Field Day Reflections
Family matters kept me from participating directly, but I listened when I could!
Unavoidable family business prevented me from helping to set up our club’s Field Day site and kept me from the 24-hour event. But I was able to check in over VHF a few times, both with my local club and with other operators while I traveled.
Field Day is ham radio's open house. Every June, more than 40,000 hams throughout North America set up temporary transmitting stations in public places to demonstrate ham radio's science, skill and service to our communities and our nation. It combines public service, emergency preparedness, community outreach, and technical skills all in a single event. Field Day has been an annual event since 1933, and remains the most popular event in ham radio. Source: ARRL
During the 11:00 am Saturday to 11:00 am Sunday event, I drove from Portland, Oregon to Shelton, Washington…and back to Portland…and back to Shelton. During those three-hour drives (two hours, but with coffee, bathroom breaks, and food, it takes three hours), I had one side of the Icom ID-5100A listening on 146.52 MHz simplex, the VHF calling channel. The other side was actively scanning known repeaters: VHF analog, UHF analog, and D-STAR.
I always have 146.52 on in the car, even though it is normally silent. (Actually, that statement is not entirely true. While 146.52 is usually very quiet in the Seattle-Tacoma area, there are a few folks in the Portland-Vancouver that I hear regularly on 146.52. One fellow has a condo in Portland and an apartment in California, and I’ve talked to him through his remotely controlled station in Portland.) I was pleased to hear people calling CQ on 146.52. The best moment for me was a brief, pleasant conversation with a young lady (I’m guessing about 10 or 11 years old) in Portland early on Saturday. She seemed excited that someone responded to her so I slowed the pace of my transmissions so that she would not feel overwhelmed. Hearing young people using amateur radio gives me hope for the future.
My local club — the Mason County Amateur Radio Club in Shelton, Washington — had a good turnout for Field Day. A brief photo gallery of the MC-ARC Field Day event is available online. Field Day has been sparsely attended in the past few years so it was a genuine delight that the club saw more people involved this year. The club’s VIP visitor was a local judge who sat and operated a station.
I got back to Portland late in the evening, long after Field Day had concluded. I listened to Field Day stories from around the country on AllStarLink last night and every person had great reflections on their experience during Field Day 2023. Words that I recall hearing include: fun, learning, experimentation, and playing radio. By all the accounts I heard, Field Day was quite successful.
In the back of my mind a voice is murmuring: next year, make time for Field Day next year!