Has Field Day always been a contest?
I'm so new I squeak, sorry... I've only seen one FD on person, but I've been following a lot of discussions here.
A *lot* of the discussion here seems to be focused on contest rules, number of QSOs per second, and the like.
Is Field Day a contest where everyone should be pushing for the most points possible, is it a great excuse to get together with a bunch of ham friends and camp out/picnic, is it a way to practice post-disaster comms, is it a way to showcase the importance of ham radio and get more people on the air, or ???
Or is it radically different things to different people?
Here is what I posted on another thread...
Field Day can best described as a pie cut into three pieces.
1. Emergency excercise
2. Social event
The participant, or participating club/agency can gear the event to whatever fits their model. A "served agency" may choose to use it as an exercise for field experience. A "club" may use it as a social event for a cook-out, re-union, etc... Some groups may only operate simply to gather a score to get printed in a magazine.
The participants choose how large, or how present, any one of the three slices are.
Given that I take the time, energy, etc... to go set up a good station, I expect and want to make as many QSO's as possible. For me it is a "contest." For others, it might not come even close. To me, that is the good thing about the event.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
― Winston Churchill
Originally Posted by K6TEP
73, Jim N3AWS
Field day is what ever you want it to be.
Just have fun doing it.
Good day Dennis
I do all 3. Set up as an Emergency Event, operate it as it were a Contest (for awhile), and then socialize and enjoy the good comraderie of our club members.
It is important to do all 3, especially the socializing. Some who come out to FD never touch a mike or key, but still help out in many ways for the overall good of the event. Others, like myself, go crazy on the radio for it is one of the few times in life that you can be on the RX end of a Pileup. Having millions of stations calling is quite a rush, just like being a DX Station! But I am also responsible for "carrying my load" and helping out as much as possible so I won't be a SLACKER. This year, I was on the verge of getting very sick, so I started failng physically on the teardown. Had to be cooled down and hydrated. So don't overdo it on FD. Just have fun.
This is just a message board, but in person at the actual field day event, you realize things are occurring quite differently.
Originally Posted by K6TEP
For example you will find a lot of people just sitting around in lawn chairs yaking it up with one another. Of course, there are those attending who are involved in the actual radio "contest" component of the event, but it's not always the main attraction. I think the food is often the main attraction myself..lol
When I am not yelling "cq field day, cq field day" into a microphone, that is usually when I find myself getting tangled up in wire antenna's, sitting around or meeting with other hams. Usually having lengthy philosophical discussions pertaining to just about any subject matter lol and generally having myself a good time.
So no, it's not a "contest" in the reality of things, although I can see how you might come to that conclusion reading about it on the message boards.
73 de Charles - KC8VWM
North American QRP CW Club #3159, SKCC# 5752
Depends on the group. Back in the early 90's, the San Jose State University Radio Club (W6YL) was desperate to finish in the top ten in class 2A. One of my best ham buddies Tim KH6N and I worked with a couple of guys from the group. When they found out Tim and I were VHF/UHF contesters and that I had a complete OSCAR satellite station, they begged us operate with them. Tim and I were not members of the club and had never taken a class at SJSU. We were clearly "hired guns".
This was back when OSCAR 13 was fully operational and OSCAR 10 was still functional. We made a ton of contacts on AO-13 and had a lot of fun. AO-13 was an awesome satellite, and I feel a little bad that current satellite operators aren't able to experience a high altitude transponder.
It was not a social event at all. We had our own tent, food, beer and generator. We didn't hang around with the other group members (although we did get a few curious ones to work some satellite contacts).
I believe they did finish on the top ten that year. Tim and I went with them one more time and then we lost interest.
Field Day has always been a "contest", in that there have always been rules, scores, a required exchange, etc. The rules have changed over the years (first FD was 1933, IIRC) but there's always been a competitive element.
What makes FD so attractive to so many hams - and also such an enigma - is that the rules permit such a wide variety of activities.
So while FD has always been a contest, it is not just a contest. It can be a wide variety and combination of things.
In fact the same FD effort can be different things to different people. I've been on Field Day where some hams came out and worked really hard on setup and takedown. Field Day at that operation would never have happened without them, but they never actually made a single FD QSO. Others did nothing but make hundreds/thousands of QSOs. Still others did a little of everything. Etc.
Whatever floats yer boat.
73 de Jim, N2EY
Some fun facts:
- In the early days of US amateur radio, "casual" portable operation was not permitted. Your station license specified the station location.
- In the early days of Field Day, there were actually two events per summer - one in June and one in August. The August event never really caught on, and was dropped after a few years.
- For many years, the June event was in early June, not late June. From what I have read, one of the big reasons the date changed was so that it would no longer fall in the school year.
- There used to be a mobile category called "Club Aggregate" or something like that. Its purpose was to encourage mobile operation. Hams would make Field Day contacts from their mobiles using their own calls, and then, when submitting logs, would identify themselves as members of a specific club. The total scores of all members would then be added to compute the club score. A large club could run up an incredible score! (This category was eventually removed, in part because there were relatively few entries)
In the ARRL rules:
2. Object: To work as many stations as possible on any and all amateur bands (excluding the 60, 30, 17, and 12-meter bands) and in doing so to learn to operate in abnormal situations in less than optimal conditions. A premium is placed on developing skills to meet the challenges of emergency preparedness as well as to acquaint the general public with the capabilities of Amateur Radio.
Be sure to listen for my beacon on 28.278.8 MHz