Winter Field Day - Everything you need to know!

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by NJ7V, Jan 5, 2021.

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  1. W0PV

    W0PV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Dave, while agreeing wholly with your sentiments, I have a slight nit-pick; FD was one of the first amateur radio contests, but not #1.

    The beginning of amateur radio competitions is a bit blurred, going way back to trans-Atlantic tests, but Sweepstakes dates back to 1929 and the organized ARRL DX event started a few years before FD too, it was called the "International Relay Party".

    Not sure what the objection to contests could be. If its the competitive aspect versus more casual QSO's, be aware that WFD, not yet being a "major" event, features much more relaxed operating. More of a QSO party.

    Even in bigger contests, I have found that most veteran op's are still very congenial, especailly in the later hours, the second day, when the QSO rate has dwindled, many have no problem stopping their "CQ run" to chat awhile, especially with old acquaintances.

    My main beef with todays contests is that most feature exchanges that are TOO EASY! The original ARRL Sweepstakes, called The January Contest, required a minimum 10 word message, and lasted TWO WEEKS!

    The most challenging contest today is the Worked All Europe series, another historical classic, that has both the usual brief 599/SN exchange, but includes the awesome bonus option of passing "QTC" messages for extra points.

    All contests promote station development and (under voluntary pressure) building operating skills so also could be good practice for passing H&W traffic.

    A great feature of WFD scoring is the encouragement of using a WIDE VARIETY of xmsn modes and across many bands (only excluding the WARC bands) through so called "band-mode" scoring multipliers.

    Basically the more modes you use on each band, the much bigger your score gets. The suggested modes are far ranging, and all free-message capable. This happens to exclude the fixed data FT format. Also from the WFD rules,

    "Modes: Any mode that can faithfully transmit the exchange intact without a conversion table…CW, SSB, AM, FM, DStar, C4FM, DMR, Packet, PSK, SSTV, RTTY, Olivia, Satellite, etc…(note FT8 & FT4 cannot)"

    Any station set up to use WSJT-X through a PC sound-card interface is ready to alternately used freely available software that enables other digital modes. I use MMTTY embedded into N1MM+ logger for RTTY and PSK. The companion MMSSTV works well too.

    I've participated in the last couple of WFD's as W4SUN and had great fun making QSOs not only on CW & SSB but also PSK31. Using macros set up for the exchange, operating PSK31 is very much like an FT mode, rig sits on one frequency, point and click on the waterfall.

    At least 20% of all my QSO's were digital, PSK. This year in WFD I hope to try to find QSO's on more modes (AM, FM, SSTV (?)) and go for that generous satellite QSO point bonus too.

    Hope to hear or see y'all OTA.

    HNY, 73, John, WØPV
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2021
    W4ZNG and W7UUU like this.
  2. W7UUU

    W7UUU Principal Moderator Lifetime Member 133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    Perfectly fine nit-pick John :) Thank you for that.

    Stay well & Happy New Year,

    AJ6KZ and W0PV like this.
  3. W4ZNG

    W4ZNG XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'm really looking forward to WFD again this year. Camping's so much better in the winters in the SE US.
    N1VAU likes this.
  4. KK9W

    KK9W Ham Member QRZ Page

    See the underlined portions of the WFD rules. No, it's not just about being portable, but being able to convey useful info is part of communication in any emergency. If you want to be able to use the mode the developers have the ability to make it happen.

    FT8/FT4 Notes: WFD has always had an Ecomm emphasis, even back when SPAR sponsored it.. We waited for FT8 2.0, and FT4 hoping they would be more flexible, but were disappointed that the new release would NOT do the WFD Exchange as it currently stands. That alone rules out using FT8/FT4 for WFD. Also, its ability to carry any emergency message is near nil... try sending "SOS - HMS TITANIC - HIT ICE - SINKING - 82.566N 34.713W". Almost any other mode can send that (or the WFD Exchange). Getting a message through bad conditions is great.. but getting only a grid square and a signal report is hardly a message of value to Ecomms. When FT8 can do the WFD exchange verbatim, it'll become part of WFD. That has been the consensus of the WFDA board for some time... We are not anti-FT8. The ARRL did not change any rules in its contests to allow FT8... FT8 developers changed what it could send to fit a few ARRL contest exchanges.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2021
    W4ZNG likes this.
  5. AD4XT

    AD4XT Ham Member QRZ Page

    If I could only participate in one event, WFD would be at the very top of my list.
    I call it a laid-back version of summer FD without the mosquito's.
    Here in GA my club has a good time with it. We have 30 to 35 each year come by on Saturday.
    Make out of it what you like. Contesting , you got it. Social event for sure. Camping and lots
    of folks hanging out socializing around the campfire. Oh' did I mention the good food?
    Everyone have fun and stay safe.
    W4ZNG and N1VAU like this.
  6. AD7DB

    AD7DB Ham Member QRZ Page

    "You may claim 1500 bonus points for making a QSO via Satellite (once only, see Satellite rule)."

    But please people, do not use AO-91 or AO-92 at night (or when either is in eclipse). Their batteries are going out.
    Using these satellites only in the daytime will help extend their remaining lives.
    I know a lot of folks will try a satellite for this event, who don't get on them regularly and probably don't read the Satellite forum to know about this.
    Thank you.
    VE6KDX likes this.
  7. N0CEL

    N0CEL Ham Member QRZ Page

    No, I was NOT aware of that. Thank you for the info, Dave! I know there are others that felt the same as I did...guess I will have to give them a little of this history. 73 de N0CEL
  8. K6MTS

    K6MTS XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    WFD is something I have wanted to do for some time now, hope to get out and snow camp for this one, KX2 and a wire in a tree. Thanks for highlighting this cool (pun intended) event/weekend.
    AJ6KZ likes this.
  9. N0ECK

    N0ECK Ham Member QRZ Page

    It doesn't encourage portable operations, there's no benefit when home stations are scored the same as portable stations. As we found out during ARRL FD this summer, the home stations will "run" a frequency while the dedicated portable ops will be pushed around because they don't have towers or amplifiers.
    I was a member of SPAR before this event was stolen by WFDA. The rule changes after WFDA took over have removed any incentive to operate as a portable station while also pushing the actual exchanges more toward other contests. But don't mention this in the Facebook group, it got me blocked.
    WN1MB and N3FAA like this.
  10. KE0NRE

    KE0NRE Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    There are many big, small and niche competitions on the calendar. Contest organizers are free to set the rules any way they want. If WFD rules seem arbitrary, inconsistent or illogical, it's WFD's game. That's how they want want to play. If new rules would make a better game, you could start a more interesting competition. We all love to overcome new challenges.

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