by William Eric McFadden



The Athens County Amateur Radio Association (ACARA) participated in the 2012 ARRL Field Day with 100-watt stations at the Athens County Fairgrounds with the callsign W8MHV.

The club participated in class 1A, meaning one transmitter, club or non-club group, power output of 150 watts or less. A total of 522 QSOs and 890 bonus points resulted in a score of 2800 points. A breakdown of QSOs per band can be found below. The ACARA earned bonus points for 100% Emergency Power, Media Publicity, Public Location, Public Information Booth, Alternate Power, W1AW Field Day Bulletin, Educational Activity, Site Visitation by a Representative of an Agency, Web Submission, and Field Day Youth Participation.

The ACARA Field Day operation took place at the Athens County Fairgrounds. Originally, power for both the HF station and the 6m VHF station was to come from Third Sun Solar Power (link) demonstration trailer but at nearly the last moment, the solar demonstation trailer became unavailable and power for the stations instead came from a 2kW Honda generator provided by Jim Crouse, KC8OVB. Scott Warner, KD8KND, Chief of Operations, Athens County 9-1-1 Emergency Communications Center, provided the beautiful 50' trailer-mounted tower to support the HF antennas.

Both the HF station and the VHF station were set up in the Kiwanis shelter. The HF CW station consisted of W8MHV's Elecraft K2/100 and KAT100 automatic antenna tuner. The HF SSB station consisted of K8PAW's Yaesu FT-450D. The HF antennas were the same as last year. An 80/40m fan dipole was suspended between the top of a tall tree and the 50' trailer-mounted tower; the 80m legs were oriented north-to-south to provide east-west directivity and the 40m legs were suspended as an inverted-vee, oriented east-to-west to provide north-south directivity. A 10/15/20/40m trap dipole was suspended below the 80/40m fan dipole with north-to-south orientation to provide east-west directivity.

The VHF station consisted of N8XWO's IC-746 and a homebrew two-element 6m yagi mounted on a homebrew 20' mast; the yagi was aimed with an armstrong rotor.

With low solar numbers (SFI 88, SN 13) band conditions on HF were rough. 15m and 20m proved to be relatively non-productive but 40m and 80m both provided many contacts. The HF CW station made 433 QSOs. The Elecraft K2/100 with its optional AF DSP worked very well and very few stations were heard that couldn't be worked. The HF SSB station made 86 QSOs.

The VHF station operators found that 6m wasn't very productive this year. Only three stations were worked on 6m, all on SSB. (Contrast this with the 73 stations worked last year.)

Roy Plant, KD8PKV, brought his FM satellite station which consists of a handheld 2m/70cm yagi and a dual-band FM mobile rig. Attempts were made over three passes of AO-27 but, unfortunately, no contacts were made.

As during last year's event, a fund-raiser demolition derby was scheduled at the fairgrounds Saturday afternoon and evening. The noise of the derby at times made copy difficult but QSOs were made throughout. During the demolition derby, WD8RIF used a home-made noise-blocking headset at the CW station. On the plus side, several derby spectators took time to visit the Field Day site and learn about Amateur Radio.

QSOs per band:

Band CW Phone
80 162 14
40 188 50
20 83 18
Total 433 89

Eric McFadden, WD8RIF, ACARA president and Field Day chairman, wishes to publicly thank all those club members who helped make this a successful Field Day:

Eric McFadden sends very special thanks to Scott Warner, KD8KND, for the use of the 9-1-1 trailer-mounted tower.