Just back from a very enjoyable field day, but it had some low points:
1) Arrived on site to find no lighting or chairs. Luckily I had brought a deck chair and everyone had torches.
2) The generator died 2 hours into the contest and could not be fixed.
3) A leisure cell and FT897 was used to replace the FT1000MP and generator. The FT1000MP can't be configured quickly to accept 12v. The FT897 needed a special lead for rig control which we didn't have.
4) The laptop that held the log was windows 98 and could not be run from 12v. Being 98 we could not use a pen drive to transfer the log. The wireless router ran from 12v so the log was transferred wirelessly before the laptop battery died. The new laptop was configured for 12v and the log was recovered.
5) The winkey we were using required drivers to work with the new laptop and the key plug was the wrong size for the FT897. We didn't have a parallel keying lead. We had a memory keyer but it took an hour to remember how to program it properly for the contest.
6) The leisure cell would only last 12hrs tops. Luckily one member was joining us the following day so he could bring a second.
7) The plug on the memory keyer was the wrong size for the FT897. An adapter was found but the shell of the adapter prevented it from fitting into the socket recess. A suitable lead was found to allow the adapter to be remote from the rig. The overall length of the new cludged lead was around 5m long.
8) When we fired up the rig and transmitted through the top band doublet, RF got into the long keying lead and caused the rig to go key down. A choke was cludged by winding the long keying cludge lead round a coke can.
We were on the air again......PHEW!
The above problems curtailed operation for most of the first night. Being a relatively new contester I am used to operating with computer aid so the thought of having to do most of the keying using a paddle was a bit daunting. Never the less I managed and actually got into a rhythm and started to enjoy the added involvement. I'll maybe consider doing some /p work now without the computer to weigh me down and therefore less battery weight required.
Anyway it was a first hand insight into how contesting used to be...bring it on :-)