by William Eric McFadden



The Athens County Amateur Radio Association (ACARA) participated in the 2022 ARRL Field Day as W8MHV with 100-watt stations at the Athens County Fairgrounds.

The club participated as W8MHV in class 1A, meaning one transmitter, club or non-club group, power output of 100 watts or less. A total of 475 QSOs and 1,470 bonus points resulted in a score of 3,124 points. A breakdown of QSOs per band can be found below. The ACARA earned bonus points for the following:

Athens County 9-1-1 Emergency Communications Center again provided the lovely 50' crank-up, trailer-mounted tower which would be used to support the two HF antennas. Eric McFadden, WD8RIF, met Josh Clegg of the Athens County 9-1-1 Center on the Friday prior to Field Day weekend to take delivery of and to help deploy the county's 50' crank-up mobile tower. Unfortunately, just as had happened in 2021, the winch cable snapped as the tower was being extended. However, unlike last year, when the cable snapped with the tower at full-extension, this year the cable snapped when the tower was still fully collapsed, leaving the ACARA only a 25' tower to work with.

Power for the HF station came from a 2kW Honda inverter-generator provided by Eric McFadden, WD8RIF. Power for the the 6m VHF station came from a 1kW Honda inverter-generator provided by John McCutcheon, N8XWO. Power for the satellite station came from a 600w Honda generator provided by Jeramy Duncan, KC8QDQ. These generators were not as environmentally-friendly as the solar trailer used during some previous ACARA Field Day operations but these modern generators are significantly quieter, more fuel-efficient, and more reliable than yesteryear's less sophisticated generators.

Both the HF station and the VHF station were set up inside the Fairgrounds' large, ancient, brick building. The satellite station was set up on the Fairgrounds midway, adjacent to the brick building.

The HF station consisted of the Elecraft K3 from the ACARA's Jim Crouse Memorial Radio Station which is located at the Red Cross of Southeastern Ohio. An Elecraft KX3 and a solar-charged battery provided by Eric McFadden, WD8RIF, was used to make the first six HF QSOs to earn the Natural Power Bonus. A dual-yardarm atop the (now) 25' trailer-mounted tower supported an 80m/40m fan dipole and a 10m/15m/20m/40m trap-dipole as inverted-vees. The 80m legs of the fan-dipole were oriented north-to-south to provide east-west directivity and the 40m legs were oriented east-to-west to provide north-south directivity. The trap-dipole legs were oriented north-to-south orientation to provide east-west directivity.

The VHF station was originally to consist of an ICOM IC-7410, a homebrew two-element 6m yagi, and a homebrew 20' mast, all of which were provided by John McCutcheon, N8XWO, and was to be used primarily for SSB QSOs. However, at the last minute, Paul Schulz, WD8SCV, offered his ICOM IC-7300 and computer to the VHF station in order to run the digital mode, FT8. John's yagi was aimed using a traditional Armstrong rotor. The VHF operators finished the weekend having completed 25 QSOs, all using FT8. Very little 6m SSB activity was heard this year and no 6m SSB contacts were completed.

The VHF station also included an ICOM IC-2100 2m FM mobile transceiver provided by Eric McFadden, WD8RIF, and a Cushcraft Ringo and mast provided by N8XWO; these were used to pass formal Radiogram-traffic to Ted Jacobson, W8KVK, via 2m FM simplex to earn the Formal Message to ARRL SM/SEC Bonus and the Formal Messages Handled Bonus.

Jeramy Duncan, KC8QDQ, once again provided his Jeep-portable satellite rover station. Jeramy's station consisted of a Kenwood TS-2000 HF/VHF/UHF transceiver, a computer-controlled azimuth/elevation rotor, and VHF and UHF yagis mounted on a common boom. Jeramy earned the 100-point Satellite Bonus for the ACARA by completing a QSO through the 47-year-old AMSAT OSCAR 7 satellite and later made four QSOs through the (much newer) XW-2C satellite.

Logging for the HF and the VHFs stations was by non-networked laptop PCs, running N1MM Logger+ software, provided by Eric McFadden, WD8RIF. The laptops, Evolve Maestro Ebooks, were purchased this year by Eric specifically for logging, and were originally intended for use by schoolchildren. The Evolve Maestro Ebooks, configured with Microsoft Windows 10 Pro Education, were available at MicroCenter for a paltry sum of $60 each. The HF station logging PC interfaced with the K3 and KX3 and tracked band and mode changes. The VHF logging PC wasn't interfaced with either the IC-7410 or the IC-7300, so loggers had to manually enter band- and mode-changes. Both stations took advantage of N1MM Logger+'s ability to record the operator's identity for post-event analysis. The Satellite QSOs were logged to paper and later entered into the VHF station's log. Following the close of Field Day operations, the HF and VHF/Satellite logs were combined into one file for analysis and submission to the ARRL.

Athens Mayor Steve Patterson was able to accept the invitation made by Jeff Slattery, N8SUZ, to visit the ACARA Field Day operation. During his visit, he presented a proclamation from the City of Athens. (View the proclamation: Amateur Radio Operators Appreciation Days, June 25-26, 2022.)

Jeff Slattery, N8SUZ, had also invited the Athens County Commissioners to visit the Field Day operation. The Commissioners did not visit the Field Day operation but did send a signed proclamation from Athens County. (View the proclamation: Amateur Radio Operators Appreciation Days, June 25-26, 2022.)

Eric McFadden, WD8RIF, had submitted press releases to local media, and the operation was visited by John Halley of The Athens Messenger. A short article with a photo later appeared in the June 30 edition of The Athens Messenger. (View the article: PDF | direct URL.)

The goal for this year's Field Day was, like that of previous years, to have fun and to get new or inactive hams on the air and this year that goal was met. As-yet-unlicensed twelve-year-old Bob Weber made the nine SSB QSOs on 20m. Bob's father, Joe Weber, KE8LRZ, logged for Bob and also made six 20m SSB QSOs of his own.

Old-timers also operated the stations:

Ted Jacobson, W8KVK, had again graciously offered to be the "on-ramp" onto the National Traffic System (NTS), allowing the ACARA to earn two 100-point bonuses. A properly-formatted Radiogram to Ohio ARRL SEC Stan Broadway, N8BHL, was sent via 2m FM simplex to Ted for the Formal Message to ARRL SM/SEC Bonus. Club members and family members produced properly-formatted "ARL 50" ("Greetings by Amateur Radio") Radiograms to Ohio ARRL SEC Stan Broadway, N8BHL, and these were sent via 2m FM simplex to Ted for the Message Handling Bonus.

The 100-point Educational Activity Bonus was earned this year by John McCutcheon, N8XWO, making a presentation on "Selecting Equipment for Emergency Comms". The "Radiogram Origination" exercise, using materials developed by Ted Jacobson, W8KVK, to teach club members how to properly generate a Radiogram and insert it via amateur radio into the National Traffic System, would also have counted for the Educational Activity Bonus.

QSOs per band:

Band CW Phone Digital Total
80 71 0 0 71
40 167 84 0 251
20 74 27 0 101
15 15 6 0 21
6 0 0 25 25
2 0 1 0 1
Satellite 0 5 0 5


Saturday dinner, Sunday breakfast, and Sunday lunch were provided to those present by Miles McFadden, KD8KNC.

ACARA President Eric McFadden, WD8RIF, wishes to thank the following who helped make this a safe and successful Field Day:

Eric McFadden sends very special thanks to the Athens County 9-1-1 Emergency Communications Center and Josh Clegg for the use of the 50' crank-up mobile tower; to the Athens County Fair Board for use of the Athens Fairgrounds; and to Stan Broadway, N8BHL, Ohio SEC, for gladly accepting eleven Radiograms.

UPDATE 2022-11-18: Field Day 2022 results were published in the December 2022 issue of QST magazine. ACARA placed 21st out of 131 in Class 1A, which places the club in the top 16%. Within Class 1A, ACARA placed 2nd in Ohio, 2nd in the 8th call-district, and 3rd in the ARRL Great Lakes Subdivision (OH, MI, KY).