hams use coax to transfer high frequency electromagnetic energy between antennae and receivers and transmitters

Jul 02, 2005
(an archived page, this may contain outdated or broken links)
Field Day 2005
The Charleston Amateur Radio Society conducts their annual Field Day exercise onboard the USS YORKTOWN.

The WWII Aircraft Carrier YORKTOWN (CV10) now rests in Charleston Harbor as a museum ship at Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum.

Operating "under the gun" these radio operators practice their emergency communications skills, under extreme conditions.

President Bush sends greetings to Field Day 2005 participants (Jun 22, 2005) -- President George W. Bush has sent greetings from the White House to everyone participating in ARRL Field Day 2005. "I send greetings to those celebrating the annual Field Day for Amateur Radio, hosted by the American Radio Relay League. Across our country, radio plays a vital role in relaying important information to the public and emergency service personnel in times of need," the president said. "By providing emergency communications at the federal, state, and local level, licensed Amateur Radio operators help first responders and law enforcement officials save lives and make our country safer. Your efforts help ensure the right assistance gets to the right people at the right time. I appreciate all ham operators who give their time and energy to help make our citizens more secure. Your good work reflects the spirit of America and contributes to a culture of responsibility and citizenship that strengthens our nation. Laura and I send our best wishes."
An annual exercise aimed at developing skills to meet the challenges of emergency preparedness as well as to acquaint the general public with the capabilities of Amateur Radio, ARRL Field Day takes place this year on Saturday and Sunday, June 25-26. Stations throughout the Americas may participate. [White House Photo by Eric Draper]

Background :
+ The Charleston Amateur Radio Society (CARS) holds Amateur Radio License WA4USN.
+ CARS meets on the second Monday of each month at Ryan's Steak House on Hwy 61.
+ The club currently has over 130 regular members, and a linked network of 4x 2m voice repeaters.
+ Their website can be found with http://www.qsl.net/wa4usn.
+ You can find the Yorktown on the map, via FindU.com, WA4USN-5.
+ Check on current NWS radar , for the Charleston area . . .

Details :
+ CARS maintains a club station at the very front of the ship, right under the flight deck.

+ For Field Day, the radio equipment is taken out of this station, and deployed at other locations on the ship. The "club room" provides a convenient place for lunch, coffee breaks, and "beatin the heat". . .

+ We had a very enjoyable session here Saturday evening with SC Section Manager Jim (N2ZZ) and Section Emergency Coordinator Charlie (AE4UX), as they stopped by on their tour of various Field Day sites in South Carolina. Check Dr. Jim's report on http://www.arrl-sc.org/ . . .

+ I wanted to contribute, so I pulled my VHF/UHF station out of the house, and took it to Field Day in hopes of making at least one satellite contact for the club.

+ Not having any 1.2GHz or 2.4GHz equipment, I was limited to 2m and 70cm operations. Fortunately, the most recently launched satellite (VO-52) has a mode that uses a UHF uplink with a VHF downlink. I had read reports indicating that the Space Station might be operating in voice mode, which would be VHF . . . Unfortunately, ARISS was operating packet.

+ VO-52 was quite a challenge, as the passes are quick, the doppler is tricky - but I did manage one confirmed exchange with W7JPI (1D AZ) on the last available pass. Finally, a satellite bonus.
! 100 points !
+ Tom (K4WJC) brought out his PSK-31 station, and we had our own corner of the forward port-side gun platform. He and Doug (KU4OC) made a few dozen contacts using PSK-31, on 40m, 20m, and even on 2m . . .

+ In between satellite passes Sunday morning, I had a chance to catch several stations locally on 144.200 USB. One was Skip (KH6TY) in Mt.Pleasant, who took the time to come visit us in person.

+ The SSB station was setup on the same platform, just aft of the big gun. Avery (W4QYV) peddles madly to run the bicycle-powered generator for the alternative energy bonus points.

+ Here you also see Doc (W4MUR) who was again our Field Day Captain this year, coordinating who and what was where and when . . . That is Bobby (W4KSD) at the mic on the QRP rig. He was also a major operator on the big rig later on in the wee hours.

+ The SSB station operated around the clock, accumulating points all the way. Tracey (KG4HTW) and Ken (AF4ZV) started the evening shift, and ran with it for quite a while.

+ You would hardly know that it rained most of the day. David (KI4FSC) did an excellent job with the tarp, and we never had to adjust it. The generator was just down the catwalk about 20 ft away, and the vertical antenna we used, was attached to the catwalk railing up those stairs at the flight deck level.

+ Of course the "overnight-crew" didn't need the flash-poppin distraction of a camera, so we let them operate un-interrupted.

+ Sunday morning, the rain had stopped. There was an eerie calm across the Cooper River. Of course the CARS was still pounding away at the ether; calling "QRZ Field Day - from Whiskey Alpha 4 United States Navy ; WA4USN 3A SC - QRZ" .

+ This view is looking forward from our platform on the port side of the ship. Over night, we made numerous trips over the 3 foot wide catwalk, all the way forward to to get to the club room for coffee, or another piece of chicken.  It gets really dark out there over the water, in the middle of the night . . . I can't imagine doing this while "under way". My hat is off to the sailors who lived and worked here . . .

+ Sunday morning, once the sun got up (and Jenny (WA4NGV) brought around several bags of biscuits), we set Benjamin (KG4YGPjr) at the mic, and the contacts just kept on rolling in. I think the ham bug took a good bite into Ben, he may have to get his license now.

+ In retrospect, the rain on Saturday was a blessing. If it had been as hot and humid on Saturday, as it was on Sunday - we might not have made it. Looking back on the previous day, it wasn't so bad after all.

+ This is the antenna used for the satellite contact, mounted on a 15 ft fiberglass boom. Not shown would be the manual rotator (Joe (KI4ILB)), who made it work. I could not have done it alone. The antenna was on loan from DuBose Middle School (W4DMS). Thanks Alene (KG4NKD).

+ In the background you can see the new Cooper River Bridge in front of the old bridge.

+ I'm sure to come up with some more notes to add here, so check back soon for more . . .
Hopefully some other club members will share their pics, and we can show Glenn (WB4UIV) and his converted EMS vehicle (the CW station) - and Bill (WA4WGP) and the GOTA station that was set up inside, on the hanger deck - complete with brochures and handouts . . .

+ Extra special thanks to Bryce (K4LXF) and Jenny (WA4NGV), who always put 110% into making things go well.  73 - Yall Come Back Now, Y'Hear ?

(Still) Coming soon :

+ the WB5RMG "hamcam" !

"Hummm . . . . What should I do now ?"
+ don't forget about the rest of SomeNet !

Copyright 2005 - wb5rmg @ somenet.net