View Full Version : Field Day Opinions??
02-27-2002, 03:38 PM
I am curious as to how people feel about Field Day, what it was , what it is, and what it should be.
I just downloaded the 29 page pamphlet from ARRL (not all of which are rules) and just had to wonder why it is the way it is. I know from our local club, some people like it, others hate it. Some people feel there is way too much emphasis on long distance communications and point scoring, while totally under-valuing local, public service activities.
What do you think?
IMHO, there's way too much emphasis on contesting.
73 Drew N0XU
02-27-2002, 05:37 PM
Last Field Day I went to a local club's event location ( I am not a member). They were set up in the local Wal-Mart parking lot. Three operators were on HF rigs "contesting". Another ham walked up an talked to me for about half an hour, and we were pretty much ignored by the members and officers putting on the event. It seemed that setting up in a public area was more for the rules and score points than to promote Amateur Radio. I had intended to join that club at that time but changed my mind and walked away after not having my presence acknowledged in about an hour.
My only contact from my home station was a club about 60 miles away and late in the second day (2m ssb). I had talked to the op before and he was glad to make any contact by this time. So much for my first field day. http://www.qrz.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/sad.gif
For my next field day I will operate in cooperation with some of my friends locally (too loose a group to be called a club), and we will approach it from the standpoint of make contacts that are fun, and if it stops being fun, we'll go fishing instead. http://www.qrz.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif
02-27-2002, 06:56 PM
I don't know where you (the original post) got the idea there's any emphasis whatever on making long-distance contacts in Field Day. If you really read the rules, you'll see there's no emphasis on this at all. Every contact counts exactly the same, regardless of where the other station is located, and the only "multipliers" to increase "score" are based on mode (CW/digital counts more than phone and has a 2x multiplier) and power output used (5W is a x5 multipler, for example). FD's been like this for decades, and the rules are excellent to support exactly what FD is supposed to accomplish, which is providing operators training in setting up a field station quickly, using minimal equipment, and successfully making contacts and handling "traffic" with what they've set up.
There's still a rule that you cannot set up a FD station more than 24 hours in advance, you can't use permanent antennas that were in place prior to FD, you cannot set up operations in a larger space than a small diameter circle, that FD operations should make use of emergency power sources (generator, battery, solar, etc)...and that "bonus points" can be gained for handling traffic, accurately copying the ARRL message, initiating traffic to your Section Manager, operating with "green" power (like solar, human-generated, or whatever), operating with battery-only power, and so forth. There are no extra points or bonuses for "DX" contacts. Working the other side of the world counts exactly the same as working the FD station on the other end of the parking lot.
So, um, what's the beef?
02-27-2002, 08:05 PM
Thanks for the reply.
By DX contacts, I meant emphasis on hf as opposed to FM voice/data etc. I know that is a component, but it is minor the way the rules are set up. Since any kind of repeater contacts are outlawed, it takes any incentive out of setting up an emergency/Field day repeater site..which would be intersting and be far more valuable in the public service arena.
And, dont get me wrong, I am a cw op myself, and rarely pick up a microphone on hF... which brings me to another point. Whoever decided cw contacts should count as 2 as opposed to 1 for voice was doing nothing but adding to the snob factor. It is far easier to make a cw contact than voice, and I believe if anything, cw contacts should count as 1/2.
Anyway...just my opinion.
Field day was.. quite a while ago, structured more in a contest format. You could get points for working the ARRL sections as 'multipliers' along with the mode bonus points, power input (at that time) bonus points, and various other bonus points.
However, over time, they changed the focus to 'operating event', #yet they leave all the 'contest oriented' (save the mults) components intact.
For some.. it's a contest.. others a fun event. Others an event to show off to the public, and yet others a training event. #In short. FD is whatever YOU or your group CHOOSES to make of it.
You like 'blood and guts' contesting? Have at it! #YOu like demo'ing to the public in a shopping mall? Full speed ahead! You want to explore doing ' the mostest with the leastest' in terms of most effective op with least amount of equipment and such - whale away!
The fun of FD is what YOU make of it. Each one is unique - yet each one is alike. #If you take 100 amateurs who have DONE a FD (at least once) and put them in a room and ask them this simple question..
"What is FD to you?" and have them give you a summary answer of about 3 - 4 paragraphs.. you'll see 100 different answers with the same theme - The Challenge supported by the Fun.
As previous poster's noted.. one FD they went on was NO FUN cuz they felt ignored. So.. as befits all good Amatuers.. they banded together and are going to do one tailored to the way THEY want to do it! Fantastic!
As for CW being 2 points, SSB only 1.. lots of reasons.. main one is holdover from 'old days' where CW was considered a bit more difficult than SSB due to lesser amount of ops would choose more difficult CW over easier SSB. It also had 2 points to ENCOURAGE people to work CW.
CW Q's in FD are faster than SSB. A good CW contester will make (on average) more CW QSo's than acomparable phone op. #That means nothing, because FD is not a contest.. but an operating event.
So.. enjoy FD... see you from K3FT/3.
Can it REALLY BE that there are only 4 months to go? Seems like I was just finishing up last year's event! HEH
02-27-2002, 09:43 PM
The emphasis, or raison d'etre for FD, has always been: How fast can you throw together a simple station and antennas, get it on the air, and make contacts...simulating a real emergency situation.
Re HF vs. VHF, it all counts the same, there are no distance multipliers; however, in the event of a disaster which took out all normal services for an area of several hundred square miles (or possibly several thousand square miles) such as a major earthquake or nuclear strike, VHF might prove of little help because everyone "within range" on VHF would be impacted, and nobody'd be able to help. You'd have to expand your horizons a bit to summon aid from another county, state, maybe even country. This is the advantage of HF.
A perfect example of this was during the hysteria in Grenada several years ago, when "we" finally sent in troops to help settle a threatening massacre. A couple of hams got the word out about what was going on, via HF. VHF wouldn't have helped them much, since nothing's within 2m range of Grenada except Grenada.
Re CW = 2x points of phone, certainly this is a throwback, but I think still very valid. Again, the emphasis in FD is "simple equipment that can be quickly assembled to make contacts." Nothing's simpler than CW...a "rig" can be fashioned out of almost any old pile of junk and put on the air. While 99 out of 100 licensed U.S. amateurs could likely not put together an SSB rig from scratch out of spare parts, perhaps 20 out of 100 could, for CW. I know I have my "Tuna Tin 2" rig handy. It's a homebrew CW rig for 40 meters that works on 9V batteries and runs sufficient power to make a contact within a few minutes, nearly any time of day, with a simple wire antenna. If it broke, I could re-build it in ten minutes by salvaging parts from broken transistor radios. I don't have anything like that for SSB, or for VHF.
02-28-2002, 09:13 PM
What the ARRL ought to do is give each CW contact at least 5 points instead of 2 nowadays!!! That would definitely stir up alot more interest in CW, whether it be in FD or even the SWEEPSTAKES in Nov.!!!
02-28-2002, 09:26 PM
Field day is to demonstrate the ability to set up and operate an emergency set up. It is sort of a "friendly" competition amongst clubs more or less, to see how "we" all rank. There are a few that take that challenge very seriously, but the majority, take it as a time to do some portable operating whilest having fun at the same time. Points not worth worrying about.
I have operated individually and with various clubs and we always had fun, except one year when a sever thunderstorm rolled through.
I think FD is a good thing. It blows out the cobwebs and gets us familiar, if only once a year, with the portable set up scenario.
03-01-2002, 12:05 AM
After spending almost 40 yrs. in the hobby and operating FDs' for many, many years I realize that what you said was in essence true, BUT FD is really more of a "SOCIAL EVENT" rather than a contest!!! I've done the serious FD operation a couple of times with my arch-detractor nowadays "The MT.DIABLO RADIO CLUB" where in 1980 we worked FD flat-out with MAX aluminum in the air, with also a 2 el. wire Delta-Loop on 40m. and came in 3rd. in the ENTIRE NATION in our class!!! But what the ARRL ought to do is have a FD Contest in the "DEAD OF WINTER" nation-wide and that would really ween out the "WHINNERS"!!!
http://www.qrz.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif #73, JIM/nn6ee
I think it has become just another contest.
That having been said, the club I belong to just treats it as an opertunity to get together, have fun and strut our stuff in public so others can see a great hoby in action.
I havent read the new "rules" yet, but I predict they will read more like a contest than public realations and preparidness practice.
Just anoter $.1.99 from Craig.......KC0GOA http://www.qrz.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif
The highest use of FD is to raise public awareness of who we are and what we do. Not one single person I know realized that HAMS provide the emergency communications for the Red Cross until I told them. We get the general public coming thru our FD event and it's great, we always get very positive response!
The 2nd major purpose is to for the experienced hams to teach the newbies how to setup a station from scratch - invaluable learning. My daddy taught me and now I teach others.
The rest is just icing.
My specialty is planning, designing, building and installing the antennas which is really more fun than operating... for me. Other people arrive at 6PM and operate ALL NIGHT LONG, wrapped in sleeping blankets (it's chilly in Western WA in June), sucking down coffee, and they are in hog-heaven. I *sleep* unless awakened by an out-of-gas generator or a high-VSWR complaint.
The Machias Radio Group, W7MRG, will be out in WWA this year exercising their brand new club call and I'm an old ham who's all excited about it! Golly.
73, Steve N4SL Machias, WA CN88
P.S. It's not a contest because I've never won it so there.
Field Day, as said in many of the other replies, is to demonstrate the ability to set up antennas and stations in nonstandard areas with less than optimum operating conditions, and operate: make contacts.
Having said that, I must say that I agree with K3FT and W0AKR: Field Day will be what you and the club make it. Our club is pretty laid back when it comes to operating, but fairly intense when it comes to antenna setup. Last year, we had separate antennas for 10, 15, 20, 40, and 80 meters, with very little interference between. When operating time came, we got serious for a few hours. While most of our group would not call themselves contesters with 100+/hour rates, we did our share of contacts until supper time.
Our bunch likes the fellowship part of FD. Burgers, dogs, fried "taters", desert, the works.........
After that, story time around the camp fire and some spare operating when someone took a notion.
The point is this: it is up to you and yours to make FD what you want it to be, contest/operating event, fun, emergency preparedness, what have you.
73's and have fun!
When I operate field day , I find the swampest, skeeter infested areas and set up
and operate that way using both sun and generator power. This has presented some
real challenges in the past but hey If were ever in a real emergency crunch I do not
think we would get gravy operating positions, best thing about it is dont have to worry about
getting malaria or snake bites (sometimes hi). I have never operated field day as a
die hard contester points dont matter to me. Just set up and have some fun. the local club
has a big setup here usually at the fairgrounds and that give ham radio a little pr.
In answer to your question what is field day, what was field day and what will become of it
well I think field day 35 years ago was pretty much like today except the gear is a lot lighter
and we have many more stations operating in it. I think field day will always be around
its a good practice setup and pr device as well.
04-03-2002, 08:10 PM
I've heard people who used to be in our Venture Crew's sponsoring organization (we've since formed our own org.) debating with members of our group whether or not Field Day was a contest or an emergency communications exercise. For us, it is on having fun and relaxing, making it a group event, families, spouses, kids, general public are all welcome to come and see what we do and try their hand at operating. We throw some tents up, antennas into the air, food on the grill (the menu is planned out a few weeks ahead of time, depending on who will be at which meals) and pull out the lawn chairs for those who aren't operating or working on something else. The youth (myself included, though technically I'm not a youth per se) are thrown on the air and gain experience in HF work. This year I'm going to suggest we get some VHF/UHF going, either for FD proper, or run a training net, partly because I feel training and practice are good things, partly because we're within a stone's throw of a repeater, and partly because we can. We shall see. No matter what we do, it remains the same: a learning experience for all (what do you mean the control for the mast is stuck in the "hold" position?), a fun time, and a chance to do what we as hams do best, communicate (though some would argue "improvise").
My $.00 (business office at college has my $.02)
And as for the idea of doing a contest in the dead of winter...bring it on! I am from Minnesota, and am currently attending college in Moorhead. If the prairie winds don't get you, the blizzards, wind chills, or flooding (1997 and to an extent 2001) will.
04-17-2002, 01:22 AM
I go to meet people, to not stick out when carring 4 HTs, because my car looks cool to other hams with all the antennas, and for the great food. oh, and did i mention its a great place to meet other hams who share similar intrests?
04-17-2002, 01:04 PM
field day, Go out in a field, eat food, drink some drink, talk with friends, lie about
how big the fish that got away was and operate the radios. IN THAT ORDER.
Field days should be fun. It should be inventive on antenna types and operations.
It should involve the community.
It should not be a contest for the most points.. If I want that Ill find a sweepstakes
weekend and operate from a cow pasture.
04-25-2002, 12:09 AM
I'm looking forward to FD in hopes of working some new ones towards 5BWAS.
04-25-2002, 12:18 AM
Dear Mr. MAW,
I'm a huge proponent of ARRL'S FIELD DAY MYSELF, and as long as you keep your ICE-CHEST FULL OF BREWSKIS your team mates will LOVE YOU FOR IT!!!
http://www.qrz.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif es 3s!!!
Field Day was the first on-air event I participated in as a Novice back in 1983.
For years, it was my favorite operating event. Now, its tied with the PA QSO Party in that regard, but is still nonetheless one of the most enjoyable things I have done in Ham Radio.
As many of you may know from my Five Band WAS Mobile CW efforts (only 3 Qs on 80 Meters to go!http://www.qrz.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif, I am an active and enthusiastic HF mobilier. Last year I placed 8th in the Mobile Class standings.
This year I plan to be once again in the Mobile Class signing my own call.
This year, however, I have a MUCH better antenna and a great location on the Delaware River in the SNJ Section, with great take-offs over brackish water to the N, NW, W, and SW, where most of the FD action will be relative to SNJ.
One thing that I have always thought kind of unfair in the FD Rules is that ARRL scores all kinds of mobiles, everything from the radio room on the Queen Mary to my little Toyota Tacoma in the same class, the former having full sized antennas just like some fixed stations.
I have always felt that Maritime/Marine mobiles and automotive mobiles should be scored seperately, to keep things on an even playing field.
One other thing that occurs to me from time to time is that some competitive Field Day "Mobile" stations are in actuality portables, i.e., they mount a Gap Titan DX vertical on a tripod in the bed of a pickup truck and consider themselves "mobile" when they are really portable stations, the League lacking a clear definition of what constitutes a "mobile" station.
A Mobile station is a station capable of transmitting and receiving "in motion" according to the Field Day Rules.
This requirement is then followed by the phrase "and normally operated that way."
So if I use a Gap Titan DX Vertical in Field Day when competing in the Mobile Class, but I have to assemble it at the spot where I intend to operate,,,and then, after its mounted, drive back and forth 10 feet each way..and I further state that this is the way I normally operate my
"mobile" rig,,,then as per FD Rules,,,I am "mobile." HI.
But everyone knows that a setup like that is not a truely mobile station.
I have proposed a completely new kind of contest featuring mobile stations called the North American
HF Mobile Challenge. In the rules, I have seperated mobile stations by type: Vehicular, Marine/Maritime,
Aeronautical, Bicycle, Pedestrian. Mobile stations could work anyone, fixed stations could only work mobiles, bonus points for working mobile to mobile, mobiles can be worked again when crossing either county or state lines (to be determined), and best of all, fixed stations cannot call CQ,,,they have to Search and Pounce for mobile stations calling CQ!
One of the rules is that Vehicular Mobiles must be able to transmit and receive at the maxium highway speed allowed by law in their state of license. So much for pickups with Gap Verticals on them. I think FD should have the same standard in its Mobile Class.
I am looking for a sponsor for it.....
Anyway, just my thoughts on the Field Day Mobile Class,,and oh yes! I love Field Day in general!
06-06-2002, 05:04 AM
Ironically if there was a nuclear strike - assuming you survived the initial blast - the radiation alone would pretty much kill all forms of radio propagation including hf and vhf.
</span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote (WB2WIK @ Feb. 27 2002,14:43)</td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE">such as a major earthquake or nuclear strike, VHF might prove of little help because everyone "within range" on VHF would be impacted, and nobody'd be able to help.[/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>