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Author Topic: Anyone else lost interest in Field Day?  (Read 18023 times)
K0YHV
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Posts: 179




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« on: June 22, 2012, 12:18:20 PM »

For the first 10 or so years after I was licensed (in 1980), Field Day was the high point of the year. I always looked forward to it and loved it.  Then I got busy with college and such and made it there once in a while.  In more recent years I have completely lost interest in field day, for some reason.  Maybe I have outgrown it?  Has this happened to anyone else?  It seems like the more I lose interest in it, the more the local clubs and the ARRL push it.  Now it seems like that is all you hear about during the month of June.

John AF5CC
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W7VO
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« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2012, 03:15:55 PM »

I have been licensed since the early 70's and Field Days were high among the best times of my early ham radio life, operating from a remote mountain top QRP (Argonaut 509's) with a bunch of other young hams, drinking beer, and having a great time camping out too. Now, Field day is the best opportunity that we have to get new hams involved, on the air, and let the public know what we can do. Field day for me is all about mentoring now.....

Have I lost interest? No, just the goals for the event have changed over the years.....

73;

Mike, W7VO
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N3QE
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« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2012, 05:33:18 AM »

There are very very few field day calls that I recognize from other contests. Most, I recognize from past field days. And that's a good thing. Field day is all about NOT being your regular old contest.
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NN4RH
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« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2012, 08:10:55 AM »

It's more a matter that I'm getting less tolerant of the heat, humidity, mosquitoes, and undercooked field day food, than I used to be.  But if I stay inside to be comfortable, it's no longer a "field" day.
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N4KC
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« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2012, 03:51:28 PM »

Interests wax and wane, regardless the pursuit.  That's normal.  Clubs and the League push Field Day because it not only is the single most popular single-weekend activity for our hobby, but also one of the best suited for media coverage.

I'm just sitting here thinking about how tired I am, how dehydrated, how I itch from all those chigger bites, after about 10 hours total on 40 CW, putting up and taking down those antennas, setting up the rigs, and all in 100-degree heat.  Wondering why I do this every year and if I'll be so easily drafted next year. 

But then I think about how much fun it was.  How great it was to compare our trap dipole with a directional delta loop.  The satisfaction of making all those contacts...on CW, a "dying" mode.  To have a group of young folks come through, see their faces, and hear their comments about how we were using the computer to interface with the radio to log and send the exchanges, combining old and new technology.  To hear ham radio mentioned on several of the local TV newscasts.  To spend off time with a great bunch of guys and just talk about a subject we all have in common, enjoy some good food, and even learn a few things. 

Yeah, I'll probably do it again next June...if the ticks I picked up don't fill my bloodstream with noxious bugs!

By the way, there are many levels of involvement.  I really appreciated all those 1D and 1E stations who were participating from their nice, comfortable shacks, giving us a bunch of contacts.

73,

Don N4KC (W4ZHR from the Zamora Shrine Amateur Radio Unit this weekend near Birmingham, Alabama)
www.n4kc.com
www.donkeith.com
http://n4kc.blogspot.com
(A blog on rapid technological change and its effect on
society, media and amateur radio)
 
 
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N4NYY
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« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2012, 03:24:49 PM »

I have lost interest in the BS and crap that comes with the setup and planning. But once it starts, all that is forgotten and it is the best of times.
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N0FPE
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Posts: 370




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« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2012, 07:58:39 PM »

I pretty much lost interest when it became a job and no longer fun. That was like 20 years ago. I tried again a few years later but the local club at that time had gone from being a active club to just a few guys that really didn't want to do more than sit in a lawn chair and eat hotdogs. The last club field day i went to there was 2 guys operating, 20 folks eating and drinking and it was all done at sundown because not one wanted to stay up out after dark.

Nowdays i live in AZ and its way too hot to be outside in the Valley of the Sun in June. So everyone heads north 2-3 hours drive to get up in the mountains. I guess I am too old now. I just dint have the interest in the drive at the cost of fuel. So I sit here in the AC with my home station and work a few here and there. I still feel the thrill when I work a little run of 10-15 stations or spending 10 minutes working that kid who is on HF for his first time, but that soon fades when the lids show up and make a mess of the frequency or get yelled at cause there is some net coming on. besides its after dark and time to go to bed!!!  LOLOL!!!! Wink Grin
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W3HKK
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« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2012, 05:23:16 AM »

Boy do most of these posts sound familiar.

The  heat and sun makes it rough on 70+ year olds to be out hauling gear, putting up antennas, setting up tents, etc - not to mention tearing your own shack apart to bring out the rig and eqpt, then taking it back and reassembling it a few days later.

It really boils down to the aging of our ham population, and how many younger members there are with the energy we used to have, who want to get involved.

Emotions run from the fun of planning,  excitement and anticipation,  to the chores of transporting and many hours setting up, the surprises and vagarities of propagation, sleep deprivation, good food, to the real work of tear down while in a depleted frame of mind, to going home to the AC and a bug-free environment, and sleeping it off.

The emotional hills and vallies eventually level off and you feel good about what was accomplished.  But make no mistake about it, as we age, we can do less in more time, so it takes a GOOD turnout at set up and tear down to keep the work bearable.  If you let 3-4 guys do 90% of the work, they will eventually burn out.
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KG4NEL
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« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2012, 06:37:28 AM »

It's more a matter that I'm getting less tolerant of the heat, humidity, mosquitoes, and undercooked field day food, than I used to be.  But if I stay inside to be comfortable, it's no longer a "field" day.

Once I went the RV route, I'm not going back :-D

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NJ3U
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« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2012, 08:29:36 AM »

I for one find field day to be a great activity for the community and myself.  Of course it involves taking my dear equipment from its climate controlled shack into the great wildness of NJ.  Cry

Still I wouldn't give it up for the world, the chance to use different antennas and setups makes it a great chance to grow in knowledge.

Our club has been described as a Food Club with a Radio Pastime and this can be a double edged sword.  Of course the food is GREAT and the Radio is Good - but at this time no one is complaining excessively so....As it has been said so often vote with your feet and find the place that you always feel at home with the people and the environment.  73 and see you in the FD logs NJ3U Rory (FD call NJ2AR-4A SNJ)
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KG6MZS
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« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2012, 03:45:43 PM »

I love Field Day.  Our group (K6TI) started doing it for real a few years back and I always have a blast.  Nobody in the group initially had ever done Field Day in a remote location and it was all a serious learning curve.

Our location is beautiful - tremendous view on a mountain top.  I am there from the word go to the bitter end.

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N0UY
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« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2012, 03:17:55 PM »

This was my 8Th year doing field day.  It is still my favorite event of the year.  I am 58 and my other partners are 63 and 76.  We typically each setup our own stations including all the antennas and operating conditions.  One shack does phone, one shack does cw, and the third a mixture of cw and digital.  We fight the elements each year (bugs, heat, storms, etc) but come out of it generally pleased with the effort.  We haven't had a club in this area for quite some time but do have some new hams in our area that just don't want to join us for some reason.  I haven't really welcomed anyone who has showed up to operate if they didn't lend a hand with the setup.  "My BAD" as they say.  Next year I am determined to setup in the city park before the Counsel Gods and everybody.  It should bring in the public and the new hams.  I hope sincerely that it doesn't turn me off the the event like the original author mentioned.
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K2CMH
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« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2012, 07:26:45 AM »

Quote
It's more a matter that I'm getting less tolerant of the heat, humidity, mosquitoes
I live in AZ and its way too hot to be outside in the Valley of the Sun in June       
The heat and sun makes it rough on 70+ year olds to be out hauling gear, putting up antennas, setting up tents

It would seem that someone at the ARRL would wake up and realize that this is becoming a common theme.  The heat of June makes it miserable (and dangerous for some) to be out there for extended periods of time.  Why not move the date to some other time that is more temperate?  A time could be found that would be suitable for people more northward as well as the people in the south.  Personally, I would rather deal with some snow or cold weather than hot humid heat.  It is much easier to warm up than it is to cool down.  I'm sure I'm going to get some flames for this, but hey, people are getting older, the temperatures are not getting cooler, so what would the harm be in considering moving the date, other than 'that is the way it has always been'?
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KG4NEL
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« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2012, 07:33:21 AM »

As the Mid-Atlantic was recently reminded, nasty weather/power outages don't wait for it to be nice outside Smiley
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K1OYQ
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« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2012, 06:51:41 PM »

Our club signature event has always been field day, but we are noticing a big decrease in enthusiasm for it.  We're in Georgia, so needless to say it is very hot in June and this is a major factor for lack of participation.  We had over 40 people show up, but most of them came to eat the free food the club put on.  We too are a "food club with a radio past time."  It seems like all of the events we have only get participation when there is free food.  No one wants to operate the radios and everyone wants to eat and leave.  We had 10 operators for FD and only made about 200 contacts total.  The stations worked fine and there were plenty of contacts to be made, but no one wanted to work the radios.  As president of the club I spend a lot of time and effort organizing FD and I'm seeing less and less interest from the club members every FD.  We run a VE test session, sponsor youth operators, set up a GOTA station, put on demonstrations of new technology, teach some basics and advanced techniques, advertise for folks and news media to come out and see what we do, and have a great feed provided by the club and the ladies.  Folks just come out, eat and say bye.  The radios sit idle for a long period of time.  Even the folks that volunteered to operate during the night all went to bed.  Make FD a one day event and do it in the cool weather.
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