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AFCCE Fields the Field Day

Annual convention notwithstanding, Field Day goes on

The Association of Federal Communications Consulting Engineers has provided this recounting of its recent Field Day, during its annual convention, in Annapolis, Md.

Association of Federal Communications Consulting Engineers members who also happen to be amateur radio operators didn’t have to choose between their professional society’s annual meeting and their hobby’s annual outdoor activity, Field Day. The organization planned and deployed a Field Day station at the Historic Inns of Annapolis for members to operate during the annual meeting held June 26–29.

AFCCE Member Bob Weller, N6NE, pounds the brass during Field Day.

Hams in attendance were delighted. AFCCE President David Snavely, W5ZC, noted that the Field Day scheduling conflict couldn’t be avoided this year.

“We actually do try to avoid Field Day,” Snavely commented, “but this year the way everything fell on the calendar — Father’s Day, various graduations, industry meetings — we had to schedule the annual meeting on Field Day. We knew that would disappoint our hams who look forward to Field Day all year.

“So we brought Field Day to the annual meeting.”

Field Day is an annual activity whereby amateur operators take the last weekend in June to test their emergency preparedness, operating their radio equipment from campgrounds and other portable locations on emergency power to prove out its readiness in times of emergency. For many the weekend provides an excuse for a campout and some relaxation time.

The relationship between professional broadcast engineers and ham radio is an old and strong one, with the latter frequently being the engineer’s introduction into what became his or her profession. The idea to have Field Day at Annapolis took hold with several AFCCE members and it seemed to be quite a success.

The 25-foot radial found a home on a patio at the Historic Inns of Annapolis. Bonus! A Sunday morning omelette station!

AFCCE member Chris Horne was the Field Day chairman, responsible for erection of the 25-foot vertical radiator antenna. “It wasn’t easy to find a spot for it,” Horne recalled, “but the inn personnel were very eager to help us. I found just the place on the patio, clamped to the railing, and I connected the ground system to the building’s ground. The antenna loaded up just fine.”

The station operated primarily on the 7 MHz band, known as “40 meters” in ham lingo, and it was issued the special FCC amateur call sign K3A.

AFCCE member Bob Weller was one of the hams happy to have the station. “I’m pleased I can still use the Morse Code as well as I can,” Weller remarked, as he “worked” another station in a nearby state by manipulating the code key. Other members operating the station included Larry Will, George Boursari, Mike Rhodes, Snavely and Horne. AFCCE members John Reiser, Don Everist and Ron Chase participated in the project as well.

John Reiser, who recalled that as an FCC field engineer he had to know the Morse Code as part of the job, commented on the success of the first annual AFCCE Field Day.

“Definitely a keeper for next year,” Reiser said.