June 23-25, 2023, Armstrong BC

This year's NORAC Field Day was back at Ralph VA7NU's field in Armstrong, BC. Having a location so close to paved roads made it much easier for club members and guests to attend. In total we had over 40 attendees with peak attendance at the fantastic roast and pot-luck dinner Saturday night.

Please note that this article does not include any pictures (it's more of an event summary than a magazine article), but you can find a wonderful gallery of event pictures here.

Setup for the event started Friday afternoon with the positioning and erection of Cranky, the club's affectionately-named mobile crank-up tower. Atop the tower was the club's 20/15/20m beam and very high gain collinear VHF antenna. This setup was led by Lorne VE7LWK and Paul VE7PDE.

With the beam ready to go, Lorne brought out his Icom IC-7300 and SSTV setup and entertained the kids in attendance with a little bit of educational activity.

On Saturday morning Ralph championed getting the wire antennas strung between Cranky's tower and a tree at the end of the property. Unfortunately none of the wire antennas were found to be resonant. With propagation for the lower bands forecasted to be poor, the group instead opted to erect Austin VE7QH's BuddiHex on Mike VE7KPZ's military fibreglass poles with Howard VA7PWF's pole support system. The BuddiHex would do 20m through 6m, and using Mike's competition band-pass filter for the 20m main beam station we could run either 15, 10 or 6 on the BuddiHex in parallel without the two stations interfering with each other.

Two stations (2A class) started the event strong doing paper logging. Work was still in progress to sort out N3FJP networking with David VA7DRS' and Jake VE7WEA's laptops. Fortunately that was sorted quickly and paper logging did not need to continue. Paper entries were transcribed into the logging software while operation continued. Once caught up, it was a pleasure to log exclusively in N3FJP. There was even a bit of competition between the two stations to see who could get a higher QSO rate on each station's respective band.

We had a large number of new HAM operators this year. It was great to see recent licensees Howard VA7PWF and Colin VA7EEH jump on the stations to log and also operate so quickly. And then we also had guests Simon VE7RIZ and son Bryson (who joined us from Merritt) who showed exceptional enthusiasm in getting on the air and operating with the great mentors present.

Speaking of elmer operators, we had Brad VE7WBM, Kevin VE7XY, Ralph, Austin and Mike all working the stations as well. Doug VE7VZ stuck around longer than he had planned and provided some additional mentoring for the newer operators late into Saturday evening.

A variety of radios were utilized (demoed) for the event. Brad brought his trusty Yaesu FT-991a, Austin his bombproof Yaesu FT-891, Mike his Icom IC-705/DIY599 PA500 combo and Colin his Kenwood TS-570SG.

We had a good number of campers this year, well equipped for the elements. Jake brought his new trailer and Austin erected his tent under Brad's trailer awning. Protection from the elements was critical as we experienced the same Saturday afternoon thunder and rain storm that we always seem to have each year at this location.

Both stations were shut down for a couple of hours Saturday afternoon due to the storm... and then it was pot luck dinner time with a great NORAC-sponsored roast expertly cooked by Ralph himself. With the rain, all parties ate inside Ralph's QTH - it was the largest gathering of HAMs we've seen in some time.

After dinner the stations got busy again. Interesting band conditions allowed our higher bands to run well into the night. 20m was open and usable until approximately 1 AM local (Pacific) time.

Sunday morning started early with Brad making some good rate phone QSOs, Ralph and Austin on CW as well as Colin and Howard working phone together... and then the group took a short break at 10 AM for the NORAC Sunday VE7RSS net - the net had never seen so many check-ins from Armstrong.

In the last hour of the event a few more QSOs were squeezed into the logs and then it was time for tear down.

Big thanks to David (event organizer), Kevin, Mike, Simon and Bryson for staying all the way to the end to clean up every last bit and leave Ralph's field looking like we had never been there.

Field Day really is a great event. The casual contest scenario with such positive happy stations on the other side of the QSOs makes for a wonderful opportunity for our new HAMs (and third-party operator Bryson) to get on the air in the most forgiving way. This event is both a showcase of amateur radio and a wonderful opportunity to build confidence and skill in radio operation.

Looking forward to next year's event,

Ps: let's also thank these folks for their special contributions:

Ralph VA7NU - event host. Ralph's field in Armstrong is truly a great spot to have a FD event. Also thanks to Ralph's YL Pam for her generous, gracious hospitality as well.

David VA7DRS - event organizer, safety officer and many many other duties. David was instrumental in making this event as big a success as it was. Without volunteers like David stepping up to lead, events like this simply would not happen. Big kudos for David's contributions pre, during and post event.

Mike VE7KPZ - general fixer for so many little things to make the event as good as it was.

Simon VE7RIZ, Howard VA7PWF, Mike VA7XDM, Mike VE7KPZ - photograph contributors.

Everyone else who contributed to the success of this event. There are too many to name here.

Everyone who attended and visited. It was nice to see so many faces, even if some just for a short time.