To mark the end of the semester, we decided to organize a field trip with some good old antenna rigging and barbecue on Saturday 8th of June. Our members have been busy with exams lately and many will soon go on summer holiday, so we thought it’d be nice to gather one last time before the summer.
The trip had two purposes: First and foremost to gather our members outside of the settings in which we normally meet, and secondly to rehearse setting up our Spiderbeam 20/15/10m antenna prior to Field Day 2019.
We started preparing the antenna parts and tools we would need the night before, so the next day it was mainly a matter of packing it on a flatbed trolley before leaving for Kristiansten Fortress where there is a fairly large recreational park. We started around 3pm, and the walk there took about 30 minutes including a stop at a grocery store to buy some stuff for the barbecue.
Once at the park, we found a nice spot in the shadow of some trees with a large open area suitable for the antenna and the guy-ropes. We started unpacking, setting up the antenna and firing up the barbecue while waiting for more members to join us.
As expected, it was a smart move to bring along the manual for the antenna, as it consists of many parts which are easily mixed up if not careful. It took us approximately 2 hours to fully set up the antenna, because none of the attendees had much experience with it. But the good news is that, according to people more familiar with it, it can take as little as 30 minutes with some experience. Getting the radio running was easy and took less than 10 minutes.
After the top part and the antenna base was assembled and joined, we realized we had forgotten to connect the coax to the balun. Fortunately our mountain goat LA2QUA was quick to climb up the pole to connect it and everything went well. Afterwards it was just a matter of extending the pole and making sure it didn’t fall over before it was secured to some king-size tent poles with guy-ropes.
At this point, we all went back to the barbecue and tried to get some QSO’s. Unfortunately though, the conditions on 20m and above were terrible and we didn’t get any contacts this time. Nevertheless, we gained some valuable experience on the Spiderbeam which will no doubt come in handy on Field Day.
When everybody had gotten something to eat and relaxed a bit, it was time for the Fox Hunt. We were two teams with a Yagi-Uda antenna and handheld radio each. Both teams got close, but the last part proved to be exceptionally difficult, as the fox was hidden in a slope of tall grass. In the end even LB1HH who had hidden the fox had to step in and help, and the fox was retrieved at last.
Around 7pm we started packing up and head back to our shack at the Student Society in Trondheim.