by William Eric McFadden



The Athens County Amateur Radio Association (ACARA) participated in the 2013 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 555 QSOs and 1050 bonus points resulted in a score of 3092 points, a score that may well be an ACARA record. 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, Message Orientation to Section Manager, Alternate Power, W1AW Field Day Bulletin, Educational Activity, Site Visitation by an Elected Official, Site Visitation by a Representative of a Served Agency, and Web Submission.

ARRL Field Day 2013 logo The ACARA Field Day operation took place at the Athens County Fairgrounds. Power for both the HF station and the 6m VHF station came from the beautiful solar-demonstration trailer generously provided by Third Sun Solar Power (link). Dan Pfeiffer, interim Chief of Operations, Athens County 9-1-1 Emergency Communications Center, provided the 50' trailer-mounted tower to support the HF antennas as well as a low-power AM radio public-notification system which the ACARA used to publicize the event.

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 KC8OVB's Icom IC-756 ProII. 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 80/40m fan dipole was found to tune easily on 15m, giving the operators a choice of directivity on that band.

The VHF station consisted of N8XWO's IC-7410 and a homebrew two-element 6m yagi mounted on a homebrew 20' mast; the yagi was aimed with an armstrong rotor.

A special surprise this year was the visit to the site by Athens Mayor Paul Wiehl on Saturday morning. Mayor Wiehl read the Proclamation for Amateur Radio Appreciation Days (scans: Mayor's Proclamation | County Commissioners' Proclamation). Mayor Wiehl also held the American Flag while N8XWO played the Star Spangled Banner on the tuba (photo).

Saturday evening brought a second surprise: the visit to the site by Connie Hamilton, N8IO, ARRL Assistant Section Manager.

QSOs per band:

Band CW Phone
80 131 0
40 174 25
20 137 35
15 21 1
6 3 28
Total 466 89

A quick study of the HF log revealed that between 0300Z and 0400Z, NS8O achieved a QSO rate of 40 QSOs on 40m. Between 0400Z and 0500Z he achieved a QSO rate of 46 on 80m and 40m.

The VHF station was very successful this year, with 6m providing 28 SSB contacts and 3 CW contacts, many of which were with stations in Texas and the deep south.

A treat this year was Saturday dinner, Sunday breakfast, and Sunday lunch being provided by Constantine Faller's Athens' Own mobile kitchen. The kitchen was set up by and most of the cooking was performed by the Athens' Own intern, Miles McFadden, KD8KNC.

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

Eric McFadden sends very special thanks to Third Sun Solar for the use of the solar demonstration trailer and to Dan Pfieffer for the use of the 9-1-1 trailer-mounted tower and low-power AM radio system.