Ham Vacation in Oceanside, CA for Winter Field Day 2021

When you're married to ham, vacations require a bit more planning. When is Josh going to get on the air? What am I going to do with the kids while Josh is on the air? What are we going to do when Josh isn't on the air?

I've found there are a few easy planning pieces when selecting a location, like an outdoor area where an antenna can be set up and left up for the duration of the trip, attractions and amenities that are within a short walking distance of the hotel or rental, and separate sleeping quarters. This usually leaves AirBnBs and VRBOs as the best lodging option for our family.

We were lucky enough to score a spot at North Coast Village Condos in Oceanside, CA right near the water at a really great price because local restrictions on travel just opened up right before Winter Field Day. 


Josh abided by the rules of Winter Field Day and didn't set up until the morning, leaving Friday for family time. We walked along the nearly empty beach, trekked all the way to the end of the pier (something both kids were very upset about for entirely different reasons), collected a variety of rocks from the sand (Josh will argue he carried the bag of rocks the longest but it was, in fact, me), stopped by Kilowatt Brewery to pick up beer for the Livestream, got ice cream from La Michoacana Plus and had oysters, clam chowder bread bowls and crab cakes from The Lighthouse and settled in for a night of torrential rain. We have to jam a lot of family fun into Friday before Saturday makes me a ham widow.

Saturday morning, with the skies clear, Josh got started on setting up his mobile shack. He set up his antenna and dropped a radial right in the water, excited about the propagation boost the water might bring. Sadly, that radial was sucked into the sand, lost forever, and Josh had to adjust his antenna setup.

Inevitably, one of the neighbors saw Josh setting up and asked, "What are you doing?" Since he lives for the moment he can extoll the virtues of ham radio onto an unwitting listener, I'm sure he talked until the neighbor regretted asking. 

Once he was up and running, the kids and I headed to the beach to play in the sand. 

Despite the freezing cold, the kids made a friend and ran for the water.  They waved to their dad, anchored to home base by the location of the high visible antenna. I guess antennas aren't all that bad. 

We built some sand castles, gathered more rocks and shells, and after hauling multiple buckets of water from the ocean to the dry sand, Edison finally decided he was too cold to continue and demanded to head back to his room where he could warm up with a hot bath and a cup of cocoa. 


My mom, sister and her girlfriend decided they wanted to check out Oceanside while we were out there and while Josh was in the Livestream, they had arrived and I had to get a parking pass for them. Unfortunately, I had no idea where the security office was to get the parking pass and Josh told me to, "Just go East. Here's a map. There's a compass on your phone." This was most unhelpful and I got lost for a good 20 minutes in the jungle of pathways, stairs and unlit walkways on the resort property until I came upon a nice delivery man who was *more helpful* than my own husband at getting me to the office. 

I made it back alive and unharmed, helped my family park and we headed out on a night stroll of the beach. We watched the tide start rolling in and looked at what the pockets in the sand were catching. Exhausted, the kids got ready for bed and slept soundly in their own room while Josh carried on in the Livestream Afterchat. 

The next morning, we packed up and headed home a little sandier, a little sunnier and with a lot more rocks. 


1 comment

  • Enjoyed this article as it reminded me of my winter field days in Hawaii, except we did it in T-Shirts, shorts and flip flops. Thank you.

    Anthony Gannon

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