1999 NOGA QRP Field Day - Operations

By Sam Billingsley, AE4GX and Mike Boatright, K04WX

On the BIG NOGA table we setup the two INDEX rigs and laptops and on a card table we setup the MFJ 6 mtr SSB rig and laptop.

We consumed a lot more power for the laptops than we did for the rigs! We charged two small batteries via solar panels to use for the solar power bonus.

Mike setup a LOG-EQF software package on all three laptops and we resynced the database every time we stopped and changed bands. Worked great.

HF station and logging computers

We had a BIG windstorm blow through Saturday afternoon. Nearly blew my dome tent away. Amazingly, there was little lightning, but we still shutdown for about an hour.

The State of Georgia has been behind 12 inches of rain for the year, so of course, it all had to come down Field Day weekend. The good news, the solar flux has returned and the bands were hot--20M was good all night! The bad news was a tremendous soaking rain in Monroe, that forced us to operate for only half of the time as we did last year.

We operated till supper time when Mike and Bob prepared a great steak, baked potato and corn-on-the-cob dinner. The steak dinner was the highlight of the weekend, and we all shared our tornado and hurricane stories--apropos given the weather situation. We operated into the night and early morning with the rain coming down but were reasonably dry in the operating tent.

Sam, AE4GX, at the primary HF transmitter

After dinner, things quieted down, and all was well until about 2 in the morning, when it began to rain heavily. By about 3:30, we nearly had a complete washout when the puddle collecting on the roof of the mosquito tent (and strangely, there were very few mosquitos around!) suddenly spewed forth from above, and narrowly missed completely soaking Sam's Index, computer and ancillary equipment.

With the steady rain continuing, we realized that to avoid catastrophe, we had to stand up and hit the roof of the tent (on hand on each side) every 5 minutes or so to knock off the water that had pooled. We actually got pretty good at it, even being able to jump up, slap the roof, and sit back down in time to answer the next CQ.

Site of the now infamous NOGAdance

This may go down in infamy as the "NOGAdance" if we use Sam's mosquito tent for future endeavors, although Sam already has a "mod" in mind that may eliminate the NOGA dance for ever.

Are we having fun yet?

By 6:30 Saturday morning, working on about 2hrs of sleep each, Sam and I decided that we'd had enough fun, and that to proceed risked damaging our equipment. Just about the time we began to tear down the equipment and the camp, the rain stopped for good (although we ran into a nasty storm nearby on the drive back). Just as we were finishing packing up everything, Russ, AE4NY and Pickett, AD4S, arrived to give us moral support. Sorry we couldn't get your SWL40++ on the air Russ.

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