I joined up with my friends Jason (KF4VDX), Tom (KE4WFJ) and Dwight (KI4RRI) and we convoyed up to their site called "Shorty's Lake".
We got there around 11PM as we had watched a fireworks show from Maryville's "Freedom Fest" over at Jason's. We checked out SMARC's new trailer where they had 2 CW stations running.
Two other campers had a 6m station and the voice HF station. They apparently had some issues earlier in the day, with a generator and an HF rig dying, and a thunderstorm shutting down ops for about an hour and the winds knocked over a couple of antennas. By the time we arrived it was clear skies and cool temps.
After grabbing some leftover burgers and hot dogs, we checked out the HF station in David, KE4FGW's camper. It seemed there weren't that many contacts being made on 40m and when I got in there, I found they were using an FT-100D Yaesu, same as my radio at home.
I quickly found two things wrong. One is that the station was operating at a 24 watt maximum, and the second was that the SWR indicator was coming on intermittently.
We attached a tuner and things weren't that much better. I couldn't land on a frequency to be the "fox", and ended up being the "hound" for much of my remaining time there. Many contacts were having to ask for our callsign (W4OLB) and/or our report (4A TN), or they'd just give up and move on to another, more louder station.
I wasn't as successful as I had hoped, but Field Day is like that. You adapt, improvise, and (occasionally) overcome the obstacles.
I took a membership application and will probably join. I doubt I'll be very active, like I was with other clubs in the area. It seems my track record is not very good with clubs for some reason. With the RACK club it was just a butting of heads against the "establishment". With METERS it was an objection to the inevitable requirements being lain by the ARRL to require hams in Tennessee to take mandatory EmComm training (something I am fiercely opposed to because of the fact they want volunteers to pay to volunteer their time, but I'll save that for later), and with a couple of others it was personal conflicts.
So naturally I'm a little wary about joining. I don't want to get caught up in politics or personal conflicts or anything that'sgoing to end up alienating any more friends. If I do join as a member, I will not be very active if at all, except to participate in Field Day.
Then again, I said that about the other clubs I joined.