ARRL Field Day 2015

As a newly minted ham (3 weeks), I have only operated my HT. Field Day was my first chance to sit with experienced operators and learn the art of operating radios and making contacts.

On Saturday evening I drove out to the Six Shooters of San Diego club’s Field Day site in Boulevard, CA. There I met a number of the Six Shooter’s members, including Scott, N6MI, in his incredible mobile contesting van.

N6MI Mobile Contesting Van

N6MI Mobile Contesting Van

When I first stepped into the van, I sat and observed Scott working the 20m band. He had on aviation style headphones, used a foot-switch to transmit, and was poised over a laptop for logging the contacts he was intensely working. At first all I could hear was a jumble of noise and voices to which Scott was talking. After some time I could start to make out call signs and the communications started to make sense.

About 30 minutes later I was in the hot seat making my first contacts while Scott was logging. I was very privileged to be mentored by such an experienced operator, and to get to work with state of the art equipment.

Here is another young amateur learning the ropes:

On Sunday morning I visited the Amateur Radio Club of El Cajon’s Field Day site in Santee.

40m Station

I spent the last 45 minutes of Field Day working 40m at the above station.

I was tentative about attending and participating in any of the Field Day sites, but I am glad I did. Being around the people and the gear generated enthusiasm for the event. It was probably the best possible introduction to the hobby.