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The Western Washington Contest Club was formed by a group of like minded hams interested in radio sport competitions. QSL responses will be limited to via the ARRL's LoTW. All contest logs will be merged and posted up there. Direct QSL card responses are not available at this time. 

Vy 73, Don KO7I

trustee W7TST



W7TST 2A EWA 5W QRP – Field Day is what you make it.

With a strong desire to try something new – a challenge of sorts, a small group of like-minded hams formed up a group and stepped out into the field on their own.  No large club with a huge inventory of equipment resources and talents, to just four hams on their own.  An expedition of sorts and the outcome that was uncertain.

With scouting and research a site was selected in the foot hills above Wenatchee, WA. 3,300 ft in elevation and a panoramic view from the south to the northeast that went to the horizon a hundred miles away. The terrain rolled downwards towards the Columbia River, at an elevation 640 ft just 5 miles away. The site was perfect for Field Day Operations from here in the NW.

The Expedition Members:



Operating strategy:

2 radios per mode – one transmitted signal/mode at a time using the old fashioned point and shout user interface. Only SSB and CW modes were used.

Radios used:

SSB#1 Run Station – Elecraft K3

SSB#2 S&P Station – Icom IC-703

CW#1 Run Station – Elecraft KX3

CW#2 S&P Station – Elecraft K2


Computers & Logging Software used:

Four Windows 7 Laptop PCs networked and running the N3FJP Field Day Logger.  The network performed perfectly with zero problems. We did install a diode OR’d power mod to the power source for the Wi-Fi modem so we would not bomb the network during a battery change over.

The SSB antenna deployments:

Towerless HF Triband yagi tuned for the SSB sub-bands, we ran a 7/16 braided rope thru the boom of the yagi, literally in one end and out the other, and then strung it up between 2 pine trees. Laugh if you wish – Curse if you wish – But it worked great and we’re laughing now that it is over! We used an HF Triplexer with the Tri-band Yagi too.

For 40 and 75 meter SSB operations we also installed a 40M double extended zepp, 185’ in length, center fed with 75’ of window line. From there we connected the window line to a DX Engineering 1:1 balun rated a 10kW. We used a 2’ length of RG-213 to connect the balun to a remote coaxial auto tuner. The coaxial run back to the master antenna patch panel was about 85’ long. We found this length of antenna did not present as many complex impedance solutions/challenges to the remote auto tuner as a conventional 135’ center fed doublet fed with window line. We hung this antenna in the inverted V configuration with the peak at 75’ and the end insulators at about 25’ above the ground. For a Field Day antenna its utilitarian performance was perfectly acceptable on 40 and 75 meters. Would a fanned inverted V have worked better? Probably so.

The CW antenna deployments:

Only 2 dedicated CW antennas were installed.

20M CW – we went with a 20M extended double zepp hung in true flat top configuration at 60’ high. The EDZ was center fed with 1 1/8th wavelength of window line to a balun and a shorted stub, tuned to resonance at 14.050 MHz. The EDZ was hung 60’ high at each end and broad side to Arizona/New Mexico border from here in the NW. Prior to field day, some A-B comparisons were made on 20M between the tri-band yagi and the 20M EDZ. There was some favor towards the beam over the EDZ, but it was very a very small difference. The disadvantage of the EDZ is that with the shorted stub, it was a 20M mono band antenna.

40M CW – we went with a ON4UN optimized delta loop.  Buy his Low Band Dx’ing book and read about it.  Of course the dimensions were rescaled from 3.80 MHz to 7.05 MHz.  We did go to the trouble of making a ¼ wave section of 75Ω RG-11 coax to handle impedance matching to the 50Ω RG-213 coax we were using.  The coax cable run back to the patch panel was 260’ long. The delta loop was hung about 60’ high at its peak and performed very well.

Tactical antenna deployment errors made:

We failed to install an antenna for 15M CW, on Sunday morning it was found that the 15M 5W QRP QSO rate was 50% better than that achieved during the 20M CW operations. This mistake will not be repeated next year.  Also an 80M CW antenna was not installed.

Battery Power:

Each SSB station had a dedicated 105AH (20hr rate) battery. The two CW rigs shared a single 105AH battery and it had to be changed out for the last 3 hrs of the contest.

We had visitors!

A father and his son stopped by our field day site and we had a very nice visit.  They had lots of questions and we were able to introduce them to amateur radio and explained what field day was all about.  With wild fires burning 15 miles away he was very interested to hear about how ARES communications help emergency services during times of natural disaster.  It is always fun to share your passion for a hobby that is so close to many of our hearts.

Lessons learned:

SSB operations were VERY CHALLENGING! Stations running 100W had 13dB signal advantage over our 5W QRP signals.  We learned that if the other station was not S-7 we could not break thru of 20M SSB QRM.  As far as for setting up on a frequency and running (calling CQ) – forget it!  This quickly turned into a search and pounce operation – CW included.

On CW we found that tuning up and down the sub-band fishing for new ones that new ones were always there to be found. Fishing was very good!  This resulted in the 2 stations on SSB and the 2 stations on CW resorting to the P&S user interface.  That would be point and shout! Lots of hand signals were flying back and forth.

The QSO rates on 15 meters were significantly better that those achieved on 20 meters; by a very large margin.  This is attributed to one thing – QRM!  The 15M SSB totals would have been be better if it weren’t for the fact that the lead CW op latched onto the 15M port on Sunday morning.  Since there was a 53% percent improvement in qso rate as compared to 20M, the CW op was allowed to continue 15M operations

We over packed by a large margin.

For instance:  We used 3 ¼ batteries – we brought 8 deep cycle batteries.  We brought 25 gallons of fuel – we used 5 gallons of fuel powering the AC unit in the 5th wheel RV.  And the list goes on.

Oh yea, coming to the cold and wet side of Washington state, we brought propane heaters along too.  In the 100+ degree heat, if any of us had dared to hook one up, that person would have been ran out of camp.

The Final results:

SSB QSO’s = 271

CW QSO’s = 349

The raw total score = 4,845

Total bonus Pts = 350

Final Score = 5,195 pts - edit 10/27/15 2nd Place Finish Overall 2A Battery.

It was fun to step out and give it a try.  What I love about Field Day is that you always learn something new.  I have yet to be disappointed in that regard.  Field Day is what you make it.

Don Jones KO7i

Arlington, WA

Trustee W7TST


6810697 Last modified: 2015-10-28 01:39:11, 7730 bytes

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