What did Field Day 2017 mean to me?
I posted that question on Facebook to trigger some responses, and as I thought about it, if I were to answer that question…I could write a book, as to relay what it has meant to me.
Recognizing that just like the whole concept of Amateur Radio, it is an individual thing.
But, then like in some other things, what is the fun in being alone, when there are others doing the same thing or nearly the same thing.
I feel I must point out something. I never excelled in team sports where there is quarterback, or point guard, that drives the whole team, and expects absolute obedience, for while I consider myself a team player, I tend to ‘experiment’ with the boundaries, I crave to be ‘creative’, so, while understanding the need for those other kinds of Teams, I stay away from Teams that don’t allow questioning the next move. And I absolutely Run away from any Team with a Pistol Pete, as I prefer a Team that moves forward as Team, not one that puts anyone on a pedestal.
I love the story of the SS Robert E. Peary, a Liberty Ship built during WWII that was launched 4 days and 15 1/2 hours after the keel was laid. There was a Team that I could have been on. No one quarterback nor point guard could pull that off, that took a Team of Quarterbacks working with each other, not against each other, nor competing with each other, as each piece of that ship had to be ready to slide into place at exactly the right moment, or a really fast recovery had better be ready to put into place. My kind of competition….me against myself. Where failure isn’t failing, its a learning experience.
So, the question was Field Day? I penned a phrase, of which I am sure it ain’t original, some time back, actually it was on the obligatory trip to Disney World after someone wins the Superbowl, or gets a diagnosis that is about as rare. It went like this’ No Regrets, Bucket List Tour’ and it was stenciled on a sheet of coroplast stuck in the ground in front of my RV at Fort Wilderness. So, yes, Field Day, with No Regrets, and a few Check Offs on the List.
Only being licensed as an Amateur Radio Operator for the first time last October, I have been working hard on my List.
This was my first Field Day. I didn’t personally make one radio contact. But, I consider it a success for me. Working within my limitations, I made a few contributions to the team, but I gained so much more. I observed most of the radio operators and loggers doing their thing.
I was allowed to share some of my creative ideas in a side room, where the club has started a Builders Group ( also called WeCanHams.com ) and I saw more new ideas come back at me than I can work in year. I saw the twinkle in someone else’s eye….who after 5 hours of trying various ways to solder a thru hole component in a PCB, finally was satisfied with the result….
and I am sure that many projects will follow that soldering adventure….I figure that at least 120 years of soldering experience was shared in that effort…THAT IS MY KIND OF TEAM. At one point, it resulted in a run to the kitchen to cut a corner off a pot scrubber….not a Pistol Pete move….but a Team move.
I had been told to make the move from 2 meter HT’s to HF required many hundreds of dollars, and a thousand dollars was tossed out there very often as what I should expect to spend. So, before Field Day, I tested this theory, by building a BitX40 kit for $59, and putting it on the air with a jump start battery for power and some galvanized fence wire for an antenna.
On the second Day of Field Day I took my Tour on the Road, down one the spokes on the HUB, to an affiliated Field Day site at HHART, and I had the extreme pleasure of lighting up someone else’s eyes. When I overheard that someone was thinking about getting that kit….I asked, ‘wanna play with one?’ It was exciting to watch and be a part of the ‘Team’ making that QSO, even though I was sitting in a chair just watching. He was heard saying after that he was ordering two BitX40’s.
And we should never forget a two transistor Pixie…just for fun…and plenty of learning.
So, what did Field Day mean to me? Making a lot of up close and personal connections in a sport that is usually done at long range. And quite a few more Check Off’s on the List.