With temperatures barely above freezing, and snow covering just about everything, members from the Schaumburg Amateur Radio Club setup their portable ham radio equipment, as part of the annually held Winter Field Day event. This event encourages Ham Radio operators across North America to test their radio equipment with the goal of making contacts in less than favorable weather conditions. Like previous years, the club decided to hold this outside at the Schaumburg Community Recreation Center.
Even before the setup started, some of the club’s board members were asked to be interviewed for the Schaumburg Park District’s Schaumburg Heartbeat cable TV show, which airs monthly on the district’s cable channels, including Comcast 15, WOW 14 and AT&T 99. During the interview they were asked about ham radio, and all the different activities our club does. We expect this will be available for viewing on their YouTube channel within the next few months.
So, starting around 10.30am, the outdoor picnic area was cleared of snow, and a set of tarps were erected around the main shelter to try and provide a break from the wind. Using a combination of generator power, and portable battery power, 3 radios were in operation. 2 of them on SSB, the other used for CW (morse code). This put our operating class for the event as 3 Oscar IL (3 = 3 radios, Oscar = Outdoors, IL = Illinois).
Antennas were also strategically deployed outside of the shelter, and consisted of a 20m endfed (sloping configuration), a vertical 20m supported on a telescopic pole, and a mobile screwdriver style antenna.
As you can see from the contact log below (divided by SSB and CW), contacts were made across North America, even as far north as Alaska. For the SSB log, I had a technical issue with my iPad which meant I had to use a paper/pen log, and so some of the contact times may be off a little.
|Date||Time (UTC)||Frequency (MHz)||Mode||Callsign||Class||Section|
Based on WFD 2020 Rules, we scored as follows:
|WFD 2020 Score|
|SSB||12||(12 x 1)|
|CW||12||(6 x 2)|
|Power Output||48||(x 2)|
|No commercial power||1500|
|Not at home||1500|
Bob, W9DXR provided the following report from the CW station:
” We didn’t make a lot of contacts (6 to be exact) but we had a lot of fun and were able to span the US with contacts in IL, CO, NM, UT, and FL. When we started to assemble the CW station antenna we were short on parts and had to use two “bungee” cords to keep the vertical antenna pole upright. In the true spirit of emergency communication we got our station on the air. If the sun spots were with us and propagation had been better I’m sure the station log would have many more contacts. However, we met our objective of getting the club station on the air and making contacts.
73, Bob W9DXR “
From my own perspective, and also listening to other’s feedback, a few points for improvement next year would be:
- Bring headphones/headset – the volume of conversations from non-operators within the shelter sometimes made it difficult for me to hear the radio contacts I was trying to make.
- Antenna coverage – we seemed to all be on 20m for the most part, so covering more bands (even though 40m was in bad shape) would be a huge benefit. My antenna tuner managed to get my 20m endfed working on 40m but it wasn’t ideal.
- The only part of me that got cold were my feet – perhaps something underfoot to insulate from the concrete floor would help.
- Food – some hot food from a gas grill or stove would have been welcome, albeit that we were only operating for a couple of hours.
So finally, here are all the photos taken by several of us during the event! Thank you to everyone who submitted their photos, and of course thank you to everyone who helped make this day so much fun.
73 de Mike, K9KMV