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Creative Approaches to ARRL Field Day 2020

Creative Approaches to Field Day 2020

21 April 2020; revised 28 May 2020
See also Temporary Rule Waivers for 2020 ARRL Field Day 5/28/2020

by Paul Bourque, N1SFE - ARRL Contest Manager

This year, ARRL Field Day promises to be a unique iteration of this annual event, with many individuals and groups coming up with new and interesting ways to adjust their approach. As an event, Field Day is structured to be versatile and can be adapted for any situation.

Many groups have asked how they can adjust their Field Day planning to address social-distancing guidelines that may be in effect in many areas of the country, as gathering at their traditional FD site may not be feasible or safe. Instead of participating in a group event this year, consider operating as a Class B, C, D, or E station, utilizing your own call sign.

temporary rule waiver, for 2020 Field Day only, allows aggregate club scores to 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. For example, if Podunk Hollow Radio Club members Becky, W1BXY, and Hiram, W1AW, both participate in 2020 Field Day — Hiram from his Class D home station, and Becky from her Class C mobile station — both can include the radio club’s name when reporting their individual results. They'll still participate as individuals using their personal call signs. The published results listing will include individual scores for Hiram and Becky, plus a combined score for all entries identified as Podunk Hollow Radio Club. The temporary rule waiver allows greater flexibility in recognizing the value of individual and club participation regardless of entry class.

Consider having an intra-club competition among members, seeing who can make the most contacts during the event. You can award prizes or distribute certificates at a club meeting. This can be a fun way to bolster the activities of individual club members, even though they cannot all gather together at the same location this year.

Try setting up a Field Day Challenge with rival clubs in neighboring communities. See how many members of each club get on the air from their own stations and participate in the event. In addition to “bragging rights,” perhaps certificates to the top-scoring individual entry in each category can be presented as part of this inter-club camaraderie. Myriad opportunities are possible in this year’s Field Day setting.

One club is planning to conduct their Field Day as a four-transmitter Class A club group, with participants spaced to comply with social distancing guidelines within the 1,000-foot diameter circle and operating individual stations. This club also plans to set up a Get-on-the-Air (GOTA) station. The club’s plan is to have the GOTA coach at the Field Day site, while having GOTA operators participate via remote link.

Another club is planning to set up a remote-controlled station at their usual Field Day site, with club members taking turns controlling the station from their own homes. The club is creating a schedule outlining when each member of the club will be at the control of the transmitter via the remote link.

Whatever approach you take to this year’s Field Day, keep up to date with the current guidelines issued by local and state health agencies that may impact your proposed operation.

ARRL invites your stories about the interesting and creative ways you’re planning to use to adapt your Field Day operation. Share these on the ARRL Field Day Facebook page at www.facebook.com/groups/arrlfd/.

We will be posting updates on the Field Day webpage as they become available.