CCQ, CQ, CQ FIELD DAY………This past June 24th and 25th of 2023, GCARA once again, exercised their emergency communication skills at the BALD EAGLE Pavilion at Quiet Waters Park in Deerfield Beach. While the weather was a factor in our demonstration to the public, many people did attend and were fed sliders and hot dogs prepared graciously by Head Chef Mike Wolf K2HCX. Thank you Mike, for tending the grill on such a hot day. Temps were in the 90’s, humidity 89% and with a heat index going up to 107 degrees F. It improved a little after the afternoon thunderstorms
What I discovered was evident most prominently on Saturday and Sunday: our hams are tough and steadfast in the face of adversity. First of all, the weather in June is not predictable and not like a Spring Florida Day but none the less, many hams came to the park with their grit and determination, to practice and hone their skills. Hope Smith WB3ANE, all 83 years of her, came to the park and stayed on the radios to help us garner points. Mike Wolf K2HXC was gracious enough to bring her and provide her care while she stayed at the park. Thank you Mike for supporting our precious asset and best friend to all.
I was very impressed with the planning of the event, as we did NOT have our full complement of helpers BUT we were not deterred in the least. Our veteran Field Day ham, Joe McGee NX4T was setting up the antennas, and tuning them, with the help and knowledge of our newer member, Alan Lisler NT4AL. Both men worked well together for the first time to set up our antenna farm. Alan came prepared to present the learning portion of our Field Day Program, antenna tuning, which Joe was going to help demonstrate with him. Both men are so competent in their fields of study, that they lend a special expertise to Field Day. Thank you Alan and Joe.
Thanks to Erik Olmer, who was incident commander for this year’s Field Day, for helping with the antennas while he was supervising other functions going on for Field day and helping Carol SJursen KJ4AWB and Ricki Witte KJ4FSJ, greet visitors and hams alike. Tom Savoca, K9TJS brought any friends to the event and they in turn brought their dogs and family as well. It was well attended despite the heat and we are grateful people dropped in to see us from all over.
This year ,with the help of Alan Lisler NT4AL, Joe McGee NX4T, and Aurora Figueiredo WD4AGF, we were prepared to focus heavily on the GOTA (Get on the air) station using Erik Olmer W4EJO’s homemade Go Kit Box. We were hoping to teach about ham radio and provide experience for those unlicensed people or hams with little radio experience to get on the air. Lo and behold, Mother Nature again did not cooperate with us. Instead, we were hit by a major sun flare around 2 pm that caused a major CME which disturbed the atmosphere on earth and disrupted the ability to communicate. According to Google, “Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) are large expulsions of plasma and magnetic field from the sun’s atmosphere-the corona. Compared to solar flares– bursts of electromagnetic radiation that travel at the speed of light, reaching the earth in just over 8 minutes-CMEs travel at a more leisurely pace, relatively speaking…………the charged particles can slam into OUR atmosphere, disrupt satellites in orbit, and even cause them to fall and bathe high flying airplanes with radiation. They can disrupt telecommunications and navigation systems……….”
Since it was a fairly large, significant flare, we were hitting a dead cycle in communications – no signals on any frequency. It was not until we endured a heavy thunderstorm, later in the day, did communications commence. Thankfully, and to the relief of many hams, we started making contacts all over the world and started our Field Day in earnest. Hams excitedly put out CW, FT-8 and phone CQs to accrue a large number of points for our Field Day Competition. As it were, we managed to overcome some obstacles in communication, and make a decent score at Field Day.
Our efforts were planned by Erik Olmer W4EJO and Jeff Stahl K4BH, who acted as technical advisor, keeping us within the technical rules of Field Day. Thank you, Jeff, for sharing your immense experience with us and helping the club accomplish another successful, albeit unusual Field Day. Central to that effort was Ricky Eaton KD4HGR who provided digital contacts for Field Day, as well as our champion of CW, Dan Vasilca AI4WW. These men completely set up their own antennas and bring their own equipment so we can score BIG and enjoy a good Field Day. These
two independent souls are one of the the mainstays of FD and we are so blessed that they share their time, equipment and talent to this club. God bless you both.
Just as important as the volunteers doing the actual work, are our people behind the scenes, who are helping the efforts in making a successful Field Day. Thank you to Kenny Hollenbeck KE4NC who supports us by storing and bringing the grill each activity the club plans. He is also responsible for bringing experimental and interesting samples of the hobby to each and every event. Thank you, Kenny, for your big heart and continued willingness to help us. Also, instrumental to our success, is Jesse Shannon KJ4FKK, who has donated and brings the generator we use for power at Field day. Thank you, Jesse, for bringing, maintaining, and storing as well as picking up the generator for the club. We would not be able to do what we do at Field Day as easily without your help. Thanks!!
They (who ever “they” is) say, “Many hands make light work.” This is so true, especially when it comes to executing a big event like our Field Days.
GCARA wishes to extend their utmost gratitude for the labors of Jerry Deitch W4LST, who has been providing storage of our hospitality goods and transporting food and beverages, as well as shopping and pinch hitting for cooking, for many, many years. Jerry is retiring from that responsibility
due to health issues, and we will need a replacement for that responsibility.
If you or anyone you know might be interested in this vital chore, please contact Erik Olmer W4EJO or Melanie Fernandez KJ4VCT, at your earliest
convenience. We would like to engage a person with a large vehicle to haul the large coolers and to help us keep the food cold and viable for the Field Day after aiding in shopping for same. Food is vital to the success of Field Day and all of our hams are truly appreciative of the planning and
execution of a successful menu.
Speaking of menu, GCARA was delighted by the efforts of Carol Sjursen KJ4AWB and newest ham Aurora Figueirdo WD4AGF, who pulled off a brilliantly executed “Brazilian B-B-Q” for the overnighters. It was an impressive example of sharing other people’s traditions and added greatly to the comradery of Field Day. Everybody raved about the food!. Thank you, Carol, for thinking outside the box and Aurora, both for your cooking and for lending us a tradition new to us. Perhaps our foray into providing a surprise menu at night will entice others to join us in the undertaking next
Thank you, too, Terry Delmonico KM4HJJ, who volunteered to pick up our cement blocks from Jeff Stahl NX4T and deliver them as well as return them at the end of Field Day. We cannot stress enough, how important, every contribution, to our club efforts are. Please consider looking for opportunities in our next venture. Say yes, when asked to volunteer for a purpose that is needed. You would be surprised at how much you can contribute to the whole by doing your part. It unconsciously stimulates a sense of community and being part of a group effort is tantamount to the overall success for our club. GCARA is filled with hams with big cooperative hearts and that is the reason we have survived as a club thus far.
There were other behind the scenes people, like Sam Greenfeld N2URO, who helped Tom Savoca K9JTS hang and disperse our FD signage
throughout the campus. Thank you, gentleman, for helping to point the way to our event.
If I have overlooked thanking someone for helping make Field Day a success, please forgive me, as much of my time was spent ferrying people
to and from the park that needed transportation and getting ice, food and water. Having had a horrendous migraine that Saturday, I was not my usual
social self, but no problem. Everyone else was ON CUE.
One of the reasons that I love Field Day with our club is not only in making contacts, or helping others, but getting to know more about the generous
hearts in our club. Thank you, all of you who volunteer, plan, visit and make our events special. You make success more than just a word and you are
VITAL to us. Thank you.
Submitted by Melanie Fernandez KJ4VCT