That time of year has come around again! Field Day is rapidly approaching, and the Broadcast Engineers Amateur-radio Network List Server (re-mailer) has been buzzing about it.
This is the day when amateur radio operators and even non-hams get together and set up stations, mostly in the outdoors, and run on emergency power (generator and batteries).
It is a test of the amateurs’ ability rapidly to assemble a station and antenna array at the last minute (you lose points if you set up early), and keep the station running all night with as many volunteers as he can find.
Every contact the station makes is worth a certain number of points. The object is to be the station with the most verifiable contacts in the 24-hour period. Field Day is the fourth full weekend of every June, beginning at 1800 UTC Saturday and ending at 2100 UTC Sunday.
Field Day this year will be held June 23-24.
The event is a blast, especially at larger sites, which usually have multiple stations and various modes of operation, from packet and amateur television to FM and SSB on all the different bands. Usually anyone on the site can get on the air, even non-amateurs.
Most station sites operate under one high-class license such as a club call sign or a single call sign of one of the station owners. This allows easier scoring of the contacts.
This is the perfect way to get some new operators into the hobby because they actually get to play with the equipment legally – as long as the control operator is there, anyway.
Don’t forget the food! Usually, at the larger sites, a bunch of people get together and make a huge pot of chili, hotdogs, brawts or even hamburgers … Everyone usually kicks in for pop and chips and other snacks. One could defiantly blow his/her diet at Field Day! Nothing like eating a hot dog at 2:30 a.m. and trying to not to get any ketchup on the microphone.
Oh, the technical conversations that occur. Everything from the proper way to put on a PL-259 connector to how we think those super-high-tech spy gadgets really work.
I even remember some talk of trying to load up the HF rig on an AM tower, after it goes off the air. Wow, what a station that would be.
If you can make it to a Field Day site, even if you’re not a amateur radio operator, please go. You will have a blast. Listen to your local amateur repeaters, nets or find you’re nearest ham radio club to find out where the nearest site is.
E-mail for information on how to join B.E.A.N. My address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Snail mail address is Ken Locke C/O Northern Christian Radio, P.O. Box 695 Gaylord, MI 49734.