It’s the end of June and that means ARRL Field Day 2015. Squidette (VA3CEW) and I deployed to the Outlet Beach (FN13jv, right beside Sandbanks Provincial Park) to operate a Field Day station as VE3EEE.
We went out with the standard VE3EEE portable pack:
Cold and miserable with drizzle for basically the entire time. That was not fun at all. Nevertheless, we did have shelter, so it wasn’t the end of the world.
There were geomagnetic storms earlier in the week, but they had pretty much abated. K-index bounced between 1 and 3. 15m down to 80m seemed to be open. I listened on 10 and didn’t hear anything, so I didn’t bother with 6m.
We made 72 contacts between 40m, 20m, and 15m, almost all digital although we threw in a few CW and Phone contacts just for good measure.
We also took the time to drive across the county to visit the Quinte ARC Field Day site in Ameliasburg. It was rainy and miserable there too, but they had a great setup with 4 radios going!
As noted in the previous post, I have a Yaesu VX-8R now and I thought I’d post some of my impressions in my standard review format…
This radio is top-notch in a number of areas:
The GPS unit works well, even from inside my house. It has a nice little display that gives all your position info.
These are really snivels. There’s only one real issue with this radio as noted in the next section.
I have only one major complaint about this radio, and that it uses a complicated menu system. The main menu has something like 100 items. So many of the features of this radio are accessed from the menu, that there is a very steep learning curve. Sure, the basic functionality is straightforward, but if all you wanted was a couple of VFOs for talking, you would buy a much less expensive radio. I am certain that another row of front-panel keys could have reduced the menu complexity a bit and not added significantly to the size and weight of the radio. Even simple features like squelch are in the menu system, making them hard to use.
Whatever you do… DO NOT LOSE THE MANUAL! I guarantee you’ll need the manual often.
I am very pleased so far. I have some accessories on order (speaker-mic, GPS antenna). I may explore the Bluetooth board, although I am not convinced I want to use a bluetooth headset – mostly because I usually have such a headset for my telephone and don’t think I need two headsets on at the same time. I will be seeking that AA cell battery pack. That’s a must-have in my book.
The stock battery seems to have a lifetime of about 3 hours while using high power to talk on a repeater AND transmit an APRS beacon every two minutes. I haven’t decided if that is good, bad, or ugly. For most of my use, I don’t expect to use high power, so I would expect to get more battery life.