20190127 140657 breakdown crew

Breakdown crew after CARA’s first Winter Field Day. First row, l-r: Andy N3AWP, John W3GJN, Scott KS3O, Alan KM4ND, Kevin KC3KZ, Wendy K3TBD. Second row, Roy KC3JPP, Kathleen KC3FWF, Craig KC3HRD, Jon KF3O, Ted WA3AER. Back row, Eric KC3EGW. Not pictured is Kris W3XG, who was taking the picture.

Winter Field Day by the Numbers
Setup hours 5
Breakdown hours 1.5
Operating hours 24
Operators 15
Total contacts 435
ARRL sections contacted 57
Most contacts (KC3FWF) 99
Participants & visitors 40
Setup volunteers 12
Breakdown volunteers 14
Gallons of diesel used 7
Pizzas eaten 10


CARA's First Winter Field Day a Smashing Success!


On January 26-27, 2019, CARA held its first Winter Field Day. Sponsored by the Winter Field Day Association, the event is part emergency drill, part contest, similar to ARRL's Summer Field Dayexcept 70 degrees cooler.


On Saturday morning the team arrived at Cedar Lane Park in Columbia, MD and set up three operating stations, four portable masts, two dipoles, a tri-band vertical, and beam antennas for the satellite station. When the clock struck 2pm, we started cranking out the QSOs. For 24 hours, 15 operators took turns working phone, PSK31, and CW on 20, 40, 80, and 160 meters, and logged satellite contacts for bonus points. 


A total of 40 members, prospective members, and guests came out to help with setup and tear-down, operate a station, or keep the team company during the event—which is especially noteworthy since so many people were also supporting the Klondike event that Saturday. When Winter Field Day concluded at 2pm on Sunday, the team had logged 435 contacts and contacted 57 ARRL sections, with Kathleen KC3FWF setting the record for making the most contacts. Even more important than the score, several people had the opportunity to get on the air for the first time, and others got to experience operating modes they hadn’t used before. 


Since an event like this is truly a team effort, some huge thank-you’s are in order: 


  • To the Winter Field Day Committee who worked tirelessly to make the event possible--Alan KM4ND, Andy N3AWP, Dave W8AJR, John W3GJN, Jon KF3O, Michael K3RMO, Scott KS3O, and Wendy K3TBD.
  • To Howard County Parks and Recreation for allowing CARA 24-hour access to the park and checking in on us over the weekend. 
  • To Chris and the Howard County Office of Emergency Management for their support of the event as a RACES drill, and providing us their generator trailer—that hum was music to our ears!
  • Finally, the key to ham radio happiness is having plenty of refreshments. While also responsible for much of the logistics and one of the primary operating stations, Alan KM4ND made sure we all had bottomless coffee, cocoa, and snacks throughout the event, and fired up the grill for hamburgers on Saturday and a special treat of homemade pancakes to fend off the cold on Sunday morning. Thanks, Alan!


When the committee first started planning this event last summer, they laid out three goals: 1) Have fun; 2) Give CARA members plenty of opportunities to operate HF; 3) Earn a decent score. The event met all three of those goals, and then some! While the scores are still being tabulated, all signs point to CARA placing very competitively in the 3O category, and more operating events are being planned for later in the year. Stay tuned . . .


Check out more photos from the event in the online photo gallery. 

                                                                                                                                                                  20190127 IMG 0420 base camp  20190126 IMG 0331 setup mast   20190126 IMG 0356 satellite setup  20190126 IMG 0320 coax
 Setting up our canopy under the pavilion at Cedar Lane Park helped keep us nice and toasty.  Many hands made setup go smoothly.  Getting the satellite antennas ready to go.   Coax all neat and tidy before being deployed.    
 20190126 215056 Sat nightshift  20190126 171518 CraigKC3HRD  20190127 final contacts map 20190126 174140 Alan hamburgers
 Ready for the night shift.  Craig KC3HRD made his first HF contacts and did a great job on phone and PSK.   We contacted 57 ARRL sections in the U.S. and Canada during the event. On top of planning, setup, and operating, Alan KM4ND kept the Field Day team fueled.
 20190127 092502 TedWA3AER  20190126 IMG 0313 ScottKS3O John W3GJN  20190127 IMG 0431 Kathleen KC3FWF  20190127 IMG 0451 breakdown mast
 Ted WA3AER running CW on Sunday morning.  Scott KS3O and John W3GJN take a quick break from setting up masts and antennas.  Kathleen KC4FWF ran phone and PSK31, and made 99 contacts during the event.  Breaking down after a successful Field Day, Roy KC3JPP, Kevin KC3KZ, Ted WA3AER