As we just wrapped up another fun and successful Field Day, I wanted to take some time to not only reflect on the weekend but also thank some of our key players.
Many might not know the history of Field Day, let’s start there. Field Day is an annual amateur radio event encouraging emergency communications preparedness among amateur radio operators. In the While the event is worldwide, it is huge in the United States. Field Day is the largest single emergency preparedness exercise in the country with over 30,000 operators participating each year. Field Day is always the fourth full weekend of June, beginning at 1800 UTC Saturday and running through 2059 UTC Sunday.
Since the first ARRL Field Day in 1933, operators throughout North America have practiced the rapid deployment of radio communications equipment in environments ranging from operations under tents in remote areas to operations inside Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs). Operations using emergency and alternative power sources are highly encouraged, since electricity and other public utilities are often among the first to fail during a natural disaster or severe weather. In Wadena, we seen this firsthand and we were requested to assist there.
To determine the effectiveness of the exercise and of each participant’s operations, there is an integrated contesting component, and many clubs also engage in concurrent leisure activities making it an event with camping out, cookouts, etc. The event typically lasts a continuous twenty-four hours, requiring scheduled relief operators to keep stations on the air. Additional contest points are awarded for experimenting with unusual modes, making contacts via satellite, and involving youth in the activity, the presence of elected officials, getting new operators, etc.
Field Day this year in my opinion was not a contest but an experience. This year we ended up doing some cleaning and setting up the meeting room of the clubhouse for food. We had some changes in the food schedule. With some fast thinking, I am glad that we could keep everything stocked. I like seeing some leftovers rather than an empty pot.
This year, I was involved a little more with Field Day as it was an event. I ended up doing some reading and found some bonuses that we had completed, could complete, etc. I invested a couple of hours and set up our info table (which I just had from our hamfest), we contacted the police department, and had a little extra fun with Facebook.
Now while I might avoid doing more with social media, I ended up posting a lot of photos and stuff to Facebook. I love our Facebook presence and sharing who we are with our community at large. I enjoyed getting every notification and seeing what it was smiling with every like, comment and idea for future growth.
We were able to bring many technicians to the mic this year. Leah, ke0nrc has had her callsign a month and would not step away from the mic. While she will not admit it, she is hooked. GOTA ended up going very well as we have a lot of new hams and also members of our Skywarn program that are technicians and do not participate in contesting.
Chad, w0sav, was able to bring his camper named ALBERT. ALBERT has solar panels to power it and that brought another bonus to our day.
While the bonuses were fun, socializing and getting to know people was a lot of fun. Everyone needs to checkout our Facebook page and see the stories by photos.
As we improve, Scott asked for more help in planning. Aaron offered to help and hopefully next year we are able to get more and more people to help. We will have to have an equipment plan to know what we are using. This year we did have the highest number of points that we have had in a long time. Hopefully if you are reading this you will be there next year!