Winter Field Day 2024


Soapbox comments from our JSCARC members who participated in this year’s Winter Field Day.  Overall, this was fun, and another example of a ham radio event used to promote the importance of emergency preparedness.  Good job all.



I operated from W5RRR this afternoon as 3I STX using JS8.



I operated WFD (from home) for a total time-on air of 4.0 hours and made 75 contacts; 43 CW & 32 SSB.  I setup my PAC-12 vertical antenna in the backyard and started the contest on 20m using the Elecraft KX3 with a Hardrock-50 amplifier (~50W out). 

The KX3 is an outstanding CW rig but I occasionally went up the band for a few SSB Q’s.  I was using a Begali Simple Mono that I recently acquired.  Very nice paddle!  Maybe I’ll upgrade to one of his iambic paddles with magnetic return someday 🙂 

I was doing lots of other things around the house, including smoking a brisket, so didn’t get on the air until ~2:30pm and only operated an hour or so at a time. 

Sunday morning I started on 15m for 7Q’s then went back to 20m.  The KX3 (even with 50W) was doing OK on SSB but sometimes a struggle, which could have been my 50W or the other station’s antenna wasn’t great or in a noise location…who knows. So about noon Sunday I switched rigs to the IC-7300 and 100W definitely made a difference.  I’d never used the IC-7300 on CW so curious, I hooked up a paddle and worked CW for the rest of the contest.  The IC-7300 is not the best CW rig for sure. 

Comparing to the KX3, the IC-7300’s noise floor is noticeably higher and it only has 3 fixed filter settings (which were OK but I’m spoiled with the continuously variable filter of the KX3 that goes down to 50 Hz bandwidth!). One plus for the Icom was the CW memory feature was a little easier to use than the KX3’s. 

It was a fun contest to work in my spare time this weekend and wrapped up just in time to start watching the Sunday football playoff games and enjoy some tasty brisket.




Operating from Montana as 1 I MT

FT-991A with a portable G5RV Jr 40-10m antenna  in an inverted V configuration with the center point at about 30 feet up on an MFJ telescoping pole and tripod. 

Operated 40-10m with full snow ground plane. (Note: Permanent wire antenna blew down during recent snow storm)

Mostly 20m daytime and 40m night.

23 total on 18 SSB and 5 CW. CW was really slow for me, especially since the bands were so crowded (lots of signal overlap that it hard for me to separate one operator from another at times). 

I was having a lot of problems with reflected power from the feed line, and had to reduce power to around 50 watts or less to keep the radio from shutting down on transmit. I put a 12 turn ferrite chock at right after the balun at the antenna, and that stopped the reflected power issue, but couldn’t get any more transmit power. I only worked 20m as the antenna wouldn’t tune with the radio’s internal tuner on the other bands. I’m looking for an external tuner now.



Operating from home QTH.

40 snd 80 .  Nothing there back on 20. lots of Oh and FL

1 H STX Fishing is slow.   slow on 40m.  45 QSOs on the day.  In the dark (now)


Operated 1O STX from Stephen F Austin State Park (west of Katy).

Used a TS-590 running 50-100W and a End Fed 10m-40m wire up 50′ in the tall trees (a casting surf rod was used to string up the antenna). Ran for about 9 hours total : 5 hours on Saturday and 4 hours on Sunday.  Logged almost 300 QSOs; ~200 on CW and ~100 on SSB.

I got the tent and antenna strung on Friday afternoon in the light rain.  Saturday was windy and cool and Sunday was gorgeous.

I had RFI issues which I ultimately solved, but the biggest issue was that I left my primary Lithium battery at home.  So I had to drive back home Sat night and return with the battery in the morning, unfortunately missing all the juicy evening ops.

Thoughout the event, Georgia hams were numerous and most of them BOOMED into Texas. 

A few noteworthy stations worked:

W4LX-  14O SFL That’s  14 operators operating together outside in S. Florida- wow!

K8BSR – 9M OH  That’s 9 operators in a mobile trailer in Ohio!  Pretty crowded to me.

Last year I operated QRP (5W) and this year I decided to increase power to 100W.  That was a lot more fun for sure.  Since I had a defective microphone, SSB sufferred in my attempts, but CW was a blast, especially using it with the N1MM+ logger program.  Next stop, Summer Field Day in June!


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