Welcome to Field Day 2008!

Field Day was different this year and the ARRL Field Day appears to have been forever changed by sociologic and economic developments. This year we operated as Class F. Class F was introduced a few years ago to allow personnel at Emergency Operations Centers to participate using their fixed antennas. We rationalized that we could also since our club station is intended to be used for emergency support. This decision relieved us of most of the hard work a Field Day requires but also diminished a bit of allure and traditional Field Day ambiance.

Attendance was lighter than usual this year probably due to the lack of expected pandemonium, or maybe the sun is setting on Field Day enthusiasm by the Amateur community in general. We had said from the beginning that we were going to be a bit more laid back this year and focus on fellowship and toward that goal we hit the mark pretty well. There appears to be an unspoken sentiment that a real Field Day includes rain, bugs, lightning, injuries and property damage, and the lack thereof may have dissuaded some of our regulars whose absence was duly noted.

The thing that has made this year a turning point for ARRL Field Day nation wide, was the astounding number of other clubs that found a way to operate Class F also. The first year that ARRL included Class F there were only a handful of stations nation wide that chose this category. Last year they were a little more common yet still rare. This year Class F was as common as Class A. This is an observation has broad implications for how Field Day is evolving for the Amateur Radio community.

What has probably happened is the price of gas has made the use of portable generators less attractive for Field Day power and operating Class F only requires that you demonstrate that emergency power is available and in our case, the Red Cross ran their whole facility generator for just long enough for us to claim that part of the Class F requirement.

When the contest began, it was apparent that we did not have a plan for logging each station and logging was accomplished by using a computer and paper logs, but each contact was recorded. As with most Field Day's we had a period of stormy weather which forced us to lower the beam an cease operations for a time while we took a break for dinner.

We had a number of new hams stop by who gained a little experience with HF and contest operating from some of the old hands at this endeavor. We also had some new members stop by and stay long enough to get to know them better and share some stories and food and drink.

All in all, those that came and hung out, had a pretty good time and we were able to take advantage of rare openings on 15, 10 and 6 meters. A link to the pictures will be posted here soon when the pictures start rolling in.