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W1AW/3 aka W3AO

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It’s Field Day weekend. The weekend each year that my husband joins about 100 fellow club amateur radio operators, friends and family at a local school field to exercise their radio operating skills in remote, or portable, or emergency conditions. You all know the phrase, practice makes perfect. So, once a year the USA and Canada conduct this weekend event. Putting radio stations on the air all over the two countries.

This year is the 100th anniversary of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL). For Field Day the Columbia Amateur Radio Association and the Potomac Valley Radio Club get to use the national organization’s call sign W1AW portable 3. We in MD are in the “3” region of the country. The headquarters is located in New England, the “1” region. Since we are licensed to use their call sign for a week of the centennial, we will be using it for Field Day.

Instead of our usual club call sign. W3AO. I did a series last year on our Field Day. W3AO is extremely organized, competitive, yet one of the nicest groups of people you could ever meet.

Today about 30-40 of us were out there setting up the towers, antennas, laying coaxial cable, and getting ready for tomorrow.

A few fun pictures of set up day.

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Generator. Check. Air Conditioner. Check. Say What? Air conditioner? Yes, when you bring all the generators and have built them for us, you do get to bring your own portable unit to keep the VHF tent THE PLACE TO BE when it’s 90 plus degrees out there.

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Working on the power to the main tent.

Then there’s our solar unit, to get those points.

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We also have the satellite tent being set up with all their equipment right outside their tent flap.

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They were on the air late this afternoon using our club call to be sure everything was set up. The rest of the radios and computers will be set up tomorrow.

This was a really great group. All eleven bases of the AB-577s, the crank up towers, were in place in less than two hours.

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Being level is important.

Coaxial cable was all in place before six pm today. We spent less than 10 hours out there today. Tomorrow it’s just a few more hours of radios, computers, power up and check out, before beginning on the air at 2 pm local time.

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How many miles of cable do we use? Answer tomorrow.

As for all the planning, a small group does so much of it. This picture is one of my favorites from today.

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K3RA, Rol, who gets us all organized, with his XYL, Audrey, who is in charge of feeding us all. After all, we know an army marches on its stomach. Along with Jim, N3KTV, seen above unrolling cable, they keep us focused and busy getting prepared.

Time to shut this down and sleep before the fun begins. Come visit us at Triadelphia Ridge Elementary School tomorrow. We may put you on the air, as W3AO. I think I will operate our Get On The Air (GOTA) station. After all, W3AO holds all sorts of records, and this year the GOTA station is using that call sign, while the rest of the club uses W1AW/3.

About AnnieRie

Retired, I am following my dream of living in quiet west Howard County, a rural oasis, not far from the urban chaos, but just far enough. I love to cook, bake, garden, and travel. I volunteer at Howard County Conservancy. I lead nature hikes, manage programs and show children all the wonders of nature, and the agricultural connection to their food.

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  1. Pingback: ARRL FD2014 Ham Radio | Calling CQ

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