Bedwell Bayfront Park, Menlo Park
22, 23 June 2024

Building on last years successful return to Bedwell Bayfront Park in Menlo Park, PAARA will be once again holding its annual Field Day exercise at the park.  This year, Field Day is on June 22nd and 23rd.

We will be entering in Class 2A again this year. That means 2 HF transmitters, hopefully running 500 watts each, under new rules established last year. Like last year, neither station will be dedicated to a particular operating mode, but its very likely that one will operate primarily CW and the other phone.

We have always had a BIG signal, thanks to our excellent operating location on Radio Ridge with sloping terrain leading down to the western edge of the bay, giving us the additional boost of the Salt Water Amp effect. The 500 watt power limit proved interesting, but had to be dialed back to prevent inter-station interferrence.  The amps we borrowed last year are not certain to be available, so how much power well be cranking out remains to be seen.

Well also have our usual excellent GOTA station where we can get folks on the air who may not have any HF experience or even a license. Our terrific GOTA Captain, Christopher, AI6KG is planning to be there to coach operators without HF experience. If you or anyone you know might be interested in helping out at GOTA by coaching our inexperienced operators, please let me know.

Set up starts this year on Friday morning around 9:00 in the back corner of the park where we have traditionally established operations, with assembly of antennas, and getting them in the air.

We will be erecting 2 full-sized beam antennas again this year, our 6-element KT-36XA tribander, which will be shared by both stations through Kristens Hi-power triplexer and filter setup. Thank you Kristen!

The tribander goes up on one of our AB-621 military masts, and the BIG 40 meter mono-bander will be on the tower trailer as always. Well have an 80 Meter Dipole up for nighttime operations. Getting those up safely requires many hands, so please come out to help.

In addition to getting antennas up, we will need to run network cables, feed lines and power cables to the stations, both of which will be along the ridge where we have usually set up our two A stations in U-Haul box trucks.

Well also set up the food and socializing area in the usual place at the fork of the road leading to the ridge. That entails setting up the big red canopy, anchoring it against the wind and dragging tables and chairs out of the box trailer and getting them set up.

And of course, at the end of the event on Sunday morning, we have to take it all down, pack it up and take it all off the Park. Many hands make light work of all of this, so please bring yours out to join the effort.

As we did last year, we will start on Friday morning at 9:00 AM and work until we run out of daylight or things to do. Saturday morning starts at 9:00 again, making sure we have all the details handled and stations set up and tested. Operations begin at 11:00 and run for the next 24 hours straight.

We strive to keep both of our primary stations on the air for the entire 24 hours, so please pick a time slot and sign up to operate. Sign-up sheets for operating positions and times are again available on-line at

As I write, there are NO signups. Lets see if we cant fill all of our open slots well in advance of the event. This is an opportunity to work the biggest operating event of the year from superb stations in an excellent location. Dont miss your chance to participate.

Following the basic PAARA rule, You work, we feed, food service will consist of the usual make-it-yourself sandwich lunch on Friday and Saturday, as well as hot soup and hot dogs for Saturday night dinner for the troops. Thank you Rob for feeding us so well.

For questions, or to volunteer to help, please contact me, Doug, KG6LWE by e-mail at

Please join us at the park for another fabulous PAARA Field Day event.


Field Day
By Jack Daane, KR6CD
Field day is an emergency communication exercise. Each year, during the last full weekend in June, amateur radio operators presume there has been a major disruption to electric power and commercial communication systems. The power is off, there is no local phone service, no long distance, no cell phone, no internet service, even some of the government radio systems have been knocked out. In response, amateurs assemble two-way radio stations operating on emergency power to transmit messages over the amateur bands.

In a real emergency, radio amateurs would send messages, telegram style, for public officials over these stations. For example, the mayor might write a message to send to the governor, hand it to the radio amateurs who would then relay the message, station by station, to the state capital and deliver it. Similarly, the reply from the governor would be relayed back to the mayor.

That’s the idea behind field day, practice setting up a radio station on short notice and operate it on emergency power. Many amateur clubs such as PAARA take part.

Interested in participating? Well, there are three major activities to work on: moving and setup of the equipment on Friday, operating Saturday and Sunday, and then disassembly on Sunday. Everybody is welcome to join in.

First comes assembling the PAARA station on Friday. The electric generators, radios, towers, antennas, and shelters must be brought to the field day site and put together into working radio stations. This gives you a great hands-on opportunity to work with a variety of equipment. You’ll be piecing towers together, mounting antennas and rotators on them, threading transmission lines on them, and then hoisting them skyward. Down on the ground, there are power supplies and two-way radios to hook up. The generator has to be cabled to the radio equipment. You’ll see equipment you’ll never find in a radio store, and you actually get to use it, not just look at it.

Next comes operating the stations, starting on Saturday. There probably won’t be an actual disruption to commercial communication systems during field day, so instead of relaying telegrams for public officials, amateurs cont act one another to determine the range of each station.

Operators generally work in pairs at each radio. One person operates, the other logs contacts. The operator calls “CQ field day, CQ field day”, and gives the station’s call sign, W6OTX. When a distant operator responds to the call, the logger records the call sign and location of the far station. It is very similar to typical ham radio contesting, and clubs compete to see who gets the most points by contacting the most stations. This goes on for 24 hours straight, but obviously operators work in shifts of a few hours at a time.

During field day there are stations in the U.S., Canada, and many other countries participating on most of the amateur bands, including HF, VHF, UHF, and satellite. Most of the operating modes are used as well, such as CW, voice, packet, FAX, and even TV. Field day is a great opportunity to try a mode that you might not have at your own station.

PAARA typically has a CW and a SSB station on HF plus a station on VHF. Other bands and modes might also be used depending upon what the club members choose to do during field day.

Since a logger can serve as the control operator, you can be the radio operator and use modes that your own license class does not permit. For example, during field day, Technician class licensees can use voice or CW on the HF bands.

After the official field day operating period ends on Sunday, all that equipment has to come back down and go into storage for the next field day, or maybe a true communication emergency.

There is still work to do after field day weekend has past. The contact lists must be submitted to the ARRL for compilation. In addition, the field day planners get together to analyze the contact data to see where each station could reach, where it didn’t reach, and to revise the plan for the next field day in order to maximize the radio coverage area.

Field day is a lot of fun, a great way to work with a team of amateur radio operators, and try out the biggest variety of equipment you’ll probably ever see in one location.

Copyright © 2019-2022   Hosted by   Webmaster: KA6Q