Field Day

This week I am using this column to discuss Field Day. Field Day is an annual on-air event. It is part emergency preparedness exercise and part contest. Depending on who you ask it could be described as either. I would be define it as an emergency preparedness exercise first with a contest aspect.

Field Day is always the 4th full weekend in June which is June 22-23, 2024. It runs 24 hours (yes, all night) from 1pm CDT (1800 UTC) Saturday to 1pm CDT (1800 UTC) Sunday. While there are multiple classifications, we operate as class A which means off of emergency power or away from commercial mains. In the past we have operated anywhere from 2 to 7 simultaneous stations. We have operated from parks, Edmond Fire Station 5 and other temporary locations. Many times a generator has been used for power but last year a member loaned his large battery bank with an on-demand propane generator. The generator was turned off for most of the night to keep from bothering the neighbors and we kept on operating!

The goal during Field Day is to contact as many other stations as possible. This is where the contest aspect comes in. Some groups will really emphasize the contest aspect and ensure each of their stations is manned all 24 hours and they will set up a large number of stations. Last year we operated as 3A which means 3 simultaneous transmitters running on emergency power. Our stations were not all manned for the full 24 hours but I don’t see that as an issue. The main thing is we all had fun!

I prefer to emphasize the emergency preparedness aspect of the event. There is a great challenge in setting up 3 or 4 radios, antennas for each and have them work without interfering with each other. Several of our ham bands are harmonics of each other which can cause issues. Then you just having these transmitters (an antennas) in close proximity they can interfere with each other. All stations have to be within a 1000ft diameter circle so they cannot be too spread out. This all creates a challenge!

The Field Day rules also include bonus points for things such as running 100% on emergency power, setting up in a public location, media publicity, having a site visit by a member of a served (public service) agency, and more. There is so much to field day that you can easily see where this can become a huge event for a club.

With all of the aspects to Field Day, we need help from club members to make the event a success. Please consider helping us make Field Day 2024 a success!

The ARRL has a page dedicated to Field Day that has all the details of the event: In addition, the On All Bands blog has some good info that was posted prior to Field Day 2023:

Below are 2 files: A Field Day flier and the Field Day rules.

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