By Chip Coker KD4C
Plans are coming together for Field Day 2023 on Sat June 24. We’re going to make it fun for RWK. Although Field Day is not a traditional “contest”, many clubs treat it as such. with a “get points at all costs” approach. I’m hoping that our Field Day prioritizes fun over points. To that end, here’s what we’re planning:
Field Day will again be at the Richardson Emergency Operations Center (EOC) (Plano Rd & Lookout – see map). There’s just too many reasons to have it here (namely lots of parking and air conditioning – it is June in Texas after all). Field Day is basically a nationwide Emergency Preparedness exercise, so some think it’s not a “traditional Field Day” if we are not in a field, but there’s a reason that the rules have a specific operator class (F) for Emergency Operations Centers – the rules encourage us to be familiar with that facility in case we need to use it for real!
As far as operating, we will be operating for 8 hours on Saturday June 24 (plus a little bit extra – more on that in a bit). My goals for this year’s Field Day are to get as many people on the air as possible – even if it’s only for 15-30 minutes. We want everyone (especially if you are a Technician or don’t have a home HF station) to be able to make some Field Day QSOs – if nothing else so you will want to upgrade your license. Why not a full 24 hours? Two reasons: 1) It’s always hard to fill the overnight operator shifts, which just puts pressure on the hardcore operators to slog it out overnight for hours at a time – which for most is not fun, and 2) Respect for our EOC hosts. With the recent ARRL FD rules change, you can still operate overnight and Sunday at your home station with your own callsign (Class 1D) and submit your logs and tag the RWK to add to our score.
Set up will start at 9am and we should have one station ready to go on the air about 11am. Field Day rules allow a “Get On The Air” (GOTA) station to operate as soon as it is ready, up until the formal start of Field Day (1pm CDST), so that’s roughly 2+ hours for GOTA, which is targeted towards new hams. GOTA stations can use their own callsigns too, so they don’t have to learn to send a different callsign. We will use the GOTA station for Technicians to experience HF for maybe the first time.
When Field Day starts at 1pm, we should have 3 stations on the air: CW (de NN5T), FT-8 (de N5SKT), and SSB. Each of the stations will have opportunity for multiple operators, as well as loggers. If you want to operate, just show up and we will fit you in. You can try your hand at multiple modes if you want. We will have multiple bands just like last year (40M, 20M, 15/10M, and 6M), but only one station per band so we don’t have to deal with antenna conflicts and interference. We will operate pretty much up to 8:30-9pm, or when we run out of operators.
As far as activities, we are planning (*subject to change):
- Ham Satellite Demonstration – our own KE5GDB should have the truck-mounted satellite station on the go and will demonstrate how to “work the birds” before he heads to DCARA field day to do the same for them.
- 1:1 Choke Balun Build – As part of our QRV Tech series, Bob Hill KG5WRY will be hosting a “build it yourself” session to make your own 1:1 Choke Balun (you did see the April 2023 General Meeting Presentation, didn’t you?). This is the perfect building block to make your own dipole (or even multi-band fan dipole). Cost will be $30 for parts and the number of kits will be limited to 20.
- (maybe a couple of other surprises TBD – Stay Tuned)
We’re planning on a Pizza dinner at 5:30-6pm. for everyone that has been operating, logging, observing and otherwise helping.
Towards the end, we will also need some help cleaning up and packing up all the equipment back where it goes (and making sure the EOC is just as we found it).
Parking: Please park in the side parking lot or the strip next to the entrance gate. Please do not drive over any coax or other cables in the lot, and avoid the Tower Trailer area. Please do not go behind the EOC – that’s for the Fire Department and they won’t like it.
Sign-in: There will be a sign-in sheet for Field Day 2023. Please sign in. If you don’t see it, please ask. Also (and I can’t believe that I have to say this), Please wear your RWK nametag and introduce yourself to people you don’t know.
If you have questions, we will have a “Introduction to Field Day” Zoom! event the Tuesday before Field Day (check the RWK Calendar). We did this last couple of years and people seemed to learn a lot.
Once again, the goal is for everyone to have fun and get to do something that you wouldn’t normally do – be that work HF (if you’re a Tech), work CW (if you didn’t have to learn it for your license), work FT-8 (if you’re new to digital modes), or just learn to operate in a fast-paced “contest” environment.
ARRL Field Day website: http://www.arrl.org/field-day
More info on Field Day: http://www.arrl.org/files/file/Field-Day/2022/2022%20Field%20Day%20Packet%20v2.pdf
FD Tips & Bonuses: http://arrl.org/files/file/QST/FD%20Insert%202022.pdf