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eHam Forums => Special Event Stations => Topic started by: KG4RUL on January 27, 2011, 09:09:38 AM



Title: Class F Pre-Field Day Event
Post by: KG4RUL on January 27, 2011, 09:09:38 AM
In the ARRL 2010 Field Day, out of a total of 2617 participating stations there were 179 stations participating as Class F stations.  Or, to put it in other terms, 0.7% of the total participating stations.  That makes the odds of one Class F station finding another Class F station mighty slim!

For stations operating from an EOC, part of the goal should be to demonstrate to served agencies how we can use our equipment and skills to allow them to communicate with their counterparts at other EOCs.  To be able to demonstrate this capability, I propose that we have a Class F Pre-Field Day event.

The event would consist of Class F stations operating from to 1600 UTC to 1800 UTC on 25 June 2011.  Stations would strive to have governmental officials and representatives from served agencies in the EOC during that period.  Stations might call "CQ Class F Field Day Stations".  Stations would log the Call, Section and Class of the F stations contacted and forward this information along with the station call, class, and club name to ClassF@comcast.net (http://ClassF@comcast.net) for tabulation and further reporting.

Stations contacted during this period would NOT count toward normal Field Day scores!

http://www.w4brk.org/ClassF.htm (http://www.w4brk.org/ClassF.htm)

P.S.  Yes, I know that this not a special event but, I am trying to get the word out to as many as possible.


Title: RE: Class F Pre-Field Day Event
Post by: KASSY on February 10, 2011, 08:51:55 AM
I think that violates the spirit of what you would do in a real emergency.

In a real emergency, you'll be struggling to make contact with those you need to contact, because of confusion on the bands.  Doing your own event, at a time when the bands will be quiet, would not be representative of expected conditions.

As an alternative, how about you and the other Class F stations do what you should instead - make a plan for what frequencies you would expect to use for co-ordination, use them,  and prove to the world that Class F can work Class F during the bedlam - just as would happen during a real emergency?

- k


Title: RE: Class F Pre-Field Day Event
Post by: KG4RUL on February 10, 2011, 01:45:57 PM
I think that violates the spirit of what you would do in a real emergency.

In a real emergency, you'll be struggling to make contact with those you need to contact, because of confusion on the bands.  Doing your own event, at a time when the bands will be quiet, would not be representative of expected conditions.

As an alternative, how about you and the other Class F stations do what you should instead - make a plan for what frequencies you would expect to use for co-ordination, use them,  and prove to the world that Class F can work Class F during the bedlam - just as would happen during a real emergency?

- k

Exposing a radio neophyte to the bedlam of Field Day may not be the best introduction possible to Amateur Radio.  Remember, these persons will not normally be the ones at the mike or keyboard in a real situation.  Their goal is to get information as fast and accurately as possible if their normal communications are compromised.  The intent of this event is take advantage of EOCs that will already be manned and let them interface with other officials in similar positions.

Your screen name leads me to these questions: are you a licensed Amateur Radio operator and if so, will you be operating from an EOC as a Class F stations for Field Day?


Title: RE: Class F Pre-Field Day Event
Post by: KASSY on February 10, 2011, 02:21:03 PM
I think that violates the spirit of what you would do in a real emergency.

In a real emergency, you'll be struggling to make contact with those you need to contact, because of confusion on the bands.  Doing your own event, at a time when the bands will be quiet, would not be representative of expected conditions.

As an alternative, how about you and the other Class F stations do what you should instead - make a plan for what frequencies you would expect to use for co-ordination, use them,  and prove to the world that Class F can work Class F during the bedlam - just as would happen during a real emergency?

- k

Exposing a radio neophyte to the bedlam of Field Day may not be the best introduction possible to Amateur Radio.  Remember, these persons will not normally be the ones at the mike or keyboard in a real situation.  Their goal is to get information as fast and accurately as possible if their normal communications are compromised.  The intent of this event is take advantage of EOCs that will already be manned and let them interface with other officials in similar positions.

Your screen name leads me to these questions: are you a licensed Amateur Radio operator and if so, will you be operating from an EOC as a Class F stations for Field Day?

It sounds like you're trying to do too many things at once.  If you think a neophyte can't handle Field Day, then they aren't up to an EOC situation in an emergency, either.  You should have many levels of training and exposure before you put them in a situation of the bedlam that is the fact of the matter in a real emergency.  Manning an EOC station and "introduction to Amateur Radio" do not belong in the same paragraph, much less same sentence.

To answer your questions.  Yes, no.

- k


Title: RE: Class F Pre-Field Day Event
Post by: KG4RUL on February 10, 2011, 06:23:32 PM
I think that violates the spirit of what you would do in a real emergency.

In a real emergency, you'll be struggling to make contact with those you need to contact, because of confusion on the bands.  Doing your own event, at a time when the bands will be quiet, would not be representative of expected conditions.

As an alternative, how about you and the other Class F stations do what you should instead - make a plan for what frequencies you would expect to use for co-ordination, use them,  and prove to the world that Class F can work Class F during the bedlam - just as would happen during a real emergency?

- k



Exposing a radio neophyte to the bedlam of Field Day may not be the best introduction possible to Amateur Radio.  Remember, these persons will not normally be the ones at the mike or keyboard in a real situation.  Their goal is to get information as fast and accurately as possible if their normal communications are compromised.  The intent of this event is take advantage of EOCs that will already be manned and let them interface with other officials in similar positions.

Your screen name leads me to these questions: are you a licensed Amateur Radio operator and if so, will you be operating from an EOC as a Class F stations for Field Day?

It sounds like you're trying to do too many things at once.  If you think a neophyte can't handle Field Day, then they aren't up to an EOC situation in an emergency, either.  You should have many levels of training and exposure before you put them in a situation of the bedlam that is the fact of the matter in a real emergency.  Manning an EOC station and "introduction to Amateur Radio" do not belong in the same paragraph, much less same sentence.

To answer your questions.  Yes, no.

- k

I think you have the wrong impression.  The "neophytes" I am referring to are representatives of served agencies.  I am trying to get them to be more comfortable with Amateur Radio as part of their planning.  Giving them a chance to communicate with their peers, in a low pressure environment, could be very beneficial.

Training of operating personnel is not a goal in Field Day operation.  That is best done in more formal training environments.


Title: RE: Class F Pre-Field Day Event
Post by: KASSY on February 10, 2011, 08:43:31 PM

I think you have the wrong impression.  The "neophytes" I am referring to are representatives of served agencies.  I am trying to get them to be more comfortable with Amateur Radio as part of their planning.  Giving them a chance to communicate with their peers, in a low pressure environment, could be very beneficial.

Training of operating personnel is not a goal in Field Day operation.  That is best done in more formal training environments.

Well, yes, I did have the wrong impression.  It would have been useful for you to have pointed out that you were in effect, wanting to expose people who you never expected to become good ops.

I 100% DISagree with your assertion that training of operating personnel is not a goal in Field Day.  It is the whole purpose of all contests.  Training via experience.  In the nearly 100 years of amateur radio contesting, it has been the MAIN method of giving people experience in "operating under fire".  You set down the inexperienced op in front of the radio.  Tune around, tell them what all the QSOs are about, what the terms mean.  Give them the microphone and logging software for 30 minutes.  Then stop them and review what they did.  Show them a few new techniques.  Then give them another 30 minutes at it.  In 24 hours you can do a LOT of these sessions, and change someone from copying 20% of what they hear to 90% of what they hear, and this absolutely can not be done any other way than during an on-the-air operation.  It is the basis and purpose of all contests, it is the reason the ARRL started the practice of contesting and I can tell you that 25 years of sitting at Granddad's knee while he contested and helping him contest is why I was able to hit the ground running when I got licensed a few years ago.

- k


Title: RE: Class F Pre-Field Day Event
Post by: KG4RUL on February 11, 2011, 04:47:45 AM

I think you have the wrong impression.  The "neophytes" I am referring to are representatives of served agencies.  I am trying to get them to be more comfortable with Amateur Radio as part of their planning.  Giving them a chance to communicate with their peers, in a low pressure environment, could be very beneficial.

Training of operating personnel is not a goal in Field Day operation.  That is best done in more formal training environments.

Well, yes, I did have the wrong impression.  It would have been useful for you to have pointed out that you were in effect, wanting to expose people who you never expected to become good ops.

I 100% DISagree with your assertion that training of operating personnel is not a goal in Field Day.  It is the whole purpose of all contests.  Training via experience.  In the nearly 100 years of amateur radio contesting, it has been the MAIN method of giving people experience in "operating under fire".  You set down the inexperienced op in front of the radio.  Tune around, tell them what all the QSOs are about, what the terms mean.  Give them the microphone and logging software for 30 minutes.  Then stop them and review what they did.  Show them a few new techniques.  Then give them another 30 minutes at it.  In 24 hours you can do a LOT of these sessions, and change someone from copying 20% of what they hear to 90% of what they hear, and this absolutely can not be done any other way than during an on-the-air operation.  It is the basis and purpose of all contests, it is the reason the ARRL started the practice of contesting and I can tell you that 25 years of sitting at Granddad's knee while he contested and helping him contest is why I was able to hit the ground running when I got licensed a few years ago.

- k

First, Field Day is not a contest - check the ARRL Field Day packet.

Secondly, saying we are "1F SC" a hundred times in no way prepares one to be a Net Control or to pass traffic.  Formal training sessions or listening to and then participating in formal and traffic nets is what sharpens your skills. 

I will give you the fact that any operating time does help but, for the kind of communications handled by an EOC, formal training is vital.


Title: RE: Class F Pre-Field Day Event
Post by: KASSY on February 11, 2011, 08:09:51 AM
To find field day on the ARRL website, go to first "operating events", then "contests".  it's a contest.  It can be many things, but the "operator training" aspect is the contest.

It's not SAYING things that is the practice - it's learning to copy 100%.  Hopefully, you are not killing the training by putting two ops on a radio - one to run the radio and one to log.  The twin activities is what gets people's brains into overdrive.  Sure, they'll make errors on Field Day.  Better there than during the emergency.  During the test conditions, you want things worse than they'll be in real life, so that real life won't seem so bad.

I've participated in 20 or so genuine emergencies over the years, and it is the contesters who are the most capable of receiving the message right the first time, copying 100% with fewer requests for repeats. 

I am not suggesting that Field Day is the only training required.  But it is part of a list of things, all of which are essential.

-k


Title: RE: Class F Pre-Field Day Event
Post by: KG4RUL on February 12, 2011, 11:52:17 AM
From the 2011 ARRL Field Day Packet:

ARRL Field Day Overview
Question: What is the most popular amateur radio event in the US and Canada?

Answer: The ARRL Field Day
During the fourth full weekend in June, the eyes of the amateur radio community turn towards the annual Field
Day operating event. From its beginning back in the 1930’s as an event to test the field preparedness and emergency
communications abilities of the burgeoning amateur radio community, Field Day has evolved into the largest on-the-air
operation during the year. In 2010, contest logs were submitted by a record 2,648 clubs, groups and individuals across
the US and Canada to the ARRL Contest Branch. These logs showed participation by 37,764 individuals and over 1.32
million QSOs were reported during the brief 24-hours of the event.

Field Day is officially an operating event not a contest. The purpose remains today as it did in the beginning:
to demonstrate the communications ability of the amateur radio community in simulated emergency situations.
Groups across the continent use Field Day as a literal “show and tell” exhibition. At sites from the tundra of Alaska to the
sandy beaches of Puerto Rico, amateur radio brings together its resources to show officials in government and various
agencies what “amateur radio can do.”

-----

I acknowledge that all the administration of the event is handled by the ARRL Contest Branch but, it would not make sense to setup a special branch for this non-contest event.  However, some people like to treat it as such.

--------------

"Groups across the continent use Field Day as a literal “show and tell” exhibition. At sites from the tundra of Alaska to the
sandy beaches of Puerto Rico, amateur radio brings together its resources to show officials in government and various
agencies what “amateur radio can do.”"

This paragraphs supports my concept for a Class F event.  Where would you find the very people named above - AN EOC!


Title: RE: Class F Pre-Field Day Event
Post by: KASSY on February 13, 2011, 10:55:56 PM
Actually the paragraphs support exactly what the ARRL intended - that you do your Class F operation during Field Day, not separately.  Thank you for making that clear.

Your posting has also clarified the ARRL's position Field Day as a non-contest, in which you submit your contest log, and then can view the list of scores in the contest section of the website.  In other words, it's a contest in everything but name.  And the absence of winner's certificates.  On Field Day, you follow the "Field Day Rules" and also "The ARRL rules for HF contests".

An OT at our club said that FD is like ham radio itself - it can serve many purposes.  It is great contest training, which is why almost all contest clubs have FD operations.  It can highlight amatuer radio's usefulness to served agencies, which is why there are "contest bonus points" for having a representative from such an agency appear onsite.  It can be a party, a campout or a picnic.  Make of it what you wish.

I would finally point out that on FD, Class F stations count points made with ALL other stations, not just other Class Fs.  I believe the ARRL is wise in this choice: EOCs, in a real emergency, handle traffic not just with other EOCs, but with everybody.  At least, that has been the case when I have been activated during emergencies, and our local EOC ran the nets and handled traffic.  Thus, I believe FD to be exactly the training a Class F station needs, and I support the ARRL text you quoted.

-k


Title: RE: Class F Pre-Field Day Event
Post by: N2EY on February 20, 2011, 09:55:03 AM
I think you have the beginnings of a good idea. But it needs a bit more work.

Unless I'm mistaken, you're proposing an event for the 2 hours preceding the start of FD 2011 that would only involve Class F stations. These stations would try to QSO each other and pass the FD exchange, as a demo to served agencies, officials, etc.

The problems I see are two:

First, there's not enough difference with regular Field Day. Why not just have the served agencies and officials view the actual contest/operating event?

Second, it doesn't adequately represent what Class F stations would be doing in a real emergency - which is precisely what you want to show the served agencies and officials.

Third, some folks might consider using the FD exchange outside of the FD period as a form of cheating. I know that's not the intent, but some might not like the idea that some stations have already copied each other's FD info before the contest/operating event even starts.

I suggest you do something like this:

Class F stations would prepare a variety of simulated messages for transmission to other Class F stations. They could include things like lists of needed material, situation reports, lists of resources on hand, weather reports, etc. These would be exchanged by Class F stations during the "Class F period" for points and for training.   

The Class F period would be longer than 2 hours, and would end shortly before the regular FD period to permit transition to FD operation.

Non-Class F stations could participate as well, by transmitting and receiving simulated messages with Class F stations (but not with each other).

The idea is that the Class F stations would demonstrate simulated emergency comms that go far beyond the simple call/section/class FD exchange.

Why not?

---

If you want to make it a really sporting course, the actual messages would be re-sent by email after the Class F period ended, for comparison with the messages transmitted by radio.

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Class F Pre-Field Day Event
Post by: KASSY on February 22, 2011, 07:21:45 AM
I think you have the beginnings of a good idea. But it needs a bit more work.

Unless I'm mistaken, you're proposing an event for the 2 hours preceding the start of FD 2011 that would only involve Class F stations. These stations would try to QSO each other and pass the FD exchange, as a demo to served agencies, officials, etc.

The problems I see are two:

First, there's not enough difference with regular Field Day. Why not just have the served agencies and officials view the actual contest/operating event?

Second, it doesn't adequately represent what Class F stations would be doing in a real emergency - which is precisely what you want to show the served agencies and officials.

Third, some folks might consider using the FD exchange outside of the FD period as a form of cheating. I know that's not the intent, but some might not like the idea that some stations have already copied each other's FD info before the contest/operating event even starts.

I suggest you do something like this:

Class F stations would prepare a variety of simulated messages for transmission to other Class F stations. They could include things like lists of needed material, situation reports, lists of resources on hand, weather reports, etc. These would be exchanged by Class F stations during the "Class F period" for points and for training.   

The Class F period would be longer than 2 hours, and would end shortly before the regular FD period to permit transition to FD operation.

Non-Class F stations could participate as well, by transmitting and receiving simulated messages with Class F stations (but not with each other).

The idea is that the Class F stations would demonstrate simulated emergency comms that go far beyond the simple call/section/class FD exchange.

Why not?

---

If you want to make it a really sporting course, the actual messages would be re-sent by email after the Class F period ended, for comparison with the messages transmitted by radio.

73 de Jim, N2EY

FABULOUS suggestions!  If, in fact, the original poster's view is that FD is a poor way to test/improve operator capability for EOCs, then yes, by all means, make a "real" event for EOCs.  To add meat to the outline, I think:

1) The event should last long enough to truly tax the participants.  During an emergency, all operators need to be able to answer the question "How long can you operate before you need a replacement"?  At least 24 solid hours.
2) Pre-generate a great variety of messages to be sent via radio.  100% comparison, via email as you said, between the original message and the messages received.  Operators whose outgoing or incoming accuracy scores are too low get their certifications pulled.  We can not have a good team of emergency ops if we don't have a lower limit to acceptable performance.
3) I would recommend this activity be done AT THE SAME TIME as FD, because real emergencies will not conveniently wait until a non-contest weekend.  This is the real deal - trying to convey messages accurately during a very crowded band condition.

-k


Title: RE: Class F Pre-Field Day Event
Post by: KG4RUL on February 23, 2011, 09:12:50 PM
Inviting an official in from a served agency to hear someone repeating "we are 1F SC", endlessly, in no way shows them what Amateur Radio communications can offer.  Allowing them to interact with other officials, in a conversational environment, can show them that information can be passed reliably from station to station and make them more comfortable with Amateur Radio.

I am in no way proposing that this event is a communication exercise intended to "stress" the system or provide meaningful training.

To "Kassy"

The question that keeps popping into my mind - if you are not operating a class "F" station, why is this a concern at all for you?


Title: RE: Class F Pre-Field Day Event
Post by: K3PFW on February 24, 2011, 01:31:05 PM
I think it is a good idea, and a novel way to get served agency representatives a view of the power of ham radio to communicate across the country. Count Sussex County, DE, EOC, KB3HEV as being on board for this.

73,
John, K3PFW, Sussex County DE RACES RO


Title: RE: Class F Pre-Field Day Event
Post by: N2EY on February 25, 2011, 02:28:57 AM
Inviting an official in from a served agency to hear someone repeating "we are 1F SC", endlessly, in no way shows them what Amateur Radio communications can offer. 

Agreed - but that's what you suggested as a demo at the beginning of the thread.

Allowing them to interact with other officials, in a conversational environment, can show them that information can be passed reliably from station to station and make them more comfortable with Amateur Radio.

Agreed again! But that's just one dimension (amateur radio as an emergency cell phone replacement). It focuses on one mode (voice) and excludes CW, data and image modes. It also doesn't help develop operator skills and endurance.

I am in no way proposing that this event is a communication exercise intended to "stress" the system or provide meaningful training.

OK - but consider that it may be possible to do the event so those things happen too.

One of the criticisms of Field Day I have heard for many years is that it provides very limited emcomm training, compared to what is needed during the real thing.


To "Kassy"

The question that keeps popping into my mind - if you are not operating a class "F" station, why is this a concern at all for you?

I think she's just trying to help out. What non-hams think of amateur radio affects all of us, Class F or not.

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Class F Pre-Field Day Event
Post by: KASSY on February 27, 2011, 06:33:13 PM
Inviting an official in from a served agency to hear someone repeating "we are 1F SC", endlessly, in no way shows them what Amateur Radio communications can offer.  Allowing them to interact with other officials, in a conversational environment, can show them that information can be passed reliably from station to station and make them more comfortable with Amateur Radio.

I am in no way proposing that this event is a communication exercise intended to "stress" the system or provide meaningful training.

To "Kassy"

The question that keeps popping into my mind - if you are not operating a class "F" station, why is this a concern at all for you?


Because I DO operate in emergency conditions and I DO operate from EOCs under those conditions and I think we NEED something like FD to truly stress the operators.  FD exists to serve that purpose, why not use it for that purpose?  I just don't happen to do FD from an EOC.  I do FD from THE FIELD, because it is the only large-scale FIELD training event available.  And I think that matters.

It drives me crazy that we do these completely fake "training" events.  Messages get passed, nobody's checking for accuracy, incredibly sloppy net control procedures, tactical callsigns used without the legal addition of ham callsigns...lots of things done wrong, lots of messages that did not get through.  And nobody publishes the "score".  Nobody says "this station failed to achieve a passing score".  And we just check the box, "Did the emergency exercise.  Done."

That's why.  Because I think it matters.

- k


Title: RE: Class F Pre-Field Day Event
Post by: N2EY on February 27, 2011, 06:38:59 PM
To Kassy: GREAT ANSWER!

I will add this:

What Amateur Radio looks like to non-hams matters to all of us. It's a lot better for  the "served agencies" to see our exercises and demos as being reasonably realistic and relevant to what they need.

73 de Jim, N2EY


Title: RE: Class F Pre-Field Day Event
Post by: KG4RUL on February 27, 2011, 07:49:27 PM
To Kassy and N2EY:

Well, I have seen your comments and the event will go on as scheduled and in the format specified.  I see value in the event and I have had positive responses from a number of operators.  IF either of you care to participate from a Class F station, at an EOC, you will be welcome.


Title: RE: Class F Pre-Field Day Event
Post by: KG4RUL on April 19, 2011, 09:04:03 AM
Due to the very low response, seven positives out of 164 E-Mail inquiries, I have decided to drop the event.  With so few stations, the chances of finding a station for invited officials is so low that it is better to not do rather than disappoint.


Title: RE: Class F Pre-Field Day Event
Post by: AI4BJ on June 15, 2011, 12:03:38 PM
Two very late comments:


1) Your math was off by a factor of 10. Approximately 7% (not 0.7%) of participating stations were class F.

2) Field Day incorporates a list of rules and an elaborate scoring system, and the results are published in QST in descending total points order, so to try to assert that it is NOT a contest is just silly. The point is that it is MORE than just a contest. Some groups focus entirely on the contest aspect, while others ignore the contest aspect completely, or give it limited emphasis. That's the genuis of Field Day!

73,
Mark  AI4BJ