Our line-up of Stations in the air-conditioned Main Lodge — HF Stations 1,2,3 and VHF — the Microwave is in the far right corner, and Station 4 is in a CABIN about 600 feet away.

Station 4 was in the airconditioned right hand side of that cozy cabin — and a SLEEP ROOM with bunks and mattresses in the air-conditioned left hand side! It only took me 5 hours to learn the remote control for the AC would work on BOTH air conditioners if you just pointed it at them (infrared, not wireless!)

We were blessed to have one of FOUR MARC UNITS deployed as training to help ham radio stations throughout the State — and Chief Rulapaugh to give us a 30-minute VERY INFORMATIVE explanation of how they fit into communications safety for Florida fire fighters in forests, for hurricanes, and for towns and cities. You would not BELIEVE the equipment and capabilities they have! They went to 50 feet (half way) to support our 2-meter and end-fed 260-foot antenna (THANKS to the MARC UNIT and also Leland and Eric for building the end-fed antenna!)

Our own “BABYMARC” trailer! We can go to the mid-thirty foot level with a 3-element 3-band beam and put a VHF/UHF antenna on top of that, and we have a SIDEARM that can hoist HF wire antennas. PLUS we used the rear supports to hold up a 3-element 6-meter beam that worked GREAT for us!! With about 2 hours of work with a trained team, you can have 4 effective antennas going, and take-down is even quicker. The ROTATOR WORKS!! We got is compass-aligned and used it throughout with THREE stations simultaneously on the Beam using an antenna multiplexor. The 6 meter got us scores of contacts!!!

Manish Sahni MD KQ4KTE was a HUGE SUCCESS from the get-go! He takes to digital like a duck to water!! Great success!!

The “multi-plexor” table — split into “low” and “high” bands. We could put SIX radios on only 2 antennas. You’ll notice the 10-meter bandpass filter is out inthe open….we had TROUBLE with the 20 and 10-meter filters — both with a board that doesn’t have a continous ground — we had to add one and do other work so the SWR was stable mechanically — but SUCCESS. I hear the board is being redesigned. Our own Boards (used on several of the filters) DO have a built-in ground plane. You can see a spare filter in a paintcan, and also one of the wooden markers we use to keep stations separated. AFTER an hour of tedious work….the entire system was a HUGE SUCCESS for us throughout!

Here is Eric Pleace, Earl Sloan, and Manish Sahni working to put the beam together (it is 25 feet wide!) Friday evening after the heat of the day…we worked from 5:30 to about 8 getting things prepared. Yes, I know Eric is TOO HIGH UP on that ladder!!! The boom of the YAGI is 12 feet long. Each section of the tower is about 21-22 feet long. It goes up and down with a WORM DRIVE winch which is impossible to “free-wheel” for safety.

Here is how our scoring broke down by BAND and MODE (not including Bonus Points) 1643 contacts (after duplicates removed) is a NEW RECORD for us, up 29.4% from our QSOs of 1269 last year — even tho some key resources weren’t available this year!!

Here is our breakdown by operator and what you see here are PERSONAL SUCCESSES for person after person!!! That KX4Z guy has NEVER made that many contacts PERIOD….and all of these were on CW!! The WB2FKO guy was our LEAD VHF 6METER GURU and jack of all trades. #3 in the list is NEW TO OUR GROUP!!! Manish Sahni, hooray!!! After that our stalwart W4JIR was spending a lot of his time caring for FAMILY but STILL turned in a score that would make many CLUBS happy! Then look at all the others — EVERYONE was having a great day!!! We have a TECH in that list who made an incredible number of contacts with a control operator!! And we have a NEW CW OP who made a ton of contacts with a bit of mentoring! And Then ALICE HUCKSTEP bravely did her FIRST FIELD DAY CONTACT!! Yah, ALICE!! There were all kinds of PERSONAL TRIUMPHS on this Field Day excursion!!! (But we worked our tushes off to get there!!)

One of the things you don’t see in these photos is HOW WELL FED WE WERE!! Rosemary KI4QBZ hit it out of the PARK with her preparations and menu! We had salads, and hot dogs and SPAGHETTI and Cake and cookies and EGGS and Bacon and — it just went ON AND ON AND ON!!! All funded with volunteer donations and expertly managed by ROSEMARY!!! WOW!!! Great food, Great Friends, Great Gear, Great ANTENNAS and Great personal successes abounding. Oh MY, it was HARD WORK!!! But our team grew and grew and grew. There were very few sharp or harsh words, and everyone PITCHED IN. “Many Hands Make Light Work” Yes, we could plan even better and we can even reduce the work and reduce the events — but our team has really become WELL TRAINED over the past few years AND IT SHOWS!!!! Interpersonal relationships are one of the hardest things in a group, and events like this help us grow to WORK TOGETHER!!

As the night darkness gathered, our TOWER AND BEAM stood tall, with a small American FLAG on top. We need to add a LIGHT and also a 2 meter antenna on top and learn how to route the cables on the inside like the MARC group does. Still LOTS TO LEARN and get even better at…..but our group has been working together for years now and the skill levels are continuously growing. For our very first ever 4A entry, I’m just immensely PROUD of our team and our group and individual accomplishments!