What is Field Day?
Field Day is a picnic, a camp-out, practice for emergencies, an informal contest and, most of all, FUN! ARRL Field Day is the single most popular on-the-air event held annually in the US and Canada. More than 35,000 radio amateurs fire up their radios on the fourth full weekend of June each year and start 24 hours of amateur radio heaven. It is a time where many aspects of our hobby come together to highlight the many roles we play in the community. The skills we develop during Field Day are the same skills we use when we help with emergency situations and public service. Ham radio has been called into action again and again to provide communications in extraordinary situations when it really matters.
RARS Field Day 2020
This year is an opportunity for our club to do something different. Due to restrictions on mass gatherings and social distancing, RARS will not be hosting its usual Field Day event at the Carrol farm. Instead, the club will host an informal competition between club members. You can operate from your home station on commercial power, or, better yet, emergency power. You can operate mobile. You can operate portable from your backyard, the beach, the mountains, or anywhere in between. The whole idea is to get on the air and have some fun while engaging in a friendly competition with your fellow club members. Certificates and bragging rights will be awarded at the September meeting to the individuals who score the most points in their class. We will also publish the scores of all participants in The Exciter.
Anyone who chooses to participate in the RARS Intra Club Competition must abide by latest mandates from Governor Cooper regarding the COVID-19 pandemic in effect at the time of the contest, including but not limited to mandates regarding social distancing, mass gatherings, and high risk populations.
The following paragraphs set out the rules for this year's competition:
1. Field Day 2020 will be held June 27-28, beginning at 1800 UTC Saturday (2:00 PM) and ending at 2059 UTC Sunday (1:59 PM).
2. The only ARRL Field Day class designators eligible for the RARS 2020 FD Intra Club Competition are:
B - Either one person or two person portable operation using emergency power, battery or alternate non-generator power, or commercial power.
C - Mobile stations
D - Home stations using commercial power
E - Home stations using emergency power
For Field Day 2020 only, Class D stations may work all other Field Day stations, including other Class D stations, for points.
Field Day rule 4.6 defines Class D stations as “Home stations,”including stations operating from permanent or licensed station locations using commercial power. Class D stations ordinarily may only count contacts made with Class A, B, C, E, and F Field Day stations, but the temporary rule waiver for 2020 allows Class D stations to count contacts with other Class D stations for QSO credit.
In addition, for 2020 only, an aggregate club score will be published, which will be the sum of all individual entries indicating a specific club (similar to the aggregate score totals used in ARRL affiliated club competitions).
Ordinarily, club names are only published in the results for Class A and Class F entries, but the temporary rule waiver for 2020 allows participants from any Class to optionally include a single club name with their submitted results following Field Day.
Just as ARRL recognizes participants in each class and subclass, we will present certificates to the top scorers in each class and subclass, for example B1, B1B, B2, B2B, 1D, 2D, 1E, 2E, 3E etc.
3. All ARRL rules remain in place and are to be followed by all participants. You can find the rules at http://www.arrl.org/files/file/Field-Day/2020/1_61-2020%20Rules.pdf. That includes date and time of operation, station set up, exchange, miscellaneous rules, and scoring. Field Day contacts are allowed using Phone, CW and Digital (non-CW) modes per ARRL rules. The designated exchange for this year remains the same. Give your class and section. The numerical prefix for your class is determined by the maximum number of simultaneously transmitted signals followed by your class designator. For example, if you are operating at home on emergency power and you have a single transmitter then you are 1E North Carolina. If you and a family member are operating portable on emergency power and have 2 transmitters operating simultaneously at any point in the contest then you are a 2B North Carolina.
You can find a link to the ARRL sections here:
ARRL Contest Sections List
4. Bonus Points allowed for the RARS 2020 FD Intra Club Competition are as follows:
a. Emergency Power
No other bonus points will be awarded. You can refer to the ARRL 2020 Field Day rules for specifics on how to obtain bonus points at:
b. Satellite QSO
c. Alternate Power
d. W1AW Bulletin
e. Web Submission
5. To participate in the RARS intra-club Field Day competition you must submit your scores to ARRL by using their web submission protocol via the https://field-day.arrl.org/fdentry.php web app. It is a very easy to use app that contains all the information the ARRL needs to accept your score. Be sure to include our club's name, Raleigh Amateur Radio Society, with your entry so your individual score gets added to our club's aggregate score. When you receive the email from ARRL confirming your submission you will forward that email to W4TTX at W4TTX@arrl.net. Deadline for submission to ARRL is Tuesday July 28th, 2020.
The deadline for submission of your confirmatory email to W4TTX is Tuesday August 4th, 2020 by 11:59 PM.
If you have any questions about Field Day or the intra-club competition send me an email at W4TTX@arrl.net.
If you are new to computer logging software, I recommend N1MM which can be downloaded for free here: https://n1mmwp.hamdocs.com
Here is a nice You Tube video on how to set up N1MM for Field Day:
Setting Up and Operating N1MM+ for Logging Field Day
And finally, this is how you go about generating a Cabrillo file in N1MM to submit your log to ARRL:
- •Select File >Generate Cabrillo File.
- Make sure that your Station information (Config >Change Your Station Data), and overall contest setup are correct (in the Contest Setup dialog, reached through File >Open Log in Database …). For example, is your entry class correct? Your power classification? Whether Assisted or not? Are your State and ARRL Section both entered correctly in your station data?
- Did you put the right information in the Sent Exchange field, and nothing else? For example, when the exchange in a contest is 5NN WV, it may be tempting to put the whole thing in the Sent Exchange. That will screw up the Cabrillo file with multiple signal reports for each QSO, so get in the habit of putting the signal report in your stored messages, not in this field.
- A Cabrillo file will be created named your_call.LOG. By default this is placed in the ExportFiles sub-folder in the N1MM Logger+ user files directory, but you are given the options of choosing a different name and/or of saving the file anywhere else you wish.
It is a good idea to rescore your log (Tools >Rescore Current Contest) before generating the Cabrillo file.
Remember, Field Day is all about emergency preparedness, and running a station from home or a portable station on emergency power is at the heart of the event. Have fun! See you on the radio!
Bob Starkenburg, W4TTX