Every year the amateur radio community has an emergency preparedness exercise called – Field Day. It takes place at different times of the year in different regions of the world. For the US and Canada, field day is the 4th full weekend of June, starting at 1800 UTC Saturday and running through 2059 UTC Sunday (June 27-28, 2020). Even though it is next week, I thought I’d share our club’s approach here, in case anyone finds it useful.
This year has been an interesting one so far, and field day will be no different. Field day has multiple purposes:
- Ham radio’s Open House – where others can see the hobby in action
- An opportunity for those who have not been operating to get on the air, with the help of others
- A social activity where hams can meet and mingle (and usually eat together)
- A chance to operate in simulated emergency conditions
It combines public service, emergency preparedness, community outreach, and technical skills all in a single event. Field Day has been an annual event since 1933 and remains the most popular event in ham radio.
The SCHH Ham Radio Club executive board met to discuss how we could meet most of these requirements during the current environment safely. Fortunately, the ARRL had made a couple of changes to the rules that we will take advantage of.
- 2020 Rule change 1: For Field Day 2020 only, Class D stations may work all other Field Day stations, including other Class D stations, for points. Field Day rule 4.6 defines Class D stations as “Home stations,” including stations operating from permanent or licensed station locations using commercial power. Class D stations ordinarily may only count contacts made with Class A, B, C, E, and F Field Day stations, but the temporary rule waiver for 2020 allows Class D stations to count contacts with other Class D stations for QSO credit.
- 2020 Rule change 2: An aggregate club score will also be published, which will be the sum of all individual entries indicating a specific club. Ordinarily, club names are only published in the results for Class A and Class F entries, but the temporary rule waiver for 2020 allows participants from any Class to optionally include a single club name with their submitted results following Field Day. For example, if Podunk Hollow Radio Club members Becky, W1BXY, and Hiram, W1AW, both participate in 2020 Field Day — Hiram from his Class D home station, and Becky from her Class C mobile station — both can include the radio club’s name when reporting their individual results. The published results listing will include individual scores for Hiram and Becky, plus a combined score for all entries identified as Podunk Hollow Radio Club.
This means that each club member station that wants to participate in an aggregated club score will need to submit their own entries postmarked or submitted electronically by Tuesday July 28, 2020.
A requirement is that all the stations wanting to affiliate with a club use the exact same spelling of the club name, as part of their submission.
Other opportunities for bonus points are available like previous years:
- Satellite contact
- W1AW bulletin copy
- Alternative power
- Media contact
One other opporunity we discussed is the fact that simplex QSOs on 2 meters should also count, so we plan on having a simplex net (147.55 Mhz) during field day at 3PM Saturday — every contact/exchange made will count on both ends of the QSO.
This net is an opportunity for hurricane preparedness as well (since that is something we worry about down here in South Carolina), with the exception that we’d also include the field day exchange as well.
My current plan is to operate using batteries, an Icom 7100 and a Buddipole on my back porch. I’ll focus on digital modes. The way the bands have been lately, 10m and 6m may even be open?!?!