Putting the Fun in Field Day!

Hey, all!

KE0LMY here!

Most years, I focused on getting contacts on Field Day. SOME people might say I am a TEENY bit competitive. I tended to focus more on the contest aspect of the event, rather then the heart of what Field Day was actually created for, way back when.

This year, with our inaugural run in Benton County, Bigfoot (Roger aka KD0WXT) worked so hard on the county’s Em Comm trailer that we HAD to really stretch her legs. With some ingenuity and resourcefulness, we had a set up that had us booming into stations hundreds of miles away!

We had a great cookout with Stephen, Debbie, and the kids! The food was fantastic and we even had some good jokes/puns to put on Facebook!

The highlight of my fun has its roots in past Field Days. For the last two years, I have earned the nickname Julie (after Julie on The Love Boat) because I always carried a clipboard.

This year, I added a whole new level of entertainment when I inadvertently had my clicky pen taken away! Apparently I have a “clicking the pen” habit when I am looking for contacts across the bands! When they gave me my non-clicky pen, I was so sad!

But not to worry! Some time later, Renee traded me back my clicky pen for some time on the mic!

Speaking of the kids: Renee (KE0LMZ) and Alex (KE0YGT) did a plethora of jobs and were so happy and motivated to help our club with our first Field Day!

Let’s start with Renee:

She served as our official Safety Officer, adding safety features to the operations area. She helped Bigfoot deploy the Em Comm trailer’s new push-up telescoping mast. She kept the team hydrated and saw to other needs. She also logged for me for long stretches!

And now, Alex:

Alex helped with A LOT of the setup and breakdown for the event! He was also fantastic at hunting for contacts for me. Since I went with a paper log, he made sure to cross reference and check for duplication before alerting me to another possible contact!

It was awesome to see my two kids take such an active hand in the event!

They also learned to make a tape measure antenna of their own like this one Bigfoot made (pictures of theirs to follow later!):

On to a very awesome gentleman who brings our only CW talent and ability to D.A.R.K.’s first Field Day: Stephen Swerline (KF6DRH). Stephen and his wife Debbie have joined us for previous D.A.R.K. events and cookouts. They are always jovial and helpful!

Stephen was able to make CW contacts both at the event site, as well as from home! We were so excited to have this option to expand our Field Day activity!

Our day was not perfect by any means! We were prepared to do digital for the event, but an ill-timed Windows update caused us some issues we weren’t able to fix until 5:30 PM local time on Sunday. That was SO FRUSTRATING! We also had a weight slip on one of the telescoping mast braces which caused some problems. We have a list of improvements to continue with on the trailer, but overall, it performed beautifully!

We plan to make next year’s Field Day even better! We hope more members can take part and we will be in a great location to interact with the public more!

73,

Sam Henley KE0LMY

Certificates Under Construction!

Hello, all!

Sam here!

I know many of you have been waiting patiently for your certificate from our Pomme de Terre Dam Special Event. Good news: I am working on them now! Many holidays and events happened between the SE and today, so please forgive the delay. The QSL cards will follow later in January/February (after the order is completed).

Thank you so much to all of you who took the time to participate in one or both of our special events this year! It was a daunting task, running our very first special events, but I think we did pretty well!

As a reminder, here is what the certificates will look like:

We plan to host at least two special events in 2020: Stockton Dam and Bagnell Dam. We hope you can join us for these great events, as well!

73,

Sam Henley KE0LMY

Pomme de Terre SE Kickoff!

Hello, my D.A.R.K.lings and all visitors!

Sam here!

What a great day down at Pomme de Terre dam, just south of Hermitage, MO in Polk County! We made 51 phone contacts and we’re STILL making FT8 contacts as of this blog update!

Foxtrot and the kids were out having fun, too! They got to swing, use a mini-digger, and hold up Pomme de Terre Dam (like tourists do at the leaning tower of Pisa!) while we were onsite!

Here are some photos from the event so far:

We learned the ARRL Sweepstakes runs this weekend (D’oh!) but that only slowed us down for a little bit! Thank goodness for digital operations (Thanks, Roger!), which helped us rock on through when phone was just not feasible!

We hope our other members hop on for at least a little while each day to rack up some more contacts for our second special event!

Thank you to everyone who has contacted us so far! It’s wonderful to hear your words of encouragement, support, and thank you’s for activating! We’re glad you could join us for our special event!

For more information on our SEs, click here!

We look forward to talking to more of you this week, so we’ll catch you on the air!

73,

Sam Henley KE0LMY

This Year’s D.A.R.K. Magazine Released!

Hello, all!

Sam here!

Yep, I know, it’s about time!

I played with the idea of making the magazine longer, but I was quite happy with the amount of participation and topics for this issue. I don’t subscribe to the notion of “If it ain’t broke, fix it until it is!” so I left it the bright, shiny, new thing that it was!

I would like to thank the hams who contributed this year: Renee Cason (KE0LMZ) handled our Kids Corner, Rex Green (KE0VCR) gave us a much more fleshed out and informative “Newbie” Guide, Pam Olson (W0UHN) brought us a whole new section with her “Best Dam Salsa” recipe (as well as her solar set up), Kevin Olson (K0KDO) provided an outlook on Field Day from the perspective of a new contestor, Kelly Stanfield (W0YQG) who was the envy of us all because of her trip to the Dayton Hamvention, and I put in more than my two cents worth with the Indy Team experience, our inaugural special event, and how our club/BC ARES/BC MO CERT members help Benton County.

I would like to send out a HUGE thanks to Kevin for being our cover this year!

I am hoping to secure some pretty big names in the world of amateur radio to put out articles in next year’s issue (that’s right, I’m already working on next year!) since we would all love to learn from the greats!

Without further ado: D.A.R.K. Magazine Autumn 2019

73,

Sam Henley KE0LMY

September Meeting Update

Hello, my D.A.R.K.lings!!!

Sam here!

D.A.R.K.’s September meeting was jam-packed full of fun activity plans and encouraging progress! Of course, the meeting minutes will be posted, but I want to hit the highlights.

We had to wait for additional time for the certificates to be completed for the Truman Dam event. Those will go out Monday. Here is the proof for the QSL card for the SE:

We made a few minor changes to the back (because I forgot to include info in the original email), and we should receive information on the cards shortly.

Roger brought up partnering with Handi-Hams, since we have restored EchoLink to the Benton County repeater. Kelly Stanfield W0YQG is going to be our liaison for that!

The first round of D.A.R.K. T-shirts have been ordered. I’ll let everyone know when they should come in and how much each shirt will be once I have that info.

We are working on putting our VE Team and our Elmer/Elmira Team together and getting those two projects up and running.

We are in the planning stages for the next Special Event for the club which will be held at Pomme de Terre Dam during the week of November 16-23. Working out the details with the United States Army Corps of Engineers. Once that is locked in, we will commence with the fun part of planning the event. We also discussed what logging program/method we want to use since we are hoping for more operators on this one! We plan to operate Phone and CW so far. Digital will be offered if it becomes available during that week. Stay tuned for more details!

Stay tuned for more updates!

73,

Sam Henley KE0LMY