Once each year thousands and thousands of ham radio operators participate in what some consider to be an annual contest – Field Day. Field Day has a more serious side to it than being just a contest however. I call it a contest because the national organization of ham radio, the American Radio Relay League does actually keep scores for each ham radio station that participates in Field Day. While most hams do want to get their score as high as possible during Field Day the objective is to practice and refine communications skills “in the field”.

Many ham radio operators have sophisticated home base stations with large antenna towers and high gain beam antennas. The main objective of Field Day is designed for the portable ham radio operator. The objective is to demonstrate and refine the ability to communicate “in the field”.

Once each year thousands and thousands of amateur radio operators participate in what some consider to be an annual contest – Field Day. Field Day has a more serious side to it than being just a contest however. I call it a contest because the national organization of amateur radio, the American Radio Relay League does actually keep scores for each ham radio station that participates in Field Day. While most hams do want to get their score as high as possible during Field Day the objective is to practice and refine communications skills “in the field”.

Many amateur radio operators have sophisticated home base stations with large antenna towers and high gain beam antennas. For Field Day those hams are not allowed to use that equipment. Field Day is designed for the portable amateur radio operator. The objective is to demonstrate and practice the ability to transport, assemble and operate their equipment in the field. There are strict rules preventing the use of permanent structures.

Field Day’s benefit becomes crystal clear when you consider that many ham radio operators freely provide high quality portable radio communications in disaster situations. Hurricane season is prime time for such communications. Tornado outbreaks also are a time when such communications capabilities become very valuable. The ability to transport and quickly assemble a high quality amateur radio stations and operate it under stress for an extended period of time is exactly what is tested at Field Day. The scores that are obtained in the contest are roughly indicative of the performance described above.

Is Field Day all work and no play? Usually not! Hams can do Field Day alone. Large numbers of ham amateur radio operators participate as a group. In Appleton Wisconsin and in Green Bay Wisconsin the local ham radio clubs host group events. In each event there is some form of shelter provided. Different members bring their ham radios of various types, computers for digital mode communications, antennas and of course food and drinks. Events such as these are a great time for amateur radio operators to get to know each other and trade stories of rare radio contacts and operating experiences.

Field Day contest points are scored by contacting other ham radio stations. The person or group that makes the most contacts on the most frequencies typically wins the contest. The results of the contest are published in QST which is the monthly magazine of the national organization for amateur radio operators. Being published in a monthly magazine provides bragging rights for those that win the contest.

While winning the contest is a fun achievement it proves that the amateur radio operator that won the contest is quite skilled at making a large amount of contacts over a 24 hour time period. Information must also be exchanged and then accurately reported by both radio operators for the points to be scored. This represents the ability to exchange large volumes of information in a high stress event like a disaster. Tune your radio to the ham radio bands on Field Day each year and find out just how many people participate in this event. To find the specific day of the event or to find an event near you that is open to the public search Google or other search engine for “field day open to public” without the quotes. I know that the amateur radio clubs in Green Bay Wisconsin and Appleton Wisconsin would love to have visitors!

Source by Jon Kreski