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Field Day Experiences

This year was my first year operating satellite under field day
conditions, and I did not really know what to expect, except for a lot
of surprises and a visit from Murphy. Fortunately, not all of them were
bad. I had had experiences working mostly FO-20, RS-10/11, and RS-15
using terrestrial antennas such as a 13B2 mounted horizontally, a 11
element vertical beam on 440, and a 3 Element Tribander.

The only things the field day station had in common with my home station
were the radio and amplifiers. I set up an Oscar array, with the big KLM
2 meter and 435 Mhz beam, the Az-El rotor and the polarity switchers.
For the 10 meter downlink on RS-10/11 and 15 I fashioned a simple wire
dipole, close to the ground.

Murphy Strikes!
 My first round of surprises were not too pleasant. The 435 beam was
making the SWR
light on my amp light up. This problem eased once I operated the
polarity switchers a few times and cleaned up the cabling. One of the N
connectors wouldn't fit, and I had to steal the body of another
connector off a jumper I had.  The worst problem though, was that the
rotor control box was blowing fuses and the azimuth rotor was only
moving a few degrees. I had just purchased the rotor setup from a fellow
who assured me that it was only up for a season or two, and external
observation of the exterior of the rotor seemed to confirm this, but
somehow water got into the bearings, because they were all rusty. After
gathering a beer can, some WD-40, some Scotchbrite and some lamp oil, I
disassembled the rotor, cleaned the races with WD-40 and Scotchbrite,
and cleaned the balls by shaking them up in the beer can with lamp oil.
Once I got everything back together it worked great!

AO-10: Success!! I managed to make a number of contacts on AO-10,
despite misgivings about the satellites condition and distance. I was
pleasantly surprised.

FO-20. I worked several passes on FO-20, but spent most of my time
trying to find my downlink and  fighting QRM from the KWM-2 working next
to me, as well as QRM from my own uplink. . I guess I shouldn't have
pointed the array directly at the inverted Vee. I did manage 1 or 2
contacts though.

RS-10/11. I was unable to hear the beacon or my downlink. I will have to
stick with my Tribander.

All in all, it was great fun and a good learning experience. Hopefully I
will be able to work out the rest of the bugs before I permanantly
install the array.

73 de Bruce N3LSY