Just wanted to thank everyone from ARES and Citizen Corps for all your assistance with the ARES Field Day at the Radnor Township building. We had a very successful event and wouldn't have been able to do it without the help. Also like to thank Chief Christopher Flanagan and Radnor township for allowing us to use their location for the exercise.
We were able to have 2 HF antennas strung up in the trees (a Chameleon EMCOMM-III and MFJ-1778 G5RV), an HF vertical whip (Chameleon MPAS 2.0), and a UHF/VHF vertical on a 20' mast all up in about an hour start to finish. We were able to quickly identify where to get everything setup to effectively make contacts in all directions.
This allowed us to have 3 HF stations on the air: Rich's HF, my Go Box ICOM 7300 HF, and one of the yellow Go Kit (Yaesu FT-857) HF stations on the air, with various additional Go Kit radio stations available as backup. Rich also had his Go Kit ICOM 5100 on VHF/UHF, and I had my Go Box ICOM 9700 as backup.
We had several visitors on Saturday, including a brand-new amateur operator who just passed his FCC exam that morning. While he was there, we had a visit from Bob Famiglio, our Atlantic Division ARRL vice-president and Delco ARES supporter. Bob took the time, along with Tammi Maciolek, ARES member and DES Special Operations representative, to assist our new ham with selecting options for mounting an antenna on his Jeep. He already had CB installed, and his Jeep's roof isn't an option for a magnetic mount.
We also had a family who had just returned from the shore, but came over to visit with their 10-year-old that had saved up to get his first handheld transceiver and wanted to get his license. He was able to make a contact with a station located in Colorado while there with the assistance of one of our operators. We love to see this kind of excitement in radio from younger people, as we need to grow our supporters and volunteer base.
On Sunday it was quieter overall, but just as productive. We got visits from Senator Amanda M. Cappelletti (D-17 Montgomery/Delaware) and Senator Timothy Kearney (D-26 Chester/Delaware).
Bob Wilson, the ARES Section Emergency Coordinator (SEC) for Eastern Pennsylvania (EPA), visited and put up his station in order to send a Winlink email message using radio RF to our Section Manager, George Miller for field day. He had issues with the Audubon location which was closest, but was successful in using the location just over the Delaware state border.
One of our short term goals for Delaware County is to get our ARES Winlink station repeater, W3AEC-10, back in operation again in order to have better digital messaging coverage here in the county.
As an ARES group operating at an EOC with 3 HF stations, we were classified as a "3F" station for field day, and used the W3AEC call sign. We made about a dozen contacts each day to locations throughout the US and Canada, however our goal wasn't to accumulate the most contacts or points.
Some of our goals were to be able to deploy with using just ARES & personal equipment not depending on resources from our DES or community agencies. We wanted to be able to operate off of battery power to make contacts. We also had the plan to go out without a pre-planned setup, and to be able to setup and operate just as if it was a real emergency call out. Finally we wanted to learn more, not get too stressed out about anything, and to have a fun and safe event. We certainly achieved that.
We probably ended up bring more backup equipment that we needed, but we are confident we were properly prepared. The only thing we need to add to our shopping wish list would be some more coaxial cable, and matching team shirts/vests, which are all pretty easy items to handle.