This is some of my Field Day story. What is yours? Anyone else who participated in Field Day is welcome to post about their efforts to this web site.

I have always enjoyed Field Day since my introduction to the ARRL sponsored annual event as a new amateur in 1994.

To adapt CAARC’s 2020 Field Day efforts to today’s COVID reality, as CAARC appointed Field Day leaders, Paul VA6MPM and I decided to encourage participation from individual stations this year rather than gathering in a big group to set up and operate a Class A station. This resulted in amateurs participating from their regular home stations, either using commercial power or using emergency batteries or generators, or participating in portable stations of 1 or 2 participants (Class B).

Here is the story of my setting up my 2020 Field Day Station.

Partly because of my family’s frequent moves, I do not have a permanent outside amateur radio antenna infrastructure.My wife, Betty, encouraged me to find a quieter generator. We researched generator noise, and purchased one that is renowned for its quietness. As a bonus, I am able to lift and carry this machine and lift it in and out of a truck box or a vehicle.

I composed a small letter about the prospect of generator noise on Field Day weekend and used Google translate to put it into Chinese characters for one of my next door neighbours., I got the son-in-law to ask him about its politeness. He delivered the letter for me.

A portion of my letter to my neighbour


I found that my 1970x vintage Kenwood TS-520 was deaf on at least 2 bands. So, I started working with my 1990s vintage TS-50, which has a digital display I communicated with Doug, VE5DCP, who I knew was a TS-50 user. One of the things he told me was that if the memory battery went bad, the display would freeze showing 14,000 kHz.

On June 3rd I observed an online Workshop organized by IARU – Region 2 with the topic “Field Day in Social Distancing (ENG)” about participating in Field Day during this trying pandemic. I found out that it is intended that Class B stations be located at an inconvenient distance from the comforts of home; refrigerator, stove, bed, bathroom. Since I was setting up in my urban yard, I decided that I would operate Class E, home station powered by emergency power. Nevertheless, I tried to set up my station much as if it were a portable station. Since there are no time constraints for building a home station I started setting up in the week before Field Day. The power would be from my newly acquired generator and my truck battery and a small gel cell for my handheld radio.

I assembled the 5 ½ foot and 2 ½ foot sections of 2×3’s in my portable radio assortment into 2 22-ft. masts with pulley hardware roped to the top. I used some lag screws that were left over from our deck rebuilding project.

Betty objected to my digging holes in her lawn for the base of my masts, then helped me zip tie them to posts in our fence, one in a fence corner and one by the corner of my detached garage. Fortunately, I had run ropes through the topside pulleys first.

The mast made of spliced 2x3s is zip-tied to the fence but it leans a bit..

I cut the full size 80-meter dipole in my portable radio assortment up to make a “shortened” dipole that would fit between my masts, and with an offset feed so as I could avoid tramping in our flower garden. I found a ceramic insulator that would serve as a centre insulator for a dipole.

As I touched the coax connector to the input connector or my TS-50I could hear signals! The first HF signals that I have received with an antenna that I entirely built by myself! But, when I tightened up the connector, the signals disappeared! I lowered the antenna and found that the centre conductor was not soldered to the long side of the dipole. Apparently, soldering heat had not been enough to make the coating on the antenna wire go away. I scraped it with a knife, and re-soldered it. Then, I heard signals!

I tightened the connector and couldn’t hear signals any more!

Garry VE6CIA told me, “You didn’t solder it together!”


I tried connecting in my 30-amp switching power supply that I had bought from Hong Kong in 2015. I could hear noise when I was using this power supply which was not there when powering the radio from my truck battery. I bought a 20-25 amp supply available from an estate sale from Garry VE6CIA. I then arranged terminations and Anderson Powerpole connections for my new power leads for my TS-50. It worked and reception was quieter than with the switching supply!

I found a sheltered place for my generator to operate under an outside garden potting table to protect it from any potential foul weather which could affect its control and outlet end. I draped the table with a couple of plastic tarpaulins to further protect it. This table was around the corner of my garage from the man door and this side of my garage has no openings. This location also muffled the generator noise from all my neighbours.

After some testing of the receive function, I could no longer change the frequency on the radio and it was reading very close to 14,000 kHz. I started sweating about the memory battery. I started setting up my TS-520 and was getting out my MFJ-941E Versa Tuner which would have to be tuned manually. But I also quickly sent a photo to Doug VE5DCP, who pointed out that the Frequency Lock button had been inadvertently been pushed. Back to the TS-50!

Oh, oh! Is this the memory battery? No only an accidental Frequency Lock


I had intended to lift my home-made drooping radial 2-meter antenna to the top of one of the masts, I had installed a pulley and a rope, but I found that one of my transmission cables that I had intended to use was defective. I jury-rigged a way to mount this antenna on the frame of my garage door opener. I then set my Yaesu FT-60R handheld atop a tote in my truck box and my little gel cell. That was the VHF and potential UHF part of my station.

It cost me $12.70 Cdn to register N3FJP’s ARRL Field Day Contest Log is set up. It would have the capability to log 30 contacts before registration, but I hoped that I would need the capability.

I was set up in time to receive Friday evenings Field Day Bulletin in CW.

Well, this has been too long already. My operation to gain Field Day points is a story for an upcoming posting.


October 26, 2020