SECARS hosted Field Day on the 4th weekend of June at Zagray Farm Museum in Colchester, CT.  This year’s Field Day was fantastic for numerous reasons:  We were able to host the event at a great venue, we had plenty of visitors, several elected officials and ARRL representatives showed up, there were learning opportunities for new and experienced hams alike, we had great food, and a lot of people got on the air.  I think Field Day is the best event of the year because it draws a large crowd, there is a lot to see and learn, and it helps sharpen skills in amateur radio.  This year’s event was no exception.

In terms of learning opportunities, we had many at Field Day this year.  Those who haven’t operated portable HF got to see that done and get on the air.  We had four HF stations running with CW, digital (largely FT8) and SSB voice going for most of the event.  We had a satellite station and a short tutorial on how to make a contact using AO-07 – complete with five SSB contacts made on VHF/UHF through that satellite.  We had a 6 meter FT8 station to help some hams get on the air on this band and experience its sporadic openings.  There was a foxhunting demonstration, and a few hams who never hunted a hidden transmitter learned how to use a tape measure Yagi and an attenuator to find the fox.  We collected messages from several people and used WinLink to send them to traffic handlers.  At least one of our stations operated using solar power, demonstrating how that can be done in the field.

This Field Day was a learning opportunity for me as well.  I had some equipment failures – largely stemming from a laptop charger that broke, taking one of my computers out of commission.  That laptop was a Microsoft Surface Pro, which uses a proprietary charger, so there were no alternatives to use.  Unfortunately, I did not have a spare computer, and so the VHF station went down at about 6 PM on Saturday.  I was glad we made the satellite contacts right before that time.  We also had a lot of rain – with one storm happening at 5 PM on Saturday, and another one rolling in at 2 AM Sunday.  That was my cue to shut down the HF CW station that I was running and get the gear in the car.  Next year I will have a simpler station and more contingency options (like a 2nd laptop with the same software loaded and ready to go).

There are many people to thank for this year’s Field Day being a success.  Adam KB1YUT did a fantastic job organizing Field Day this year.  The event was well run, and all essential roles were filled ahead of time.  Alex KC1SYX did an awesome job with publicity – and she recruited some elected officials to come to our event.  I thank Mike DeCaprio (State Representative), Cathy Osten (State Senator) for coming to our Field Day site.  I also thank Sierra Harrop from the ARRL for coming to our site and taking video interviews of several members.  Our four station captains – Bob W1RPQ, Larry W1LBW, Pete K1PTO and myself ensured we had functional stations and gave people the opportunity to get on the air.  Dave AB1DA helped transport the satellite and VHF antennas to and from the site.  I extend my deepest gratitude to Alan N1LOB who provided the venue and cooked our food.  Finally, I thank all of you for attending Field Day and making this year’s event special and memorable for all of us.

Next up for me is a special event station at Zagray Farm Museum on July 20.  I hope to see you all there and at our next Field Day event in 2025.  It’s never too early to start planning!

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