Linda and I are trailer camping during our retirement. So a campground was our Field Day venue. I chose East Bank COE Campground on Lake Seminole. It is not that close to Panama City or Dothan, but it did have ample green space for antennas.
Site A-10 at East Bank Campground
Fortunately, Rick NZ2I came all the way from Callaway, Florida, to join me to make a two-person 1B GA entry.
Rick NZ2I, a great friend
We made use of a Clam Venture screen shelter that was very easy to set up and did fine. We also made use of an Icy Breeze portable air conditioner. We had one brief shower when setting up. Otherwise, the weather was good but hot.
The new Clam Venture Screen Shelter
My setup this time was the Icom 7100 and three antennas, an Inverted L with the Icom AH-4, the SOTABeams 40-30-20 link dipole, and the Bravo 7K vertical. Rick NZ2I arrived about an hour before the start and helped finish the antenna installs.
The Bravo 7K vertical did great to the West Coast and Canada
During the day, we had plenty of contacts on 20 meters. Rick made some phone contacts. Each antenna did well, including the vertical. Unfortunately, the PL-259 on the AH-4 got erratic and then failed. The other two antennas carried on. Unusual for me, I had some success with PSK-31 on 20 meters.
The Icom 7100 was the rig this year.
A prospective ham from nearby Grand Ridge came by. He saw us on the Field Day Locator. He has been doing quite a bit just receiving with a Baofeng, including satellites. We think he is pretty close to getting his license.
We had a couple of visitors
We took a liberal supper break and had pizza. Rick cooked apple cinnamon dessert using his dutch oven. It was delicious. Then we got on 40 meters and finished out one hundred contacts, including Myron WV0H in Colorado on CW.
On Sunday morning, we got sixty-six more contacts. 15 meters opened up, and that's always exciting. We had enough fun to call it done by 10 am. Rick needed to get back to Callaway, FL. My attempt for the satellite bonus failed. I tried the 70-degree elevation pass of AO-91. I heard myself briefly through the satellite but no luck with getting a contact.
It is nice to hear wall-to-wall activity on HF. Ham radio is very much alive, CW phone and digital. So hopefully, every ham got a taste of Field Day. Make sure you got it covered next year. If you don't like the heat, there is always Winter Field Day. Bob KK4DIV and I have reservations for Pine Log State Forrest for Winter Field Day near Panama City. Come join us!
My camping plans for Meaher State Park this May at Spanish Fort, AL near Mobile, served several purposes. First, it was an opportunity to catch up with two of my ham buddies from my teenage days growing up in Dothan, AL. The Mobile Hamfest on Saturday was our gathering place. Forrest is a lawyer in Mobile and Curtis is a semi-retired broadcast engineer in Lucedale, MS. This reunion was fifty years in the making. It was very enjoyable to remember our early ham days and find out what these two have been doing since. My third buddy, Lionel, could not come this time, but another reunion is in order for all of us.
Teenage Ham Buddies: Left to right, Greg, Curtis, and Forrest
Meaher State Park is POTA reference K-1047. I set up my Icom 7100 and the SOTABeams 40-30-20 link dipole made fifty-eight SSB contacts for the park activation.
Some research revealed that the Mobile-Tensaw Delta Wildlife Management Area, K-3699 starts right across the highway from Meaher. The Five Rivers Delta Resource Center is part of the wildlife area and that is where I set up. It just happens K-3699 had never been activated. My first activation of K-3699 was a test of the new Alexloop HamPack. I set up at a park bench and ran the Icom 705 at ten watts. I got nine SSB contacts and four CW contacts for the activation. See the YouTube video below for my experience with the Alexloop HamPack developed by Alex, PY1AHD. Later, I returned for a second K-3699 activation and got exactly one-hundred contacts, The bands were pretty good. I did a park to park with G-0022 Langstone Harbour Conservation Reserve in England.
So I guess this camping thing is working out. There is much more camping planned this summer.
It is a great sadness to learn that Dennis Walker, WA6QKN, passed away on June 12th, 2021. Dennis was 74 years old. He grew up in California and served in the Air Force. He worked many years at the Navy Lab in Panama City as a civil service employee. Dennis retired from the government but continued to work for defense contractors until recently. A number of years ago, Dennis overcame a severe bout with cancer.
Dennis's favorite hobby was ham radio. He was involved with repeaters and packet radio in the past. In recent years, Dennis enjoyed operating amateur radio on the outdoors. Dennis and I enjoyed many outings together, putting parks and islands in the air. Dennis was the ultimate friend, a team player, and was always ready to help others. Dennis is survived by his wife, Lana.
If you follow this blog and my YouTube channel you have seen that Dennis and I had lots of fun together. He is greatly missed.