June 25th, 2006

CQ Field Day CQ Field Day & ARSIB

Although I've been a ham since 2001, I'll consider this my first Field Day. Instead of participating in the local RACES field site or one of the local clubs, I decided I'd operate from home using emergency power. I spent the majority of the day completing my amateur-radio-station-in-a-box (ARSIB) project. The ARSIB is centered around an FT-817ND and is housed in a large dry box, the type normally used by outdoors folks and hunters. I built a shelf unit that slides into the box. Components are stacked vertically and secured to their own shelf. At the bottom I have an Alinco powers supply, very compact. Above the power supply is the FT-817ND. Above that is a 100W Tokyo HyPower amplifier for the FT-817ND (normally a 5W rig). Above the amp is an LDG Z-11PRO, great tuner. The tuner is also connected to the FT-817 ACC outlet for seamless tuning during band changes. Above the tuner is an SWR/power meter. The power cables run up the side of the box and feed into a small RigRunner that is mounted on the inside lid of the box. I spent just about all day putting everything together, to include two trips to ACE Hardware.

Once the ARSIB was complete, I set the box up in my ham shack a powered it with my portable generator running outside. I was now a "1E" station for field day (running from home on emergency power). I worked on the air tonight for about three hours and probably had about a dozen or so contacts. Mainly SSB, but I also tried out PSK-31. I need to mount my Rig Blaster NOMIC to the inside lid as well to help with the PSK-31 option. I also got to work some bands I rarely work like 15M. Lots of folks out there working field day.... good stuff!

The ARSIB is now my radio for portable operations. No more ripping my IC-706 out of the ham shack every time I want to activate a lighthouse. I can now use the ARSIB<.

Sunday Morning Field Day

I got up around 5am and started the generator up. Decided to try 80M. I've been impressed by the FT-817. I have the basic radio with no additional filters or audio upgrades/enhancements.... and it does a great job. 80M was buzzing with activity, but you could tell most of the ops had stayed up all night and were ready for some relief. Lots of contacts on 80M, there was even a 22A station. I'm trying to picture what a 22A station would look like.... probably like the V Corps Main Command Post during the ground war in Iraq..... antennas everywhere! Glows at night just from the RF.

Time for some coffee and breakfast and then back to the ham shack.