Dipping My Toes Back Into the Waters of Amateur Radio on Field Day

It’s been awhile since I’ve written anything amateur radio related. It’s been awhile since I’ve done anything amateur radio related for that matter. Quite frankly, as late as Saturday evening I had no intention of taking part in Field Day this year, but I woke up Sunday morning with the urge to have a few QSOs. Before going to church and between church and the start of the Tudor United Sports Car Championship 6 Hours of Watkins Glen, I fired up the mobile HF station and did just that. I guess you could say I took advantage of today to dip my toes back into the waters of Amateur Radio.

My first stint behind the mic was from about 1100 UTC to 1145 UTC. There didn’t seem to be all that much activity, but I imagine a lot of operators were probably just waking up or having breakfast. Despite that lack of activity, I was able to work Arkansas, Kentucky, New Hampshire, Ohio, Puerto Rico, and Virginia on 20 Meters. It was a beautiful morning, the temperatures hadn’t yet begun to rise and the humidity wasn’t intolerable yet; the operating was leisurely and no one I heard on the air seemed to be under pressure to generate numbers.

Looking out at the Skidaway River from the Butter Bean Beach area; not a bad spot to log a few QSOs from.
Looking out at the Skidaway River from the Butter Bean Beach area; not a bad spot to log a few QSOs from.

After church, I decided to go park at Butter Bean Beach near Skidaway Island for about 45 more minutes. The first band I tried was 20 Meters, but by this time all of the operations that were waking up or having breakfast were now fully awake and fed and the band was simply slammed. Folks were now in full contest mode (which is something you’ve never been able to accuse me of!). In spite of the packed band conditions, I was able to log Florida and Hawaii but I quickly decided to change bands. 15 Meters was open and much easier to operate on; I ended up working stations in Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Mississippi, and Missouri. Just before shutting down and heading for home, 10 Meters sounded like it was trying to open up and I worked stations in Kentucky and Michigan.

I honestly don’t remember when I was last on the air on the ham bands, but it felt pretty good to get on the air this morning, particularly with the operators who were treating Field Day less like a contest and more like an excuse to get on the air and have some fun. I definitely didn’t feel like sitting in front of a radio for an extended period of time or being around it all day long but I still had fun. Isn’t that what it’s supposed to be all about anyway?

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