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Field of Beams

I wanted to title Episode 258 Field of Beams, but I was afraid too many people wouldn't make the Field Day connection. Hmmm, when did I get so timid? When did I start underestimating the audience? It won't happen again until next time it happens.

My local club, the Raleigh Amateur Radio Society, hosts a big field day, somewhere between 7A and 9A most years, though this year they were 6A. Once in a while they (W4DW) land in the Top Ten Box. Most years they're at least in the top 20. They don't try to be a blood & guts, pedal to the metal operation, but they usually get a few seasoned contest-grade operators that score well enough on the 'money bands' to bring the whole operation up a notch.

The W4EZ gang down the road is 'the competition,' and for the past few years their 5 Watt operation has been cleaning the RARS clock pretty well. I know some of the guys there, so this year I decided to stop by and see how they did it. As you'll see in the interviews, one key is the Field of Beams. They work! I added a stop at the next group to the west on I-40, K4EG in Alamance County. 

I did the shooting on Saturday, and began editing on Sunday. I figured I'd get most of it knocked out Sunday, and polish up the rest on Monday. Ha! I got the studio segments recorded on Sunday, but I got nowhere near finished editing. I had some freelance work on Monday, and various interruptions that kept my editing time down to two or three hours a day Monday... Tuesday... Wednesday..... I finally finished today - Thursday. It's rendering as I type. I haven't even watched it all the way through, and that already bit me. The audio version came out first, and I was listening to that as I prepped the video render when it just went silent for about 30 seconds. Without getting into the arcane details, I'd made changes to one part of the program that affected another part (something about a butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil...). It took another hour to debug that, re-render the audio, and start the video over. About 20 lucky listeners will hear that 30-second gap because they were early downloaders, before I replaced the file.

So now I'm way behind on remaining stuff from Dayton, and every day brings a new story that I'd like to cover promptly, but I can't because there's older stuff to do. I have to think hard about whether to keep piling up shows at hamfests like Dayton and Orlando that take me weeks to clear out, or just treat them lightly and get back to covering more topical issues. Or hire an editing staff.