St. Petersburg Amateur Radio Club

Posts filed under Field Day

May Meeting Program Update

At the May 6th club meeting our program will include several examples of a “Go Box.” These portable communications centers can easily be

Sample Go Box

Sample Go Box

transported by one person, setup quickly and provide communications on different bands and modes during emergencies or other communication events..

Learn about their purpose, capabilities, how to plan and make your own. Our presenters will each demonstrate their own projects. We will hear from: Andy, KI4VOS; Udo, KF4KUL and
Clayton, KJ4RUS. We also plan to fire up some of the equipment as a demonstration.

There will be plenty of time to see the equipment up close and ask questions. Flexible communications capability is important for wide-spread emergency situations. As we approach hurricane season, this program should provide plenty of ideas on how to construct your own Go-Box.

Everyone is welcome to attend the club meeting, SPARC member or not, even if you don’t have a license.


Field Day 2016

By Coy, KK4JMP, Field Day Chairman


Field Day 2016, a local and national amateur radio association promoted by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), as an2016 Field Day Logo educational, radio operating and public relations event where radio operators all over America work and make as many contacts as possible on all amateur radio bands throughout Florida and across the nation and some foreign countries and regions under abnormal conditions and unique radio operating situations. Field Day experiences helps to develop skills among amateur radio operators to meet the challenges of emergency preparedness.

Field Day Plans

The St. Petersburg Amateur Radio Club founded in 1932 has shared the success of past Field Day events and continues to build upon, the history and legacy of the City of St. Petersburg and Pinellas County.

The 2016 Field Day event will be held at the DMI Research 6699 90th Avenue North Pinellas Park, West Central Florida location (Click HERE for directions) on Saturday, June 25, 2016 at 2:00 PM through 2:00 PM Sunday, June 26, 2016.

Involvement & Participation

SPARC uses Field Day to educate and encourages its members to join in the fun of setting up and operating the Field Day portable radio stations. SPARC members during Field Day set-up and use portable emergency generators to power several radio stations, use station contact logging software and portable radio antennas to contact stations. SPARC members get an opportunity to participate and learn how to make thousands of radio station contacts on all bands, except those bands excluded and have fun enjoying the fellowship with other amateur radio operators during this fun and exciting event.

SPARC plans to get as many of the club membership to participate and enjoy Field Day through working contacts, logging and passing radio messages (Radiograms) to earn maximum points while sharing food and libations. SPARC members can also volunteer to serve on station and antenna equipment/ power generator set-up, public information and outreach, official event photographer, food and beverage donations and just add to the fun. SPARC members are encouraged to sign up at the May 6 and June 3, 2016 Club Meetings.

Youth Education & Development

SPARC sets up a special radio station for non-hams. Known as a “Get On The Air” (GOTA) station, this station is dedicated to educate non-hams on how to operate a radio station and learn how to make contacts. We want our youth to gain the knowledge and pass on the legacy of the great hobby of amateur radio. Youngsters as well as adults interested in obtaining their FCC amateur radio license are encouraged to attend the 2016 Field Day event and spend time at our GOTA station.


Public Education

SPARC uses Field Day as a public relations and promotional event to educate the general public on how amateur radio can be an important resource during emergencies. To that end, SPARC plans to designate a “Public Information Officer” to develop and disseminate public information during the Field Day event. This includes TV, radio and print media through public service announcements and news articles.

Elected and Public Officials & Agencies

SPARC’s outreach to our elected, public officials and community leaders during Field Day is designed to further develop a strong partnership and working relationship with federal, state and local government agencies, municipalities and the general public in the Cities of St. Petersburg and Pinellas Park.

Field Day Contacts

For SPARC members wishing to sign up and participate and media, elected officials and agencies wishing further information on Field Day please contact: Mr. Coy M. LaSister KK4JMP 2016 Field Day Chairman at (727) 409-9835 and/or Mr. Bob Wanek, N2ESP SPARC President


Antenna / Radio Smoked

Bad Antenna install

Photo by Klein PhotoGraphics

While visiting this year’s Hamcation® Stephan, K4SHK heard a loud bang like a cannon going off.  It turns out someone setting up their antenna let it contact high-power lines.  The area was roped off while the electric company powered down the lines to remove the antenna.  Stephan reports no one was injured but the radio was hooked up at the time and most likely fried.  Looking around the camping area, Stephan noticed another accident waiting to happen (See photo to right). These stickers are required on antennas for a reason.

Antenna warning label

Field Day – the President’s Perspective

First, I would like to thank our outgoing Field Day Chairman Dave, KR4U for his years of service and many memorable field days. Dave handed over the reins to this year to new chairman, Tom, NY4I. Thanks Tom for organizing a successful event.

In addition to a new chairman, lots of things changed this year’s field day. Our new location at DMI worked out well. While a true field day experience may not be air conditioned, our group has years of experience working under hot, humid, rainy conditions. Another year operating in a semi-tropical environment will not make us any smarter or more efficient. We did set up a large canopy on the patio and equipped it with tables and chairs. This provided additional room to socialize and eat. Our outside venue also had the best view of the grill. Thanks to Mike, K4ZPE for loaning us his canopy, tables and chairs. Thanks to Veronika, KC4YAW for logging in participants.

We also tried a different method of procuring food for the event. Rather than purchasing prepared goodies, we asked all participants to bring a food item to share with the group, while the club provided drinks, burgers and hot dogs. We sure had a diverse menu to choose from. There was about a 50-50 mix of homemade and purchased items. Thanks to Dee, N4GD and Tom, AI4QP for manning the grill. Walt, N4ELH supplied the winning food item in my book; a keg of homemade wheat beer brewed by his grandson. Tom, W4CU also provided a group favorite, meatballs. Lots of salads, cakes, cookies, chips and dip rounded out our menu choices. Thanks to all that made our dining experience unique. And an engineering attaboy to John, KI4UIP for turning an ordinary pool table into a buffet serving table. Let me know if you enjoyed this change.

We reduced the number of online transmitters at W4TA to three. This slightly reduced the antenna count and setup effort. Thanks to all the guys that set up our antennas on Friday so we could have a head start on Saturday. We compensated for the reduced number of transmitters and antennas by increasing our operating flexibility. Operating station #2 was configurable for CW, Digital, and SSB operation as determined by operator availability. Another engineering attaboy to John, KI4UIP for building an antenna patch panel which permitted any transceiver to connect to any antenna. A supporting engineering attaboy to Dave, KR4U for the triplexer he built which permitted all three stations to operate on the beam antenna simultaneously. We also tried new logging software this year. There were some issues; nothing that a quick reboot could correct. An engineering attaboy to Tom, NY4I for configuring the satellite station, our radios and logging network. Kudos to Paul, KC4YDY for providing and manning the 6M station again this year.

Our Get On The Air (GOTA) station was again provided by the reliable team of Tom, KI4RVU and Clayton, KJ4RUS. These guys mentored our newcomers through their first contacts. Their instruction must have worked, as I saw a few “students” at the mic of W4TA, our main station.

Overall, I rate SPARC 2015 field day a success. Were there issues? Of course. We will adapt and adjust as needed. One thing I can’t seem to account for is a birthday that occurs just before each field day. Each year I ache a little more when it’s over.

73, Bob, N2ESP

PS The July issue of the SPARC GAP will contain complete details of our field day fun.

Who will copy the Field Day bulletin?

We still need a volunteer to copy the Field Day Bulletin. This is an easy 100 points.

2015 Field Day Bulletin Schedule
You can copy this from home on Friday night or if you are a purist, from the Field Day site. The radios should be setup by 11:00 AM for the phone bulletin on Saturday if you want to copy it from there.
Again, getting back to the stated purpose of Field Day, imagine we had to setup in the field for a communications emergency. Copy bulletins from “HQ” would be an important step.  Someone would have to take that action to know the schedule and make sure we were tuned in at that time.
Who will do this? Please step up and help us out by taking this activity.

Field Day Operating Signup

For your review, here is a link to the sign-up sheet for operating at Field Day.

Note we have three stations: CW Only, CW/SSB/PSK and SSB Only.

The CW/SSB/PSK station will be on whatever mode we have the requisite operators. This way we can keep the station busy.


I will post this sheet at the antenna setup on Friday morning at 10:00 and when we get to the site on Saturday at 9:00 AM. People that attend either setup can sign up at either of those two times. After that, people can sign up for spots at Field Day on Saturday.

This is done to give a chance to those that are helping to setup either Friday or Saturday a chance to pick operating spots first. Each spot is 1 hour long and unless no one is manning the station, we ask that you only take an hour at a time (although you can operate one hour and log the next hour).

Please think about when you want to operate and if you can attend one of the setup sessions, please do so and sign up for a operating slot.

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