According to Wikipedia, "Since the first ARRL Field Day in 1933,
radio amateurs throughout North America have practiced the rapid
deployment of radio communications equipment in environments ranging
from operations under tents in remote areas to operations inside
Emergency Operations Centers(EOCs). Operations using emergency and
alternative power sources are highly encouraged, since electricity
and other public infrastructures are often among the first to fail
during a natural disaster or severe weather." Field Day has a proud
history in the annals of Amateur Radio! Seven members of the Ma-coupin
County ARC, K9MCE provided Field Day communications at the Illinois
Emergency Management Auxiliary Communications building in
Springfield using the call sign NC9IL. Jim N9LQF, Mark, WD9HBF,
Bill, W9FJ, Skip, WS9V, Ron, KO0Z, Tom, KC9WOH and Jared, KC9ZMD.
Jared supervised the GOTA station and brought a couple of young
visitors to Field Day!
Field Day offers Amateur Radio operators the opportunity to test
their equipment and skills under field conditions. When Murphy
strikes, ham radio ingenuity needs to prevail. Jim, N9LQF, embodies
that attitude best with his quote, "Assess, overcome and prevail!"
FD certainly provides plenty of opportunities to assess,
over-come and prevail, ranging from RF connectors, coax, antennas to
regulating the proper flame for a gourmet dinner!
To make FD even more exciting, the FB ops with the Okaw Valley
ARC, AD9OV, initiated a FD challenge to K9MCE. Last year they edged
out K9MCE! The traveling trophy didnít need to travel far from
Instead, club president Mark Kerhlikar, WD9HBF presented the
trophy to Okaw Valley ARC president Ken Norris, KK9N at their
Christmas banquet. It would be impossible to find a more generous
and sportsman like group of win-ners! AD9OV club members could not
have been more gracious. Never has losing a challenge been such a
Still a loss, is a loss and this year it is K9MCEís hope to
extend the same hospitality shown to us, the difference being to
Both clubs enjoyed air-conditioning. Okaw Valley ARC operated
from an air-conditioned building in Patriotís Park in Greenville and
put wire antennas high up in the air. They also effectively arranged
their operating stations much like K9CTís contest farm. FB AD9OV!
K9MCE operated in Springfield and the small room at the Aux Com
building does not lend itself well to contesting. The K3 rigs were
top of the line, but lack of familiarity with the antenna
arrangement on the roof hindered our efforts for maximum band
efficiency. We made due by moving one of the stations outside, but
locating it indoors down the hall would be another alternative.
Both teams ate well. AD9OV had "Pig Wings" and K9MCE dined on BBQ
hamburgers, chicken and pork courtesy of chef extraordinaire WD9HBF!
Okay, now on to the really important information. How well did
Team K9MCE/NC9IL do this year?
The really important part of FD , and contesting in general, is
not to only have fun, but to learn from the experience. What did we,
as a team, do well and what can we do better? Team K9MCE has been
doing just that . Past stats tell the story: In 2013, at Blackburn
Collegeís soccer field, the club used computer logging software.
K9MCE had 366 contacts. 179 CW Qs and 187 phone Qs. In 2014 at Camp
Bunn, our club made 548 contacts, 262 CW and 286 phone. This year,
in Springfield, the club made
674 contacts, 328 CW and 346 phone. Every year, Team
K9MCE has made significant improvements. Mostly, in the area of
generating contacts. This year we made a valiant effort to work 6
and 2 meters, but VHF propagation just wasnít to be found. But at
least we tried. This year three, dedicated efforts were made to work
SO-50 ( a club first!), but a two-way QSO didnít happen. This year
we did get a message off to our section manager using the NTS thanks
to Jim, N9LQF.
We did make an effort to con-tact as many elected officials as we
could. Our primary elected official didnít make it again this year;
however, thanks to Mark and Ron, a road commissioner and a state
legislator visited our FD site and they learned more about Amateur
Radio and emergency communications! A big shout out to Commissioner
David Beck and to State Representative Avery Bourne! Too bad, the
ARRL doesnít award more points for an elected officialís position in
So whatís the bottom line for K9MCE/NC9IL? We have a claimed
score of 2008 pts and 890
total bonus points. Will we be hosting AD9OV? Weíll have
to wait until the official ARRL posting this fall. Stay tuned!