It seems like it was just yesterday that we did this whole “Winter Field Day” thing, but in reality it’s been 365 days. With the combined gusto of everyone, and it was a great turnout, the OVEC crew has once again succeeded at “ham radioing” in a group setting.
We started coming out to the lake about 4 years ago after coming to the conclusion that we wanted our WFD OPS to not only be a ham radio operating event, but a club member social operation as well. It’s always been fun, and this year was no different.
Arrivals commenced on Friday at 4pm, when the illustrious president (KD8GQW) and associated members began showing up for check-in at our previously reserved Cowan Lake State Park cabins. The first people there had the privilege of having first pick for sleeping quarters. I arrived around 9pm to be pleasantly surprised that my fellow members had reserved the only remaining individual room with a queen bed for my wife (KD8KDT) and myself to share. We were both thankful for the quiet space to rest and relax in between doing the hammiest of hammy things such as eating “Sandwich”, operating the radios, and shooting the breeze with the other members. We went to bed at 4am, which may have been a bad choice on our part.
Saturday morning came fast, and before anyone realized what was happening we were all huddling half frozen outside ready to hang wires and point antennas. Within an hour we had 3 different antennas in the air, and were ready for OPS. OVEC is not only the club you deserve, but it would also appear that we are efficient!
OPS started right at 2pm on the money, and right off the bat our resident Canadian member Jocelyn (KD8VRX) started working some pileups and hunting and pecking for quick contacts. Unfortunately 20 meters wasn’t in the mood to grace us with decent (or even half decent) propagation, so we stayed primarily on 40 and 80 meters for the duration of the event. None the less this worked out well enough to where we had contacts from coast to coast. In total we were able to grab 41 states.
Our resident celebrity Jeremy (KF7IJZ) was kind enough to handle the food situation, and did a grocery run with Dave (K8HUB) who has taken up the roll of our club chef. Together those guys killed it, and we had plenty of food (along with “THE SANDWICH”) to eat on all weekend. Thanks boys!
After dinner everyone sat around on the couches and watched a little ice hockey, while listening to who ever was running the rig, and before you knew it midnight had rolled around and people started dropping like flies from fatigue.
Sunday morning a small group of us (KD8VRX, N8FAA, N8BD, and KD8TNV) huddled half-frozen around an Arrow antenna and HT for the satellite pass. Due to a technical “glitch” we weren’t able to hear the bird until about halfway through its pass. Our call sign was recognized by another operator, however the satellite dropped below the horizon before we could complete the QSO. Next year we will try again, and I am confident we will be successful.
After the satellite pass, we were delighted to hear Rick (N8SDR) on the other end of a QSO with Jocelyn! Rick couldn’t make it out to the cabin this year, but fortunately he was operating from his QTH and stumbled across us calling CQ on 80 meters! Thanks for taking the video from your end and posting it to YouTube for us Rick!
By noon everyone had the station packed up, all the equipment stowed away and loaded in their cars, and everyone parted their separate directions.
Out of all the club events we hold, Winter Field Day is by far my favorite. We’ve managed to stumble on a winning formula consisting of location/food/folks that works very well for us, so we have no plans to change anything in the near future. Aside from the consideration of renting a 3rd cabin next year if we continue to grow as a club!