Summer Time and the living is?

What? Easy? What planet are they on?  How about hot!  Although, I promised I would not complain about the heat after this past winter’s cold!

 Boy, this has been on incredibly busy period for us NSRCer’s. Field Day was a fabulous adventure. The weather cooperated nicely until the final hour when rain spoiled our packing plans. This little rain event got everything wet enough that we had to open every case and dry every single piece of gear in our inventory. Clean up took three days, including setting up the army tent to dry. Still, the sweet memory of working that over-night shift lingers in my mind.  I’m not fond of all-nighters, especially as more research points out the negative health effects of doing such things. Whatever. I survived. In my business, I got used to having to work weird hours and on strange shifts so what is one more night.

 The bands were consistently open to certain directions although I was disappointed by the range.  I worked largely east coast and Texas stations and virtually no one to the west.  It was good to see that we had good operator coverage for the entire event.  That made a big of the difference when figuring our score.  I have been doing Field Day for more than 15 years with this club and somehow, I never had submitted the final report to the ARRL as an electronic submission.  I usually did my wrap up of the bonus points and then had someone else submit the final report using their online form. Since N1MM, life has gotten more complicated and simpler. Well, this year, with Randy Brothers gone, I had to tackle this project myself.  It was as arduous as I remember hearing from Randy, but I got it done.  Our final score was respectable, and we shall see how we stack against the competition. 

 We had a quick Hot Wash with the team leader’s and did some assessments of this year’s event.  All felt good about our production efforts.  We do want to look for a new location that could be more public so we have given ourselves 6 months to find a location that might be suitable.  We were very disappointed by the membership turn out for the picnic and the educational activities.  We need to explore that to do with those activities in the future.  Overall, another great Field Day for the club. Thanks to all who supported it, worked it, help to clean up whatever.  It takes a village for sure.

 Meanwhile, another fun event is our annual Fox Hunt. Last year’s winner, Tami Witbrodt, was unable to hide the Fox so I sought out some people from the Boy Scout Troop. I had an energetic mom willing to do the job but at the last minute, she became ill and had to drop.  I asked my son if he could handle the deed and he agreed. So, armed with some very quick instructions on how RF behaves, I sent him off to hide the fox.  The one place I thought he would never go is exactly where he went!  Don Whiteman and Mark Klocksin, immediately left the Starbucks in the opposite direction from everyone else and very quickly found the fox in the back seat of a Jeep in the upper Deck parking lot.  Took a little while for the others to find it, but eventually, most found their way back to the parking lot.  We had a great social wrap up at the Curragh where stories were shared and strategies for the future discussed.  More on that in future editions.

 Meanwhile, back to Club business.  We had purchased the new D-Star antenna before Dayton and Greg Karlove drove down to pick it up.  We had set the date to do the install in what had become the most complicated weekend for most of us.  First, Greg’s father passed away the day before and we tried to talk him out of the install, but he insisted.  Stan showed up for work with a nice band aid on his head and sheepishly explained he had a small antenna accident!  I had out of town guests who wanted to tour Chicago that I had to placate, and it was 100 degrees in the shade.  Fortunately, our small crew, with Greg, Vic Maiewski, Stan Wilk and myself, worked feverishly to get the job done before the broiling hot sun crawled over to that part of the roof. The install went flawlessly and has greatly improved the performance of the system. However, we are still having bit rate error issues.  But now at least we can rule out the antenna we can start to check some of the other elements of the system.

 Greg and his tech team have along list of projects yet to tackle, but for now, we will take a small break to allow us to enjoy a bit of summer and let life settle a bit. And, thanks Greg for taking the time during this most solemn of times in our lives.

 By the way, looking for volunteers to help with the North Shore Century and the Chicago Marathon.  I should put links on the web site (I just thought of that now!  Unfortunately, I am leaving town in the morning so that might not happen). If you have an interest in either of those events, drop me a note.

 I have been asked to speak at a ham convention in southern Illinois and will stay at the house of some ham radio friends I got to know on my way to Springfield a couple years back. What makes this hobby so great is the number of fellow travelers you meet along the way.  I was thrilled to be in the CW tent when I hear Randy’s call come over the radio!  My ole buddy Bill Steffey was not heard this year, but generally you can count on him being there.  The creator of our Fox, Mike Wolfe, brought his two young sons to field day and they made a few points for us on GOTA. I hadn’t seen Mike in years.  Mike was a part of the club that became rabid DXpedition travelers.  It was good to welcome him back to the club.

 Hoping you all continue to have a great summer.

 Rob K9RST

July 30, 2019

Rob Orr