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Field Day FAQ

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Station Principals
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What is field day?

It's a contest like no other. The idea behind field day is to test your ability to set up and operate a station competitively under non-ideal conditions. This means no commercial facilities like buildings or power. Stations operate on all bands from UHF through HF with the exception of the WARC bands (30, 17 and 12 meters) and on all modes, phone, cw and digital. The spirit of field day combines a weekend of camping with intense radio operating. Some consider field day the premier operating event of the year - the most fun you can have without breaking the law!

Who sponsors field day?

Field day is organized and sponsored by the American Radio Relay League, the national membership association for Amateur Radio operators.

When is field day and how long does it last?

Field day is always the fourth full weekend in June. The operating starts on Saturday at 1800 UTC for everyone (2PM EDT) and runs 24 hours. The rules allow stations 24 hours before the event to begin setting up so the fun starts on Friday 2PM EDT.

How are points made?

The main goal is to make as many contacts as possible. So that an individual isn't up against a large club operation, there are different entry categories. There are categories or classes for clubs, individuals, mobile operation and even operating at home. No mater how you want to participate, there's a category for you. The rules favor HF operating but there is plenty of activity on the VHF and UHF bands. Contacts through repeaters are not allowed. Points are awarded based on the number of contacts, the mode of operation and power level. Quality operating skills with emphasis on persistence and patients are the keys to success. For a successful contact, stations exchange their operating class and ARRL section. See the ARRL rules for full details.

What are bonus points?

Besides making points on contacts, participants can earn additional points in a variety of bonus categories.

How popular is it?

Field day is one of the most popular contests, attracting many thousands of operators. The bands are very crowded on field day weekend!

Who participates?

All US and Canadian hams can compete for points. Contacts can be made with any station anywhere in the world but the vast majority of contacts are made within the US and Canada.

Isn't a lot of operating experience necessary?

No! If you're a new ham and have never operated on HF, field day is a wonderful opportunity to get some mic or key time. Many new hams have had their first taste of field day at a field day operation. Even members of the general public have made contacts at field day operations. If you are a new ham, an inactive ham or non-ham and want to see what Field Day operating is all about, the GOTA (Get On The Air) station is there for you.

Where can I get more information?

The ARRL field day link is the place to go for a copy of the rules and general field day information.

What's the cure for field day fever?

There's only one cure. I'll see you at field day!