Only forty QSOs made but this was a good test for my equipment (see the write-up) and I couldn't technically enter anyway as the UK rules do not permit single-op stations.
For SSB Fieldday on the weekend of 3rd/4th September 2005, I sadly could not persuae my local radio club to do a multi-op entry. I therefore decided to use to opportunity to just send in a checklog, but to do the contest 'properly' - that's to say, using my portable equipment that I use on SOTA DXpeditions in contest conditions.
Fortunately, the weather on the Saturday was good, and so I was able to climb the small hill just behind my house, up onto Roborough Down. The site was located at NGR SX512687, which equates to 50°29'59" North, 4°05'56" West, and so is in the same IARU grid as my house: IO70wl. At about 200m above sea level, it is the highest point within about 3 miles of my home QTH.
The equipment used was a 12V, 7.2Ah sealed lead acid battery (gel-cell), powering my IC-706Mk2G, which was limited to about 50W into dipole antennas for 40m and 20m, mounted on a SOTA pole telescopic fibreglass mast. I also put a 2m SOTA beam on the mast for use if the HF bands died. Logging was on paper. Typically, the equipment takes about 25 minutes to set-up, and 15 minutes to take down at the end of the operation.
This set-up has served me for about a year on the tops of various mountains and large hills, so I thought it would be interesting to see how it performed in a contest. In total, I made only 36 QSOs on the Saturday, and was only Search and Pounce, but did a lot of calling to people who couldn't hear me, and so this obviously used up battery power. Despite the IC-706's notoriously high receive current drain, however, the battery lasted for the whole three and a half hours that I was on the hill.
On the Sunday, I returned to the same spot early in the morning and hoped to spend another three hours there. Unfortunately, however, within about fifteen minutes of starting, the rain arrived, and so the idea had to be abandoned after only four QSOs.
I am pleased to report that all of the equipment performed faultlessly, except for once when the SOTA pole collapsed, causing the SOTA beam elements to bend. But that's easily recitifed with a vice!
All in all my first ever field day was a really pleasant way to spend a late summer's afternoon on Dartmoor. Next year all I need to do is to actually enter!