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.


  1. I will bring my FT-857 with auto-tuner, along with an inverted Vee, wire antenna cut for 40 meters, and feedline. With the FT-857, and auto-tuner, we should be able to work 80, 40, 20, 15 and 10 meters with the one inverted vee. I have a push up pole (30 feet) mounted on a small single axle utility trailer that we can use as a support for the inverted vee. I am hoping to have time to mount a 6 meter horizontal loop on the trailer as well. This will give us 6 meter coverage using the FT-857. Bob has offered the use of his HF rig as well so we will need a second HF antenna and feedline for it. Ken mentioned that he has a vertical HF antenna that he would bring. Richard and David have identified a VHF antenna that is already mounted on the tower there at the EOC, so we can use it along with the EOC's VHF transceiver (not sure of brand) for a 2 meter station. Anyone know about programming on the EOC's VHF transceiver? Is it an Amateur transceiver that can be easily tuned to simplex 2 meter frequencies? We need to think about 12V power supplies for all the rigs we want to put on the air also.
    If you have parts, radios, antennas, feedline, power supplies, etc that you can bring, please comment here so we can start checking off our list of items that we need for Field Day.
    So, start you pile of equipment that you are willing to bring and use during the Field Day event.
    Some coolers with ice, water and or soft drinks would be handy as well.

  2. I have Keith's HF Vertical with tape measure radials. I also have a both a small and a large power supply with Anderson power-poles on them. I have two 30ft tall collapsible fiberglass masts that can slide over a fence post or a pipe.

    I believe the EOC 2m rig is an Icom-8000. (I think, Michael should know for sure.). Pretty sure it is FM only.

    I've got access to limitless amounts of ice. Do we have data cables for Bob's Mark V?