Field Day 2017

It’s only a month away! That’s right, the 2017 ARRL Field Day exercise will happen again in St Mary’s County at the Hollywood Volunteer Fire Department’s “back 40”. We are truly fortunate to have this site made available by the good folks at HVFD, so let’s get going!  Also see our Facebook page at SMARCA Facebook Field day page

All the details may be found at, but here is what we need to get started:

When: Saturday, 24 June 2017 and ends Sunday 25 June 2017. We usually setup at 0900, start operating at 2 PM (1800Z) and carry on until exhausted!
Where: HVFD located on Route 235 just north of Route 245, aka Hollywood-Leonardtown Road. We are in the back of the parking area near the bingo hall.
Why: To have Fun and spread the gospel of Ham Radio.
Who: All are welcome, SMCARA membership is not required, just an interest in ham radio.

Now for the “What”;

We will be operating from a tent located next to the tower and restroom facility- look for all the trucks and cars with weird antennas! Our operations will be governed by the ARRL FD rules under a 3 Alpha category, which means we can have up to three transmitters going simultaneously. HOWEVER, we usually have a GOTA (Get On The Air) station set up to introduce folks to ham radio and this does not count towards the number of transmitters and the QSO points count for the club total.

A strong tradition of SMCARA is to have a “pot luck” dinner on Saturday that is open to all members (FD participants or not) and their FAMILIES. Please let our FD Food Coordinator, June, KC3GYL know how many we can count on from your clan and if you will bring any food items. The club provides setup, grill, burgers and dogs, and pop (that’s what they call “soda” out in W8 land where the Dayton Hamvention recently concluded!). You will be hearing more from June. Please plan on attending and bring the kids/XYL(she may not be an “ex” anything, but bring her along!).


Rigs: If you have a favorite rig, bring it along. Our rigs are oldies, but goodies, so it is fun to see/work with some newer stuff. Currently we have an Icom 751A, Icom 735, Icom 725, and a Yaesu FT-847 available. The rules permit a “free” VHF station that also doesn’t count against the total 3A transmitter count. A station set up on six meters might be worth the effort.

Antennas: We have various dipoles available for 80 and 40 and a Triband Yagi for 10/15/20 (n.b., WARC bands are excluded from FD operations) that will be elevated on N3NO-Gene Talley’s “Rocket Launcher” tower. We use a commercial “diplexer” (as opposed to a “duplexer”) to permit three rigs to operate on the beam (on 3 different bands, of course).

Power: The club has a small generator that we typically use as a backup, but we are in need of a primary genny of about 5000 Watts. Please let me know if you have one we can use. We also have tent lights and extension cords with multiple outlet strips for distribution of the 60 Hertz power.

Operators: We typically have no problems getting folks to operate during the day and early evening. We really need some folks to volunteer to man the station during the overnight period. 80 and 40 become the “money bands” during the we hours and there are lots of contacts to be made. Most of our ops are on phone and we really should make an effort to get some CW points, as they count more than phone. Please let me know if you can keep us going during the late shift, it will help a lot.

Don’t worry if you don’t have much experience operating on HF or in the contest mode, we will gladly “Elmer” you along. Our approach to field day is in keeping with the ARRL rules, but with an emphasis on having fun and good fellowship.

So, here is what we need:

1- People. To set up at 0900 Saturday morning. Then to operate once the starting gun goes off at 2PM. People to help us eat the fine meal that June is coordinating. Hardy folks who want to stay up all night and make QSOs are in great demand! Brass Pounders always welcome! Whatever your schedule, please try to join us and especially show up for the pot luck!

2- Gear. Bring your own favorite rig to use/show off. Otherwise, we have rigs to cover the 3 transmitter setups. Got a favorite antenna you want to try out? Bring it along and we can compare.

3- Antennas. The club has a couple of tubs of wire antennas and coax out there. Who has them in their garage? Let us know. Does anyone have a six meter beam or a loop? Club has a bunch of coax, but as Larry, N3JTN says; “you can never have too many radios (antennas, coax, whatever)!

4- Electricity. Got a 5000 watt or so generator? We need it. Club has extension cords and outlet strips.

5- Feel free to bring your own Microphone, Keys, Cans (headphones), keyboard, digital interface, etc. An important thing is to use headsets rather than speaker audio as it becomes a bedlam in the tent with three rigs blasting away. If you have any headsets and splitters, so your logger or “partner” can listen in, please bring them. Setting up the GOTA station in the bingo hall is a good idea, so the noise issue doesn’t affect the FD ops making points.

So, what is next? Contact June and let her know how many folks you will need to feed. While you are chatting, let her know what items you would like to bring. Give W4OKW a call and let me know what you can bring to the “fair” and if we can count on you to do the “night watch”. I usually conk out about 0200, but I am sure some of you younger lads and lassies can show us the way!

73 and “more to follow”….