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Author Topic: Field Day -everyone wants to bring their own radio  (Read 16526 times)
WB0CJB
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Posts: 38




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« on: February 09, 2013, 11:46:31 AM »

How do you handle a bunch that want to bring their own equipment rather than get used to using a radio unfamiliar to them? There will be at least 5 different radios that will be there, going from a TS-520S (GOTA), to a K3 (CW), an FT-450 (dig/ph), FT-897 (ph), and maybe an FT-950 (dig). All will be able to do CW, digital, as well as phone. Some want to bring their own radio.The reason is that certain radios will be a "dedicated" mode and that they wouldn't be able to do other modes. If the owner of that radio is there I don't see why they couldn't switch modes, just so long as the person who is using the radio can get assistance from the owner if they are not familiar with it.Thewn you have those who feel a computer MUST control that radio...

It all came down to about 3 years ago when a person brought their own radio and computer.They were assigned a certain band.When that person went home for the night they took their computer which no one knew how to use the radio or what stations had been logged (this was before we started using the N3FJP FD network software).So the radio sat unused for most of the night.

Now all stations are connected to a wireless router and the FD network software (N3FJP). To me I don't care if one brings his or her radio, just let me know so I can plan on who will be on what mode and when. We don't have a large area to work in for antennas so that is the only big question.

I've been FD planner for 3 different clubs before and this is the first club I've come across where everyone wants to bring their own radio. The other clubs have either had its own radios or someone brought a radio and everyone used it.To me that was how one got to "try" different radios and that might influence one to purchase a new radio model if they were looking at a new one.Some of today's models are very intimidating with over 100+ buttons, knobs and switches so  can see their hesitation as using it. You can only use so many buttons at one time.
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N4NYY
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« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2013, 01:16:34 PM »

Here is what I did at Field Day as chairman. I assigned band chairman. Those people were in charge of their station and the OPS. the chairman would set the filters up at the beginning, and that would be it. You essentially spun the VFO and adjusted the volume or RF gain. You did not need to know anything else about the rig.

If people are not running a station or band but are operators, tell them to leave their radios at home. If the band chair allows people to swap radios, then so be it. I personally, would not allow it. I also issued requests to not "play" the radio in the station. Use it as you found it.

Regarding the computer, I would only allow one logging computer (the band chair's). I would not allow someone to come and log on a different computer and then leave with it. If that were the case, he might as well operate from home.

The bottom line was, this at our club. The FD chair and band chair was boss. The ops were the guests. Act like a guest. I would have never allowed that guy you mentioned to do what he did.

« Last Edit: February 10, 2013, 01:22:16 PM by N4NYY » Logged
AE5QB
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Posts: 269




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« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2013, 09:22:21 AM »

I see two issue here that are mutually exclusive.  The first one is control of the radios, the other is keeping adequate logs.  I don't see what the two have in common.  I don't see a radio issue either.  If someone wants to bring their radio and then take it home, so be it.  I wouldn't particularly want to leave my radio if I was not staying the duration either.  I don't see that it is a big deal to swap out the radio with the operator, but maybe I am missing something.  If you are concerned about computer control, have them bring their own radio for computer control but mandate that they either maintain paper logs or use the computer running the club logging software for the good of the club and the event.  If the concern is the integration of radio and log to automatically capture QSO frequencies, then it should not be a big deal to reconfigure the software on that station to manage the new radio.  If it is then mandate the operator capture the radio info manually into your logging program.  Either way, I view this as a relatively minor issue.  Just my opinion.

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N4MJG
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« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2013, 09:07:21 AM »

I was in FD last year and friend of mine bring his own radio of FT 950 and i wanted to try out his rig ! i bust the pile up with his radio ! every years i try difference radios over the years.i think the FT 950 is best i seen so far !


73

Jackie
N4MJG
BEEN HAMMING SINCE 2001
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K0IZ
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Posts: 737




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« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2013, 06:33:16 AM »

Our club (WØERH) assigns four coordinators for CW, SSB, Digital, and GOTA.  Each coordinator works with those simularly interested on collecting the equipment needed.  This includes radio, antenna, coax, table, light, paper, generator, tent, misc tools, etc, etc.  After the field day site is selected (almost always an area park), it is scouted for antenna locations.  Some negotiations will likely occur between the various mode coordinators (everyone wants the tall trees, etc), band plans, and where to locate the stations.  Each of the stations stays on the planned mode (CW, SSB, Digital), no changing (except Gota could be anything but is almost always SSB).

All of this occurs prior to Field Day.  Not really any opportunity for someone to bring their own radios and set up.  No extra tables, tents, generators, conflict with the other four stations, etc.  So we have not had the problem.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2013, 06:36:44 AM by K0IZ » Logged
WB6BYU
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Posts: 13170




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« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2013, 02:24:11 PM »

I've been to some club Field Days where each person brought and set up
their own radio, antenna, AND STATION (often in an RV) and operated it
pretty much by themselves.  It certainly wasn't conducive to teaching
new hams how to operate or log.  Fortunately we did have a trailer where
visitors were welcome and everyone could take a turn operating (under
appropriate supervision, of course.)

Part of the problem was that nobody on the planning committee had any
concept of how it could be done as a club effort, rather than as multiple
individual efforts.  (Or, perhaps they had - and had felt miffed that they
couldn't operate when they wanted because they hadn't signed up on
the roster in advance?)


While I don't have any problem with someone swapping out a rig for
one they are more familiar with, the main reason to control the rigs
used a Field Day is phase noise:  some rigs Do Not Play Well With
Others.
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K1CJS
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Posts: 6012




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« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2013, 09:03:34 AM »

On the other hand, can you blame someone who has invested a lot of time and effort in learning how to operate their rigs not to want to use another rig?  Rigs these days have so many different menu adjustments that it's hard to understand--let alone use them--and be proficient enough not to 'mess things up' for the next operator.

Then there is the man who brings his 'station' so he can use it and refuses to let anyone else touch it!

You just can't win these days, and that is why there is a continuing and increasing lack of interest in field day.
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WB0CJB
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Posts: 38




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« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2013, 06:00:41 PM »

If a person has their radio menus set a certain way then the setting should not be changed unless the owner is the one doing the adjustment. The guest operator should only be concerned with the volume and the tuning knob. MAYBE the different filters IF they are easy to change. I would think that a person should try different radios to see which one they like the best. One FD I used a IC-756 and unless it wasn't equipped with the different filters I wasn't impressed with it at all. The audio was too tinny and harsh. I've also used the smaller compact radios like a FT-857 and it was too small for my tastes (guess I'm too used to the size of my old gear). Now if I had a chance to really use a certain radio and see all of its functions and abilities then I might be apt to like that radio.Then you also have the ones who insist their radio (and all radios at FD) must be controlled by the computer. If they had to use their radio without the aid of their computer (manually select the different functions) they would be totally lost like last year's Easter egg. IMHO the operating frequency does not have to recorded by the FD log. All that matters is the contacts are logged correctly and that when a station changes bands they be sure to change the band in their logging software as well.

As far as the logging goes as long as the person who brought their radio and computer is on the network and can input any and all contacts they make I don't care if they packed up at 3 AM and went home. The problem I mentioned in my initial post was before the club's FD was networked.

The operation and setup of each station will rest with that radio's owner. If they don't want the guest op to play the radio they must make that point.The only functions needed should be the volume and tuning knobs.

Thanks for the feedback and good luck to you all this FD. Look for W4GGM.

73,
Paul WB0CJB

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K1CJS
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Posts: 6012




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« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2013, 05:31:21 AM »

If a person has their radio menus set a certain way then the setting should not be changed unless the owner is the one doing the adjustment. The guest operator should only be concerned with the volume and the tuning knob. MAYBE the different filters IF they are easy to change.....

I agree.  But try telling that to some of the operators who go to field day sites.  I'm not saying all, or even most, but there are some that just have to change the settings according to their liking--just as there are the members of that exclusive club known as AKR--all knobs right.

Quote
I would think that a person should try different radios to see which one they like the best....

Again, I agree, but there are those who want to try out the radio in it's entirety--which includes playing with the settings.  That's why some rig owners aren't comfortable leaving their rig alone with another ham, unless, of course, they know that ham.  Even then, there's no guarantees.  Sometimes you just can't win for losing.

Quote
The operation and setup of each station will rest with that radio's owner. If they don't want the guest op to play the radio they must make that point.The only functions needed should be the volume and tuning knobs.

Again, agreed.  But there's always that one person there that will try to do more.....  73!
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N8BOA
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Posts: 90




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« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2013, 04:14:08 AM »

As I see it the issue here is the PC and Software not radio. There is really no need to have the radio networked you can enter that into the PC manually. I do see some very very big advantages to demanding that one uses His/Hers own rig...... "I thought I was changing antennas didn't know I was transmitting into a open load sorry"  or John was the one who spilled the coffee on it. It was working when I was done...  I would hate to damage someone Else's rig that sucks. 
Yep better if someone is responsible for their own
Sean
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KB4QAA
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« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2013, 06:56:54 AM »

First, I see Field Day as a time to have fun.  Not as a serious contest.

-People should be welcomed to bring any radios they want

-If a designated radio is so fragile, so critically preset, that it can't stand up to a guest operator bumblings, then it isn't a good choice for FD.

-Mandating filter settings and demanding that operators only touch the VFO and volume knobs is nothing short of dictatorial or obsessive compulsive psychological disorders.  Operators have different needs, and band conditions change.  Besides who says the dictator knows what he is  doing.

For me the best parts of FD are getting to chat with people and use radios I've never experienced.  The guys that own the latest and  greatest are proud to show them off, and I get to use multi-kilobuck equipment I only see in the magazines.



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K9MHZ
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Posts: 398




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« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2013, 06:36:25 AM »

QAA....excellent points.

Many of the operators who've brought their own gear at venues I've attended have said that it was their chance to wring out their radio which is normally confined to a home QTH with a HOA restricted compromise antenna.

Hey, no matter what you think of the bring your own idea, at least they're showing up and willing to participate. Relaxing and enjoying the event seem like two better rules to enforce.  
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N4NYY
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« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2013, 06:48:28 AM »

I ran Field Day for 4 years for our radio club (8A and 9A). I only wanted to run it 1 year, but they essentially convinced me to run it 3 more years. While it is fun and is a contest, it is also an emergency communications drill.

In the event of an emergency, you cannot start having people dismantling radio stations that are already up an running so they can install their own rig and PC. I established band chairman for each station. They were responsible for their entire station setup. People were not allowed to show up at 4pm after others had been there all day setting up, so they can start taking things out and putting their stuff in.

Most often, the only thing that is needed to know about the operating rig is how to use the VFO and filters. That is it. That does not require a ham bring his own rig because "he knows how to use it".

Lastly, you need some sense of order and hierarchy in order to sun a fairly smooth operation. If you let chickens run around without their heads, you will have kaos.

In 4 years, everyone had fun and go no complaints about no knowing how to use equipment. If you did not now how to use it, the band chair or assistant would gladly help you learn. There were a ton of newbies that were assisted in my 4 years.

If you are hell bent on running your own stuff on certain band that is already operational, I would suggest staying home and running a home Field Day station. If you are hell bent on running a a station at a radio club, then request band chairmanship for that band and run it with chosen assistants.

« Last Edit: March 17, 2013, 07:07:40 AM by N4NYY » Logged
N4NYY
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« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2013, 07:04:05 AM »

On the other hand, can you blame someone who has invested a lot of time and effort in learning how to operate their rigs not to want to use another rig?  Rigs these days have so many different menu adjustments that it's hard to understand--let alone use them--and be proficient enough not to 'mess things up' for the next operator.

Then there is the man who brings his 'station' so he can use it and refuses to let anyone else touch it!

You just can't win these days, and that is why there is a continuing and increasing lack of interest in field day.

1. Menus on radios are rarely changed at Field Day. The rig is usually set up and ready to go. It is a matter of the filters settings and turning the VFO. I have had non-hams operate equipment that they have never touched until that day with no problem. Am I supposed to believe that there are licensed hams that could not do this as well?

2. As Field Day chairman, the stations cannot be "hands off". If it is there, it is there to be operated by anyone who requests it. Some supervised, and some not. As a Field Day chairman, if a station chairman would not let anyone touch his station, I would pull the power and not count his station in the scoring. But it never came down to that and this never occurred.

It is amazing how much bad information is being said here. I have never seen any kind of this conduct in a club that ran 8A and 9A, with a free VHF station in addition, as well as a GOTA.

Let's not forget about the people that bust their ass all day in the hot sun, putting up antennas, tents, tables, cabling, etc, many of whom are retired elderly seniors, only to have some jerk show up at 3 or 4 pm and insist his rig gets connected to a station he had no help in setting up.
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AE5QB
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« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2013, 09:02:08 AM »

Joining any club or organization is like a marriage if you expect it to be a 50/50 proposition you will be disappointed.  If you expect to put more into it than you ever get out of it, you should be satisfied.  So the comment about the jerks who show up last minute and expect to use the station that they had no part in setting up is a bit negative.  But so be it.

There are all kinds of people in these clubs. I have seen people hog "their" radios and I have seen those who set up their equipment and let others use it most of the time.  As club officers and FD organizers, I feel, it is neither our job to dictate to others nor cow to the bullies.  Our job is to pull together the club to make sure the FD runs smoothly - not necessarily perfectly as we see it.  I'll tell you, a board of directors or FD committee that is draconian in "their" way is more destructive to a club than a few bad members.

I really don't see an issue in changing out a station once in a while.  Really what is the big deal?  Unplug the antenna and PS and plug in a new one.  It isn't like everyone wants to use "their" rig so it isn't something that is going to be happening every 30 minutes.  Some will want to, some will be happy to sit down at anyone's rig.  This can all be handled in many ways.  Find those who are willing to let others use their rigs and set them up.  Designate a number of positions as the swap-a-ble positions. 

Make FD something for everyone and most importantly, don't take yourself or FD too seriously. Have fun, laugh at the gaffs, and make it a friendly activity for old and new hams and even more importantly for non-hams.

Good luck!
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