Field Day 2017 with W5MAG at Mt. Magazine State Park, Arkansas =)

It was a great day to have a Field Day on the highest point in Arkansas =)  My day started out picking up a fellow Ham to take to our local breakfast on Saturday mornings =)    Then driving from his house about 26 miles to breakfast at 9 A.M. CDT at Natural Dam , AR at the Sunshine Cafe on the east side of the ARK-59 Hwy.     There where a few in attendance as for FD, health issues and family events.       We shared previously attended FD’s, local events and projects.

Everyone there finishing up and heading to other places; I headed back to my Ham buddy’s home to drop him off.     Then I decided to head out to FD site with my equipment in two boxes in the passenger’s seat in the truck =)   After about a 45 mile drive to the FD site I checked where and what I was to setup and run.      I dug out the antenna …. ops …. forgot to load the bag of elements for 10 -15 – 30- 20 – 40 -60 – 80 -160 meters ….. but I had a fresh 500 foot spool of #14 ga. insulated house wire for wire antennas ( that was my emergency back – up antenna wire ).     I did have a tape measure; but I did not use it.   I use the old Finger – tip to Finger – tip measurement method ( 18 of these lengths one side = 90 feet and 9 Finger – tip to Finger – tip the other side element = 45 feet ).   I needed about 88 feet on one side and 44 feet on the other side.    I folded back 2 feet on the 90 foot side element and 1 foot on the 45 foot side element side to make 88 feet and 44 feet to attach to the 4:1 balun / feed-line.    I took the MFJ-269 and measured the resonance frequency with the antenna on the ground ( I know everything changes; but it worked in the past ) …. not addition tuning was needed on the antenna on the ground.    I hoisted the antenna 4:1 balun with elements attached into the air about 35 feet ( the club had a crank – up tower on wheels on site.   With the help of the fellow Hams spread and positioned the antenna elements in a more or less North – South orientation on the FD site.   Then I checked the antenna again with the analyzer … 1.2 VSWR at 50 ohms in the air.    Now setup radio and laptop / logging.     Everything was working great without any tuner needed.  I ran 40 meter PSK-31 on 7.070Mhz USB.   At first it was a little touchy as the 40m SSB phone did rarely lock-up my touchpad on my laptop.   I just deal with it as the 20 meter SSB phone did as well.   The 2 meter SSB phone was working in his trailer and mentioned nothing about interference.

I was working along for an hour and decided to start the truck engine to build the battery up ( I was only running 10 watts digital ).     Everything was ok and the battery built up after about 30 minutes running time.    I work another hour and did the same … everything was ok then.     The third time I tried to start the engine on the truck … that awful “Clicking sound” and the engine would not start.    Well I stopped transmitting and and got a jump – start to let the engine run for an hour to see if the battery would recover ….. NOT.    Well that ended my 40m Digital work as there was not enough batteries or power to run my station.   So I just move on over to 40m SSB phone an assisted to let other take a break and rest ( it was already dark as the sun had set.   Everyone’s energy ran out about 4 A.M. Sunday morning.    I got back up from sleeping in the truck for about four hours.   Breakfast was already cooking as I made a YouTube video as everyone worked and cooked a morning meal ( YouTube link: look up YouTube for the preverbal http://     youtube.com/watch?v=zsEhzorNx-c&feature=youtu.be ) as you will have to put the two parts together without the space after the //: to view,

The break down of the station on Sunday was simple and much easier than in previous years.    Then the realization of driving 45 miles home with a dead truck battery in a manual shift truck with three gallons of gas in the tank ( up and down hills ).    I made it back to home town safely.

My first stop was at the local auto parts store for a new cable clamps and a jump start to get to the gas station for gas.     I barely made it to fill up the tank … then a jump start to get home after a battery built – up drive.    The next morning I removed the old dead battery from the truck ( no it never charged up; even with the new clamps and three hours driving to build the battery back up).  Then take dead battery back to the same store I got the clamps to get a replacement battery ……. WOW as I nearly had heart failure at the cost of a new battery … and I did not see gold platting anywhere on the battery.

Every FD is an adventure and FUN !

de N5VMO Pat

 

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