K5PA & AD5HP & 2 Grandkids (Mason & Landon)
N5MTA Club Station, ARRL Field Day 2017
The Hill Country Mountain Toppers Association (HCMTA) operated from Leander, Texas this year. Our STEM club callsign, N5MTA, was used for the event. K5PA and XYL AD5HP and 2 grandkids, Landon and Mason, operated Class 1D. The goal for this FD was to initiate these grandsons into the makings of a Field Day (FD) activity. It was not meaningful to try to perform at a personal best level or to create more contacts to similarly equipped stations in our category. If we were able to expose them to FD for the first time, it would be deemed a success. Below is our QSL card for our club station, N5MTA, the Hill Country Mountain Topper Association.
Antenna Installations and Ops
My original plan was to go through an antenna selection and raising process with the grandkids. However, the forecast was for storms with the possbility of lightning. So, I decided to forego the original plan of a 1B or 1A category and just use our 1D class. This allowed us to (a) use a minimal setup time, (b) not involve any outdoor activity (avoiding rain and lightning), and (c) allowed us to concentrate on the operational aspect of FD 2017. The antennas already installed were one vertical for 40m and another vertical for 20/15m.
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 list of our contact count by band. All contacts were via voice (no CW contacts this year). Our grand kid, Mason, participated in making some of the contacts and logging.
We also received credit for Youth Participation and Submission of forms via Web Applet. Total score with extra points is 166.
Ranking Amongst Peers
The publushed rankings were listed in the December 2017 issue of QST. Out team ranked 323 out of 568 participants in our category. This placed us just slightly below the middle of the pack (58%). Below is a graphic showing our placment from the pages of QST. The green vertical lines represent other call signs within our category.
A lesson we re-learn each Field Day is to be flexible. This time of year we don't expect to have thunderstorms with a cold front but that is exactly what happened. Thus, it was important to keep an eye on the overall goal (operate with the grandkids) and not worry about the radio architecture, the antennas, or worry about the FD classification. The main goal was to be able to demonstrate the operational aspects of FD to the grandkids and to involve them again in future operating events and contests (State QSO Parties seem like an obvious choice).
2) Level of Teaching and Understanding
One thing that was a little overwelming during the actual contest was my ability to teach the grandkids about the FD activity and about ham radio in general. When you start from an entry level position there is much to explain and teach. There is even more for them to learn. I am certain there came a point of too much information overload. Starting this introductary process prior to FD is important.
3) The Real Goal
We now have an introduction to FD for the grandkids and this can be the event that we build upon for the future. That was the goal and I would say our goal was met.
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