So with my new antenna up and my WAS count at 49, I thought I’d try to do field day a bit. My goal was to get 100 qsos under my own call, work Hawaii, and also operate a bit with a club. I did the third thing.
As K1RKX(1D), I made 24 qsos, all ssb, but I could have done much more had I actually spent time operating. I did not even hear Hawaii on any bands. This is strange, because I appear to have a blank spot on my spots anywhere north of VK/ZL and west of CA, but still can hear Alaska. I used the Kenwood TS-530s and doublet, I still don’t have a portable HF rig yet.
I did go and operate at the Fair Lawn Amateur Radio Club(W2NPT, 4A) for a few hours. I made around 30-40 ssb qsos on the 15M band.
I did however get a chance to use many different radios: an IC-706mkiig, an FT-847, an IC-7300, and a Flex 6500. The IC-706mkiig has a good receiver and is much smaller and lighter than I expected, but has very few controls and is very confusing. The FT-847 is a nice radio with a great receiver and an intuitive interface, but had some problems running on batteries/solar. I only had a couple of minutes on the IC-7300, but the IF DSP is great, and so is the touchscreen interface. The Flex, predictably, is the best of the four. Being an SDR, it needs a computer and is therefore not great as a portable radio, so it was running on a generator. The receive quality is very good, and can be even better if you play around more with the software. I could hear weak signals much better on the same bands with it compared to the other three.
Next year I plan to operate for 24 hrs straight, and portable, maybe even on solar. I’d like to have an FT-817 by then or some other portable rig.