Field Day Report From Ken KA6KEN

Dear SBARC Members,

I would like to thank all those who attended Field Day this year.  The turn-out was fantastic.

Elings Park was a bit cold and we never did see the sun, but perhaps that was better than hot and dusty (isn’t it amazing how it went from cold and overcast two weeks ago to 107 degrees last week)?

We had two stations running (plus the Get-on-the-Air, or GOTA, station).  We used our K6TZ call for the primary two stations and K6SBZ for the GOTA station.  Our class was “2A” and our section was “SB”.
We assembled and installed the massive Force-12 antenna on a rotator atop the 50′ pneumatic mast on the Rover along with an 80-meter dipole, we set up the two-element StepIR on a push-up mast (that was a feat) along with a 40/80 meter dipole, and we erected three fiberglass masts with guy ropes to support a G5RV multi-band center-fed di-pole antenna as an inverted-V at about 30′ at its center-point.

Our total score was 2,236, comprised of 553 QSO’s (multiplied by 2 since we used less than 150watts for all QSOs) plus 1,130 bonus points.  For more details (like bonus points break-down), click here and download the file called “ARRL Field Day Entry Form as submitted.pdf” (note you must add the Total Bonus Points to the Claimed Score for the final score).  If you want to find out more about comparative scores check out the ARRL web site for last year’s scores; this year’s scores will not be published until November.  Also, check out the ARRL Contest Soapbox by clicking on and selecting “2018 ARRL Field Day” in the Event drop-down for pictures and comments people have posted regarding Field Day – they are still streaming in.

The band conditions were not as bad as predicted.  We actually had some pretty solid runs.  In fact, the team of Dennis WB6OBB and Jim N6SXB managed a rate of 128 QSOs per hour, at their peak!  While Dennis is a seasoned contestor, this was Jim’s first; Jim was logging for Dennis.  Congrats to the dynamic duo!  Now if we could only sustain that rate, we would have scored 12,288 points in 24 hours across the two stations (including our 2x multiplier for running on emergency power).  We all have something to work toward next year!
We made 273 QSOs on 20 meters, 214 on 40 meters, and 31 on 80 meters.  Interestingly, we didn’t have any QSOs on 10 or 15 meters.  All QSOs were single side band (SSB aka “phone”).  Perhaps next year some of our infamous CW members will join us; and I know several of us are working on our CW chops now.  Setting up a digital station may be fun as well.

I generated several statistics files (also found at the above Dropbox link) in case you want to see how many QSOs we were achieving per hour on which bands, which (geographical) sections we contacted on which bands, which sections we contacted most, what DX entities we hit (Armenia, Australia, Spain…), etc.  The logging software we used (N3FJP) generated some of these statistics, bit I also generated a Cabrillo formatted file and ran it through a rather old DOS program called CBWS.exe which produced some other interesting stats.  Also, the graph I generated from the logging software shows at what times of day we were QSOing on which bands – notice that 80 meters was in the wee hours; also note the big spike in the middle showing Dennis and Jim’s rapid-fire QSOing.

At that same link you will find the pictures that I took (be sure to change the View As drop-box from List to Large).  Please reply to this email and shoot everyone links to YOUR pictures as well.

If anyone wants the raw logs to run stats on, or otherwise, please let me know.
I think we all learned a lot at Field Day; I know I did.  Everyone has already started to think about next year’s Field Day.  We need to decide how many stations we’d like to do next year, amongst other things.  Would you believe there was a 20-station operation in our Santa Barbara section this year?  The call is AA6CV and they were contacted by our GOTA station.  Also, we contacted a 10-station operation in the Santa Barbara section called N6R (check it out on  We also contacted a 15-station operation out of Maryland-DC, a 14-station operation out of Santa Clara Valley, a 12-station operation out of South Texas, and an 11-station operation out of San Joaquin Valley.  (I am NOT suggesting we shoot for anywhere near this many stations, however; just two was a lot of work :-).

We also need to decide how many antennas we want to use (it was five this year, per above), what radios, where we’d like to do Field Day (a little more public exposure would be nice, but being up on a hill can’t be beat), how to spread the word, and how to get earlier commitments.  I discovered we really need to have some training in advance as well, such as: how to use the logging software, how the contest exchanges works and what it means, how to use the radios (every radio is different), and some basic things like knot tying and proper ways to roll up electrical cords and ropes as suggested by an electrical contractor.
I’d really appreciate some constructive criticism on things you thought went well, and what did not, and how these can be improved for next year so that whomever runs the event next year will benefit from our experiences this year.  This is the time to vet these ideas while still fresh in people’s minds.  (I’d prefer responses were sent to the field day email list – see bottom of this email on instructions to join the email list).

I want to thank Mike K6QD (our very experienced contestor) for leading the Rover crew in setting up the Force-12 (and helping set it up twice before hand), for his great advice and for finding some bandpass filters for the event.  Also, Bob K6CTX purchased parts for and helped prep the Force-12 on several occasions before Field Day and made sure the Rover was ready for us on Field Day.  Wayne AF6GX helped numerous times with the Force-12 before Field Day and helped set up AND break down.  Abhilekh W6WV not only helped in advance of the event, but stayed all 24-hours non-stop, did a lot of operating, and helped with set up and break down; he was a phenomenal help.  If it were not for these four hams, this never could have been pulled off.  May hat is off to them.

Thanks to Theo KK6YYZ for obtaining permission to use Elings Park overnight for the event.  Thanks to Levi K6LCM for helping with publicizing the event (and set up, operating, and break down).  Thanks to Tom N6YX for help with the logging software, the Elecraft K3, Rover help, repair of the 40/80 meter dipole, etc.  Thanks to David AC9AC, Theo, and Colin KM6OLA for also helping set up.  Thanks to EVERYONE who picked up and loaned equipment and supplies.

It took over four hours to set up the three stations and I was very worried about break down as my only volunteers were my father, Bruce KK6SXA, and Mark KB6WBH, but I was absolutely impressed with the break-down turn-out.  Nearly everyone who helped set up came back for break-down plus several others (Mark came JUST for break-down – what a trooper)!  We broke down in only 1.5 hours.

Thanks to Dorothy K6DSO, Bruce KK6SXA, and Paula KA6PCH for running our public information booth.  Dorothy decided to collect names of both the hams who attended as well as visitors, which was a GREAT idea.  We had well over 60 people who signed up, but I think we probably had closer to 100 people at the event.  We need to remember to do this again next year.

Thanks a million to Paula for surprising everyone with delicious home made sandwiches for lunch; what a treat!
Thanks to all of our operators: Dorothy, Bruce KK6SXA, Paula, Mike, Jim & Dennis, Abhilekh, Jim W6JFE, Levi, Eric KG6WXC, Bruce KG6NRW, and Haydn KK6OYV.  I was very happy that we got a couple of last-minute operators who I don’t see around much, but who filled in the schedule for me – thanks to Chuck WB6KDH (an experienced contestor) who held down the fort during the night-shift in the Rover and Leigh KM6JE who helped out at the StepIR station.

Eric brought a TON of gear including a tent that several of us crashed in after being awake for hours on end.  He also brought up a special antenna to make satellite contacts, and the requisite radios – very cool and lots of fun.

Haydn did a fantastic job running the GOTA station.  The GOTA station is a special “free” station that does not count toward our total number of stations, and could only be operated by newly licensed hams, Novices, Technicians, or General and above inactive hams (other than the GOTA coach).  Haydn did a great job involving visitors and taught a couple of young boys to operate.  We had at least five youth visitors (18 and under) and three youth operators, including Haydn, for which we got bonus points.  My nephew, Taj, who is 11 years old, made several contacts under Haydn’s direction.  Another young man named Dillon (probably about Taj’s age) and his father watched for a while but Dillon was too shy to take up the microphone, although, with his father’s and Haydn’s encouragement, he finally made a contact.  The neat part about this story is that Dillon came back after his family had dinner because, according to his father, all he could talk about at the dinner table was his experience with ham radio earlier in the day.  He made several more contacts under Haydn’s supervision.  Maybe one of these young boys will be running field day in a few years 🙂

I hope I didn’t miss any acknowledgements.  If I did – please let me know, and I sincerely apologize!  Hopefully the turn-out next year will be so large that whomever is running the event won’t possibly be able to list all the names in a single email 😉

If you want to follow along with the Field-Day commentary, or pitch in with a response or comments, please click here to subscribe to the SBARC Field Day Mailing List.  There will soon be archives of the list so you can read emails from before you joined the list (archives not visible at the moment, but we are working on fixing it).

Also, consider joining the general SBARC list server by clicking here.

Ken Alker, KA6KEN
SBARC, Director at Large



Post expires at 8:52am on Wednesday August 1st, 2018 but will still be available in the archives.

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About Brian K6BPM

President, Santa Barbara Amateur Radio Club 2016-Present

One Response to Field Day Report From Ken KA6KEN

  1. K6LCMK6LCM says:

    Great job, Ken! You organized a great event this year.

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