Thursday, June 13, 2013

More on UARC Field Day!

More about UARC's Field Day preparations!

The A-3 Yagi goes up. (UARC Field Day 2011)
Every year, ARRL Field Day is the biggest operating event in all of amateur radio. Amateurs from across the U.S. and Canada try to work as many stations as possible from portable and mobile stations operating away from normal fixed station sites. The point of such an event is to test our capabilities to operate in an emergency when normal stations and utilities may not be available.

UARC’s entry in Field Day has become one of the most popular events of the year. It provides a chance to combine a family campout, an escape from the heat of the valley, and an opportunity to operate from a wonderful radio location.


Field Day takes place on the fourth (not necessarily the last) full weekend in June every year. That puts the 2013 event on June 22 and 23. Actual operation runs from noon on Saturday through noon on Sunday. However, setup begins sooner. UARC members will be on site as early as Wednesday the 19th. The rules allow for no more than 24 hours of setup activity, but a rule change for this year allows the 24 hours to be spread out over a longer period. This will allow us to use the full setup period without needing to be checking the tower alignment at 3 A.M. We may begin setting up as early as 6 P.M. on Thursday evening.
The bottom line is this: come when you can and leave when you must.

What Happens? 

We will set up two or three SSB and CW stations on the HF bands and operate them in shifts for the full 24-hour period. We will be anxious to find operators and loggers to keep the contacts coming in as fast as possible. If you like late-night and early-morning operating, your skills will be in particular demand. Depending on equipment and conditions we may also have a VHF station and/or a satellite station.

Google Earth view of the UARC field day site with respect to the Payson Lakes campground


We will be setting up stations in our traditional location, an open field near Payson Lakes on the Nebo Scenic Loop.

Here’s how to get there:
  1. Assuming you are starting from the Salt Lake Valley, go south on I-15 to the first Payson exit, exit 250. Take the exit.
  2. Go left at the end of the exit ramp which should put you on Main Street (aka SR-115). (You are really going south at this point although it may seem like east.)
  3. Turn left on 100 North, aka SR-198.
  4. Turn right on 600 East, also called “Peteetneet Boulevard.” This turn is at the top of a hill at a picturesque old school.
  5. Follow 600 East until it takes you to the mouth of Payson Canyon. At this point note your odometer reading or reset your trip odometer.
  6. Watch for landmarks at these approximate mileages from the canyon mouth:
    1. 11.1: Payson Lakes Day-use area on the right.
    2. 11.7: Payson Lakes Campground.turnoff on the right.
    3. 12.3 Guard station turnoff on the right.
    At the guard station turnoff on the right, don't take the right turn, but instead turn left onto a dirt road. Within a few hundred yards you will see the camp area.
According to Google Earth, the coordinates are 39° 55' 31.11" N., 111° 37' 53.06" W.

How can I participate:

You can help with the planning, setup, operating, logging, or all of the above! For details, get in touch with this year’s Field Day Chairman: Brett Sutherland, N7KG,
You can also join the UARC Field Day reflector. Just send e-mail to: If you have a Yahoo ID, another way to join is to go to

Maybe you would like to take over administration of a particular portion of the effort. Brett lists the following focus areas:
  • Antennas — Beams
  • Antennas — Wire
  • Rigs
  • Tents
  • Towers
  • Power generation
  • Alternative power
  • VHF
  • Satellite
  • Education sessions
  • Hauling trailers — especially the tower, and we pay fuel cost
  • Food prep for the pot luck
  • Operators
  • Scheduling operators
  • Kids events
  • Network setup
  • Camp communications — including announcements about scheduling, help needed wherever, who has xyz etc.
  • Talk-in control
Other Details to consider before arriving:

The area where we will be camping is just an open field with no improvements. There are no water sources, tables, or fire pits. Fires may be prohibited depending on the danger at the time of Field Day. Bring all the food, water, and shelter that you will need for the period you will be present. Don’t forget coats. It may be summer, but it gets cold at night at that elevation.

There is an improved Forest Service campground within a half-mile of the site, so it is quite practical to camp there (for a fee) and commute over to the Field Day site.

On Saturday night there will be a group pot-luck dinner. The club will supply a main dish (Doug, WE7BBQ, is in charge). Bring whatever else you would like and a dish to share pot luck style.

Other useful things to remember are sunscreen, tools, a chair, and spare fuses.

What does all this accomplish?

There are a lot of characteristics of Field Day that are common with those of emergency operation. They include:
  • The need to copy a lot of information quickly and accurately.
  • The need to establish a station away from normal station locations
  • The need to improvise quickly when something doesn’t work
  • The need to put in a lot of operating hours while keeping accuracy high
If you’ve never operated HF before, Field Day is a great opportunity to see what it’s like. There will likely be enough operators with higher-class licenses that you can make contacts while someone else serves as the licensed control operator. There will also be a chance to see HF stations set up from scratch.

So come out! Most people say they have had a great time. And come to the June meeting for more information and a chance to ask questions.

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