[LARC-CQ] Field Day is only six days away!
lakelandarc at gmail.com
Sat Jun 15 16:14:42 PDT 2019
*Getting Ready For Field Day*
If this is your first field day, or if you have never participated in field
day except possibly to set up, watch, or eat, read on, otherwise, you can
In an earlier email I pointed out that watching antennas go up is a great
experience, and you can certainly learn a lot by participating. Learning to
operate on field day, well, not so much. Watching fellow hams jabber away
on the radio during field day is frankly, confusing. There is a good chance
he or she is wearing a headset, so at best you only get half the
conversation. Now add to this the fact that field day is a competitive,
despite what you may have heard, event. And competitive people, well, they
are competitive, very focused, and in this state may appear to be ignoring
you should you dare ask what they are doing. And frankly, they probably are
ignoring you. Bottom line, if you want to participate on Field Day, you are
going to need a little prep ahead of time.
Obviously, if you don’t know CW, you are at a disadvantage. You can’t pick
CW up in a couple of days. However, with a little work, you can pick up
Here is an overview of phone operations. In general operators work in
pairs. Both listen, one talks while the other records. If you want to
operate you are going to have to fit in either as a listener-talker, or a
listener-logger. The good news is that you can practice ahead of time.
Lets talk about logging first. The club uses *N3FJP Software* for logging.
At first glance it appears to be quite daunting. However, once familiar
with what it does, your fears will disappear. You can download a free copy
to play with anytime. Then in the privacy of your own home you can become
familiar with how it works. At first glance the screen makes little sense,
but I can assure you it only looks confusing until you realize what happens
on a typical Field Day QSO. You can download the software at
In many ways, each Field Day QSO is like a dance. Kinda like “one two
three, one two three, and don’t step on my toes.” Like the three step, only
three pieces of information must be shared to make a valid contact. These
are the *who*, the *what,* and the *where*. In ARRL jargon, the who is your
club call sign, the what is your class, and the where is your location. So,
K4LKL, 4A, WCF is what you must share with the operator on the other end of
the QSO. The K4LKL is obvious, but what is the meaning of 4A? This simply
means that your club is running 4 transmitters under ARRL rule A. What is
rule A? Essentially it means you are operating with generators at power
levels that exceed 5 watts. The three letters WCF stand for West Central
Florida. There are dozens of two and three letter location identifiers that
cover the US and Canada. The software lists them by region. All you have to
do is select the one you hear. While you are a 4A, the other ham may be a
1A, or a 2B, or one of the other Classes. And of course, his call sign will
be different. If you wish more detail you can visit the ARRL page, but this
is not essential.
To learn how to do something, nothing is quite as good as actually watching
someone do it. While ham radio is not a spectator sport, you can learn a
lot by watching replays. Fortunately, there are great examples of Field Day
contacts on You Tube. Here are a couple that do a good job. I think they
demonstrate good style, and take the fear out of the process as well. After
all, how difficult is it to say ten letters over the air?
<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4xhfwTtiEU>TtiEU Smooth, and so are his
videos on electronics.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUcQcTzzTrs Realistic. Ham radio is not a
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