Well, last weekend was Field Day for Amateur Radio Operators (aka Hams). I was encouraged a few weeks prior to promise to attend the club’s Field Day site out at Bonneville Point. And of course, two days before that Saturday, another friend asked if I wanted to go to Malad Gorge with him and another of his friends for a photo shoot. Ah, shoot! I had to beg out of that as I’d already promised to attend the Field Day. The club wanted me there to gain extra points.
Being a deaf ham, I’m naturally mostly interested in digital modes such as CW, Packet, or PSK-31. It was a great day for it, hot but breezy. I even got fed, a delicious homemade chili and garlic toast, followed by a wedge of strawberry pie…with 2″ minimum diameter strawberries. Whoooo!
I was put on one of the 4 radio stations with a ham who had the necessary license for us to run HF. (I expect to be upgraded after testing in August.) I then spent the next 4 1/2 hours working PSK-31. That was a very, very valuable lesson, perhaps more valuable than the free food. 😉 I had been getting frustrated trying to set up my own station at home: I had so much garbage on the screen that I thought it was wrong. That weekend, I found out that was actually normal! You can tell where the messages are as they read fine as if tickertapes on the screen. When there’s no-one on the frequency, you will get random characters displayed, that’s part of the game. I also found out that fldigi is available on Windoze, which surprised me, but is good to know as my favorite APRS software is Windoze only. I was also able to ask a couple burning antenna questions that will help me with my home and mobile installations.
The really cool thing is that I was able to make several contacts for the club on 20m via PSK-31, both Canadian (my first foriegn contacts!!!) and US. The US contacts were in the Midwest, the South, the Southwest, and the Northwest. That’s got me even more excited to get my systems up and running.
All in all, it was a great day, good food, good experience, and good friends.
Ok, now for the serialization of Beorn and the Wanderer. Here’s the second installation. As I’ve not heard anything back about the size of the QR code, or actually anything else, so I’m leaving it the same size for now.