delara news Delaware Amateur Radio Association, Delaware OH   VOL 36 NUMBER 12

Field Day

Field Day, 2017

The ARRL Field Day was conceived decades ago with the idea that radio amateurs should be able to prove the FCC’s purpose for our service: setting up radio equipment in temporary locations, using non-permanent power sources, and trying to pass messages to other stations similarly set up in case operations from permanent locations was not possible. To try to increase interest, the ARRL set up a scoring system and published standings of how everybody did.  Despite that, the ARRL insists that Field Day is not a contest, though everybody gives that a wink and a chuckle. One might say that the primary activity of this club is to plan and execute Field Day and then talk about it and start planning for the next one. In early November, the ARRL released the results of the 2017 version of Field Day.  Below is a summary of DELARA’s efforts over the last 15 years:          Class Score QSOs Place Class Place Section Place National 2002 4A 13,680 4,066 5 1 15 2003 4A 12,652 3,537 2 1 10 2004 2A 5,768 1,376 62 14 195 2005 2A 2,752 691 178 35 621 2006 4A 14,010 3,974 1 1 14 2007 4A 10,836 3,125 2 1 32 2008 4A 14,202 3,992 1 1 11 2009 4A 9,688 2,581 7 2 62 2010 4A 11,610 3,439 5 1 31 2011 4A 15,172 4,445 3 1 13 2012 4A 15,456 4,377 2 1 16 2013 4A 15,458 4,391 2 1 15 2014 4A 14,456 4,086 3 1 13 2015 4A 15,766 4,377 2 1 10 2016 4A 13,484 3,802 2 1 14 2017 4F 9,188 2,626 1 5 60 I hear some of you saying “But you said earlier that it is not a contest.  So why did you post results as if Field Day is a contest?”  Well, that would be because we are mostly guys and guys love to compete.  We would not get out of bed in the morning if there was no competition involving something, even if it is going to work and discussing our fantasy football team standings (not that Yours Truly does that).  One reason for looking at past results is for the motivation aspect to get better.  If we are going to be really effective at doing emergency communication, then we should maximize our effectiveness at setting up temporary antennas, operating when we’re tired, dealing with stuff that breaks, understanding propagation issues, dealing with Mother Nature, working through interference and noise issues and all the other things it takes to reach other operators wherever they may be (yes, even those guys in Huntsville). Looking at the summary, we can see that our little club has done pretty well most years; even in The Great Deluge of 2015 when it would not stop raining.  We have finished at the top of our section (Ohio) many times.  Placing high nationally is pretty impressive considering that we have never used more than four transmitters; one way to bump up your score is to operate more transmitters or operate off of batteries, the latter makes a big difference. In the class column, the number – 4, for example – is the number of HF transmitters – and A means portable and F means emergency operations center (which includes Red Cross facilities). So, if scores were the only things that mattered then our challenge would be to put antennas up everyplace and recruit the best iron-butt contesters to keep those radios red hot.  But, Field Day is many things. Sure, we take our scores seriously and we are always looking for way to hear better, get out better, keep the stations humming away and all that.  But, there is also the social aspect of it.  Field Day is our summer picnic and we get a chance to see many members that we may not see many other times.  Having a nice facility for people to come to this year led to a big crowd. Food is important and we have an expert chef who keeps us well fed.  With some of the challenges we faced, food or going hungry is not one of them.  The main dinner late Saturday afternoon is a great chance to catch up with people and see how everybody is doing.  You could stuff yourself like there is no tomorrow and we would still have enough food to keep the operators going all night. Since we were at the Red Cross building for the first time this year, there was a joint communication exercise with some Red Cross staffers.  Some of the officials that we have been in constant contact with over the last year were there along with others from outside the immediate area.  I talked to two who were very excited about what we have been doing and the potential we have to assist them in their mission.  That was huge. This year, we had a near perfect set up for our GOTA (Get On The Air) station.  I saw many young people, a few licensed, and they were keeping our GOTA chief, Bob, W8ERD, busy.  The light on his head was bright, presumably from all the activity there.  This was a very good public relations vehicle and it is something that we must do again. The large conference room was a nice place to have, not only for the Saturday afternoon gathering, but to hang around and watch the big monitor and see how things were going. Challenges: well, we are amateurs and things do not always go perfectly (except for the food).  We had unbelievable noise issues which no doubt brought down our overall score.  I’m convinced that contacts were there because the 80 meter/20 meter SSB team did very well.  They were located farthest from the main building and did not experience the noise as much.  Since June, we have had several discussions and investigations into the noise and I know that solutions will be found.  Back to the challenge and competition comment from earlier: this is a motivator. I think we had a great Field Day and I think that many thanks go out to everyone who was involved in whatever way that they were.  By the time this gets published, Field Day 2018 will be only 6 months away.  Please keep in mind that this is your club and your input to these things is important.  Over the last few years, we have added several members, some of whom come from other clubs and have seen what other groups have done.  Just because we have done things a certain way for however long does not mean that we have to keep doing things that way.  Let me know your thoughts. 73, Joe, AA8TA  
© DELARA News, the official monthly newsletter of the Delaware Amateur Radio Association, Delaware, OH