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What is Field Day?



For years I’ve tried to define Field Day, not in an absolute, definitive or comprehensive way but rather, in a personal one. What does it mean to me? I have narrowed it down to two key added values, again, for me.

First of all it is the camaraderie. I spend Field Day in a group setting. I do not operate alone. Secondly, more than the ‘contest’ aspect, even though it is technically not considered one, I find that Field Day is an exercise in ‘aggregation.’ Individuals, with different radios, different feedlines, antennas and power supplies, show up on the Friday or Saturday and are expected to magically make it all work together. Except for the most avid contesting clubs, there is little to no real preparation. Sure, so and so will bring the CW station, and so and so will bring the SSB station, but is there really any real pre-matching? Not really, and yet, it works.

I’m sitting here at this year’s Field Day, with a group that has been together for 51 years, and yet, it’s as disparate as I describe above. Multiples of each needed item show up, and maybe because they’ve done it for years, everything somehow connects and they get on the air.

If you think about it, this aggregation characteristic provides a foundation for many aspects of amateur radio. Of course, emergency responses are made possible by this quasi-instantaneous aggregation. So too do the more mundane public service interventions. Every year I participate in the Marine Corps Marathon. Over the past few years I’ve been attached to Net Control. Here again, ‘stuff’ shows up, and like magic, we have a net control station able to transmit to and coordinate with over one hundred portable and mobile operators.

That’s it for now, I guess I should get ready for my own Field Day. And yes, I better remember what I ‘brought’ so that I take home what’s mine and not what’s everyone else’s.

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Yep.  I think you nailed it.  Field Day is aggregated magic.  It doesn't get any better than that!

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First of all, great shots? You are tooooo kind -> iPhone shots!! 😇

Here was Washington Monument State Park where I spent the past few Field Days. Next year we’ll see… I’m thinking of starting up a Ham Community FD team!

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Here are some photos of the Alexandria Radio Club Field Day circa 1972 at the Episcopal High School in Alexandria VA


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5 hours ago, WB4KFO said:

Does anybody still pitch a tent and sleep in it on Field Day?

If you were wondering, these were my accommodations both Friday and Saturday this year:


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