Winter Field Day 2018

I had every intention of doing something special for Winter Field Day (WFD) this year but Life-in-General got in the way. I hadn’t made any particular plans, so I decided to do a little operating from some local parks.

Day One

I drove out to nearby Upper Schuylkill Valley Park for a few hours on Saturday afternoon and parked in a spot with a nice view of the Schuylkill River. We were experiencing some above average temperatures this weekend (it was 55° F today), so I actually had my window rolled down.

My location at Upper Schuylkill Valley Park for Winter Field Day 2018
My location at Upper Schuylkill Valley Park for Winter Field Day 2018

I set up my 19-foot vertical in the back of the truck and my KX3 in the cab of the truck just in time for the start of the contest. I operated in the Outdoor category (1O), running QRP CW only.

In just under 2 hours, I logged 21 stations on 40 and 20 meters. Part of that time was spent chatting with a curious passerby. I spent about 10 minutes talking about ham radio with him. After he left, I made a few more contacts before heading home for the evening.

Day Two

What a difference a day makes. On Sunday morning, I operated from Black Rock Sanctuary, just outside Phoenixville. While the temperature was still fairly moderate (47° F), it rained steadily all morning. I had to cover up my antenna components with plastic to keep everything dry.

My vertical antenna wearing its raincoat
My vertical antenna wearing its raincoat

The 40M band was in pretty good shape, so I spent most of my time there. I checked 20M once or twice but there was another contest going on and I didn’t hear any Winter Field Day CW activity.

Winter Field Day at Black Rock Sanctuary
Winter Field Day at Black Rock Sanctuary

After about 1.5 hours, I matched yesterday’s effort with another 21 contacts. I even dragged out the microphone (gasp!) and made 4 SSB contacts. One of the SSB contacts was with WW1USA from the World War I museum in Missouri. He was also giving out WFD exchanges.

WB3GCK hunkered down for Winter Field Day on a rainy Sunday morning
WB3GCK hunkered down for Winter Field Day on a rainy Sunday morning

Overall, I worked 42 stations in 24 sections and 21 states. I’m certainly not a threat to win but I’m happy with the results of my meager effort. It was great to hear all the CW activity this year.

I didn’t spend a lot of time on WFD this year but it certainly was fun. Maybe next year I’ll do something more adventurous like Winter camping. We’ll see.

72, Craig WB3GCK

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