Man in backpack preparing to ascend mountain with a beaconing radio tower atop.


Winter Field Day 2021 Success Report

Report on W0MOC's Winter Field Day 2021 Experiences.

Updated: February 04, 2021

A rain-soaked field with 3 large hot-tents, various antennas and a pond in the background

On January 29, 2021, members of the Missouri Outdoor Club - WØMOC - descended on the Warren County countryside to establish camp for a weekend of emergency communications practice, and contesting.

We got shelter up just in time to weather a more than 24-hour storm which included cold temperature, a 1.5” recorded rainfall, and high winds. Our members brought to the table a plethora of skills related to camping, amateur radio, and outdoorsmanship.

The Missouri Outdoor Club was formed to give a home for our mixed hobbies - the great outdoors and amateur radio. As such, Winter Field Day made the perfect inaugural event, and we cannot stress enough what a resounding success it was for us.

Our club operated 2 Oscar, which means 2 stations running outdoors. We operated from a surplus military tent which was kept warm by a central wood burning stove. Two other tents adorned the property as well, a traditional canvas wall tent and a modern outfitter which served as kitchen and bunkhouses.

Saturday morning, we got to setting up our antennas. Our main antenna would be a 500 plus foot horizontal loop antenna, which was designed and built by a member of the club. This antenna worked on 160-6 meter bands and worked phenomenally, beyond anyone’s expectations. Our second station antenna was a multi band DX-Commander vertical which operated 80-10 meter bands. Lastly, an NVIS antenna offered support on multiple bands when needed - also member designed and built.

As soon as time hit, we pounced on the airwaves. Our location, and amazing antennas, made for a louder, busier Winter Field Day than any of us had ever experienced. By the time we were done we had made 700 contacts over phone, CW, and digital modes. Due to our groups love of EmComm, we chose to stick with PSK31, which is capable of carrying full conversations.

Hard work makes for empty bellies. Saturday afternoon our host treated us to grilled venison and pork steaks. Saturday night, members feasted on a large pot of venison chili to sate our small radio army. Those of us not on the radio at first enjoyed great fellowship around the wood burning stove as we enjoyed our daily bread - corn bread to be exact.

Saturday night was our second night in camp. The rain doubled down, the temperature dropped, and the wind made a fuss of our antennas. During the middle of the night our large loop antenna partly fell. Lucky for us, the NVIS was able to take up the slack until a morning repair.

Despite the abysmal weather, we had dry (relatively) tents, plenty wood for the stoves, and warm sleeping bags. Great sleep was had by all, except those working the airs. Morning naps would be their reward.

Not all of our members are amateur radio operators. Some came to join in the fellowship, and even offer support through camp set up, camp maintenance, and even meals. Sunday morning found us devouring breakfast burritos, a yearly staple for those of us who have done Winter Field Day in the past together under a different banner.

But alas, all good things come to an end, at last. Sunday afternoon found us scrambling to get in some last contacts. After that, and some high fives, we started the long process of tearing down camp.

We learned lessons, we improved our craft, but most of all we are now more than stoked for next year which is, well, a year away. While that makes us sad, it also invigorates us for our next adventure as the Missouri Outdoor Club.