First  Night  Leesburg
The Story

     For the Loudoun Amateur Radio Group it all began in October 2000 when Paul Dluehosh - N4PD put out a warning order. We would be ready since this was our sixth support mission for First Night Leesburg.

     By early December, the plan was coming together with Tom Dawson - WB3AKD providing the K4LRG Base Station as he has in the past and folks were signing up with Paul. At Christmas we learned that the headquarters was being moved from the Leesburg Government Center to the offices of  Leesburg Today on the corner of  Market and King Street. Paul and Tom did a new site recon and found ways to install an antenna on the roof and setup in the main office space. They also announced a people parade from the Safeway to the center on town starting at 5 PM with some fireworks at 5:30 PM.

     So we all started to assemble on site at Leesburg Today at 4 PM on New Years Eve. Tom had made a new antenna support plate from 1/2-inch steel and machined adapters to fit Army antenna masts; this would sit on the roof and raise his j-pole antenna up 12 feet. It was a good location and worked well. Tom also showed off  his new 'go-box' - well, more like a chest - where he carried all the electronics and it doubled as the operating position - very cool! After we got the 60-pound antenna plate up on the roof and did a quick replacement of a bad coax connector everything went together very quickly. Coax cable was hung over the side of the four story  building  entered through a window on the ground floor. K4LRG from First Night Leesburg was on the air by 4:50 PM.

     By 6 PM, Paul had worked site assignments with everyone and off we went. We had 11 operators covering 25 sites throughout Leesburg. Just like last year and like clock work they came up on the air,  reported in and made a radio check. We were ready.

     We had our usual duties of introducing ourselves to the site attendants, explaining what we would be doing to assist them and making an hourly head count report. There were the usual problems of too much noise from this or that performance, missing site sponsor signs, more tickets needed here or there, and as the hours sped by the problem of getting reliefs for the site attendants.  By monitoring the head count reports it looked like the 9 PM performances had the best attendance with at least 600 folks. By 10:30 PM things had settled down and with only one show to go at 11 PM it was announced that we could close stations.

     Several of us helped Tom disassemble his antenna and station and by 11:30 PM we were all off to celebrate the new year with our families.

     I took a few pictures during this operation; you will find them on three other pages. Just click on the link  labels and use your browser to move between pages. If some picture doesn't load just do a reload or refresh on your browser.

Happy New Year To All!            Best Regards, Norm - AI2C.

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