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Each year the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) sponsors the North America annual Field Day event which takes place on the last full weekend of June. This is the third year thatthe Kings County and Annapolis Valley Amateur Radio Clubs (KCARC and AVARC) have gathered at the Port Williams water tower on Collins Road to pool their people and resources to participate as 3 Alpha Maritime. Three refers to the number of stations set up, Voice, Morse Code, and Digital; Alpha because of their use of emergency power sources like generators and Maritime because that is the name of the ARRL section of which NS and NB are a part.
The annual Field Day (FD) is held to encourage clubs and individuals to practice and refine their radio skills should they be called upon to provide Emergency Communications in support of a National, Regional, or local emergency where regular communications means have been lost or disrupted. Local amateur radio operators provided radio support during the Swiss Air disaster.
Radio clubs and individuals were encouraged to establish radio communications outside of their normal operating locations, either at home or in an established club facility. This required them to set up various antennas and radio stations and by using non-commercial power (ie: generator, battery, solar or other means) to operate for a 24-hour period and contact some of the other 35,000 radio-amateurs throughout North America.
Club members arrived at the site on a rainy Friday to set up the antennas and the rest of the equipment for the three main stations which supported High Frequency (HF) voice (SSB) Morse code (CW) and various Digital (Dig) communications. They also set up a Very High Frequency (VHF) station, a station to support communications via a Satellite and a Get on the Air (GOTA) station.
Most of the twenty radio operators who participated throughout the weekend were from the immediate area. However, one operator, Amanda Christie (VE9OHM) drove here from Moncton, NB and another operator, Neil (GM8EUT) from Scotland, just happened to be in Wolfville house sitting, and cycled here to assist in finishing our setup on Saturday morning.
We welcomed several visitors to our site, including Ian (VE1HUM) from Valley Ground Search and Rescue, and Lewis Benedict, Chair of the Village Commission. They were shown the various station like the Morse code one shown here where I am making contact with another amateur radio operator somewhere in North America.
At the end of the event we compiled our information to see how many different stations from across North America and also from stations in Europe (England, France, Poland and others) were contacted. This was combined with the bonus points earned which we then compared with other 3A setups.
The team made: 3A QSO (SSB/voice: 382, CW/Morse code: 377 and Digital:103) 892 for a total of 2,774 points. Our GOTA station contacted 521 people, and we also earned 440 bonus points for a final total was 6,866 points for this event. Some of the ways that we earned bonus points were: having a public location, an information table and providing an educational activity.
Since the starting Field Day again in 2017, this has been our best result to date and a lot of the glory goes to two main operators in the GOTA tent, Jayden and Amanda VE9OHM (in the photo above with Jim Everett who is working on earning his basic certification) for making 521 contacts as during past Field Days we normally got 50 or so contacts. The GOTA station allowed visitors to the site to make a contact with other amateurs throughout North America and for new amateurs to refine their operating skills.
Bob Schofield, VE1RSM Field Day coordinator