It has been a week the annual National Night Out, a community event sponsored by the city. They have games for the kids, even a big slide on the beach. The fire department sets up their trucks with the Coast Guard and even the Cape May County Police brought down their mobile command unit. Something about getting on the air under less than ideal conditions always makes hams happy! It's part of our training in emergency communications. Over my eighteen years I have operated from the base of lighthouses, in cars, from different emergency operation centers and last week I decided to try from a Cape May icon, Convention Hall..
It was a bit trickier than I thought but it was something I wanted and needed to do on my own, ok ALMOST on my ow. The first obstacle I didn't think about was Convention Hall is made of steel, not exactly great conditions for operating. Add to the fact it is surrounded by buildings I wasn't happy with the signal.The reports into the repeater were dismal at best, I should have known better. After moving my station around, I remembered spotting an empty table,so I ran out back out to the front of Convention Hall and grabbed it. With some assistance I planted the antenna on top of a metal trash can, Before long I was hitting the repeater without any problems. My logging consisted of using the "Notes" app on my iPhone, which I previously used in Italy to write a poem.Next time I might try to find an app for loggin I made six contacts which was great for the first time out. I tried to get cocky and work some simplex, but iot wasn't happening. There was another station over in Middle Township's National Night Out. He had some trouble getting on the air as well. Definitely will come more prepared,
There are a few lessons I took away from my operation. My first thing is to bring my own extension cord, lucky there was one near by. Secondly the Cape May Amateur Radio's main repeater was down so I used the backup repeater which worked out pretty well. They also advertised the event on their email group and I tried to get the word out. I wish I drove the point that I wanted to allow other people to get on the air, especially the younger kids. I want to setup the table like the other tables with pamphlets and other material about amateur radio. Maybe get some young kids on the air. I was proud of myself because I now say I worked under less than ideal conditions!! Can't wait to do it again next year!!!!
CAPE MAY OEM NATIONAL NIGHT OUT LOG 8/7/2018
OPERATOR: Justin Mattes CALLSIGN:KC2GIK
LOCATION: Cape May City Convention Hall, Cape May, NJ 08204
N2LTQ Tim Stone Harbor
OPERATIONAL NOTES: Had to move location within the convention centm finally got a good signal out front. Logged using iPhone “notes. Next time I will make a sheet ahead of time to make things easier, maybe even bring my laptop