ARRL Field Day 2015

Field day 2015 finally arrived today!

My original plan for today was to operate from my backyard and setup the homebrew Buddistick on 10m and the homebrew Buddipole on 20m. Instead I went portable to my dad’s house in Mercedes, TX and setup only the Buddistick on 20m. I used the FT-817ND on 5W with the auto tuner and on solar charged battery power.

Photo Jun 27, 12 21 55 PM

It took me about 30 minutes to get everything setup just taking my time to do so. I had about 20 minutes before 1800UTC so I made a few contacts as a radio check.  The Buddistick tuned up very nicely on the 20m band. Really didn’t need to use the tuner but found later that I could tune the antenna on 15m without changing the configuration! So I was able to work 15m and 20m without adjusting the antenna! The Mini60 is indispensible for work using the Homebrew Buddistick. Don’t leave home without your antenna analyzer.

Photo Jun 27, 12 21 40 PM

At 1800UTC the band came alive….so many signals many on the same frequency. I had never seen anything like this during a contest. 20m was instantly wall to wall but I still managed to make some of my first contacts of the day. I would scan from top to bottom of the band then switch over to 15m and do the same. 15m was busy but much easier to work as there was much less traffic. I operated off and on till about 0130UTC and logged 45 phone contacts on both bands.  I think that works out to a score of 475…not bad for a 1B battery station!

Overall really happy with the rig and antenna performance today. I had just a few stations have difficulty with my call and most got it right the first time. Just really hard to break through the strong adjacent signals. I probably will not work FD on Sunday but I am already thinking about how I will operate next year.

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