Saturday, 3 July 2010

Field Day 2010 At W6JW

I happened to be in California for this year’s Field Day. I had originally planned to participate with the Ottawa Valley QRP group but found that I needed to be in Sylmar California on June 24th. As it happens Murphy was out and about during my travels. I was to leave Ottawa Airport via Chicago with connecting flight to Los Angeles. Sure.

What usually takes about 8 hours turned into 29 hours to LAX. Thunderstorms encircled Chicago for hours and prevented departure from Ottawa for almost 7 hours – part of that was on the plane and on the tarmac. We were de-planed and then reboarded and finally left for Chicago after a lull in the massive weather system encircling Chicago. Ten minutes after departure Ottawa experienced a 5.0 earthquake. Murphy.

Arriving in Chicago so late I missed my connection to LAX. Finally a flight was announced, boarded the flight then sat on the tarmac for a couple of hours while another thunderstorm rolled in. Then the pilots walked off – they had reached their allotted flying time and a fresh crew was finally located but the storm continued unabated. The flight was cancelled. Murphy.

Another flight was announced for 10pm, pilots arrived and then an hour later that flight was cancelled – no flight crew available. It was close to midnight Chicago time and the airport was overflowing with travelers – all stranded due to weather conditions and our friend Murphy. The customer service lines were at least 4 hours long so I ended up getting a hotel in Chicago for the night and catch a 6:30 am flight out – Murphy – a late afternoon flight finally left and I arrived in Los Angeles a day late. Friday was a work day and we did finish a bit early and I had the rest of the weekend in the Santa Clarita area north of Los Angeles.© VE3MPG - W6JW Field Day 2010-2166sm

I had planned to participate with the Santa Clarita Amateur Radio Club and bookmarked directions into my GPS and it was only a short drive from my hotel to Castaic Lake Water Agency park high above Santa Clarita in the foothills. There’s a beautiful resource center and offices located at about 1500 feet elevation with beautiful desert type gardens. It was a very relaxed field day group and the W6 amateurs were great fun. Here are some photos – they tell a better story than I could ever put up here in print.

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WA6EWY’s trailer and rolling shack – the trailer has been once around the continental United States with his family, including twins about 39 years ago. His Volvo has nearly 300K miles on it. Next shot shows the operating position.

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© VE3MPG - W6JW Field Day 2010-2175sm A view of the W6JW Field Day operating site. Temperature at 11am was over 90F and very low humidity – so it was very comfortable; but the sun was very intense. Shade was a valuable commodity.

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W6JW Field Day exact location surveyor’s mark.

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Twin Honda 6500W gas generators – one as a spare – gasoline was stored about 100 hundred feet away – including 2 industrial fire extinguishers. The generators were located several hundred feet away down a concrete walkway facing away from the operator positions – very quiet.

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Field Day site surrounded by beautiful desert vegetation – there’s irrigation late in the evening here with water from the Castaic Lake area – see Castaic Lake information here.

It was interesting to see how other clubs in another country operate during the annual Field Day exercise – it’s really not any different than any of the Ottawa area clubs do it. W6JW and the Santa Clarita Amateur Radio club operated as an emergency preparedness exercise and not a contest – the true spirit of Field Day. Many thanks to the fine members of the Santa Clarita club for the nice welcome to their Field Day exercise last Saturday.

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