Field Day at the Homestead
a true Staycation FD
N5MTA Club Station, ARRL Field Day 2016
The Hill Country Mountain Toppers Association (HCMTA) operated from the Leander Homestead as a Staycation ARRL Field Day event this year. The club callsign, N5MTA, was used for the event. It is located about 10 miles West of Austin, TX in the Texas Hill Country. K5PA and XYL AD5HP operated Class 1B. We operated a single ham station setup.
The primary objectives are to hone skills to meet the challenges of emergency preparedness and to test our abilities using Amateur Radio. Each Field Day we seem to ask ourselves the recurring question, "What did we forget to bring this year?"
Antenna Installations and Ops
The antenna was a new 132 foot, End Fed Long Wire (EFLW) that had resonances on most ham bands above 80m. The antenna was hung from 2 portable masts and attached to one tree. The antenna was setup the evening prior to the start of the event in keeping with the rules.
Logging and Connectivity
The stations logged all contacts using N1MM+ Logger. N1MM makes multiple ops very simple to input QSO's and check for duplicates. It also provides continual scoring.
Here is a portion of our official entry submitted to ARRL/FD. Total Claim Score = 656.
The N5MTA callsign worked ok. Using phonetics, November 5 Mike Tango Alpha was good. Sometimes changed the N to Norway. There were many November (N) prefixes on the air that made it easy.
I still misclassified us as a 2B. We were only one transmitter so really we should have sent 1B in the exchange. We were still STX. The score submittal was corrected to 1B.
The N1MM+ logger worked flawlessly. Setup the N5MTA with no issues. I did not think to add the macros for CW Field Day until Sunday. Should have done so on the setup.
The EFLW, 132 feet long, worked well and was very similar to the 40m vertical on stateside signals. However, we still had some RF feedback due to being an end fed. Could have used a choke balun at the antenna to better affect the feedback. I should also have grounded the shield at the antenna mast. The wire was there, hanging at the base, but no connected to ground. My mistake. Next time connect to ground!
We chose to setup the radios in the house and ran fresh coax to the outside. This worked well.
I would have like to run the max power for the class which would have been 150W. Next year perhaps with the K5PA500 amp. But would need to have resonance antennas to work best.
My alternate antenna was the Alpha Delta dipole (fan) and I would have like to check that out in advance. That may be better to use next year. Resonant, covers bands of interest.
Field Day 2016 was a lot of fun and we look forward to next year.
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