[CQ-Contest] Thoughts on Suggested FD Changes

Anthony A. Luscre aluscre at neo.rr.com
Tue Jun 26 20:04:16 EDT 2001

Following is e-mail I wrote to ARRL. I think a big plus for us would be
introduction of new operators to "contest style operations".

With this being the last year of special Novice stations in ARRL FD
there has been a lot of discussion as to what would replace them in
future years. I understand that Field Day has a very long and wonderful
past as one of the seminal yearly events sponsored by the ARRL and
participated in by one of the largest groups of ham radio operators.
Therefore, I am hesitant to see changes, unless they are for the
betterment of amateur radio and the ARRL. I feel that  FD has always
been a wonderful introduction for new hams. Because U.S. licensing
requirements do not require a demonstration of operating techniques or a
probationary period of operating many new hams are very well versed in
rules, theory and Morse code but not in operating techniques. "Mic and
key fright" have often hampered many hams from using their newly acquire
privileges. FD has been a great place to make those first few shaky
contacts under watchful eye of more experienced hams. FD has also acted
as a great laboratory for learning about setting up towers and antennas,
seeing new equipment and learning about new modes ( packet, satellites,
VHF SSB, etc.). Lastly and very important is the emergency preparedness
aspect of the FD exercise.

 I have been involved in 20 field operations including 18 with a local
club, two 1B operations when out of town, I have also been a previous
Novice/ Tech station for local club and served as FD chairperson 4 times
for our local club. In addition I have also been very active in teaching
new ham classes and elmering new hams.

I feel that three very important issues could be addressed with some
slight adjustment of the current Field Day rules-
A. Encourage new hams to be active on HF, give them a taste of "contest"
style operations and get involved in Emergency Communications
B. Focus on the Operating/Training aspect while minimizing impact on
club "scores". Clubs can then have it both ways- strong competitive
operations with a relaxed, nurturing atmosphere that is inclusive of all
hams no matter their abilities, ages or experience.
C. Make ARRL message copying more important aspect of FD.

1. "TRAINING STATION" to replace the Novice/Tech station- The "Training
Station" would be for newer hams and elmers. I think the easy way to
minimize the "points aspect" and stress the "training aspect" of the
training station is to follow these basic suggestions-

a. No points per QSO are given to the station operating the Training
Station(s) for the contacts they make, instead 20 points are awarded per
hour for having one or more Training Stations on the air during each one
hour segment of the 24 hours of FD (i.e. if station is on anytime during
18:00 to 19:00 that is 20 points). No extra points for more than one
station at a time. This way of awarding points would take the focus off
the number and speed of contacts and stress the aspect of being on the

b. Training Station(s) would use the call of the "Elmer" ham(s) or
"Newbie" ham(s) different than that of the call being used by regular FD
station(s). It can change hourly if new operates take over (this gets
around the "Dupe" situations for other stations that also work the
regular FD stations.

c. Training Station(s) can use all normal FD bands and modes (a variety
of modes would be a benefit to energizing new hams).

d. Training Station(s) cannot work its sponsor's regular FD stations.

e. Training Station(s) would not change FD classification of regular FD
operation (5A stays 5A, even if one or more Training Stations are on air

f. Entry sent to ARRL will consist of a report of how many Training
Station(s) were on the air, calls  used and checklist of which hour
segments they were on the air, list of all calls of hams that were being

g. Two other additional possibilities would also present themselves -
ARRL could send out a "Welcome to FD" certificate to all "newbie" hams
listed in "f" above (along with an application to join ARRL, of course).
The "Training Stations" are a great place to give tours for visitors,
scout groups, etc.

2. FIELD DAY MESSAGE- making the message "interactive" would increase
emergency communications aspect of the process.

a. Message should refer to some action to be carried out during FD to
earn bonus points.

b. There are many years of different possibilities. Examples could
include but not be limited to- working a particular band or mode,
sending an additional  exchange (i.e. zip code, area code, temperature,
etc.), forwarding a special message to community leader, taking a
photograph of  specific aspect of your FD operations, working the same
other station on 4 or more bands, working all districts, working "x"
number of sections, etc.

If you agree with the above ideas please let your ARRL Directors,
Assistant Directors, Section Managers and Headquarters Staff know how
you feel and hopefully next year hundreds of "Training Stations" will
take to the air on that magic weekend in June.

     Anthony A. Luscre
        Stow, Ohio

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