Field Days Past – KE7X

FROM KE7X, Fred:

In 1988 I gave a club program about field day.  I just found my notes.


1st notice of a Field Day was in 1933 QST.  The winner was W4PAW in Florida with 68 contacts in 28 sections and countries.  Six operators and 27 hours or operation.   In those days if you were operating at a location other than your home, you had to notify the FRC (Federal Radio Commission) where and  when.  The London Ontario club drove a 1200 volt generator with a 2-cyclinder gas engine.  (Yes 1200 volts to give the high voltage for the plates of their transmitters).)


In 1934 was the first mention of emergency communications preparedness with an emphasis on development of equipment suitable for operation independent of the mains.  Scoring gave more points for receivers and transmitters independent of the mains.  Highest scoring station was W6DIS, 58 QSOs with 20 operators.


This is about the year of my first Field Day.  13,488 hams participated.  W7HZ with 3,390 QSOs, 79 people and 10 stations came out on top.

Comments from 1960 December QST:

“After trying in vain for five hours to work somebody, one of the operators noticed the antenna connected to the speaker terminals.”

“Our generator caught fire at 3 a.m. …Advise that genereators should be placed away from the main camp…”

“Had QRM from a local frog in the lake.”

“Our only unusual incident was the necessity of running our 80-meeter transmitter upside down.  We did not operate standing on our heads, but maybe this would have helped.”

“Good conditions all the way around.  The only problem we had was that a cow in the barn in which we were operating kept mooing and tripping the VOX on the Collins.”

“Things were going great until the generator gave us a present of 150 volts and blew out three transmitters and a receiver.  But that didn’t stsop us.  It wasn’t until our bread supply ran out that we quit.”

“Except for almost freezing to death we had a good time,”

“The moths ate the clothes off our backs.  About 0400 they were done.”

“Best FD weather we ever had.  Threat of a tornado Friday, threat of rain on Saturday, and threat of sun-stroke on Sunday.  Fortunately none of these developed.”

“Had one six-meter beam taken down the easy way when the blade of a windmill decided to turn.”

“The element cooperated to make our FD a very realistic emergency test.  …Seventeen inches of rain fell at our FD site in 30 hours.”

“Darned generator used 47 gallons of gas, practically depleting our treasury.”  (Gas was probably 25 cents per gallon!)

“The club this year found a fine spot in northeast Philadelphia on the grounds of a state mental hospital.  Several XYLs thought it was a fitting place for FD week end.”


“We had one fellow try to make coffee with white gas.”

“Out 15-kw generator performed like a precision machine, gulping down more than 50 gallons of gas.”

“One operator went around pulling up weeds to make room for his chair and table.  Found out later it was poison sumac.”

I’m pretty sure most of these comments can be made each year!

Field Day is a gas.  See you next year?


Fred  KE7X