West Virginia IOOK Field Day 2010

posted 7/1/10



Thursday, 6/24/10


WA8ZWJ headed to West Virginia a day earlier than usual this year so he could help WB8NSL with an antenna project.




Since Keith arrived early in the day, we decided to get the antenna work done before it got too hot in the afternoon.


Charlie wanted to replace his old Ringo with a dual band vertical.  


As Charlie said, "This is one of those 5 minute jobs that will take 30 or 40 minutes!"






After Keith changed clothes we headed to lunch.  Yes, the IOOK travels on it's stomach!



What's really funny about this is Charlie left his list as well as a number of things on the list as home!  At least he has a list for next year!  Har de har!


In the afternoon, Charlie and Keith made their way to near Harrisville where Da Bear's Den is located.

Don's HT has APRS capabilities so he could keep track of John and Jan along their way.


Don's brother-in-law left his camper at the FD site, so, we used the refrigerator to store FD food.


Charlie and Keith went back to Pennsboro to find John and Jan in the driveway!


A little while later Pam (Charlie's XYL) arrived home from work.


We did have a thunderstorm pass through the area after lunch so it was good we got the antenna work done early!



Bill is like a Timex.  He takes a lickin' but keeps on tickin'!  There is a lot more to that story that we won't go into here!


Charlie had some computer problems that John fixed.


We continue to work on Charlie about the need for an APRS I-Gate!


Susie is Bill's XYL.


Pam's granddaughter, Emma, said "Grandma, your laptop runs too slow!"  So, John attempted to speed it up.


Friday, 6/25/10


Charlie has a way of really making you feel at home when you visit there!


The gang heads off to Pullman for breakfast at the Whitetail Cafe.








This is why it is called the Whitetail Cafe!


After breakfast, Charlie took John, Jan and Keith to Pennsboro for a walking tour.  Below you see the new addition on the firehouse and all the neat murals that are painted on the outside.







Across from the firehouse is the Train Depot.



Charlie is a member of the local Historical Society and has spent many hours working at the Depot.


Since Charlie grew up here, there are many fond memories of downtown Pennsboro.





John and Keith convinced Charlie that he needed to be an I-Gate for APRS.  So, John created a partition and set up Ubuntu and Xastir on the machine.  The catch was the partition was mighty small, but, we thought it would be big enough.


A short while back Randy had the occasion to check himself out on QRZ.com (AB8CO) but could not find himself.  After doing some extensive research, he discovered that he was 2 weeks past the 2 year grace period for renewing his ham radio license.  So, he has been spending time taking tests.  He has been an educator for 39 years and it turns out his new suffix is OEA - as in Ohio Education Association - of which he has been a member for 39 years!  He plans to take his Extra exam in the not too distant future.


John gets Ubunto and Xastir installed and all is working well!  We now have an I-Gate in Pennsboro.  Previously, it was not uncommon for local APRS signals to travel 100 miles or more to being linked to the Internet!  What that meant was frequently, positions reported on APRS rarely made it to the Internet.  For example, N8KXM called on the phone Thursday evening and said that WA8ZWJ-10 was still a short distance from Parkersburg rather than in Pennsboro!

Once the I-Gate was up and running WA8ZWJ-10 appeared in Charlie's driveway!  Imagine that!


Then the gang headed to Da Bear's Den to assist with set up chores for Field Day.  Don and Mike already had the Main Operation Canopy set up.


In preparation for Field Day, Don and Mike had already made several satellite contacts to hone their skills.


Now it's time to set up the other canopy which we affectionately call the "Annex".




Then Keith got out his fishing pole and got strings up in the trees for the alternate station G5RV antenna.




One of the reasons for the station in the Annex is to copy the W1AW CW Field Day Bulletin.

WA8ZWJ, WB8NSL & KD8OEA copied the bulletin and then compared notes to fill in each other's blanks.


Beargarita Hour is one of the best highlights of West Virginia Filed Day!  Mmm Mmm Good!  Great reason to go off the wagon!



After Beargarita Hour, our designated driver, WB8NSL took Randy, Keith and John back to his place for the night.


Saturday, 6/26/10



As is our Field Day Tradition, we had Saturday breakfast at the P&H!

Notice the train on the sign?  P&H stands for Pennsboro & Harrisville not Puke and Hurl!


Look who's here!  Fast Eddie, W8ED has arrived!  He has been here waiting for breakfast for a while!  He wanted to surprise us!


After breakfast we all head back to Don's place to finish setting things up for Field Day.


During our planning session we noticed that we could get 100 points for media coverage so Charlie called a local radio station to see if they could have someone stop by and do a remote.  As it turns out, they already had a remote set up near Pennsboro, so Charlie made plans to go there and put in a plug for Field Day.



Don used his tractor to raise the 30 foot tower with a 20 pipe extension for one end of the G5RV antenna to be used by the main station.  The other end was secured to a tree and the center floated free in the air.  Here the G5RV is seen in mid erection.


This photo gives you a feel for our entire Field Day camp.

Just FYI, the tower has a tilt over base and the tractor easily pulls it up with a steel cable.


Here are some more pre Field Day activities.





Fast Eddie checks out John's Tilley! 


Here's Mike!



Charlie heads over to the remote broadcast and has a full minute on the air!  Unfortunately, the gang did not know the frequency of the broadcast - plus Charlie kept talking about W3R which sounded like a vanity call of some kind.  How did we know he was referring to WRRR?  Randy went along as photographer!  Hmm, I guess that makes John, N5AAA's call N53A?

Charlie's "ON AIR" time was one of his highlights of the weekend!


2PM has finally arrived and N5AAA is first on the mike making contacts!


Randy logs and dups for John.  "Dup" refers to checking for duplicates so we don't have duplicate contacts.  This software really works great!  Mike even has a back up machine so if the main op does not have a logger he can do his own logging and duping.


John operates while Randy logs and dups.



During the 24 hour Field Day period there are a number of different satellite passes.  Each of the satellite's tracks are printed out with direction information and elevation information for the track for this position.  Don uses that info to find the satellite and then track it for the short time period (maybe 10 minutes) that the satellite will be able to be "seen".






You can see Don and Marie's place in the background.  Yes, they have been called Donnie and Marie!


Local hams begin to arrive.  Tyler is one of our younger visitors and he spends several hours here at the FD site.


Donna make a "cameo" appearance!


One of Charlie's pet projects is for us to construct and test a Windom antenna.  A Windom is basically a dipole that is fed offset from the center.  Here Fast Eddie strips insulation from one of the wires.


Charlie secures the coax to the bottom of the balun for the Windom.


Here Charlie ties one end of the string that supports one end of the Windom.

The idea behind a Windom is because of where you choose to feed the dipole, it creates a multi band antenna that should be resonant on multiple bands.  NSL's self imposed nickname is "Charlie Cheap" as he doesn't own an amplifier or a decent antenna tuner!  Plus, he doesn't have a lot of real estate for big antennas, so he is looking at alternative antennas for use at his place.  In Keith's humble opinion, the Windom does resonate at a lot of different places and with determination and time a guy could figure out how to make it work for his particular situation.  However, a well placed G5RV and an antenna tuner would make the whole process a lot less painfull!



John operates while Tyler logs and dups.


Tyler begins operating.


Tyler operates while John logs and dups.


Tyler operates while Randy logs and dups.


Here's a look at the Annex and parking area. 


Here's another attempt to make a contact though a satellite.





Since they were able to make several satellite contacts prior to Field Day, Mike and Don are perplexed as to why they have thus far been unsuccessful.

They seem to think it is possible that because there are so many more stations trying to do satellite contacts during Field Day that the frequencies are loaded with stations compared to "normal" operations.






Charlie prepares to check into the West Virginia Traffic Net to pass the message to the Section Manager for extra points.







Field Day burgers and hot dogs!  Mmm Mmm good!



This cat has 9 lives!







John took this photo to show how well the SSB operations were going!  Fantastic!


Shortly after this the late night guys hit the hay and the phone guys continue to operate.

Sadly, no photos were taken while the CW guys slept.


Sunday, 6/27/10


Mike and Don took over the station and started CW at 11PM.  They worked until 2AM so they could catch a few winks and then make an satellite contact attempt at 6:30AM.

Notice, Mike runs CW left handed so he can type with his right hand.


During the 3 hours they operated they only make 90 contacts.  Needless to say, they were disappointed.


Keith and Charlie come on board to operate CW from 2AM until breakfast.

Keith uses the old fashioned right hand on the paddles and a paper log and pushes buttons on the memory keyer with his left hand.


CW has been a real struggle all night long.  Even with a late breakfast Keith's total contacts for the night operation is only 122.

Keith's theory is with today's "No Code Hams" becoming more prevalent that fewer qualified CW operators are available for Field Day operations.






John demonstrates the ability with his camera to take a self portrait to Da Bear.



This photo shows Charlie helping by getting rid of the egg shells.


With a crop of the above photo you can see the devilment is Charlie's eyes!


With another crop of that same photo you can see that Charlie has developed his belly one bite at a time!


As we look over the old engine of the past, we can see the main operations screened in tent, Da Bear's Den in the distance and the camper on the right.


Breakfast is ready!




Here are a few miscellaneous Field Day site photos.





















It is 2:01 PM and Field Day is officially over!  Here's this year's group shot!












Joe is properly assimilated....




Keith and Charlie also prepare the post Field Day Press Release.





Due to limited hard drive space the computer crashed while we were away for Field Day.  Charlie said "Bomb the drive and make it all Ubuntu!"  So, that is what John did!  Now Charlie has found out that his 7 year old granddaughter has a portable computer that is using the Ubuntu operating system!  She will probably teach him a thing or two!

This time there are no partitions on the hard drive.  The machine is 100% Ubuntu operating system!


Monday, 6/28/10



Our West Virginia IOOK Field Day event was quite a success!  We had a fun time and made a lot of contacts!  Our total point score was 2,816!  Pretty cool!


Here is a summary of WV Field Day scores going back to 1981.

Year Class Score
1981 2A 1068
1982 2A 989
1983 2A 1285
1984 2A 1648
1985 1A 749
1986 1A 802
1987 1A 1383
1988 1A 1239
1989 1A 810
1990 1A 1033
1991 1A 1790
1992 1A 1748
1993 1A 1905
1994 1A 2698
1995 1A 2194
1996 1A 2172
1997 1A 1034
1998 tornado
1999 1A 1646
2000 1A 2910
2001 1A 2650
2002 1A 3342
2003 1A 2054
2004 1A 3182
2005 1A 3042
2006 1A 2844
2007 1A 2754
2008 1A 2836
2009 1A 2078
2010 1A 2816


Thanks to Don, Mike and Charlie for being our gracious hosts for the event!


Now, Bob, N0BIX has not really participated in Field Day for some time.  When he read about submitting photos of IOOK Field Day activities, he decided to join in the fun.


Bob says "Hi Keith,  You asked for some pictures from Field Day, so I made a special effort to get a couple for you.  Yes, they were taken on Saturday.  Has to be official.  Here I  am looking for an appropriate field for Field Day. This one's kind of overgrown."


"Now, here's a field for a N0BIX Field Day!"

It sure seems to me that Bob is outstanding...er... a.... sitting in his field!

Hey Bob!  The flowers and wine make a really nice added touch!  I guess that would be the N0BIXie version of Beargaritas?  I'm not sure what the significance is of the gnome.  Ah, he tells me that the gnome is there for company!  John, KF8KK says the gnome needs an IOOK T Shirt!  I agree!


Now, here's something from Randy, KL7RF (N0BIXie's brother)

"Hi Keith,  I just had a Skype call with N0BIX and he said you might be putting up some field day pix.  I thought I would send one along of me operating at our club field day this year.  I am operating my PSK-31 station entirely on solar power as part of our 3A Ohio team from Coshocton County."


Here is a little closer look at Randy running PSK-31.

Thanks to Randy for including a shot of his Field Day activity!

73, Keith, WA8ZWJ


posted 11/21/10


Hi Field Day Crew!!

I got this from Fast Eddie a couple of days ago:


Hey Keith,

December QST came in.....analyzing results from FD 2010........

IOOK VP's    759 contacts, 8 operators, 2816 points,  Running 1A   35th in class. (we are on page 69 , 2/3 down in first column.)

Interesting tidbit  (on page 71 abt 3/4 down in first column)............................

Dayton ARA (DARA) With a GOTA station, : 424 contacts, 55 operators , 1528 points. Running 2A

Very Interesting.......The IOOK is a powerful force in comparison..  Note: both were 150 W or less category

Saw that , thought it very interesting.



For the info to be passed along to the rest of the FD gang, here is what John had to say:


On Sun, 21 Nov 2010 15:40:53 -0600 "John Hartman"


I just pulled down the 2010 results from the ARRL.

IOOK finished 1st in WV and 4th in the Roanoke division.

Not bad at all. 




For anyone interested in Field Day Results you can go to the link provided below:


Thanks for the info guys!  We appreciate your efforts!

Congratulations to our crew!  Thanks again to our hosts!

Hopefully next year will be even better!

Best 73, Keith