The ARRL Field Day is an annual event intended to help hams get their equipment and their operating skills in good shape for emergency communication. It is also a major social event for many ham radio clubs. And though the on-the-air activity sounds a lot like a contest, FD is not considered to be a contest, and participants need no prior contesting experience.
Since the Waltham ARA is known primarily as a repeater club, one might not expect much interest in the ARRL Field Day. But one might be wrong. Last time we did FD was in 1998, and it went very well indeed. It was the clubs 60th anniversary, and we had just recovered our old callsign, W1MHL, with the then-new vanity call program. We ran 2 HF stations and a VHF station from Prospect Hill in Waltham (near the repeaters). Organized by Kip Shustak, N1AUP, this operation had 15 participants and made 920 contacts. There was much interest in making FD an annual WARA activity, but the location has been a showstopper. Prospect Hill was very nice, but the cost of requirements placed on us by the City of Waltham, for multiple porta-potties and extra police coverage, could not be afforded on an annual basis. An alternative site has not been located until now!
Mike Matteson, WB5JMJ, has offered to let us use the fields behind his house in Hancock, New Hampshire. This site, approximately 1.5 hours drive from Waltham, takes the definition of Field Day quite literally, as shown on our Site Map & Information page. Mike doesnt require extra police coverage, and has offered the use of his bathroom so that we wont need to rent porta-porties. There is plenty of parking available about 50 feet from the house. So unlike our 1998 operation, the cost to the club should be very small.
At the September 2005 WARA meeting, we discussed our FD philosophy and goals, and formed the beginnings of the FD committee. We decided that we are more interested in getting people on the air and having fun than in our score. Since we will have extra-class control operators at the site, all participants will be able to get on the HF stations, even if they have a technician license, or no license. Just for fun, the setup will include a vintage station, with paper logging.
One station will use computer logging, for which W1MJ provided hands-on training at the May club meeting (Contesting 101), and will provide on-site training at Field Day. We'll be using an excellent free logging program called "N1MM Logger". If you want to try it at home before FD, you can download it from http://www.n1mm.com.
The 2006 FD Committee consists of W1MJ (general chairman), WA1HUD (stations), and N1HID (food). If you are interested in participating in the planning, please get in touch with Eliot, Steve, or Rick.
Field Day is a lot of fun, so keep June 24 & 25, 2006 free on your calendar.
WARA Field Day 2006 Home Page | Waltham Amateur Radio Association Home Page