Volunteers Providing Emergency Communications for Multnomah County, Oregon

MultCoARES Field Day

For those unfamiliar with Field Day, the ARRL explains:

Every June, more than 40,000 hams throughout North America set up temporary transmitting stations in public places to demonstrate ham radio’s science, skill and service to our communities and our nation. It combines public service, emergency preparedness, community outreach, and technical skills all in a single event. Field Day has been an annual event since 1933, and remains the most popular event in ham radio.

This outing is the largest event for radio groups interested in field operations. This will be the first year that Multnomah ARES will be operating independently for this event. It’s a big deal for us, as it is pretty rare that we operate and perform outreach over an entire weekend. I will attempt to outline the broad plan here, especially for those who have not operated during Field Day before.

Multnomah ARES has extended an invitation to the Portland NET AROs to operate with us for this event. We will be operating from Saturday Morning on June 23 until Sunday Morning, June 24.  We will need to loft the antennas and set up the stations before the operating commences. I plan on performing these actions on Saturday; no pre-staging on Friday will occur.

We will be operating from the picnic shelter at Willamette Park (off Macadam Ave). Our operating location was chosen for the large amount of foot traffic – the main goal of Field Day is outreach! I have tested Willamette Park for RF noise and skywave propagation (sufficient topographic clearance for takeoff angles). I was able to get contacts in Texas, Arizona, the East Coast, and Japan from this site, so I’m sure that our radio operations will be successful.

We will be operating two stations for points, a GOTA station, and potentially a VHF station during the event. Setup will be interesting, and require some forethought. We are not allowed to sink stakes in this location, the area is somewhat cramped for large antennas, and the parking near the picnic shelter is metered and limited. That said, there is permanent plumbing, shore power, tons of passers-by and a beautiful view of the river. We’ll work through the difficulties and leverage the positives of the park.

We will have a lot of work to do to make this event a success, but we have a ton of awesome and motivated folks in our radio unit. The leadership team will be reaching out for assistance, but many hands will make light work. Stay tuned for updates, and I hope to see everyone on June 23!