 24 foot painter's pole for the center support and a combination of 20 foot and 12 foot crappie poles at each end.  For 20 meters, I'll put up a full size Buddipole vertical.  Although we're on the down slope of the current solar cycle, I'll occasionally check 10 meters and will quickly reconfigure the Buddipole as a full size vertical for that band if it opens up.

I know there are those who will think I should just put up a single 80 meter dipole fed with ladder line and a tuner for all band coverage, but I've always been intrigued with the idea of a fan dipole ever since I saw an FDIM presentation by L.B. Cebik about his top five backyard multi-band wire antennas.  Here's a LINK to the presentation.  I built the antenna a couple of years ago using the original center tee from my Buddipole but haven't put it to serious use since.  This year will be the test and I'm hoping it allows me to operate for as much of the 24 hours as I'm able to stay awake. LOL

I hope your Field Day plans are in progress and that we'll end up in each other's logs in about a month.  Please feel free to post comments about your planned operations and we can all learn from one another.

72, Jim - K0RGI