Amateur Radio operators have been transmitting from “the field” ever since radio has been around. Since 1933, the American Radio Relay League – the National Association for Amateur Radio – has formalized this activity for one weekend each June, called Field Day. During Field Day, over 35,000 “hams” across the United States, Canada, and many other countries take their radio gear out of their homes and set up temporary stations almost anywhere imaginable: public parks, beaches, mountaintops, baseball diamonds, atop parking garages, and yes, even in fields. They do so as part of a local club, with just a friend or two or their family, or individually. In 2011, over 1.4 million radio contacts were made between Amateur Radio operators during the Field Day weekend.
Why do hams do this?
Many radio clubs treat Field Day as a way to keep their communications skills up in case they are needed for an emergency. Still others treat it as a competitive event and try to make as many contacts as they possibly can (good clubs will make several thousand in a weekend). Some enjoy setting up in a public place, such as a neighborhood park or the parking lot of a shopping center, to help educate the public about what Amateur Radio is and what we do.
Perhaps the best reason is, it’s simply fun! Combining the great outdoors with radio fun makes for a great weekend. Setting up an Amateur Radio station in the field, often using makeshift antennas and a power source off the commercial power grid, is at the very essence of the DIY (Do It Yourself) spirit that runs through the Amateur Radio community. Hams use Field Day to teach the general public (and themselves, too) about what it takes to reliably communicate with a person across the country, without using the Internet or a cell phone network. They learn about electronics, physics and geography, and often use “green” energy sources (such as solar or wind power) to power their transmitters.
Communication takes place via a variety of methods. You can use a microphone and talk to people, interface your computer to a radio and type messages back and forth, or even use the tried-and-true method of Morse code; it’s been around since the 1840s and is still very much alive today.
Sound like a lot of fun?
It is! If you’d like to learn more about Amateur Radio, follow the links listed below. If you‘re reading this because a local club pointed you here, be sure to ask when that club is having its next meeting; they’d be happy to welcome new people interested in learning more about Amateur Radio.
2013 PARC ARRL Field Day
The Panhandle Amateur Radio Club will participate in Field Day from the center of the new WTAMU Buffalo Sports Park across from the Activity Center in Canyon Texas. This decision was made out of necessity because PARC will be supporting the 2013 Bike MS fundraising event simultaneously from the same location, which will make things a lot easier logistically. Additionally, it is an excellent public location with all the amenities and food we need, at no cost to the club! Setup will begin at about 8:30 AM and the contest will begin at noon on Saturday and end at noon on Sunday.
The site offers a large, flat, grassy area that is well lit with restrooms very nearby. There is no access to commercial mains electricity and we do not have an available facility for indoor operations.
PARC will enter Field Day as a category 2A, meaning a maximum of 2 transmitters may be used simultaneously and we will operate without commercial power.
PARC NEEDS VOLUNTEERS…
We need volunteers to help set up on Saturday, break down on Sunday, phone, CW, and digital operators, and captains to volunteer to head up each of the following Field Day operations. Please keep reading to see how you can help.
Phone Station, Contacts=1 point
CW Station, Contacts=2 points
Digital Station, Contacts=2 points
Captain: Raymond Winter, W5RAW
GOTA–Any Class A (or F) entry whose transmitter classification is two or more transmitters may also operate one additional station without changing its base entry category, known as the GET-ON-THE-AIR (GOTA) station. This GOTA station may operate on any Field Day band, HF or VHF, but is limited to one GOTA station transmitted signal at any time.
126.96.36.199. This station must use a different callsign from the primary Field Day station.The GOTA station must use the same callsign for the duration of the event regardless if operators change. The GOTA station uses the same exchange as its parent.
188.8.131.52. The GOTA station may be operated by any person licensed since the previous year’s Field Day, regardless of license class. It may also be operated by a generally inactive licensee. Non-licensed persons may participate under the direct supervision of an appropriate control operator. A list of operators and participants must be included on the required summary sheet to ARRL HQ.
184.108.40.206. As per FCC rules, this station must have a valid control operator present at the control point if operating beyond the license privileges of the participant using the station.
220.127.116.11. When a GOTA operator successfully completes 20 QSOs, they receive 20 bonus points. Upon reaching an additional 20 QSOs the same operator receives a second 20 bonus points, up to a maximum of 100 Bonus points per GOTA operator. An operator may make more than 100 QSOs but the QSOs over 100 do not qualify for an additional bonus.
18.104.22.168.1. Additional GOTA operators may earn the GOTA bonus points under this rule, up to the maximum of 500 bonus points. (Remember that there is a 500-QSO limit for the GOTA station. But no single GOTA operator may earn more than 100 of the GOTA bonus points except as provided in 22.214.171.124.)
126.96.36.199.2. A single GOTA operator must complete all 20 QSOs required before the bonus is earned. There is no “partial credit” for making only a portion of the 20 QSOs or “pooling” QSOs between operators.
188.8.131.52. If a GOTA station is supervised full-time by a GOTA Coach, the bonus points earned for each 20 QSOs completed under Rule 184.108.40.206. will be doubled.
220.127.116.11.1. The GOTA Coach supervises the operator of the station,doing such things as answering questions and talking them through contacts, but may not make QSOs or perform logging functions.
18.104.22.168.2. To qualify for this bonus, there must be a designated GOTA Coach present and supervising the GOTA station at all times it is being operated.
Free VHF Station–Free VHF Station: All Class A entries may also operate one additional transmitter if it operates exclusively on any band or combination of bands above 50 MHz (VHF/UHF)without changing its basic entry classification. This station does not qualify for a 100-point bonus as an additional transmitter. This station may be operated for the clubs Field Day period and all contacts count for QSO credit. It is operated using the primary callsign and exchange of the main Field Day group and is separate and distinct from the GOTA station.
Satellite–100 bonus points for successfully completing at least one QSO via an amateur radio satellite during the Field Day period. “General Rules for All ARRL Contests” (Rule3.7.2.), (the no-repeater QSO stipulation) is waived for satellite QSOs. Groups are allowed one dedicated satellite transmitter station without increasing their entry category. Satellite QSOs also count for regular QSO credit. Show them listed separately on the summary sheet as a separate”band.” You do not receive an additional bonus for contacting different satellites, though the additional QSOs may be counted for QSO credit unless prohibited under Rule 22.214.171.124. The QSO must be between two Earth stations through a satellite.
100% Emergency Power–100 points per transmitter classification if all contacts are made only using an emergency power source up to a total of 20 transmitters (maximum 2,000 points.) GOTA station and free VHF Station for Class A and F entries do not qualify for bonus point credit and should not be included in the club’s transmitter total. All transmitting equipment at the site must operate from a power source completely independent of the commercial power mains to qualify.
Media Publicity–100 bonus points may be earned for attempting to obtain publicity from the local media. A copy of the press release, or a copy of the actual media publicity received(newspaper article, etc.) must be submitted to claim the points.
Public Location–100 points
Done. WTAMU Event Center
Public Information Table–100 bonus points for a Public Information Table at the Field Day site. The purpose is to make appropriate handouts and information available to the visiting public at the site. A copy of a visitor’s log, copies of club handouts or photos is sufficient evidence for claiming this bonus.
Message Orientation to Section Manager–100 bonus points for origination of a National Traffic System (NTS) style formal message to the ARRL Section Manager or Section Emergency Coordinator by your group from its site. You should include the club name, number of participants, Field Day location, and number of ARES operators involved with your station. The message must be transmitted during the Field Day period and a fully serviced copy of it must be included in your submission, in standard ARRL NTS format, or no credit will be given. The Section Manager message is separate from the messages handled in Rule 7.3.6 (Message Handling) and may not be claimed for bonus points under that rule.
Message Handling–10 points for each formal NTS style originated, relayed or received and delivered during the Field Day period, up to a maximum of 100 points (ten messages). Properly serviced copies of each message must be included with the Field Day report. The message to the ARRL SM or SEC under Rule 7.3.5. does not count towards the total of 10 for this bonus.Available to all Classes. All NTS messages claimed for bonus points must leave or enter the site via amateur radio RF.
Satellite QSO–100 bonus points for successfully completing at least one QSO via an amateur radio satellite during the Field Day period. “General Rules for All ARRL Contests” (Rule 3.7.2.), (the no-repeater QSO stipulation) is waived for satellite QSOs. Groups are allowed one dedicated satellite transmitter station without increasing their entry category. Satellite QSOs also count for regular QSO credit. Show them listed separately on the summary sheet as a separate”band.” You do not receive an additional bonus for contacting different satellites, though the additional QSOs may be counted for QSO credit unless prohibited under Rule 126.96.36.199. The QSO must be between two Earth stations through a satellite.
Alternate Power–100 bonus points for Field Day groups making a minimum of five QSOs without using power from commercial mains or petroleum driven generator. This means an”alternate” energy source of power, such as solar, wind, methane or water. This includes batteries charged by natural means (not dry cells). The natural power transmitter counts as an additional transmitter. If you do not wish to increase your operating category, you should take one of your other transmitters off the air while the natural power transmitter is in operation. A separate list of natural power QSOs should be submitted with your entry.
Captain: Raymond Winter, W5RAW
W1AW Bulletin–100 bonus points for copying the special Field Day bulletin transmitted by W1AW (or K6KPH) during its operating schedule during the Field Day weekend (listed in the rules announcement). An accurate copy of the message is required to be included in your Field Day submission. (Note: The Field Day bulletin must be copied via amateur radio. It will not be included in Internet bulletins sent out from Headquarters and will not be posted to Internet BBS sites.)
Educational activity bonus–One (1) 100-point bonus may be claimed if your Field Day operation includes a specific educational-related activity. The activity can be diverse and must be related to amateur radio. It must be some type of formal activity. It can be repeated during the Field Day period but only one bonus is earned. For more information consult the FAQ in the complete Field Day packet.
Site Visitation by an Elected Governmental Official–One (1) 100-point bonus may be claimed if your Field Day site is visited by an elected government official as the result of an invitation issued by your group.
Site Visitation by a Representative of an Agency–One (1) 100-point bonus may be claimed if your Field Day site is visited by a representative of an agency served by ARES in your local community (American Red Cross, Salvation Army, local Emergency Management, law enforcement, etc.) as the result of an invitation issued by your group. ARRL officials (SM, SEC,DEC, EC, etc) do not qualify for this bonus.
Web submission–A 50-point bonus may be claimed by a group submitting their Field Day entry via the www.b4h.net/cabforms web site.
Captain: Chris Seright, KE5ZRT
Field Day Youth Participation–A 20-point bonus (maximum of 100) may be earned by any Class A, C, D, E, or F group for each participant age 18 or younger at your Field Day operation that completes at least one QSO.
Safety–Responsible for overall safety of club members and the general public during Field Day operations
Networking and Logging–
Please contact Chris Seright, KE5ZRT, to volunteer to participate in PARC ARRL Field Day. 806-231-4227 KE5ZRT@gmail.com
For a Field Day location near you, please see www.arrl.org/field-day-locator
For information and rules, please see www.arrl.org/field-day
For information about the ARRL, please see www.arrl.org