by William Eric McFadden



The Athens County Amateur Radio Association (ACARA) participated in the 2015 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 559 QSOs and 950 bonus points resulted in a score of 2,852 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 an Elected Official, Site Visitation by a Representative of a Served Agency, and Web Submission.

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, Chief of Operations, Athens County 9-1-1 Emergency Communications Center, provided the 50' trailer-mounted tower to support the 80m/40m HF antenna.

Both the HF station and the VHF station were set up in the Kiwanis shelter. The HF station consisted of WD8RIF's Elecraft KX3 transceiver, N8VZ's Elecraft PX3 Panadapter, and W8MHV's Elecraft KXPA100 100-watt amplifier with internal antenna tuner. 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 supported by KC8JXA's 40' W8ERD military-mast with north-to-south orientation to provide east-west directivity.

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.

Logging for both stations was by laptop PCs running N1MM Logger +. The HF logging PC was interfaced with the KX3 and tracked band and mode changes.

As at last year's event, Athens Mayor Paul Wiehl visited on Saturday morning and presented the Proclamation for Amateur Radio Appreciation Days (scan: Mayor's Proclamation | County Commissioners' Proclamation).

Weather- and ionospheric-Conditions for this year's Field Day were very rough. Saturday morning brought rain and Saturday afternoon brought very high winds. Saturday night/Sunday morning was unseasonably cold—so cold a propane heater was needed at the HF CW station overnight. Both days were affected by a CME that badly disrupted HF propogation but may have improved 6m propogation on Sunday.

QSOs per band:

Band CW Phone
80 78 33
40 143 38
20 106 44
15 37 2
10 27 1
6 1 49
Total 392 167

Saturday dinner, Sunday breakfast, and Sunday lunch were artfully provided by Miles McFadden (KD8KCN) and the Athens' Own (link) mobile kitchen. This was made possible by a generous donation by John McCutcheon, N8XWO.

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 Mike Hansgen (K8RAT) for his patient mentoring at the HF SSB station, to Third Sun Solar for the use of their solar demonstration trailer and to Dan Pfieffer for the use of the 9-1-1 Center's 50' crank-up mobile tower