The best training comes from getting out there and doing it. Especially in the light of recent events, the ability to communicate efficiently in less-than-ideal conditions is crucial; the testing of equipment and finding out what works and how to improve what doesn’t is even more important.
Antennas, radios, cables, and batteries; the whole thing is a system. Knowledge and efficient use of each component is crucial, or none of it is gonna work. For the participants this year, some takeaways include:
- differences in propagation between vertical and horizontal antennas
- keep good power supplies
- Never forget how important feedlines are; they normally get the least attention and are extremely important
- Tuners can make life easy; some antennas can be re-purposed, even though less than ideal, on other bands
- No matter what the QRZ band conditions reflector may say, there’s no substitute for the experience of playing it by ear; band conditions on all the bands this year were up and down dramatically…knowing how to listen for it is priceless
Get out there and get experience. There is no substitute. It matters.