Winter Field Day 2022

Members of the Ocotillo Hams came out for Winter Field Day for the first time on January 29, 2022. It was a terrific portable event for us, and fun was had by all.

We met at Tumbleweed Park in Chandler, AZ, where we set up a variety of antennas on the lawn near the Cottonwood Ramada, which we rented for most of the day.

Our Equipment:

Among the antennas deployed were a home built Mag Loop, a random wire antenna, a Wolf River Screwdriver Antenna, and a Wolf River Otophone, set up as a dipole.

Rigs ranged from a Xiegu G90, to two Yaesu 891’s, and an Icom 7300.

Off Grid power for radios and tuners and computers was supplied by several battery boxes, and a halo car jump starter, among other things.

We used our phones as mobile hot spots for call sign data lookups.

AI7AQ’s random Wire Antenna hanging from a portable mast to the ramada post.
WQ1E’s homebrew mag loop antenna
K7NWF’s Otophone antenna configured as a dipole.

Contest Conditions:

Of all the bands that were included in the contest, by far the most traffic was found on 20 meters, with 15 meters coming in second. There was very little traffic on 40 meters and 10 meters. In fact there was so much traffic on 20 meters that it was hard to get a word in edgewise to make contacts.

We rotated frequencies to allow everyone to take a swing at the busier bands, without interfering with each other.

Members in our little pod worked mostly RTTY and PSK-31 digital modes, though we did see some stations calling using Olivia, and a few modes we didn’t recognize by ear.

AI7AQ busy raking in the contacts on his Icom 7300
KJ7DJR setting up her gear. K7NWF behind the camera taking the pictures.

The One Heart Attack:

Safety being important when operating portable out where the general public passes by, we had our antennas “roped off” using bright orange mini cones and some RF danger signs..

…but there’s always that one person who doesn’t hear “KEEP OUT” from the signs and cones.

Towards the end of our field day operations we observed one fellow leave the sidewalk and wander across the lawn through the middle of all our antennas, ignoring cones and signs, completely oblivious to the danger that antennas could pose during transmission (RF burns or crispy critter level voltage).

When he stepped into the circle around the mag loop antenna which is low enough to the ground to really do serious harm if touched), we got a bit alarmed and warned him off vocally. Just kind of scary!

WQ1E working his G90 and chatting with KJ7DJR. Mag loop and circle of cones in the background 🙂

Next time we’ll probably bring the crime scene tape! Yiiikes.

After we packed up, we all met at Denny’s down the road for a light dinner before saying goodbye.

All in all it was a fun day for all, and we hope to do it again soon.