June 01, 2014

Preparing for Field Day 2014

Field Days is fours weeks away and it is time to think about specifics!

The club asked, and received permission to hold Field Day 2014 at the Rusk County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) which serves as the county's Emergency Operations Center or "EOC". There is a special provision in the ARRL Field Day rules that allow for EOC operations and would classify our station as an "F" station. Once nice benefit is we can use normal power mains and even has air conditioning! (Can I get a big "yeah!"?)

 Going over the rules again here are some thoughts:

The first thought is deciding on how many transmitters we need. Field Day rules classify all participating groups by the number of radios they have transmitting simultaneously at any time during the event AND the type of operation (low power, off the grid, individual at home, at an
EOC, etc.).  Some example classifications could be: 1A, 5A, 2B, 1C, 3F, etc.

  • Class F (EOC) stations are eligible for a FREE VHF station as long as it is exclusively over 50Mhz. some club members expressed the desire to have 6m station and this could be it! "FREE" means it does not count as an additional transmitter even if it is used by additional operators at the same time.
  • If we have at least two transmitters ("2F") or greater, we're eligible for a FREE GOTA station, but it must use a DIFFERENT callsign. GOTA stands for "Get On The Air" and can be operated by new hams, unlicensed visitors and hams who have been inactive for a long time. Since we accidentally requested TWO special event call-signs  we could use K5R for the main Field Day operation and K5H for GOTA.
  • Data QSOs are worth two points, (voice only 1 point) so the more data, the better. Many of us have the ability to work PSK and other types of data.
  • So, the best setup might be two HF stations (classification "2F"), with at least one, maybe both, capable of working data. This would allow us a maximum of FOUR (Wow!) stations to be on the air at all times (with the free VHF/UHF and GOTA stations). Additionally, if each station stays at less than 150 watts we double our QSO score. 
As far as bonus points go, we should be able to get the following (each worth 100 pts.):

  • Publicity Bonus
  • Emergency Power Bonus (must test the generator at least once during event)
  • Alternate Power Bonus (someone can bring a battery charged by solar and use it to make five QSOs
  • Public location Bonus
  • Public Table Bonus
  • W1AW Bulletin Bonus (via PSK)
  • Educational Activity Bonus
  • Elected Official Visit Bonus
  • Agency Representative Visit Bonus
Additionally, we can get more points via:
  • GOTA Station (Varies based on number of contacts and operators)
  • Youth (20 points for each participant under 18 that makes at least one QSO, Max 100 pts)
So, there you go. Some thoughts for Field Day. What do you think? Click the comments below leave your own or read other people's comments.