Radio W4KAZ

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Field Day 2022 – W4KAZ 1B NC

Passed up a chance to operate at the Korn Krib Kontest Klub of N4GU for a pre-planned solo camp out.  Hit my favorite campsite again at Carolina Beach State Park.  I allowed for an optional POTA run at Fort Fischer, but lazy won out over ambition on that one.  Also used the chance to try out a new camping scheme with mixed success.

I landed on the campsite Thursday afternoon, but made a side trip to Kure Beach, then settled in for the evening.  Friday morning was used up sleeping late, making gas run, ice run, and brunch run.

The Antenna Adventure

Setting up the station, a K2, went quick enough.  The two antennas went up easily using the same masts I had used to test them with at home.  An EFHW for 40m/20m and a 10m/15m trap dipole.  FAST……as in too fast.   For some strange reason the EFHW is not tuning………hmmmmmmm.  MAYBE omitting the chokes at the feedpoint are the problem. duh-OH!

The antenna still required a bit of tweaking.   “Strange…it worked just fine at home…?”  I did waste about 75 minutes screwing around before figuring out the chokes were not installed.  After that mistake was resolved I tested out the 80m “variation” that uses the EFHW vertical as a qtr wave on 80m.  That is set up as a separate feed point that attaches to the EFHW via a jumper and a swap of coax.  With the EFHW working, the 80m variation was actually as trivial as it should have been.

Since band switching 80/40/20 required several manual adjustments, I made a cheat sheet/check list for the tired-and-groggy hours.

Field Day Summary

The weather overnight had been cool(for late June at NC coast), and I woke up feeling hopeful.  Never caught any decent propagation on either 10m or 15m, having ZERO qsos on 10m and only 26 on 15m.  80m was so slow I chose going to bed rather than stick it out.  With 20m staying open, the stronger stations stayed there longer.  Getting viable runs was difficult, outside of a good stretch on 40m abt 6pm, and a decent run Sunday late in the event.

The Dirty Truth
2022 FD w4kaz 1B nc score

2022 FD w4kaz 1B nc score

The Setup and Station

I ran the Elecraft K2 this year at 75 watts, expecting to put in more operating time overnight than during daylight and wanting to stretch the battery.  At some point I decided to power the radio from the main battery, and use a smaller backup battery for computer peripherals.  This seemed to cause no problems, and helped keep the voltage up on the radio.  In direct sun the solar panels provided about 9-10 amps continuous to an MPPT charger.  The panels only got direct sun for about 3 hours though and were only providing 4 amps or less for most of the daytime.  The battery finished up at about 75%, so the solar assist helped.

The base station setup for 2022 FD w/W4KAZ

The base station setup for 2022 FD w/W4KAZ


WX Saturday was fabulous for late June at Kure Beach, NC.  Cool breeze picked up right about 1800Z. Conditions seemed mixed, and activity seemed down.  Not enough persistence in getting a run going despite seeing decent spot numbers on RBN.  Operating was a lot of S&P and band hopping.  20m was open late and 80m action never seemed to pick up in the early evening.  Eventually pulled plug for the evening before midnight.

I decided to operate mostly CW to keep the noise down in the campground.  Not needed during daylight, but decided to respect quiet hours in park.  That plan was almost blown up by forgetting headphones.  So I used a pair of earbuds that usually ride shotgun with the computer.  I had a second set of buds, but audio was too low a level in those.  Could have made an emergency run to a local wally-mart, but decided to make do.


Got on the air again at 1000Z, and had one of my more consistent runs on 40m as the daytime crowd got back on the air.  Took a break after a couple of hours to scarf a hasty breakfast, then some more butt-on-bench.  The shack was a screen tent that was in full sun for the hours of 1530 to about 1700, so the battery fan helped a lot then.  Sunday WX was also good, but slightly warmer than Saturday.  The only decent 20m run spanned about 50 minutes during the last hours of the event.

Photo of screen tent shack and additional shade.

Photo of screen tent shack and additional shade.

The shack was back into full shade by the end of the event.  After a short break for a late lunch, the station was torn down and packed into a single tote, with some notes taken on items missing/needed.  Everything to be re-used for IOTA again at end of July.  Copies of log files made.  Then a leisurely dis-assembly of antennas and parts of camp.  I kept the screen tent up for packing on Monday morning.

The far side of camp - solar panels, base of 40m EFHW, and gear storage. Note stump, the gremlins got the tree that previously shaded this site.

The far side of camp – solar panels, base of 40m EFHW, and gear storage. Note stump, the gremlins got the tree that previously shaded this site over noon hours.


No major problems, injuries, issues.  Great weather, plenty of sleep, lots of cigar time, and a chance to relax. Always learn something, and this time learned a pack list is never good enough to catch everything.  And even with everything packed, finding it when needed is a problem.  Still hunting a set of earbuds that went MIA.

Notes: Compass, headphones/mic spares, !5v usb batt packs!,  USB adapters.  vehicle storage organizer.  Always double check assembly of complex system when rushing.  KAT100 troubleshooting required.

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