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For Field Day this year, most stations on the East Coast received a large amount of rain. I've heard our reports at around 2 inches of rain. Being Field Day, we were operating outdoors inside tents, but we still had a few issues with the radios, despite them being protected. The most significant issue was a foot petal that became submerged when water seeped in underneath the tent, which caused not only the foot pedal to stop working, but seemed to cause other issues with the radio, which rather than troubleshoot in the middle of Field Day we switched out the radios.

How can we operate efficiently in a condition where there is a lot of rain? This includes both Field Day and other emergency type situations.

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  • $\begingroup$ Waterproof equipment? Dry shack? $\endgroup$ – Phil Frost - W8II Jul 1 '15 at 23:47
  • $\begingroup$ Let's assume neither of those is an option. $\endgroup$ – PearsonArtPhoto Jul 2 '15 at 0:54
  • $\begingroup$ Spare equipment and good insurance? :D $\endgroup$ – Phil Frost - W8II Jul 2 '15 at 1:00
  • $\begingroup$ Okay, let's assume that a temporary shelter is an option. What kinds of things should be considered for this temporary shelter? $\endgroup$ – PearsonArtPhoto Jul 2 '15 at 1:02
  • $\begingroup$ Wouldn't common sense rule out using a foot pedal on potentially soggy ground? Actually, I have never used a foot pedal so I am not too sensitive to other's desire for foot pedals. $\endgroup$ – K7PEH Jul 2 '15 at 1:18
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Generally, keep equipment higher up and sheltered from the elements.

The comment above about being unsympathetic to the desire for a foot-switch is not far off the mark too. A foot-switch is a comfort, and (as you have discovered) Field Day is not about comforts. If it's dry and pleasant out then sure, use a foot-switch. If it starts getting damp, unplug it and live with the reality that life is sometimes cold and wet.

When it rains heavily, keep electrical equipment dry at all costs. Keep batteries higher up (on a desk) and protected from water, while allowing some of that horrible cold air to circulate around them (lead-acid batteries can give off explosive hydrogen when under heavy current loads). Be especially careful if you are using a generator - it might be weatherproof, but the 110v it generates is going to cause some problems if it starts finding itself submerged. If you do use a generator, make sure it is weatherproof, and keep it on a table outside. Run the 110v lines high up, and drop them down to the equipment that needs it. There are reasons why the electrical utility companies tend to take this approach. All outlets inside should be high up and kept dry.

Keep yourself and the team warm and dry - there is no point in being miserable through the exercise. And keep your spirits up! If you follow these guidelines, you can enjoy the experience, and will probably be doing a lot better than the other teams in similar conditions.

Always try to enjoy the predicament, and remember that you are doing this out of choice, for fun. It will help you get more from the whole event.

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