5 Basic Operating Tips for Winter Field Day

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by OH8STN, Jan 20, 2017.

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  1. OH8STN

    OH8STN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Most ham radio operators know Winter Field Day 2017 is just around the corner. So I thought to take a moment to share 5 tips for more effective winter field operations with your amateur comms gear.

    Lots of people might be wondering what's the point of such basic guidelines for winter operating. Well when I moved to 65N, I also assumed cold weather field communications was a no-brainer. That is until I nearly lost a few toes, with wrong ideas, and poor equipment. The thing about winter field ops is starts long before you ever get outdoors. The success or failure of your winter field day, already started at the time you were building or buying your gear. Considering what type of antenna to buy or build. Some considerations might be: How easy is it to deploy in cold weather, if you can't take off your gloves? Can you operate your radio with gloves on? Is it possible to untangle that counterpoise while wearing mittens? Can you operate your VHF/UHF radio while wearing gloves? Will the frequency display work in minus temperatures? These are all things we take for granted during fair weather operations.

    Successful winter operations starts long before you ever get cold.
    Just food for thought
    de OH8STN
    W0PV and KQ6XA like this.
  2. VE3DDL

    VE3DDL Ham Member QRZ Page

    yes your to go kit needs are two of them one for cloths to wear in layers socks and warm boots water proof. your tent trailer or camp spot hydro generator type of heat if any radio power supply and yes ant you have and easy set up because of less people out too help . the temps efect your hads and the radio itself the grounding and tent pegs .. we at shares in FN03 HALTON REGION OAKVILLE ONT have taken old house trailer and made it into very small ec trailer they will be in the parking lot of THE ECC office for winter firld day will all have to be set up from 8:00am too 2:00pm if winds snow and windchill are not to high will be on generator power so you must have them set up to start in cold run also need good electircal cords and coax in cold ... SHARES will be on the air with 150 year call sign for canada CG3OKV /VE3OKV
    OH8STN likes this.
  3. W7ASA

    W7ASA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Great to see Winter radio operations being discussed by people who LIVE in cold: Canada, Finland, perhaps some Russian and high altitude mountaineers will join in.

    As Julian pointed-out, the FIRST question is how YOU are going to function well in cold temperatures.
    We should have a Q-signal like QFF to mean / sorry for my sloppy sending, but my fingers are frozen ;-)

    I've had a company representative look very oddly at me when I asked abut the de-rating for his batteries below zero. He couldn't fathom that people actually do anything when it's that cold (we do - it's normal ). So far, I've been quite pleased with LiFePo4 (lithium iron) in all temperature ranges, including very cold.

    Lastly, keep you cables, connectors and interconnections to a minimum and preferably using materials (the insulation for example) which can still properly flex in the cold. Many can't and crack.

    Thanks for the interesting posting.


    Ray / W7ASA ..._ ._
    N8KC and OH8STN like this.
  4. VE3DDL

    VE3DDL Ham Member QRZ Page

    yes and do not forget your pencil its ink does not freeze keeping it warm is the hard thing .SHARES we took the walls down in the old trailer and put insulation in all corners and roof put better support in few places and cocked all the seams and holes in it made vent opening that can be opened and closed cables in and out to keep heat in . make room too sit in front of radios and set up so you are not on top of each other .some have set up the mobile with pole off hitch to support dipole or slope rs solar pannels on roof of car .. sum qrp some 100w
  5. KQ6XA

    KQ6XA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Admonition Acknowledged!
    OH8STN likes this.
  6. KQ6XA

    KQ6XA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Pencil and a Rite-In-The-Rain notebook. Archival quality in the field.
    KA0HCP and OH8STN like this.
  7. OH8STN

    OH8STN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Such excellent comments .
    I'm very much starting to enjoy these posts :)
  8. OH8STN

    OH8STN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks Ray. I was fortunatel enough to learn (the hard way) from the Finnish operators in past years. People don't take it serious and always get that look on their faces when you're like "It's -20C, and I'm qrp portable". Saving up for a proper tipitent and tent stove. When thats ready, i'll try a winter expedition with skiis, skipulk, tipitent, ... Hopefully next winter.

    Thanks for the fine reply.
    de OH8STN
  9. OH8STN

    OH8STN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Actually, I never thought about this, and its a fine point. I usually use mechnical pencils, but admittedly, would never have thought about ink freezong. I may need to collect all these ideas, and put them in another video.

    thanks for the fine reply
    de OH8STN
  10. W0PV

    W0PV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Wonderful advice and video Julian!

    It brings back such nostalgia in me for my decades in Chicago and then Minnesota.

    Slightly tongue-in-cheek I will offer a few more pearls of wisdom which are common knowledge in those areas, but may not be familiar to those in the Sun Belt.

    1. Wind chill matters, far more static temp.

    2. Dress in LAYERS, like a true MN mother will tell you.

    3. "Cold is a state of mind." Bud Grant, ex-coach MN Vikings.

    4. No matter how thristy you may get, don't eat any yellow snow! ;)

    5. Below freezing don't put your tongue on anything metal, like an antenna mast, as demo'ed by K2ORS (SK),


    Those were formative and fun days for me too. But during WFD next weekend I will be looking for your shivering digital signal while perspiring on one of my local FL beaches!

    Best of luck and 73 de John - WØPV
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2017

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