Field Day: What to expect?

Started by John Galt, June 27, 2014, 02:28:15 pm

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John Galt

I haven't been following this closely but my understanding is that it's basically practicing emcomms at various levels by getting off the grid, using QRP, etc.  So how does it work?  Does everyone try to maximize the number of contacts not unlike a contest?  Is LoTW used for logging? 

I've never been through one so just wondering what to look for this weekend.  As for my station, if I take the float charger off my battery, I'm completely off grid.  Well, except for my beer fridge.


Luigi

I went to a field day last year. They ran several generators and solar panels to power lots of radios. It was a good way to put a face to a voice that you heard on the air. They had some awesome HF antennas at the event. There was an interesting demonstration of D-Star.

People there were interested in contesting and not much focus on data transmissions or relaying emails from remote locations.

Contesting is not my thing. It was nice to see the radios and the antennas and the devices powering them.

Luigi

cockpitbob

It's basically a contest weekend where everyone operates out of buildings and off the grid.  All modes get used.  You get extra points for doing it in a public area (park, etc), for advertising what you are doing an where and for getting non-hams on the air.  Paper logs can be used, but mostly it's electronic logs that are sent in emails to the ARRL.  I assume most people also post to LoTW.  All QSOs are real quick 59s.

It's different things to different people.  Some clubs get serious about how many points they can rack up.  In other clubs, the people in charge of bringing the food and setting up the outdoor movie screen have the most important jobs.  The club I belong to is more like the latter.  Very low key.  We set-up 5 stations:  CW, digital, HF, 6meter and a Get On The Air (GOTA) station that is dedicated to getting new hams and non-hams on the air.  Often some of the stations are unused because of the good food and company.  Sadly, I can't be there this year.

RadioRay

June 27, 2014, 08:52:38 pm #3 Last Edit: June 27, 2014, 09:14:28 pm by RadioRay
Field Day can be enjoyable, though less-so as it has become 'too contesty'.  The local group here is like that, so I don't have any plans to go.  The last time I participated in ARRL Field Day in the Rocky Mountains, we always had two questions for the other end of the link:

1.  How many BBQs do you have?

2.  What's cooking?

We gave 'bonus points' for every hammock at the site, double for hammocks in use, TRIPLE if the operator themself is in a hammock while operating. All the above points above x a billion for each operator doing all of the above AND grilling from IN a hammock.

Some people get it and some just 'got annoyed'.  I had this 'pocket hammock' that was usually my first piece of equipment deployed.  Here in The South, it's the jungle hammock, because it has no-see-um netting.   ;)

>>> I might just go out tomorrow with my solar powered, up-armored KX1, toss a wire in a tree and give some guys a few QSOs. It should survive the trip.




73 de RadioRay ..._  ._

Ps. We PREPPERS realize that REAL Field Day will likely begin like THIS -







"When we cannot do the good we would, we must be ready to do the good we can."  ~ Matthew Henry

DCJon

My club set up a beautiful, off grid station and contested for 24 hours.  I'd prefer practice EMCON but I'm the newbie. 

Lamewolf

I know this is an old thread, but I'm sitting here bored and thought I'd toss my 2 cents worth in.  I've been to a club field day twice in 20 years and this is what I experienced.  First, just a few of us showed up with equipment and the gumption to set things up and start operating.  Then a bunch of folks started showing up that did not have a license that allowed them on HF frequencies wanting to work some DX and eat free food.  When asked to help serve food or make equipment changes like antenna installations, they made excuses and went home.  The ones that did operate did not want to work other stations in the USA, only wanted DX contacts and wanted nothing to do with ecomm work.  The ones that were still there when time to take everything down left and the original crew that set things up took it all back down again.  I now work field day alone with my QRP rigs ! :P

RichardSinFWTX

Did any of you guys do Winter Field Day?  It's not an ARRL event.  This one is sponsored by the Society for the Preservation of Amateur Radio (SPAR). 

My club used it to test out a potential new site for ARRL Field Day.  I had a good time.  I spent most of it doing a dog and pony show for my station-in-a-box.  It did get a fair amount of Ooohs and Ahhs!  I think I ended up making a whopping 5 contacts; but they did give us multipliers that we wouldn't have others received.

cockpitbob

Of course, it all depends on the people involved.  Like anything else, the people make or break it.  The club I belong to has a very strong core of people and do a great job and there's usually plenty of help.  For summer FD the club puts fun in front of points and the food committee is probably the most important and appreciated group.  There's always lots of good food and (non-adult)drink.  We do most of the setup Friday night, then watch a movie on a white tarp hung on a trailer.

My club did winter FD indoors.  Apparently they had a fairly good turnout but I was 3 states away on business so I didn't join the fun. 

RichardSinFWTX

I had a good time too.  I got to show off my rig that only a couple others have seen except in pictures.  It also helped me find out what worked about it and what didn't.  I've already discovered that the guide rails for my rack need to be re-worked.  I've got Spring Break coming up in March so maybe I'll get to work on it then if not sooner.

Summer FD is pretty much a social occasion too.  The only ones that go really balls-out on it are our CW guys.  Even with that our club still scores among the top in the state.

Lamewolf

Quote from: RichardSinFWTX on February 05, 2015, 02:45:59 pm
Did any of you guys do Winter Field Day?  It's not an ARRL event.  This one is sponsored by the Society for the Preservation of Amateur Radio (SPAR). 

My club used it to test out a potential new site for ARRL Field Day.  I had a good time.  I spent most of it doing a dog and pony show for my station-in-a-box.  It did get a fair amount of Ooohs and Ahhs!  I think I ended up making a whopping 5 contacts; but they did give us multipliers that we wouldn't have others received.


I didn't even hear about it until it was under way.  At one time, I had a yahoo group going called "The Monthly QRP Field Day Group (MQFD for short) going where we had a field day on one weekend each month, but it was hard to get folks to take part in it and it finally just faded away and I shut it down.  The times I worked it, it was great fun and I even worked it from my johnboat while out on a lake fishing once - I called it "MMM" Mini Maritime Mobile !

RichardSinFWTX

It was cold here in Fort Worth but at least we didn't have any snow or ice to contend with.  We had a covered pavilion with grid power.  All we had to deal with was some fairly decent winds.  Ther than that I thought it was fun.

cockpitbob

June 23, 2015, 10:24:41 am #11 Last Edit: June 23, 2015, 10:26:32 am by cockpitbob
I couldn't participate the last 2 years due to family reunions, but I'll be doing it this year with the club.  Set-up is a small team of us working all day Friday plus most of the club Saturday a.m.  Operating goes 2:00pm Saturday to 2:00pm Sunday.  We'll have two 25'(ish) towers, a couple wire antennas and a vertical.  I think we've got 5 stations planned:  GOTA, CW, Digital, 6Meter and general SSB.  I may camp either Friday or Saturday night and act as the guard dog.  We're setting up on a school's field so I'll be an unarmed guard dog :P .

Three years ago I wasn't proficient enough to help much in the CW tent but I plan on spending a lot of time there this year.  Also, even though I own a SignaLink box I've hardly used it.  There's a guy in the club who's the total digital modes geek and I plan on sitting next to him a lot.

I'll bring my 1 pound station with MTR, battery and antenna just to show off and I'll be wearing my new t-shirt

RichardSinFWTX

LOL!!!  Where'd you get that shirt, Bob?  I gotta get me one of those!

Jim Boswell

Great Shirt! This year I am the ramrod for the Socorro NM club. The club will be working 2A with 2 stations and a GOTA run by the new hams. In addition to providing most of the equipment I will also be the head cook. Contesting is not my thing so I do set-up and planning.
For me Field Day is a social event, the family reunion of amateur radio. This will be the 39th Field Day I have worked on. For years I have wanted to do Field Day out on my pontoon boat, this year the boat has a locked-up motor, so field day with the club.
One station will use a 40//80 inverted Vee antenna and the other station will use a Cushcraft A5. I will bring my TenTec Paragon and the Icom 7200, add a MFJ tunner and a laptop for logging. The GOTA station will use a TS-660 and work 6 meter SSB and FM and do some 10 meter work with a inverted Vee. A lot of work to get all that gear loaded and ready. My pick-up will be loaded to the gills with tower, rotator, antennas, gas grill, tables, chairs, ice boxes, food, drinks, batteries, coax, laptop and radios. 73'S  KA5SIW

cockpitbob

June 23, 2015, 11:36:06 am #14 Last Edit: June 23, 2015, 01:50:51 pm by cockpitbob
Quote from: RichardSinFWTX on June 23, 2015, 10:35:05 am
LOL!!!  Where'd you get that shirt, Bob?  I gotta get me one of those!


Cafe Press has a ton of specialty t-shirts, hoodies, golf shirts, etc.

I also got this on eBay last year but can't find where to buy them now.
The tower mounted Yagis don't fit with QRP  ::)