[CQ-Contest] Field Day

Fred Laun K3ZO aalaun at ibm.net
Mon Jul 7 10:16:09 EDT 1997

Ken, N4UK, did everyone a great service by provoking the Field Day
discussion.  The resulting comments were some of the best reading I have
had on the Reflector in a long time.
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I, too, got hooked on contesting as a result of a Field Day outing with the
Rock River Radio Club W9TCH/9 in 1952.  Logging on 80 meter CW all night
for W9ADM's 17-year-old XYL W9LGR taught 14-year-old me that I could copy
as well as people who had been hams four times as long as I had, and I was
hooked.  Plus listening to the bell-like keying of W9NHW's battery-operated
command set was like music to my ears.  Even helping W9APU make emergency
repairs to the roof of the decrepit building we were in at 0300 in the
middle of a thunderstorm was a gas!

We jaded contesters sometimes find that years of experience cloud our
memories of just how magic our first FD experience was and what an impact
it had on our youthful lives.

The only downer in all of this discussion was that an ARRL First Vice
President, in defending ARRL's decision to continue to tell Congress and
the FCC that Field Day is an "emergency exercise" rather than a "contest",
perhaps inadvertently put down contesting.  I don't think we contesters
have anything to be ashamed of.  We have always been the ones to drive
operating procedures and equipment development in our chosen pastime.  In
times of real emergency, such as Caribbean hurricanes, our operating savvy
has often made the difference in the ability of emergency lashups in the
affected area to be heard.

Far from feeling guilty when saying: "I am a contester,"  we should be
proud of our very real accomplishments.

73, Fred             	

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