[CQ-Contest] Field Day thought ...

Bill Coleman aa4lr at arrl.net
Fri Jun 29 10:10:58 EDT 2001

On 6/25/01 7:29 PM, Jim Lowman at jmlowman at ix.netcom.com wrote:

>> > Field Day is NOT a contest but an EXERCISE in emergency communications.
>I think this distinction has been lost over the years.  To many of us,
>FD is thought of as a contest these days.  If points are awarded and
>scores are reported in QST, it's a contest in my book.  If it walks
>like a duck, etc.

I'd also point out that the Field Day is listed in the Contest Calendar, 
and I'm sure the results compilation and judging is performed by the ARRL 
Contest Branch.

>Someone always has to drag out this technicality every year.

But it's important! While Field Day has many of the attributes of a 
contest, it is different. What's the strategy in Field Day? How do you 
score big?

Turns out, it isn't something you can do sitting in the chair. There are 
no multipliers. You can maximize your rate, and that will net you a big 
score. But unless you can keep your rate way high, there are other ways 
to score big.

All of these involve technical or group challenges. They are like hoops 
you have to jump through. Many of them involve getting your group to 
cooperate to produce results. In this way, Field Day is less about 
operated and more about the social dynamic of amateur radio clubs and 
other groups.

>We probably wouldn't get many operators out in the field each year if
>FD didn't function like a contest.  I'm guessing, but this may have 
>been the incentive to get hams out in the field many years ago when FD
>was initiated.

At the same time, if you converted Field Day into a "pure" contest, you'd 
likely lose a number of participants who get a different experience.

Heck, the Field Day rules change from year to year. There's no list of 
Field Day "records". 

>As someone said, FD is what you make of it.  For some, it's an all-out
>contest effort.  For others, it's a picnic or a social occasion, with
>the operation as a secondary result.

I think it is important to keep this multi-faceted character. It's a 
contest, but it is a DIFFERENT sort of contest. Changing it is likely to 
destroy it.

Bill Coleman, AA4LR, PP-ASEL        Mail: aa4lr at arrl.net
Quote: "Not within a thousand years will man ever fly!"
            -- Wilbur Wright, 1901

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