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

    I'm not a member of either org, and don't do Facebook either. QRZ is enough social media for me.

    In most contests, especially the OTA part of FD, not much attention is paid to absolute scores. Judging performance is within each category. In WFD that would be Home vs Home, Outoor vs Outdoor, etc. Competition is between stations with the same number of ops in comparable environments.

    I see this not so much being rules oriented as perhaps lack of experience in contests or misplaced stubborness by the affected operator to operate differently. It's part of the overall skills to be learned and practiced, as compared to those used in other radio field trips like SOTA etc.

    "Running" a frequency is one way of operating in a contest. However, unlike implied in the quoted post, it does not guarantee the best results. Many top contest operators use "Search and Pounce" (S&P) operating technique, aka "spinnng the big knob" :rolleyes: some nearly exclusively or the majority of the time.

    Making the decision between when to do "Runs" vs "S&P" can be complicated based on many variables, tactics, not simply a strategic advantage of having "towers and amps". Factors can be very dynamic; propagation and perception of available stations to contact being paramount. Small stations operated well with the blessing of good propagation, can compete favorably with much larger outfits in other areas or that are less fortunate with the ionosphere.

    I operated WFD the last two years, as W4SUN, a 1H station, single op at Home. My home station is on a city lot, running "100w and a wire"; literally wire dipoles for 20m and up, suspended off top of a 4om quarter wave ground mounted tubing vertical, which also holds a parallel wire as a 80m top loaded 1/4w Marconi T.

    Not many "Runs" were used at first, mostly S&P, until later in the event when propagation enabled even a peanut-whistle to be loud in some places, and new curious stations got OTA, so "Runs" started to pay off for a better QSO rate.

    Kept busy the rest of the time changing bands and using three modes. Or taking a nap :D

    I placed in the top ten out of hundreds of other entrants in the 1H category both times and feel very satisfied to have acheived that. :)

    If it weren't for so many Home stations, especially, unlike me, loud ones with big towers and amps, there would be far fewer opportunities for QSO's for intrepid op's out in the field to make. :eek:

    The more the merrier, IMO.

    WFD 2020 Home results


    2 WB8ERJ 1H OH 204 126 56 13 2 1500 16268 15466
    4 N3CU 1H EPA 250 175 0 12 2 0 14400 13536
    6 K8RO 1H MI 128 87 55 13 2 1500 12212 10778
    7 K7TH 1H MI 39 28 73 20 2 1500 11140 10248
    8 WB8REI 1H OH 214 196 0 9 2 0 10908 9864
    11 W1OC 1H NH 913 0 0 4 2 1500 12360 8057
    12 W4SUN 1H WCF 77 167 62 8 2 0 8528 7952

    WFD 2019 home results

    5 WB8ERJ 1H OH 63 143 80 10 2 1500 11680 10755
    9 W5LRS 1H LA 398 3 0 10 2 1500 9880 8635
    12 K4OTH 1H NC 2 59 102 8 4 0 10304 8128
    13 KF6CRW 1H ID 241 31 30 10 2 1500 9486 7993
    15 K0PB 1H EPA 82 199 0 6 2 0 5760 5340
    16 W4SUN 1H WCF 49 99 66 8 2 0 6032 5328
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2021
  2. W0IS

    W0IS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Due to a quirk in the rules, operating from a popup camper is considered to be "outdoors," even though I'll have heat supplied by commercial power and will be rather comfortable. There are also bonus points from operating away from home, so I'll be at a campground of a state park, probably one of the few "outdoor" operations from the northern tier of states.
    W0PV likes this.
  3. KC3PBI

    KC3PBI XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    It's just another way of saying that the event is open to all children age 65 & up.
    N0ECK likes this.
  4. KK4JI

    KK4JI XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Setting up macros in RTTY, PSK, and even CW to press three buttons (Call or call sign, exchange, TU/QRZ?) for completing a contact is no different than FTx operation. *A LOT* of folks do that, then complain about FTx operation. Hell, I even hear it for voice. :rolleyes::rolleyes:
  5. KK9W

    KK9W Ham Member QRZ Page

    I don't think those who are "complaining" are doing so over macros at all. I think its about using a mode incapable of communication in an event that's purpose is to demonstrate preparedness afield being outside the scope of the event.

    That's the WFD board's reason for the decision and I think it's the right call. It's not about being for or against certain modes. It's about staying true to the event's purpose.
    N5CM likes this.
  6. KK4JI

    KK4JI XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I don't think "incapable" is accurate. By the definition of the word "communication" (see below), the mode certainly fits the bill. I submit that the required "communication" for logging a contact during this event FTx can do perfectly fine: Call sign, Class + Category, ARRL Section (or DX). If they're okay with hitting F1, F2, and F3 as perfectly acceptable for other modes, then there's no reason FTx can't be used. If not, then they need a new exchange requirement.

    BTW, I was pretty much a naysayer to FTx as well up until I trried it and realized that so many people use macros or memory keyers in these events. At that moment, I realized it was absolutely no different in practice.

    1. 1.
      the imparting or exchanging of information or news.
      "at the moment I am in communication with London"

    2. 2.
      means of sending or receiving information, such as phone lines or computers.
      "satellite communications"
  7. W0PV

    W0PV Ham Member QRZ Page

    To @WM5L - while I pushed back a bit on your objection to the WFD "NO FT8/FT4 rule" in my post #11, I'm going to reverse course a bit now.

    Restating the WFD Rules again, "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)"

    I had a bad feeling about that last parentheical statement. So I ran an experiment. The conclusion is the WFD exchange CAN be passed via FT modes!

    The only barrier is that the WSJT-X software is not set up to pass the exchange in as elegant manner as it is for other events. However, that doesn't make it impossible or even that difficult. Here's how to do it.

    Set WSJT-X via Settings Advanced into contest mode for RTTY Round Up. This will enable the Contest Logger window. Then create TX Macro's for WFD, including one that enables sending your WFD exchange with call sign, category (ie 1H) and ARRL section (WCF).

    A "CQ WFD" can be sent, and/or a replied to with the appropriate TX Macro. However the drawback is that there is little of the "point & click" convienience usually experienced with WSJT-X.

    Data needs to be manually entered via keyboard. "Auto Sequencing" must be unchecked, all transmissions selected manually via the TX5 "Free Text" macro list. The called station call sign must be manually entered at the front of the TX Macro, and, when logging both exchanges, Sent and Received exchange data must be manually entered into the "Log QSO" box slots before OK is clicked.

    See screenshot image below of the test with key points circled in red. An exchange like this was successully made over-the-air with KØKX last night.

    Spoiled WSJT-X users may wince, but once its set up, its really not as hard to do as it reads.

    FTn, even via WSJT-X, can indeed send the WFD QSO exchange "verbatim".

    The WFDA board should reconsider or restate their position. It's totally possible to use FT modes in their event with the present contest exchange and mode tools.

    Why not just let it be up to the participants?

    73, John, WØPV

  8. KK9W

    KK9W Ham Member QRZ Page

    Interesting, but the fact remains as stated in the reasoning in the rules for such a decision is as follows,

    "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. PS... There are a few folks talking about using JS8Call... you might want to try that. It works similarly to FT8, but is far more robust in what it can send and receive.

    It's their event, their rules. Even if it can send the simple exchange the latter reason is more logical. If FT8/4 are the only modes some people are willing to use then this event isn't for them.
  9. W0PV

    W0PV Ham Member QRZ Page

    I don't see any logic.

    I see a misunderstanding or rigid mindset of how FT modes xmit information, and perhaps a naive and unneccesary prejudice against the WSJT-X app. (hence encouragement to use JS8)

    FT modes are limited by a fixed number of characters PER XMSN "payload", but nothing prevents sending multiple transmissions to convey all the info a message requires. The same thing occurs with Packet which is an accepted WFD mode! :eek:

    Simply using WSJT-X TX Macros and TX5 Free Text messages enables flexibility for any kind of traffic. It's not as simple and intuitive as the current precanned & sequenced format, but with a little practice totally usable.

    Example of a FT TX Macro QSO that would satisfy the EMCOMM challenge presented,

    CQ D MGY
    W0PV MGY EL87pl

    Each xmsn could be sent several times per minute (FT4) until acknowledged, the whole sequence is repeatable, and with better weak signal and QRM/QRN resistant FEC then other modes.

    As I first posted a few days ago, WFD rules currently promote using AS MANY (capable) MODES AS POSSIBLE, not just sitting on one, through the band-mode scoring multiplier. So why restrict the modes? Let the RADIO OPERATORS decide :cool:

    If the developers of WSJT-X saw a bunch of WFD op's doing this on their "watering holes" frequencies they may be more motivated to incorporate the exchange into a future release. :)
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2021
    N3RYB and KC3PBI like this.
  10. N6SPP

    N6SPP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    WFD Exchange + WSJT-X: The contest section in the menu will not allow for "1H MI", but the Free Text Msg box will (up to 13 characters, including spaces).. We use the Free Text Msg box for 10-10 Exchanges with no problems for example. Another way is to use the Canned Msg drop-down in TX6.. 73, n6spp (wsjt'ing since 2001)
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2021

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