The crew from Queen Creek met this morning for coffee at iHOP to start planning for Winter Field day 2020. We’ve decided to go with a 3O station (3 transmitters in Outdoor setting with only battery and/or generator/solar power). This gives us some bonus points as well as it creates a great weekend get-away to focus on the contest. Its not cold, but a little chilly here in the Phoenix area so we will do as we typically have done and operate out in the desert from our campers/RVs. It is TBD if we are going to set up and operate all together under a few EZ-UPs or if we go each in their camper. I prefer the camper operating station since it is more comfortable, you can control the climate to take the edge off of the cold, and we dont run into the interference from one another operating so close.

I plan to be at the campsite for the entire weekend this year which will be great. I’ve had to cut things a little short the last two years, and last year I was actually only able to be at the camp and operate for just a few hours. This year will be much better.

Logging: We will use N3FJP ACLog Winter Field Day logs networked together over wifi as this has been really successful for us in the past.

Antennas: We have several options for antennas, ranging from keep it simple and easy with wire antennas, to bring out the big guns. While both options have their pros/cons, I recommended we bring out the 50′ new crank-up tower (N1AV’s new toy) and the multi-band beam, as well as the MFJ CobWeb (W9JrF’s new toy) to get us the additional height and gain that could prove to make a huge difference it propagation is poor. Then we can string a couple of OCF dipole legs to the tower as anchor points and have a pretty solid antenna farm. I plan to bring my Ni4L 10-80m OCF and raise the center point off the back of my RV with a painters pole up about 33 ft. Anyway, this is the “plan” as of now.

Radio Gear: For radio gear, I am not sure what the other Ops are going to be bringing, though I’m sure its the usual Yaesu gear. I just purchased a new to me FT-991 specifically for portable use and am going to be operating this radio for the contest.

Prep-work: I wanted to get all my gear (with certainty) tested and packed up well in advance of the contest. So I spent yesterday getting it all set up and configured. My configuration is the FT-991 with a MFJ-939 auto-tuner, an MFJ-SDR switch, SDRPlay RSP1a SDR receiver, and associated software. I mainly had to get everything connected and some software loaded and configured, radio CAT control, etc, etc. I am happy to say it is in good shape and ready to go.

Here are the pics below. I’m going to play with it a bit over the next week or so, then pack it up and put it away safe and sound for the contest at the end of January. Good stuff. Looking forward to the firefight.

oh crud… and just as I was about to publish this post… Blue screen…Nooooo. Well, I guess I am not as ready as I had thought.

Radio, Tuner, PC
Log, SDR and CW Decoder (if needed)
lovely blue screen to now have to deal with, arg