I was very excited to see the first episode of the field Radio podcast on YouTube. If you don’t know about it yet, please watch and subscribe, since I think ultimately it’s going to be a great show. The field Radio podcast is a spin-off from the HamRadio360 Podcast, which most of you already know, is very close to the channel.
Now before you get to the video, I’m going to point out a few things that are quite astonishing to me. When I think of field day, I think of being off grid, I think of having a minimal configuration, and the last thing I want to do is replicate my fixed station in the field. That doesn’t necessarily mean a low power station, it just means that all the Creature Comforts one might enjoy in the ham Shack, are left there where they belong.
My rules for field day are like this.
- If I’m operating “man portable” during field day, usually from a tent, I limit myself to a maximum Communications gear loadout weight of 10 kg. This includes qrp radio, computer, max 40w solar panels, 10Ah battery, antenna and cabling. All this gear has to remain functional for 24 hours.
- If I’m operating as a “field station” during field day, I also apply a weight limitation for comms gear of 20kg. That 20kg includes qro radio (+20w), computer, max 60w solar panels, 2x 10Ah batteries or a single 20ah battery, antenna, lighting and cabling. Once again all of this gear needs to remain functional for 24 hours without grid power.
The weight limitation is actually a great way to find the ideal minimal configuration for field day. One of the big mistakes that operators usually make is thinking more batteries, more solar panels, more generators, when the problem in the first place, is actually an inefficient equipment configuration. Thankfully Operators usually and quickly find out that replicating a fixed station (like home) in the field, is not a sustainable configuration for field day. In fact it’s simply too power hungry to approach it that way. The computers for logging software, inverters for laptops and things like that, are all just a waste of energy in the field. The great thing is we learn from the experiences.