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Author Topic: Field Day  (Read 8885 times)

Posts: 10083

« on: June 07, 2000, 08:34:30 AM »

New (or wannna-be) hams:

What attracts you (or prevents you from going) to a Field Day operation?  Is it the food or the bugs or the tents?  Do you even know about or have a local club or know about its FD operation?

Do you like learning from the club members or are they "old farts" and turn you off?  Do you love/hate contests?  Have you ever tried contesting?  (OK, so FD isn't really a "contest", hi)

I'd like see ways to attract new hams to the hobby discussed in general, and FD is probably the most open demonstration people will ever see. How can FD be made better in this regard?


Posts: 2

« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2000, 10:24:10 PM »

I've been a ham for almost 10 years. Every few years, I get back involved with the hobby, only to lose interest after a few months.

I'm 35 now, and even still, it seems like their is a huge generation gap between someone my age and the "old farts", as you called them. It's hard to find acceptance with this group, and that feeling of standing on the outside looking in has pushed me away from the hobby every time.

I don't have any ready-made solutions, but all the reports of declining license figures document a real problem with amateur radio.

Field Day is a great opportunity to reach out to new, potential hams and the public in general. But as long as the hobby reinforces the caricature that is the average person's perception of hamming, then the downward slide will only continue.

In the mean time, thousands of high-school age kids are involved with "freebanding" and "key down" competitions on 11 meters. While I don't particulary care for this phenomenon, it shows that today's youth does have a real interest in wireless communication technology.

The challenge is to direct that interest constructively into our hobby, but to do so, there has to be an outlet for their interests. Talking with 70-year-old hams about their aches and pains on HF isn't going to do it.

I don't know what the answer is, but one needs to be found. We aren't going to be able to hold onto our spectrum if our hobby keeps shrinking.



Posts: 2


« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2000, 08:18:07 AM »

Do you suppose emphasizing various radio contests as a sport, as in the European model, would attract the public to our hobby?  73, Tony K3RXK


Posts: 979

« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2000, 03:08:32 AM »

RE: N9LXJ comments:

At our Field Day age is not an issue...ability to contribute is.  But we have some competetive personalities, and our goal is to win, not whine about our ailments.  You complain about being treated as an outsider, but what is your approach with the local "old farts?"  As a codeless tech, it's not likely that you are going to operate the CW position.  You probably don't have any experience on HF SSB, so running a pileup at a high rate on phone, even with a control op present, is out of the question too.  Did you offer to set up and operate a VHF/UHF station?  Or packet?  How about a satellite installation for those bonus points?  Do you even know what you might do to contribute?  Have you read the rules?  Did you indicate that you are willing to learn, or do you have a "know-it-all" attitude?  If your general intrerest club's Field Day is too laid back for you, try finding a DX or contest oriented club that doesn't know Field Day is not a contest.  I guarantee they can find plenty for you to do, if you're willing to to put some effort into learning what's going on.  But you might do them the courtesy of introducing yourself a couple of months BEFORE Field Day and let them know who you are and that you would like to particapte.  You might decide ahead of time what you expect out of the experiece and see if it's consistant with their goals.  Field Day and ham radio is a microcosm of real life, you have to figure out where you fit. That's your responsibility, not that of those around you.  You say you lose interest in radio every few months.  I think if I was a codeless tech I would lose interest in about 5 minutes.  What you get out of an activity (any activity, not just ham radio) is exactly what you put into it.  Incidentally, you've been suckered with those arguements made by those that wish to sell products that ham radio is in decline.  There never has been as many licensed hams as today.  There are others out there near your age, so if you can't find a suitable group to go with...start your own.  Be forewarned though, "shack on a belt" Field Days ain't much fun.
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