Spring field day for ham radio enthusiasts
Sinbad Desert Amateur Radio Club held their annual spring field day at the Wedge Overlook camp ground number 5, April 18.
A field day is a trial run to see how well the ham radio operator can set up his or her radio, put up an antenna in primitive conditions and make contacts with other ham radio operators around the country or world. One important part of field day is to learn what it would take to get communications going after a disaster like in Haiti or Chile. The other important part of field day is to meet and share with other ham's the enthusiasm and excitement of ham radio.
At this campground there were trucks, cars, fifth wheel RV's, motor homes, 4-wheelers, all bristling with antennas like a herd of porcupines. Bryan Anderson K7GX of Huntington installed on the edge of the campground, a plastic pole more than 40 feet high holding up the center of a long wire dipole antenna that was more than 100 feet long with ends attached to a couple of trees. This antenna was used by him to contact ham radio operators in and outside the USA.
Bret Mills, WX7Y, of Castle Dale has a screwdriver antenna attached to the pickup he uses to pull his mobile home. A screw driver antenna is one that goes up and down electronically to adjust for the radio frequency being used.
Clint Zeeman, N7RVS, of Gunnison installed a screw driver antenna on his pickup truck at the field day outing with the help of several other ham radio operators.
Most people with RV trailers and mobile homes have a 3,500-6,500 watt electricity generator for the air conditioner, microwave oven, etc., and 12 volts to power a ham radio.
The day started off with a breakfast of pancakes, bacon, eggs, hash browns, syrup and orange juice. Most of the cooking was on propane fired grills with flat griddles by club leaders.
At 10 a.m. a test was administered by three licensed volunteer examiners accredited by the volunteer examiner coordinator. The test consists of 35 questions for technician and general or 50 questions for the extra class license. These are multiple choice questions. There is no longer a requirement to learn Morse Code.
Pamela Anderson of Huntington and Angela Paskett of Ferron passed the technician test, some others that didn't pass will have to study more. Those that passed will soon get their licenses in the mail from the Federal Communication Commission.
After lunch, George Ingram, K3RZD, of Price demonstrated how to build a radio detection finding antenna and assisted more than 15 people to build their own RDF antennas. When the antennas were built a contest was held to determine who could find the hidden radio transmitter the quickest. There were two different transmitters sending out signals on two different frequencies and at two different locations. This exercise to find the hidden transmitters is called fox hunting. The skills learned could be used to find a beacon from a crashed aircraft. Bret Mills, WX7Y, Castle Dale made the two transmitters that were hidden in the brush and gullies.
Christian J Brantly, W7CJB, age 10 had the fastest time for finding the hidden transmitter by two minutes. Teenagers Dustin E. Zeeman, KF7DPX, and Randee J. Zeeman, KE7UZW, of Gunnison were the first out on the fox hunt and came in with the second shortest time. They assisted several other searchers. Phil Fauver, KF7BJQ, received the award for being the oldest person participating in the contest.
Emery County Commissioner Jeff Horrocks stopped by to visit with the club members and learn what they were doing. He stayed to enjoy a great beef steak, pot luck dinner with potato salads, and several desserts. Saturday evening was quiet with ham radio operators making a few contacts around the country or just sitting around visiting.
Jim Anderson, KA7YIV, brought out his Thompson Hawkin .54 caliber black powder muzzleloader rifle and went off into the hills with some interested parties to demonstrate how it worked. Sunday some of those campers that stayed over night, used their GPS equipment to search for geocaches and they were successful in finding three or four. Everyone felt this was a very successful Sinbad Desert Ham Radio Club field day.