My enjoyment of FD has been the assembling of the equipment, setting up the station, working out the bugs and being with my friends. If I have the opportunity to operate fine, if not that's OK also. Not all members enjoy the same aspects of FD and that is fine. What if we all enjoyed the same thing, what a dull world. Some members want to just operate, others visit, others arrange publicity, others put up antennas and some just like the comradeship. Whatever the interest, like the hobby of ham radio, there are enough interests to go around. For years we were content with the simpler things like wire antennas and not busting our bodies to put up the best station. We had fun and my anticipation level was fulfilled and I could make it to another year without taking antidepressants. Then we became more ambitious and sophisticated and came along with beams, towers, and working hours to get it all together. That was fun too and the satisfaction was greater because we were putting up some very good stations. This satisfied the competitive nature of most of us. We could make the good scores and look good to ourselves, and have a better than average score published in QST.. My attitude at that time was, if we are going to go to the trouble of putting up an elaborate station, then let's go for the big score. Let's be competitive.
I am about to yell “uncle”. Enough already. As John, W5ATW, said, “That was brutal” Some of us worked until 5:00 PM taking down and storing the equipment (actually many more hours storing). The heat was extremely oppressive and dangerous. We had four members who had to leave early due to heat related illness. At one point I became dizzy, saw spots, was weak and nauseated. I soaked down in some ice water, got in the shade and recovered and kept going. Looking back, I probably should have left. When I related this to my wife she had two words, “you're stupid!!” I was expecting sympathy! My friends were not much better off. All of us were uncomfortable. I am at a quandary, because if my friends do it all over again next year, I will be out there with them, if the body holds together. Also, we had one tower get away from us as we were taking it down. Just a few bruises and one beam pretty well beat up, but nothing serious. We were lucky.
What about making it easier and simpler. Field Day is supposed to be a rehearsal for an emergency. Couldn't we pass traffic with less stuff in the air? Could we have as much fun? Would it be safer?
What about going back to simple wire antennas and/or verticals? We could put all the stations together in 2 or 3 hours and take down in one hour and not beat ourselves to death.
Don't get me wrong. I like making points, having the beams up, and looking good in QST. But, I am ready to scale it back. What do you think? This should be a decision made by the club and all members commit to it. I would hope that no one quits or not participate because it is not being done the way they want. All of us do it together. Let's just reexamine our priorities before one of us gets hurt or really ill. I for one vote to scale back, but I am only one vote.
Food for thought.
73 gl and good hamming. de Charles W5JE