Field Day

Today was also the annual Solstice and Anniversary party, thrown by some friends in Palo Alto in honor of their anniversary and the summer solstice. They always have a theme and a prop to go with the theme; as an example, one year, they set up a huge model of the Sphinx in their front yard. Since they are also science fiction fans and readers, the theme this year was pretty obvious.

So we decided to combine the two activities and set up a Field Day station at their party. Doug brought his Yaesu FT-817 and a portable antenna; Rich brought a keyer; I brought my callsign.

We set up our antenna on the monolith which had mysteriously and conveniently appeared in the front yard overnight.

995 monolith: VisitorsDiane decided to see if she could contact anyone with her handi-talkie while in the shadow of the monolith. Eventually she did reach someone — me!

997 diane and monolith: Diane waiting for a signal from somewhereAnd we drew a crowd of party-goers (and maybe casual passersby, for all I know) who were curious about what we were doing.

999 curious crowd: Our activities drew a crowd, not all of whom were hams!We didn’t do very well at actually working stations — perhaps the monolith’s power kept our signals from getting out. In the end, we worked two stations — one at Stanford University, about a mile away, and Diane on her handi-talkie, just down the block.

But we didn’t really expect to achieve a huge score (though I was hoping for a few more contacts, and one outside the county would have been nice) — the goal was to have some fun and play with radios, and in that, we succeeded.

I want to get a HF rig one of these days — I had been thinking about the 817 because it’s small, light, and works all bands from 160 meters to 70 cm. But Rich and Doug were trying to talk me out of getting the 817 as my only rig, and they may have succeeded. I’m not sure what to get — I’d love to get the ICOM 756PRO, but it’s more radio than I need (not that “need” is the right word anyway). I guess I’ll have to go visit the local radio pushers and see what they recommend.