Field day preparations

Rob (AK6L) and I decided to go for it and work at least some of Field Day this year from my rowing club on San Francisco bay. We met down there last Sunday so that we could scout possible locations to set up. There are several good spots, but in the end we decided to use the top floor roof deck. Although the second floor lounge room with balcony might be somewhat more comfortable, we would probably only be able to set up one antenna, and it would have to run over the patio and down the dock, potentially attracting more attention than I would like. Also taking over a chunk of the lounge room for a day of "CQ FIELD DAY, CQ FIELD DAY" seemed like it would not likely be appreciated by everyone.

Although the roof deck is out in the open rather than indoors, it gives us access to the very large, flat roof, perfect for antennas. After measuring things out, it looks like we can easily set up two wire dipoles at 90 degrees to each other and tune them with our respective LDG autotuners. We're also going to set up a "Get On The Air" station, since we'll be in a visible spot. Rowing club members are likely to drop by and see what we're up to, and having a GOTA table earns us some extra points. If people make enough contacts with it, the bonus is bigger.

I'm going to bring my K2, and Rob is going to bring his FT-950 and FT-817. He just fixed the external amp he has which goes with the 817 (which I fried…), so we'll have a maximum of 15 watts with the K2, 100 watts with the 950, and 45 watts with the 817. Rob is also going to bring his Buddipole portable antenna.

The plan is for me to operate mostly digital, with Rob mostly on phone. Nick says he's up for hanging out and possibly operating a bit as well – at least he'll probably be handy for helping Rob log phone contacts and overseeing the GOTA station if anyone actually wants to use it. I'm not sure if I'll use the FT-817 for digital, in order to get some more power out, or the K2. I'm more familiar with the K2, but it is limited to 5w for full duty cycle modes like PSK31.

I'm going to bring all my portable antenna gear, and Rob is currently working on building a set of five bandpass filters (necessary for operating two or more stations in close proximity). We'll have mains power on hand, and I'm bringing a big tarp to give us some shade. Basically, although I'm sure we're going to forget some things, we should be able to run a pretty nice setup there. I'll be curious to see how well our signals get out from there, given our proximity to San Francisco bay, and also if we experience any QRM. We should have an excellent takeoff angle to the east, but there's a hill just west of us that might cut down our trans-Pacific DX. We'll see.

I'm excited!

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