The Field Day Fiasco
Joe must have wanted Steve, the club’s secretary to take a lesson from me,as he said for him to go and watch everything that I did, and to make surethat nothing got screwed up by some fool. I’m not sure why Joe was worriedabout some “fool” messing things up, as this club was supposed to be atop-notch group of guys, and I didn’t think that any “fool” would try to interfere with us… Anyway, I grabbed the two nearest five-gallon cans and took them to my Toyota and proceeded out, along with Steve riding shotgun.
The gas station was a good ways away, but I managed to shave off a fewminutes by making a quick detour down one of the older roads in the area. Iguess that Steve wasn’t as dedicated to Field Day as I had thought, becausewhen we came to a sign that said; “bridge out”, he protested my suggestionthat we jump the bridge. I knew that I could do it; my trusty rusty Toyotahad made this sort of thing before… Well we made the jump; it was only 30feet or so across, and about 150 feet down.
No problem! Steve must have beenreally tired; as he apparently passed out from what I figured was exhaustionabout the time we went airborne. So I dropped him off at the gas stationafter filling the cans with gasoline and headed back to the club’s Field Daysite. Just like I figured, Steve just wasn’t that dedicated to Field Day.
Upon my arrival back at the Field Day site Joe seemed a bit irritated, asSteve wasn’t with me. I explained to him that Steve just couldn’t handle thestress of the event and fell asleep. I think that Joe was pretty upset withSteve, as he kept mumbling and kicking dirt around for a while. At least hewas happy to see that I had brought the two five-gallon gas cans back.
Now we were full into the night shift. Joe, somewhat reluctantly told methat I could run the 40-meter station. I could hardly wait! I had no problemwith solar panels this time, as they were all broken and piled up next tothe trashcan. I guess that Joe figured they were now useless due to it beingnighttime and all.
I hurried into the tent to make my very first Field Day contacts on 40-meterSSB. Once inside, I quickly fired up the radio, a nice one at that a YaesuFT-1000D. I saw that the mike gain wasn’t adjusted properly, so I turned itall the way up and punched the processor button. I started tuning theamplifier, and then realized that I could get more power out of it if I justkept increasing the drive power, and tweaking the load and plate controls. Idid this for a while and it was a good thing, as every time that I wouldun-key, I heard operators complaining about some idiot who was constantlytuning up on the frequency. Odd, I never heard him… I guess I was lucky.
So I continued to tune up the amplifier. Then yet another problem arose! Theamplifier, which had worked very well up until this point, had a very sharpdecrease in power, and smoke started coming out of it. I grabbed a cup ofcoffee to pour into the small fire in the amplifier, but missed, and it wentdown into the Yaesu FT-1000D. Then the Yaesu made a few arcing noises andquit. I guess they just don’t make radios like they used to. Well I couldn’t get the fire under control, and had to bail out of the tent, and it went up in flames. It managed to catch the 10-meter tent on fire too. Good thing the band was dead and the club wasn’t using the tent for the night shift. However, I knew that this was going to hurt the club’s chances at another good score for this year’s Field Day.
We nearly had lost the 6-meter station that Mike, the clubs VHF guru wasrunning. It seems in my haste to help put the fire out I tripped over a guywire, causing me to fall into a table, which broke my fall nicely I mightadd, but it did knock over a five gallon jug of ice water, right onto Mike.This was too bad, as I could have used it to help put out the fire. But atleast it did wake Mike up, albeit rather suddenly from a sound sleep.
Joe, after being woke up suddenly when the tent he was sleeping in caughtfire (the 10-meter setup), was once again, pretty upset to say theleast. I tried to explain how the amplifier malfunctioned and that the Yaesuwas just a junky piece of plastic, now melted anyway, but Joe didn’t seem tocare too much for what I had to say. He really needed some psychologicaltreatment I figured, as he rushed at me, screaming, yelling, andswinging a vertical antenna he had yanked up out of the ground at me. Iguess the several accidents at this year’s Field Day and the stress ofoperating for so many years had really taken its toll on Joe.
It took the club a good while to get the fire out, and once it was out, theclub had lost not only their 15-meter station, but now the 40-meter and10-meter stations as well. This was most disturbing. It was just getting tobe daylight too.
After the fire was put out, I decided to go over and offer my assistance toMike, with the 6-meter station he was operating. Well as soon as Mike saw mecoming he started yelling for me to go away and threw a folding chair at me.I guess that Mike wasn’t much of a morning person.
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