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Field Day

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ARRL Field Day is an annual event during the last full weekend in June. It is an event for testing and refining skills for setting up emergency health and welfare communications.  In the immediate aftermath of the 1989 Loma Prieta earhtquake in the San Francisco bay area, cell phone service was overwhelmed and was essentially unusable.  Amateur radio communications do not depend on any infrastructure and were unaffected by the temblor.

Iron Mountain in El Dorado County, California is 6000 feet in elevation at its peak.  The site was once the location of a Forest Service fire lookout tower.  It was an excellent field day location for many years.  The area was a park-like setting with shade trees and plenty of locations to set up towers and dipole antennas.  Sadly, the area is no longer accessible; the Caldor fire burned the site, and the access road is no longer passable.

Field Day, 2012
Field Day 2012.  Joined by friends John, KF6OV and Jim, N6MDJ (SK 2014). This photo was taken Friday, June 22nd.  

We camped out overnight, and the next morning.......
.... we woke up to this!  Weather on the mountain in late June is usually in the 80's and 90's; this day, it was in the low 50's.  We set up our antennas hoping for a change in the weather.

Here is the AB-577 tubular tower.  It was designed for military field radiotelephone installations; it serves field day installations as well.  The tower can easily be hauled in the bed of a small pickup.  The standard tower has eight tubular sections that are designed to clamp together.  The completed height is 50 feet.   An extension kit is available which will increase the height to about 75 feet.  One person can attach antennas and have the tower up to 50 feet in two or three hours.  
Here is the AB-577 tower erected.
M-Squared makes good antennas; the five element 6 meter yagi is a M-squared 6M5X with a small Cushcraft five element yagi slipped into the front of the boom for 432 Mhz.  Below the 6 meter yagi is a M-squared 2M12 for 144 Mhz.

My 2012 Field Day station.  Radios are Icom 756 Pro III for HF and 6 meters and an Icom IC-910H for 2 meters and 70 cm.
Here is KF6OV's trailer-mounted HF tribander.

Jim, N6MDJ at the campfire.
By late afternoon, it was still cold, and the wind was too strong, so we doused the fire, packed up and looked forward to next year.
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