Local Ham Upset Field Day Has Lost Its Spirit
By K5PO, on the scene
LEAVENWORTH, KANSAS — Billy Putnam is a ham radio purist. And he feels his club has lost their way and it’s ruining their annual Field Day event.
Putnam is a senior member of the Hopeless Flats Radio Club from Leavenworth County, Kansas. The largest amateur radio club in the area has hosted a highly successful Field Day event for the last 27 years, but Putman says success is in the eye of the beholder. “So many of the new guys… they just seem to love nothing more than to operate.”
“They arrive bright and early and slave and sweat over raising the antennas and then promptly sit down and laugh and operate for hours. They talk to visiting elected officials about the value of emergency communication, and then they offer to elmer some youngsters. These guys just don’t get it!” said Putman.
Putman notes that “back in his day” Field Day was about far more than operating and ham radio.
“I remember in 1991, we had three potluck tables under the big tent we rent from Ed’s Tentery,” said Putman. “It was amazing, with ribs, brisket, baked beans, lasagna, deep fried chicken, and mounds of mashed potatoes. That was how Field Day was done. This year they wanted to set up the radios under the tent and the only food these guys brought was two bags of Tostitos corn chips!”
“A bunch of unlicensed youngsters showed up around Noon and ate all fried chicken I brought, he said. “They all built dipoles for the band of their choice and then operated on Martin’s old Collins. They didn’t even have them take turns flipping burgers on the grill! Heck, they didn’t even bring the grill!”
“If things don’t change next year,” threatened Putman, “I’m just not going to bring my famous Mystery Jell-O anymore!”
Field Day notes from the past seven years indicated literally no one had ever eaten any of Bill Putman’s Jell-O, citing an odd “fuzziness” that all felt was unwelcome in a gelatin product.