Sunday, 12 July 2015

Field Day 2015 - a wet one

For the past several years, the weather on Field Day weekend has been magnificent. That streak of luck had to come to and end at some point and much of the North East experienced cool, rainy and windy conditions for almost the entire 24 hours of operation.

Luckily we were spared during set up and most of tear down, and just before 2pm we were ready for the pep talk from Steve VE3UT and a team photo while it was still dry.

Not long into operations, the rains came. By evening it was heavy at times and wind started to pick up. Fortunately our antenna tower was well secured with 3 guy ropes and showed no signs of movement. While it didn't have any beams attached it did have 2 flags that were extended straight out in the wind despite being soaking wet.

At about 1:30 am there was some visible lightning and most stations decided to shut down. I took the opportunity to go home and get some sleep, although I'm sure that cost a few points as 40m would be open to somewhere throughout the night. On 40m we had to use the tuner after a while to get the VWSR in check as it was changing with the conditions.

When I returned to the site it looked a bit worse for wear. One of our signs was lying flat on the shoulder of Van Dorf Sideroad while the other looked like it had taken a beating.

By morning the grounds were waterlogged and muddy, and some of that water had found its way into the tents. Our tent had plenty, but fortunately the equipment was spared.

A good supply of napkins is useful under such conditions.

The weather started to break a bit by breakfast time but was still raining heavily off and on until we started to tear down the site after lunch. With plenty of shelter and rain gear we made the best of it.

Field Day is many things, including an emergency simulation exercise to practice communications without any outside support. Emergencies can happen in any weather conditions so we should feel grateful that we had the opportunity to practice our skills under less than ideal conditions.

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