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Dixie

Amateur Radio Klub

Amateur Radio Emergency Nets

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DAY

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This year’s Field Day will be at

Gilchrist EOC June 22-23-2024

 

1.     What is Field Day?

Field Day is a competitive event sponsored by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL). The objective is for participating individuals and organizations to:

    1. Go to a location where there is normally no communications capability.
    2. Create one.
    3. Contact as many stations as possible during the operating period.
    4. Tear the site down, and pack it away for a real emergency.

Stations can be contacted on any or all of the amateur bands (except for the 10, 18 and 24 MHz “WARC” bands) during the 27 hour operating period (1800 UTC Saturday through 2059 UTC Sunday). There are limitations on how much of the 27 hour period may be used depending upon when station setup is begun. Field Day is normally conducted on the fourth full weekend in June of each year. This is usually, but not always, the last full weekend.

Competition is open to all United States and Canadian amateurs, including the Yukon and Northwest Territories. Foreign amateur stations may be contacted for credit, but they are not eligible to compete.

Emphasis is placed on learning to operate under simulated emergency conditions and acquainting the public with amateur radio. The scoring structure provides bonus points to prevent the die-hard contesters from ignoring the public and emergency preparedness aspects of the event.

1.     How is the DARKlub involved?

The DARKlub conducts Field Day as a multipurpose event. It provides an opportunity to expose the public to amateur radio. It is the major social event of the year for the club. It provides an opportunity for “friendly” competition with other ARRL affiliated clubs throughout the country. And it provides an opportunity for learning new skills related to station setup and operating, especially under adverse or emergency conditions.

The club’s Field Day activity is publicized in the local media to alert the public to the event and its location. Club members conduct informal tours of the operating stations and answer questions regarding the Field Day operation and ham radio for non-ham visitors.

Socializing competes heavily with the actual Field Day related operating activities..

The DARKlub participates in “Class A,” (one of several categories of competition) which is for club and non-club portable operation. In this class, stations must be set up at locations that are not regular station locations. Additionally, use of facilities or structures permanently installed for Field Day are prohibited.

Beginning at 1800 UTC on the Friday before the Field Day operating period, club members will raise antennas, prep generators and prep site. Saturday morning. shelter (tents/camping trailers) set up for stations. The transformation is complete by the time the operating period begins 24 hours later. Because the club begins setup on Friday, operating time is limited to 24 hour period.

2.     Preparation.

Preparations for Field Day actually begin, each year, about three to four months before the event. A series of planning meetings are conducted by the volunteer Field Day “Incident Commander”. No one individual could possibly handle all of the arrangements necessary to pull off a successful Field Day . Other volunteers assume the responsibility for various areas of preparation. The planning meetings provide a forum to report on progress, discuss problems encountered and sharing ideas for improving club performance.

1.     The Station Master.

Early in the planning stage, one individual assumes the responsibility as “Station Master” for each station that will be operating during Field Day. Typically, there will be a station master for each band and/or mode planned for use. In some cases, such as “VHF,” one individual may assume the responsibility for several bands and/or modes.

As the title implies, the Station Master is the “Master” of a station; with the responsibility of ensuring that all required equipment, supplies, and immediate area facilities are available and operational at the start of the operating period. Further, the Station Master must arrange for primary and relief operators needed to maintain operations during the full 24-hour operating period.

A sample checklist is attached that should be helpful to the Station Master. For the most part the items listed are the minimum items needed, although some adjustments may be made depending on the experience level and preferences of the station operators. One “item” often overlooked is a tool kit containing sufficient tools to perform minor electronic and electrical repairs, such as replacement of cable connectors.

2.     Computer logging.

The DARKlub uses computer logging for all of the high volume stations. In addition to making the job of logging much easier during the contest, it makes the post-contest job of score calculation and double checking for duplicate contacts much easier. Before computer logging, dupe checking and scoring took weeks of effort by several people. Since all logs are computerized using the same logging software (“CT” by K1EA), the merging of logs, duping, and preparing the formal entry is accomplished in a matter of a few hours by one person.

The preferred computer type for Field Day is a laptop Windows 10 or better. If provisions for an external monitor and/or keyboard are included, so much the better for ease of use.

The software used is copyrighted, and strict procedures are followed to ensure that unauthorized copies are not distributed. Prior to the start of the operating period, a single revision level copy of the software is installed on the logging computers by one designated individual. Immediately following the operating period, the same individual collects the log files.

3.     Electromagnetic Interference.

Minimizing interference between many stations operating simultaneously within such a small geographic area (all stations must be within a 1000 foot diameter circle) is a major technical challenge. There are many things that must be considered to keep the interference level down to a point that other stations can be heard and contacted. Selection of transceivers and antennas, location of towers, orientation of antennas, assignment of stations to towers, all must be considered. Even with power being limited to the 100 watt class, as we do, interference can be a serious and frustrating problem in a multi-transmitter environment.

Use of transceivers that exhibit a minimum of transmitter “phase noise” is very important. Transmitters with high phase noise broadcast broadband noise across large sections of the spectrum that cannot be filtered out by nearby receivers. Even though the transmitters may comply with FCC requirements, the small distances involved at the Field Day site can result in locally generated noise being much higher than the signal level of the stations that are being worked. There are several models of solid state, synthesized transceivers that are notorious for their phase noise. Newer transceivers have been improved as this type of problem has become more well known.

On the receiver side, transceivers with a “bullet proof” front end are essential. With the potential for more than a 5 transmitters being on the air at the same time that one station is trying to hear a weak signal, the receiver must be able to tolerate very high “out of band” RF levels without generating (internally) unacceptable intermodulation products. Certainly the preferred complement of transceivers would be in the classes of the IC-781 or IC-765. To minimize internal receiver intermodulation, receiver RF amplifiers (preamplifier) should be switched OFF. If the receiver has a built in, selectable attenuator; try adding 10 dB of attenuation while watching the receiver’s S-meter. If the S-meter reading drops more than 10 dB when the attenuator is switched in, the receiver front end is “overloaded,” and you will probably be able to copy stations (even weak ones) with the attenuator..

By the way… unless that fluorescent desk lamp that you’re thinking about using has been proven to be “quiet,” leave it home and grab an incandescent table lamp!

3.     Operating.

As stated previously, the object during Field Day operation is to log valid contacts with as many other stations as possible during the allowed operating period. A valid contact requires exchanging callsigns and additional information consisting of the station's operating class and their ARRL/Canadian section.

The class is composed of a number and a letter. The number signifies the total number of transmitters operated. Over ninety-eight percent of Field Day operations use between 1 and 6 stations, with the higher numbers rarely heard. Less than one half of one percent operate in the double-digit categories. Prior to 1998 you were allowed one phone and one CW (or digital) station per amateur band. Beginning in 1998, the digital modes are allowed as a separate mode. This raised the maximum number from 46 to 69. The letter (A, B, C, D, or E) signifies the type of operation. “A” is a club or group of 3 or more amateurs operating portable with emergency power (generator, battery, etc.). “B” is used by one or two people operating portable with emergency power. Class A and B stations have a subcategory, Battery, where operation is QRP (less than 5 Watts) and entirely from batteries. “C” is used by mobile stations. “D” is used by home stations operating from their normal commercial power source. “E” is a home station operating with emergency power. This list can be found in the operating aids included in the Primer.

The class in which the W4DAK  will operate during the 2023 Field Day will be determined a few weeks before the event. In Question  2016 Was the last year  (The Club) did field day was 2016.  I found records for 1a station. W4DAK, 163 contacts, above 5 but less the 150 watts, 3 personal, 676 total points

Phone. On phone, in response to hearing another stations "CQ," you respond with the full callsign W4DAK) being used by the club for Field Day. If the station you call hears you, he will respond giving your callsign and his exchange information. You enter the information in the log and respond with your exchange information including callsign. On CW, the process is the same. A typical "search and pounce" contact would go as follows:

 

 

Phone

CW

He calls

CQ Field Day Alpha Bravo Four November Charlie

CQ CQ FD de AB4NC

You would respond

Whiskey 4 Delta Alpha Kilo

W4DAK

He answers with

W4DAK Three Alpha North Carolina

W4DAK 3A NC

You complete your part with

Three Alpha North Florida, W4DAK

3A NNFL W4DAK

He confirms and moves on...

Roger, QRZ Alpha Bravo Four November Charlie

“TU QRZ AB4NC" or "TU AB4NC"

When "running" a frequency (staying on the same frequency and calling CQ), roles are reversed from the above and would go like this:

 

Phone

CW

You make a general call

CQ Field Day, CQ Field Day Whiskey 4 Delta Alpha Kilo

CQ FD W4DAK

You listen...and hear

W4DAK here is Alpha Bravo Four November Charlie

AB4NC

You respond

Whiskey 4 Delta Alpha Kilo three Alpha North Florida

W4DAK 3A NFL

He answers

“Three Alpha North Carolina" or

“Three Alpha North Carolina AA4NC”

"3A NC" or

“3A NC AB4NC”

You confirm and move on

Roger, QRZ Whiskey 4 Delta Alpha Kilo

TU W4DAK

You listen, and if no one answers, repeat

CQ Field Day, CQ Field Day Whiskey 4 Delta Alpha Kilo

CQ FD W4DAK

1.     Operating Tips.

To maximize the number of contacts, there are several practices that should be followed.

Call CQ. Most of the Field Day participating stations will be "casual" operations whose goal may be to work their last needed state for Worked All States or 5-Band Worked All States. These stations will not be calling CQ! They will be tuning the bands "searching and pouncing" on stations that they need to achieve their individual goals. The ONLY way to log a contact with one of these stations is to keep "W4DAK" on the air to be heard and called by them.

Keep your calls and listening periods short. Don't make stations wait for you to end a long winded "CQ." Give them frequent opportunities to call you. Similarly, allow enough time for someone to begin a response before calling again, but don't wait longer than necessary. Timing this properly takes some practice. On CW, using QSK if available on the transceiver allows you to catch the "slow starter."

It is tough to know when to stop CQing and go to a "search and pounce" mode of operation. There are a few stations, serious competitors, in the 2 to 6 station classes that may not do much, if any, "search and pounce" operation. If the rate at which you are getting calls drops off, there may be another station on your frequency that you can't hear (and can't hear you) because of propagation. If the adjacent frequency is clear, you may want to move up or down a bit and try there. Otherwise, a quick pass through the band "searching and pouncing" may be more productive, at least until you can find a new frequency to camp out on, and...you know...call "CQ!"

When you are in the "search and pounce" mode, the logging program's "CHECK PARTIAL" feature is invaluable for identifying stations worked before. As soon as you have typed at least 2 characters in the CALL field, a list of all calls in the log containing that character sequence will be displayed. As additional characters are entered, the list is updated.

Even after operating in many contests, the decision of when to "search and pounce" is a difficult one, and always subject to second guessing afterwards. If in doubt....call "CQ!"

Don't RagchewEven though Field Day is a somewhat "laid back" contest, don't fall to the temptation to ragchew, especially if you have been receiving one or more responses to each CQ call. The serious competitor will not wait for you to finish chatting! He will recognize that he could log 2, 3 or more contacts while he waited (and possibly you could also have logged as many more!). We may get more people wanting to ask questions based on the June 99 QST article. Be polite, but don't waste time.

Keep your transmissions short. Not only to save your voice but to save time for other contacts, keep the content of your transmissions short and limited to only the essential information. It is not discourteous to omit "73" from the end of each contact. If you are "searching and pouncing," you need not formally acknowledge receipt of the "CQing" stations information but need only to respond with your own. If you didn't catch all of his information, a simple "AGAIN?" on phone, or "?" on CW should be enough to get the information repeated before you give your portion of the exchange.

Use the full callsign. When "searching and pouncing" always call the station using your full callsign, never use just the last two letters. No competent operator working a frequency wants to have to ask anyone to repeat their call if they can copy it initially. They can't copy it if you don't give it! The two letter "call" is very poor operating practice at any time, regardless of how often you may hear it in DX pile ups.

Don't bother duping during the operating period. If you are stuck using a paper log, follow the advice about CQing to the limit, and don't waste time checking to see if a station calling you has been logged before. Let the stations calling you do the duping during the contest. If you follow the advice to call CQ throughout the contest, your dupe rate will be no worse than if you used one and you will log more contacts.

Rework "dupes" that call you. Even if you have worked him before, it is faster to work him again and indicate "dupe" in the log than it is to discuss it. There is no score penalty for working a station more than once on a band, as long as points are not claimed for the duplicate contact(s).

Always end with your callsign. It is very frustrating to be rapidly tuning across a band, "searching and pouncing" and hear a "CQ" or "TEST" and then silence. You know the station is looking for contacts, but who is it? You have to make a quick decision whether to wait for the station to call again; to call him "blind," not knowing whether you have worked him before; or to move on without calling him.

Either of the first options are time consuming and utterly wasted if you have worked before.

Frankly, the best option for maximum time efficiency is to quickly store the frequency in memory and move on. Check back later, (switching between Memory and VFO modes) in between other contacts. Don't force these measures on others or lose needed contacts...always end with the callsign!

"QRZ W4DAK" not "W4DAK QRZ"

4.     N3FJP Logging Software Basics

 

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1.     https://youtu.be/DJEIXuoKWqc

 

5.     Summary/Operating Aids

1.     Some food for thought.

In 1995, using N1NH, we recorded the high score (21,648 points) for all participants. In 1996 we again were high score (21,756 points). In 1997, for the third time in a row, N1NH again recorded high score (22,080 points). In 1998, for an unprecedented four times in a row, this time using the new club callsign of N1FD we came in high score (26,274 points). In 1999 we are the target that others will be out to beat! And we've had lots of exposure from the June 99 QST article describing out setup. We can win again! And... we don’t need to operate QRP/battery to do it! In case you are curious, the overall record score for Field Day was set by K6CAB operating 15A (battery powered) in 1994, with a score of 30,150 points.

However, lest we get too proud of ourselves, the number 2 scoring station in 1998 was W3AO running 4 Alpha! Their score of 19,366 was only 6,908 points behind us. That difference equates to only 70 CW QSOs/Hour. And they did it with only 15 people!. If we scale that up to the 87 people we had for 1998 we would have scored 152,389 and made over 50 thousand QSOs. We certainly do a lot better.

2.     Station Master Checklist

Item

Source

Chk

Item

Source

Chk

Shelter (tent, camper)

 

 

Table

 

 

Rug to protect tent floor

 

 

Chairs (2)

 

 

Antenna

 

 

Desk Lamp

 

 

Coaxial Cable

 

 

Notepad

 

 

Transceiver

 

 

Pencils/Pens

 

 

Memory Keyer or Voice Keyer

 

 

Flashlight

 

 

Keyer Paddles or Microphone

 

 

Spare Batteries for flashlight

 

 

Headphones (2 sets)

 

 

50-ft (#12 or heavier) extension cord

 

 

Y-Adapter (for headphones)

 

 

Multi-outlet surge protected power strip

 

 

Computer System or Log Sheets

 

 

Insect repellent

 

 

Dupe sheets (if no computer)

 

 

Electrical tool kit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.    

4.  Field Day Entry Categories

Exchange is Operating Category and ARRL/CRRL Section.

Class Meaning Example

A Portable: 3 or more amateurs 4A - 6 amateurs with 4 radios out in a field somewhere

B Portable: 1 or 2 amateurs 2B - 2 amateurs with a radio each,

C Mobile: Car, boat, plane 1C - Most contacts with amateurs in cars

D Home: Regular power 1D - The casual operator from home

E Home: Emergency Power 2E - Two transmitters at home on emergency power

F EOC: 3 or more amateurs 3F at EOC

5.     ARRL / Canadian Section designators

ARRL/Canadian Sec

Abbr.

Prefixes, alternates

ARRL/Canadian Sec

Abbr.

Prefixes, alternates

Alabama

AL

AL

North Texas

NTX

NT

Alaska

AK

AK, KL7

Northern Florida

NFL

NFL

Alberta

AB

ALT, ALB, AB, VE6

Northern New Jersey

NNJ

NNJ, NN, NJ

Arizona

AZ

ARI, AZ

Northern New York

NNY

NNY

Arkansas

AR

AR

NYC-Long Island

NLI

NY, NL

British Columbia

BC

BC, VE7

Ohio

OH

OH

Colorado

CO

CO

Oklahoma

OK

OK

Connecticut

CT

CT, CN, CON

Ontario

ON

ON, VE3

Delaware

DE

DE, DL

Orange

ORG

ORG, ORA

East Bay

EB

EB

Oregon

ORE

OR

Eastern Massachusetts

EMA

EM

Pacific

PAC

PAC,HAW,HI,GU

Eastern New York

ENY

EN

Province of Quebec

PQ

PQ, QU, VE2

Eastern Pennsylvania

EPA

EP

Puerto Rico

PR

PR, KP4

Eastern Washington

EWA

EW

Rhode Island

RI

RI

Foreign, except Canada

DX

DX

Sacramento Valley

SV

SV, SAC

Georgia

GA

GA

San Diego

SDG

SDG

Idaho

ID

ID

San Francisco

SF

SF, SANF

Illinois

IL

IL

San Joaquin Valley

SJV

SJV, SANJ

Indiana

IN

IN

Santa Barbara

SB

SB

Iowa

IA

IO, IA

Santa Clara Valley

SCV

SCV

Kansas

KS

KA, KS

Saskatchewan

SK

SA, SK, VE5

Kentucky

KY

KY, KTY

South Carolina

SC

SC

Los Angeles

LAX

LAX

South Dakota

SD

SD

Louisiana

LA

LA, LOU

South Texas

STX

ST

Maine

ME

ME, MAI

Southern Florida

SFL

SFL

Manitoba

MB

MB, MA, VE4

Southern New Jersey

SNJ

SNJ, SN

Maritime Provinces

MAR

MAR,MR,NFD, NB, PEI, LAB, NS, VE1

Tennessee

TN

TN, TEN

Maryland-DC

MDC

MD, DC

Utah

UT

UT

Michigan

MI

MI

Vermont

VT

VT

Minnesota

MN

MIN, MN

Virgin Islands

VI

VI, KP2, KV4

Mississippi

MS

MIS, MS

Virginia

VA

VA

Missouri

MO

MO

West Texas

WTX

WT

Montana

MT

MON, MT

West Virginia

WV

WV

Nebraska

NE

NE

Western Massachusetts

WMA

WM

Nevada

NV

NEV, NV

Western New York

WNY

WNY

Newfoundland-Labrador

NL

VO1, VO2

Western Pennsylvania

WPA

WP

New Hampshire

NH

NH

Western Washington

WWA

WW

New Mexico

NM

NM

Wisconsin

WI

WI, WS

North Carolina

NC

NC

Wyoming

WY

WY

North Dakota

ND

ND

Yukon, Northwest Terr.

Nunavut

YU

YU, NW, VE8, NUN, VY0

 

6.     N3FJP Logging Software Quick Reference Guide

 

  ESC  Clear entry fields or stop CW transmission

Up and Down Arrow keys change CW speed

Alt + C  Clear entry fields

Alt + N  Net Manager Form (AC Log Only)

Alt + P  Spot Last

Alt + R  Reloads all fields from last entry

Alt + S  Search (AC Log Only)

Ctrl + B  Backup Options

Ctrl + D  DX Spotting Setup

Ctrl + E  Band Map

Ctrl + F  Frequency Change

Ctrl + H  Notes List (with a call in the Call field)

Ctrl + I  Frequency Privileges

Ctrl + K  CW Keyboard Buffer

Ctrl + L  Country List

Ctrl + M  Net Manager (AC Log Only)

Ctrl + N  Network Status Display

Ctrl + O  Shortcut List

Ctrl + P  Phone Setup

Ctrl + Q  Edit Contact

Ctrl + R  Rig Interface Setup

Ctrl + S  Setup

Ctrl + T  Statistics

Ctrl + W  CW Setup Form

Ctrl + X  Quickly toggle between three rigs (configured on rig, CW & phone forms)

Ctrl + Z  Set Focus to DX Spots List

Ctrl + Shift + A  Toggles rig from transmit to receive

Ctrl + Shift + C  Display Bearing as compass heading

Ctrl + Shift + D  Display large, floating DX Spots list form

Ctrl + Shift + E  Auto advance to the next DX spot on enter

Ctrl + Shift + F  Displays frequency column in QSO list(contesting programs only)

Ctrl + Shift + G  CW Tab Sends Message(TSM)

Ctrl + Shift + H  Spot Me

Ctrl + Shift + J  Overrides List option butons of Last 20 or All (for blind hams)

Ctrl + Shift + L  Audio Alert of unconfirmed DX Spots, who are LoTW users(AC Log Only)

Ctrl + Shift + M  Mode Override (contest software only)

Ctrl + Shift + P  Hides passwords for LoTW, Club Log and eQSL(AC Log only)

Ctrl + Shift + R  Disable rig interface band and mode updates

Ctrl + Shift + S  Read next serial number(for blind hams)

Ctrl + Shift + T  Spot DX on entry(contest software only).

Ctrl + Shift + W  CW Strings mini form.

Ctrl + Shift + X  Clear a DX Spot (the call you want to clear in the call field).

Ctrl + Shift + Z  Advance to the next DX Spot(rig interface must be enabled).

Band Map - Click on a blue area or title bar of the band map to use these:

Ctrl + Shift + H  Hide the Horizontal / Vertical button

Ctrl + Shift + L  Disables display of LoTW users as Red spots(AC Log only)

Ctrl + Shift + N  Disables display new multipliers as italic

F  Band map will follow rig's frequency.

Shift + C  Clears band map

Rig Keyboard Fine Tuning(with rig interface enabled):

SSB:

Ctrl + Left / Right(large jump) : +-500 Hz

Ctrl + Shift + Left / Right(medium jump) : +-150 Hz

Ctrl + Up / Down(small jump) : +-50 Hz

Ctrl + Shift + Up / Down(tiny jump) : +-10 Hz

CW / DIG:

Ctrl + Left / Right(large jump) : +-250 Hz

Ctrl + Shift + Left / Right(medium jump) : +-80 Hz

Ctrl + Up / Down(small jump) : +-20 Hz

Ctrl + Shift + Up / Down(tiny jump) : +-5 Hz

 

 

7.     ITU Recommended Phonetics

Alfa

Echo

India

Mike

Quebec

Uniform

Yankee

Bravo

Foxtrot

Juliet

November

Romeo

Victor

Zulu

Charlie

Go

Kilo

Oscar

Sierra

Whiskey

 

Delta

Hotel

Lima

Papa

Tango

X-Ray

 

 

Last Years Field Day Entry

Entry received at: 2023-07-11 18:10:38

Call Used: W4DAK GOTA Station Call: KO4YOL ARRL/RAC Section: NFL Class: 3F

Participants: 6 Club/Group Name: Dixie Amateur Radio Klub

Power Source(s): Generator

Power Multiplier: 2X

PRELIMINARY TOTAL SCORE: 2,194

Bonus Points:

100% emergency power 300

Media Publicity 100 -

Public location 100

W1AW Field Day message 100 -

Site visit by invited served agency 100

Social media 100

GOTA Station 10

Entry submitted via web 50

Total bonus points 860

Score Summary: (File [W4DAKdupe.dup] previously uploaded)

CW Digital Phone Total

Total QSOs 176 60 195

Total Points 352 120 195 667 Claimed Score = (QSO points x power mult) = 1,334

Submitted by: Fred O. Lewis, KO4YOL [email protected]