Field Day

Field Day is the largest amateur radio operating event in the world.  The members of the Ak-Sar-Ben ARC like the challenge of changing locations for Field Day every few years.   You can learn more about our Field Days here.

p6240202 editThe ARRL’s Field Day is a lot of things.  The ARRL defines it as  Ham Radio’s Open House and  “a picnic, a campout, practice for emergencies, an informal contest and most of all FUN”.    In fact Field Day can be so many things that it is impossible to do them all well.     

The last several years, Ak-Sar-Ben Amateur Radio Club has been at Standing Bear Lake and Douglas County’s Crime Lab grounds.  Both are great locations with trees, hardware stores and 24 hour supermarkets nearby, and it was easy to fall into a pattern on setups, and the attendance by club members dropped.  

Looking to take Ham Radio to the public and making a it a challenge again, the Field Day Chair reached out to the volunteers at Freedom Park.    From the beginning the team knew there would be issues, not the least of which was the limited access to the park since the 2011 flood.     However after a late winter trip to the park that included most of shack captains, it was a unanimous decision to go to Freedom Park.    The City of Omaha Parks Department has always been agreeable to the AARC being able to overnight in city parks for field day, and they agreed again, provided that a Freedom Park Volunteer would be on site after hours.   Park volunteer and AARC club member Peter KE7RDM readily agreed.

The shack captains began their planning.  Where would they operate from?  With the park being open for visitors during a lot of the set up time on Saturday Morning and during the first two hours of the operating time,  consideration to not create trip hazards or blocking ship passageways.      After several email exchanges and another meeting at the park, a plan was set.  

The final issue was access to the park after closing time.   The operators and park volunteers understood that 3:00 pm was too early to lock the gates to the hams who wanted to come to Field Day.   The K0USA repeater would be monitored at the park, anyone who came after hours.  They  would be directed to a simplex frequency where they  would be given instructions on how to unlock the gate.   Those still in the park and wanting to leave would be given the secret before driving to the gate.   Once the gates were secured for the night - which was just after sunset, you were either in or you were out.    This would help keep the police from wondering who was wandering up and down a closed road.  

diningSaturday the Field Day crew gathered at the gate to get in before opening time for the park and caravanned in.   The group fanned out and set about getting setup and ready to operate.   Even with the public arriving and wandering around the ship and grounds the shacks were setup and ready to go before the activity start time of 1:00 pm.   And at that time K0USA was on the air as 6A Nebraska.   

About 25 club members were spotted in addition to the Field Day operators, and the park volunteers estimate 150 to 200 visitors passed through the park between 10:00 and 3:00.  Many stopped to visit with the operators who took time to explain what we were doing.    Once the park closed however the operators had time to get serious on the radio while dinner was been created which involved part of the meal being cooked in the ship’s ovens.     The crew took time away from the air waves to have dinner in the ships galley.     

The weather was perfect and the crew was not plagued by insects, that is probably a Field Day first.   A  group gathered on deck and enjoyed the view of Omaha’s skyline to the west and watched as boats passed by on the river.  There were a few moments of excitement when the Douglas County Sheriff’s river patrol approached the shore and shined a spot light along the shore.   When the field day ops did not all scurry like rats, the sheriff’s boat headed back down river.

After the excitement of the visit by a served agency, the operators  decided to turn in for the night. Some slept on cots and air mattress in the gazebo, and on deck but most opted for the officers’ quarters  inside the ship.    With the ventilation blowers on, most of them were quite cool and reported they slept well.  

In the morning the smell of coffee wafted through the passageways.   Once again the ship’s galley was put into use and the crew enjoyed a breakfast of biscuits and gravy before heading back to be on the air when the bands woke up. 

About noon the tear down helpers started arriving.   Again, a good turn out of helpers and the stations were all packed up and headed home in record time.

At this time, the score looks like this:

Total Contacts by Band and Mode:

 Band       CW   Power     Dig   Power   Phone   Power   Total       %

 ----       --   -----   -----   -----   -----   -----   -----     ---

   80        0     150       0     150     174     150     174      13

   40        0     150      27     150     549     150     576      44

   20        5     150      31     150     288     150     324      25

   15       10     150      46     150      21     150      77       6

   10        0     150       0     150      14     150      14       1

    6        0     150       0     150     132     150     132      10

 GOTA        0     150       0     150       0     150       0       0

            --   -----   -----   -----   -----   -----   -----     ---

 Total      15             104           1,178           1,297     100

 

With bonus points the final score should be 2832

A job well done for the Field Day group!   And a big thanks to the Freedom Park Volunteers for being such awesome hosts.     In fact, the operators were having so much fun, that one of the volunteers decided to go get his license.   

More volunteers to  help setup and tear down, more public foot traffic, built in sleeping accommodations and recruiting a new ham.  Well done Field Day Committee… Well Done!

  


2018 ARRL Field Day Logo DOWNLOADThe ARRL’s Field Day is a lot of things.  The ARRL defines it as  Ham Radio’s Open House and  “a picnic, a campout, practice for emergencies, an informal contest, a demonstration of amateur radio to the general public and most of all FUN”.    In fact Field Day can be so many things that it is impossible to do them all well in any one event.   But... we found a way.    Use a World War II Mine Sweeper to attract both operators and visitors.

Last year, looking to take Ham Radio to the public and making a it a challenge again, (not having a 24 hour HyVee with in walking distance) the Field Day Chair reached out to the volunteers at Freedom Park.    From the beginning the Field Day team knew there would be issues, not the least of which was the limited access to the park since the 2011 flood.     Those issues were over come and after having about 200 people be exposed to amateur radio, Field Day Chairman Adam KDØMMG decided we would go back again.  

Operations have expanded a bit... There will be SSB Shacks on 10/15/20/40/80m...  6m/2m will operate from the fantail again.   CW will be on the air from the radio room.  Digital is possible, but not yet confirmed.  7A?  8A?      Dinner will be prepared in the ship's galley and eaten in the ship's mess hall.   When the night shift operators take over, the day shift will find a bunk in the officers quarters for a few hours of shut eye.   

Just a reminder that the gate to the park is only open from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.   You can stay in the park after closing.  hazard 1If you need to arrive at the park after 3:00 pm... there will be a sign with a 2m simplex frequency on it... Call for K0USA and you will be admitted to the park. (You can also try on 146.940)   Before you go, let someone know so they can help you get through the gate.  So bring along an HT -  All traffic in and out of the park will cease at 9:00 pm (this is an official request from local law enforcement) . Sunday morning the same process is used, as the park is NOT OPEN.  So the gate must remain closed.    Someone should be awake by 8:00 am.    

So.. come on down.. get on the air and have some fun!    No need to be a member of the AARC.. no need to be a ham.. come on down!
Need a map?  Click here -->>>    2497 Freedom Park Rd, Omaha, NE 68110

 

The 2017 edition of Field Day for the Ak-Sar-Ben ARC will be at Freedom Park. 2497 Freedom Park Rd, Omaha, NE.  

Freedom Park offers many new challenges but also offers a lot of opportunities, which is one of the major aspects of Field Day, learning to see challenges as oppurtunities.  Freedom Park is open to the public only on Saturdays between 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.  Setup will occur while the park is open and operations will start at 1:00 pm  That is the best time to visit.   Field Day Operations will continue for the full 24 hours.     

As of this moment, we are planning a 6 Alpha operation, but the addition an 80 meter antenna might push that to 7 Alpha if we find another radio for that band.  The plan is to network the operating positions to easily combine the individual logs and to provide communications.  The AARC Mesh Networking Team plans to place a phone at each location as well as cameras in some of the "inside" locations. PSK will be in the radio room - limiting visitors due to its size and 20M SSB will be in the club trailer.  Again, limiting vistors due to the size of the trailer.    Visitors should be mindful of the operations going on around them, and limit conversation while visiting the individual shacks.

  • 20 meter SSB - KØCTU/KE7RDM                                         Museum Ships Weekend

  • 40 meter SSB - KDØMMG/NØTRK

  • 15 meter SSB - KAØVNY

  • GOTA* - KAØVNYwill be the control op/Callsign used

  • 6 meter SSB - KA4ZZQ

  • 20/40 meter PSK  - AI7Q

  • 20/40 meter CW - KBØLF & WEØBEP

 

2015 Field Day results are in... and K0USA did GREAT. We claimed 7,032 points which brought us the following results

  • 131st  out of 2720 entries over all score
  • 3rd in the 9A category Nation wide
  • 5th in the Midwest Division. We were also the only 9A in the Division
  • 1st in the Nebraska Section!

Section results are shared below!

# Call Score Category QSOs Power Mult GOTA Call Section Participants Club
1 K0USA 7,032 9A 1,874 2 NE 35 Aksarben ARC
2 K0KKV 5,986 3A 1,764 2 KC0WWR NE 75 Lincoln ARC
3 W0WYV 2,322 5A 597 2 KC0YKN NE 21 Bellevue ARC
4 K0GNE 2,112 2E 793 2 NE 15
5 W0WWV 1,706 2A 291 2 NE 15
6 WB9QAF 1,170 1B1B 100 5 NE 1
7 K0JFN 990 4AC 193 2 NE 8 Pioneer ARC
8 KC0VEP 930 1E 63 5 NE 1
9 KI0II 480 1B1B 23 5 NE 1
10 KQ0J 352 1E 111 2 NE 1
11 KD0VUB 200 1E 25 2 NE 1
12 W0KK 92 1D 23 2 NE 1