[CQ-Contest] Field Day thought ...

Ron Wetjen wd4ahz at gte.net
Mon Jun 25 15:55:07 EDT 2001

It didn't take long, before someone wrote

> Field Day is NOT a contest but an EXERCISE in emergency communications.

Here is part of my reply.

Field Day is what you make of it.  If you choose to make it strictly 
an Emergency Exercise, great.  If you work it as a contest, great.  If 
you choose to combine the two, great.  That's what we choose to do.

> In a real emergency you will have plenty of "newbies" writing--really 
> using pencils--information other than the "3A somewhere".  We had a 
> mother and 11 yr old son that is working on a scouting merit badge 
> show up.  He was given a chance to make a contact and he thought he 
> was "top dog".  Now that is more important to us than xxxK points.  

Again, that depends on what you decide to make Field Day.  We decide to
make Field Day an Emergency Exercise (portable towers, stations,
emergency power) plus a contest (maximizing our score).  Does your
emergency set-up work well enough to be heard in an emergency
situation?  Your "emergency communications" help is of no use if you
can't be heard.  Being heard means more QSO's - better chances you will
be heard in an Emergency.

> To what if it took 30 minutes for just one QSO--was it worth 
> it--YOU BET.

That's my point.  While the more experienced ops are "running", you can
take the time on the "free" station to spend 30 minutes to teach someone
to make a QSO (if the guy on the other end will hang around that long,
that is).  With a "free" station, you don't have to sacrifice a station 
that's making 100 QSO's an hour, to let this person make a QSO.

HOWEVER ... please keep in mind, speed and efficiency are the qualities
of a good "communicator" ... in both Emergency and Contest situations. 
You certainly don't want to spend 30 minutes passing 1 piece of
emergency traffic.

A good communicator, can pull the weak signals out of the noise and
QRM.  Where does one get this experience?  Contests.

A good communicator can copy traffic and information quickly and
efficiently in noisy and poor conditions.  
Where does one get this experience?  Contests.

When do most "non contesters" get an opportunity to try these skills? 
Field Day.  Where can "non contesters" sit down and work side by side
and learn real "communications skills" from experienced
"communicators"?  Field Day.

Having contesters "train" these newbies on a "free" station during Field
Day, will make these folks better and more efficient communicators ...
no matter what area of Amateur Radio they choose to get involved with.

Why get penalized for doing this by having to add another station?  A
"free" station would give more folks an opportunity to get on the air
and be trained, without having to add another transmitter to your Field
Day class.

Better trained and more efficient "communicators" - being taught by the 
best.  What's wrong with that?


By the way, along with a bunch of local Amateurs belonging to our local 
club, our Field Day operators also included notable calls such as K1TO, 
WC4E, N4TO, N4KM, and K4OJ - all ready, willing, and able to "mentor" 
anyone who wanted to sit down and operate.

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