Yesterday being the National Field Day - NFD for 2010 in VK (Australia), I spent with the Adelaide Hills Amateur Radio Society.
AHARS setup a tent at the Eden Hills Primary School Strawberry Fair.
A number of contacts was made on HF and 2meters and 70centimeter. Some contacts were made through the cross band repeater on the project horus ballon, launched to coincide with the NFD.
I spoke to about a dozen people across the day and handed out pamphlets. That doesn't sound like many people, but there were at least six club members there across the day, who each spoke to members of the public across the day about Amateur Radio and the club activities.
There were a couple of themes across the day for me. The main one was the grey nomads, who use the travelers nets to update their location and journey progress with their net controllers, mainy for safety, directions and recommended stop overs. Folks who use UHF CB and or the four wheel drive net VKS737 already. It was interesting to see them explore the options that Amateur Radio could give them. Even if it was only a couple of more bands to listen to the various travelers nets and listening to the reports coming in about traffic congestion, etc. Its not something that I've really put a lot of thought into, but certainly created an awareness for me about how folks outside of amateur radio use radio and why.
Secondly was the HF verticals and how to set them up with automatic tuners, especially across multiple bands. I believe the original squid pole article was from VK3JJ in AR, but I will have check that. A few of the AHARS club members present had built up the JJ antenna and all spoke about issues with tuning and assumptions with measurements and materials. There is certainly a lot of room for experimentation and of course careful measurement - a topic that comes up so frequently, which of course lead on to the third theme for me... upgrading my license.
I spoke to several folks about upgrading my license, the study involved and stratagems for learning. All duly noted. I will be pulling my finger out over the summer break.
I bumped into a few old friends, picked up a few books and plants at the fair. Saw a new part of Adelaide that I hadn't seen before. Over all, even with a little sunburn, I enjoyed the day.