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eHam.net Survey

Survey Question
How practical do you find Field Day-like operations with regards to true emergency preparedness?
  Posted: May 13, 2016   (1204 votes, 75 comments) by N2MG

  Extremely practical
  Moderately practical
  Slightly practical
  Hardly practical
  Not practical at all
    (1204 votes, 75 comments)

Survey Results
Extremely practical 18% (212)
Moderately practical 38% (452)
Slightly practical 24% (288)
Hardly practical 12% (145)
Not practical at all 9% (107)

Survey Comments
Field Day
Quite. Because while you think that you can
reason out in your mind just what you would
need for emergency communications, it's not
the same as going out and DOING it. One is
also reminded that an emergency is not
necessarily going to happen on a decent
Summer day, just because field day does.
Usually. It might instead be cold or the
middle of the night. Or both. But in the
Season? It's great to have battery topped off
and at the ready, but forgetting the bug
repellent is a humbling experience...I
learned that a mosquito net for your hat is a
really good thing. You can store that pretty
much indefinitely. When you run out of bug
spray, it will still work. As it will if
there is ever a situation where there is no
functioning store to go to.

You also learn that you need to keep a set of
gear that's complete by keeping it seperate
from everything else and ready to go.

Posted by W8LV on January 26, 2017

field day, once was great
it's a waste of time.
newbies are convinced it is a contest...

Posted by NY7Q on December 2, 2016

Stale - stale - stale

I sure gotta agree with VE3CUI. This survey is getting really stale and smelly ... going on 9 weeks. Sheesh. What effort does it take one of the EHam moderators to change it every month or so??? I went to the effort of sending in potential survey questions. Now I feel that was a waste of time ... at this rate I'll never live to see it.

Posted by K7AAT on July 18, 2016

It is what you make it
N1FD had 2 40 foot rohn towers for the tri-
banders, 3 50 foot push ups for a 40m array, a
generator/breaker board, 5 operating tents, a
mess, and a porta potty all in a open field. In
an actual emergency I suspect we wouldn't have
had the porta potty since it was reserved on-
line with a credit card. Most everything went
back into a old parked semi trailer for next
year, unless it is needed sooner. FD is what you
make it....

Posted by K1HMS on July 18, 2016

Zzzzzzzz...
Gee, but it's (yawn...!) just great that we now (stretch...) have
a new & improved change of staff that (scratch-scratch...)
likes to change the topics (snort...) more frequently here than
the last person who...

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...

Posted by VE3CUI on July 17, 2016

so so
many years ago field days was a test of our
ability to bring together a bunch of folks
and equipment and operate from a temporary
location with little or no outside support.
I lived in Missouri at the time. I am now in
AZ and the main reason for field days is an
excuse to drive 2-3 hours to a location up
in the mountians set up inside a air
conditioned cabin with running water and
flush toilets. The site has to be close to
someplace to get food and supplies. There is
almost no operating FD from the Valley of
the Sun. Now dont get me wrong, its hotter
than hell in the valley but hauling people
and equipment 200-300 miles to pretend you
are testing your skills is just silly. In a
real emergency you wont be going anywhere
and will have to "shelter in place" most of
the time. I have to agree it has become a
contest for some and no more than a social
event for others. Thats ok, to each their
own. But training not so much. So now days I
just stay home, work a few FD contacts
running on solar charged batteries or
generator, and i dont even have to drive to
do so!!! CQ FD

Posted by N0FPE on July 17, 2016

How about this one.....
How big of a crook is Hillary aka The Evil Empress ??

Posted by KA2VTI on July 15, 2016

Survey question
How much wood, could a woodchuck, chuck if, a
woodchuck, could chuck, wood?

........ Discuss

Posted by KA2VTI on July 15, 2016

COME ON!!!!
For cryin' out loud, change the damned survey
question already!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by K0CBA on July 13, 2016

W3MSH
Roger roger copied everything you're 5 by 9 but please repeat everything over...

Posted by N3EG on July 13, 2016

Field Day
Too much like a contest now. When first
licensed in 1999, the club FD event was at
a park, under tarps and using tents and
grills. We had the key to the gate lock
to lock ourselves in the park after hours.
Strictly generator and solar powered. We
didn't worry about points and multipliers.
Heat, bugs, microbursts--all part of the
practice of operating under adverse
conditions. The club I belong to now,
shares an air conditioned building with
the local ARES group. I don't really
participate any more, I just do the
testing session and I hang out for awhile,
chatting with other hams I only get to see
at FD.

Posted by NW0LF on July 11, 2016

Field Day Preparadness
My group, W3AO CARA/PVRC, has always
prepared AS IF there was a REAL emergency.

We use generator/solar power exclusively
and set up our own tents.

Of course, preparations are made months in
advance, but if a true emergency situation
occurs we can deploy with perhaps at first
diminished effect, then as we are
physically able continue to augment the
efforts of those that were first "on
scene".

Of course, we can't endure a PROLONGED
emergency or power outage.

That's not the intent of Field Day.

It's to prove that we CAN set up and
operate independently for the short period
we're given.

The assumption is that we will be the
virtual communications "First Responders"
until other assistance is received from
areas not affected by the emergency
condition.

At that time we can both extend our needed
operations through this support of
food/fuel/shelter and then continue our
communications support in what ever means
best serves the general public.

The simple exchange of information in each
QSO simulates the ability to most likely
accurately copy a longer information
exchange of critical importance.

Posted by W3MSH on July 10, 2016

Field Day Preparadness
My group, W3AO CARA/PVRC, has always
prepared AS IF there was a REAL emergency.

We use generator/solar power exclusively
and set up our own tents.

Of course, preparations are made months in
advance, but if a true emergency situation
occurs we can deploy with perhaps at first
diminished effect, then as we are
physically able continue to augment the
efforts of those that were first "on
scene".

Of course, we can't endure a PROLONGED
emergency or power outage.

That's not the intent of Field Day.

It's to prove that we CAN set up and
operate independently for the short period
we're given.

The assumption is that we will be the
virtual communications "First Responders"
until other assistance is received from
areas not affected by the emergency
condition.

At that time we can both extend our needed
operations through this support of
food/fuel/shelter and then continue our
communications support in what ever means
best serves the general public.

The simple exchange of information in each
QSO simulates the ability to most likely
accurately copy a longer information
exchange of critical importance.

Posted by W3MSH on July 10, 2016

Field Day Preparadness
My group, W3AO CARA/PVRC, has always
prepared AS IF there was a REAL emergency.

We use generator/solar power exclusively
and set up our own tents.

Of course, preparations are made months in
advance, but if a true emergency situation
occurs we can deploy with perhaps at first
diminished effect, then as we are
physically able continue to augment the
efforts of those that were first "on
scene".

Of course, we can't endure a PROLONGED
emergency or power outage.

That's not the intent of Field Day.

It's to prove that we CAN set up and
operate independently for the short period
we're given.

The assumption is that we will be the
virtual communications "First Responders"
until other assistance is received from
areas not affected by the emergency
condition.

At that time we can both extend our needed
operations through this support of
food/fuel/shelter and then continue our
communications support in what ever means
best serves the general public.

The simple exchange of information in each
QSO simulates the ability to most likely
accurately copy a longer information
exchange of critical importance.

Posted by W3MSH on July 10, 2016

"The Who"
Anyone here remember the lyrics from that old "Who" song of
decades ago, i.e. "We Won't Get Fooled Again"...?

Well, here's some of it, with regard to the mis-begotten
belief that the topics on this survey may change more
frequently now, under the stewardship of a new editor:

"Meet the new boss --- same as the old boss..."

Posted by VE3CUI on July 9, 2016

Not Optimum Training
FD is good in that it does help develop skills in data reception and transmission. Some operators also learn message handling techniques. However, not enough emphasis is placed on the operational environment. Instead of dealing with the harsh, primitive surroundings we tend to treat it as a glorified barbeque, sometimes complete with portable ac units. Perhaps there should be a new category for primitive camping operation.

Posted by KW4J on July 7, 2016

Field Day
What percentage of today's hams have ever
assisted in a real Emergency using Amateur
Radio.Maybe 1% if even that high.Fiend Day is
about as practical as this almost two month
old poll & that's not saying much for it.

Clayton
W4KVW

Posted by W4KVW on July 6, 2016

WB9FOP's suggestion
Makes sense to me - kind of an on the air flash mob as they call it today. Someone needs to sponsor this, at least for the first five years before the ARRL realizes it should have been done ten years ago.

Posted by N3EG on July 4, 2016

FD Ham Operatons
I find it most amazing that the only time you hear most hams is during Contests as on Field Day. I normally run PSK-31 but this last FD it was a total mess. I've never seen so much traffic on 7,070 or 14,070 MHZ. The waterfall was edge to edge. Why don't Hams spread out on the spectrum. You're in the same Band width?

Posted by KV4PW on July 3, 2016

IT'S OVER!!!!
For better or worse, FD is over.......perhaps
it is time to move the survey along.

Posted by K0CBA on July 2, 2016

Field Day
Like several have posted, Field Day is not a test of one's *EMERGENCY* preparedness. Use of alternate power sources and setting up portable antennas is all well and good, but true emergencies rarely (if ever) wait until the last weekend in June to strike. Let's please call it what it truly is: The annual Field Day event is a CONTEST, nothing more. What I would like to see is for a SPONTANEOUS "Field day" event to be randomly called, without warning or advance notice, and then just see how many are truly prepared to show up and what *THOSE* scores are.

Posted by W1BG on June 30, 2016

FD and CB
Indeed the CB people used to have the
REACT group... too bad they and hams are
at odd ends. They used to set up yearly
at the roadside rests to practice their
EOS stuff. They would provide coffee,
soda and snacks at a lot of them along the
interstates.

Don't know what happened to 'em but like
ham radio when the cells and computers
came out they took a hit too...it seems.

The national group should also have a set
up and tear down time limit... as part of
their exercise data

Posted by BOYSCLUBRADIO on June 27, 2016

FD
Any time you get the ham out into the
field it makes for great training. A
lot of hams have grab boxes for UHF/VHF...
but as to HF and digital modes it seems
very few have items ready to go. Most
clubs need to look into a old trailer to
transport the antennas and gen set..so
that its easy to just hook on the back of
the vehicle and go...

It would be nice if someone came up with a
standard set of trailer plans that clubs
could use to make up their emergency/field
day setups.

I think the biggest realization is the
operators exposure to the elements.
(HEAT)

In all not only is it a time to see what
works and doesn't but also a great time
with friends, food and social. (not so
much emp on the score'n...but rather on
fun... and gettogeather... for the
weekend. A FUN TIME WAS HAD BY ALL AT
OURS... and a shout out to the women folks
did a excellent job of field kitchen
operation to support the ops working
radios. Even the little ones had a
great time camping out and playing with
the other kids that members brought
along... i.e a family affair...

Relocation keeps the ham from getting that
green moldy look...

Posted by BOYSCLUBRADIO on June 27, 2016

Not the best drill
Disasters don't have weeks/months of specific planning nor do they restrict themselves to weekends. There is no contest or point system either. So why are these things elements of Field Day?

A real world drill should involve no advance warning with ham radio teams dispatched to varying positions like Red Cross shelters, hospitals, emergency management locations, government offices and so forth.

I say let's test ourselves to see how successful we are in a more real environment and call Field Day what it really is instead of the emergency drill it isn't.

Posted by WD4AOG on June 22, 2016

Emergency???
IMHO, the chance of an emergency situation happening
where the humanity could only be saved by few Hams in
today's world, does have the same chance with the scenarios
of the Independence Day movies or Zombie apocalypse
movies becoming reality!
Therefore we should be calling this what it is friends; "a
hobby".. Not a lifesaving operation...
Let's get together, share stories, enjoy delicious food and
even few drinks... Field days are great social events but let's
stop these "We are unnamed super heroes waiting our day to
to save the world" rhetoric please.


Posted by KI6HYC on June 20, 2016

FD one big joke
I can only speak from what I have personally
witnessed. The local club has been preparing
for this "emergency" since last year. Club
emails been flying like crazy for past few
weeks as FD nears, with emergency subjects
such as, what kind of salad dressing do you
prefer? You will have to pay for your spouses
steak but the club will pay for yours. Bring
your own dessert and folding chairs! It is a
social activity, a chance to show off the new
rig, another contest. When a REAL emergency
happens, I think getting out of the way and
letting REAL emergency responders do their
job. Don't get in their way with your double
sized grill.

Posted by LONESTRANGER on June 17, 2016

Portable Solar
I use Portable Solar Power for radio every day.

Generators are noisy, smell bad, burn a lot of gasoline that might not be available all the time and produce dirty electricity. I can say nothing good about generators.

Posted by WH7WP on June 15, 2016

Portable Solar
I use Portable Solar Power for radio every day.

Generators are noisy, smell bad, burn a lot of gasoline that might not be available all the time and produce dirty electricity. I can say nothing good about generators

Posted by WH7WP on June 15, 2016

CBer's
They should let CBer's participate. They are funner people.

Posted by SSBER on June 14, 2016

Field day
It is not a perfect test. Depending on
your region and the type of typical
emergencies you have for that region.
Some emergencies don't need HF support but
some areas do. Some my require VHF backup
only. The list goes on. I believe we
need to also work with your local areas as
well for there specificate problems and
challenges. But that being said, once a
year we try to work out the kinks with
basic problems of logistics; power;
shelter; running and checking cables;
antennas; and performing needed repairs
and updates. Doing maintenance for sake of
doing maintenance is not very compelling
by itself. Unless you are getting paid for
it of course. But to do it for the
great good, friends, contest/competition,
good food at the picnic; makes it much
more palatable and less drudgery. I can
site many ideas to make it "more real" and
I am sure there are many more experienced
operators that can add even more than I
to the realism ideas. But it is a start
towards the thoughts of being prepared as
many of our amateurs radio operators have
proven now time and time again! We can
get better technically but it is hard beat
the heart, and the can do attitude of the
Amateur Radio Operator.

Sorry for the soap box.

Thanks again 73

Jay AB9CG

Posted by AB9CG on June 13, 2016

Creating an"Emergency Preparedness" Field Day Event
I agree with others that the typical Field
Day event is not really an emergency
preparedness exercise. The way it tends to be
practiced is more of an event/contest for
public exposure of the hobby. I feel there
could be another "Emergency Preparedness
Field Day" event created for later in the
summer. It could be just another great way to
promote the hobby.

Hams could use the traditional Field Day
event for a fun informal family/community
oriented shake-down activity. Then plan
another event that is strictly Emergency
Preparedness oriented. This activity could
emphasize operations using only portable
power sources, renewable energy sources,
field expedient/portable antennas, QRP,
mobile rigs, etc.... Operating locations
could range from your home or back-yard to
mountain tops and beaches as long as the
system being used could be utilized when the
main grid drops out. Existing national,
regional, and local ragchew and emergency
nets could be the primary contact points.

Anyway, this is just an idea that could make
Field Day a very useful event again.
Recently, the pacific northwest was the focus
of very large FEMA exercise called "Cascadia
Rising". If you haven't heard of it, google
it, its a very interesting and potentially
threatening natural disaster scenario. It's
focus was primarily to coordinate relief
activities between emergency organizations in
the event of a large earthquake and/or
tsunami.

Posted by K7SMH on June 12, 2016

Creating an"Emergency Preparedness" Field Day Event
I agree with others that the typical Field
Day event is not really an emergency
preparedness exercise. The way it tends to be
practiced is more of an event/contest for
public exposure of the hobby. I feel there
could be another "Emergency Preparedness
Field Day" event created for later in the
summer. It could be just another great way to
promote the hobby.

Hams could use the traditional Field Day
event for a fun informal family/community
oriented shake-down activity. Then plan
another event that is strictly Emergency
Preparedness oriented. This activity could
emphasize operations using only portable
power sources, renewable energy sources,
field expedient/portable antennas, QRP,
mobile rigs, etc.... Operating locations
could range from your home or back-yard to
mountain tops and beaches as long as the
system being used could be utilized when the
main grid drops out. Existing national,
regional, and local ragchew and emergency
nets could be the primary contact points.

Anyway, this is just an idea that could make
Field Day a very useful event again.
Recently, the pacific northwest was the focus
of very large FEMA exercise called "Cascadia
Rising". If you haven't heard of it, google
it, its a very interesting and potentially
threatening natural disaster scenario. It's
focus was primarily to coordinate relief
activities between emergency organizations in
the event of a large earthquake and/or
tsunami.

Posted by K7SMH on June 12, 2016

Emergency preparedness
Regarding field day as a metric.... In my opinion field
day is a wonderful social event to enjoy friends old and
new, share good food and overdose on radio.
In a genuine emergency as measured in weeks, field
day represents the first few days at the absolute best.

Sure, set up and operating will be identical until the fuel
and food runs out and there is no more to be had...
anywhere.

No cell service as their batteries and generators are
soon exhausted. Lastly and regrettably taking care of
one's family where shelter, food and security becomes
an acute focus. Communications are great and we all
enjoy that portion of field day however genuine
emergency preparedness it is not.

Now if we had solar, wind, water.... ONLY field day,
there would be something akin to the real deal.
Better bring your Elmer J. Fudd hunting clothes and
shotgun too as you can't eat Mother Natures power
sources regrettably..
The only way I see to end this rant is as follows.......
REPENT !

Posted by KA2VTI on June 11, 2016

Emergency preparedness
Regarding field day as a metric.... In my opinion field
day is a wonderful social event to enjoy friends old and
new, share good food and overdose on radio.
In a genuine emergency as measured in weeks, field
day represents the first few days at the absolute best.

Sure, set up and operating will be identical until the fuel
and food runs out and there is no more to be had...
anywhere.

No cell service as their batteries and generators are
soon exhausted. Lastly and regrettably taking care of
one's family where shelter, food and security becomes
an acute focus. Communications are great and we all
enjoy that portion of field day however genuine
emergency preparedness it is not.

Now if we had solar, wind, water.... ONLY field day,
there would be something akin to the real deal.
Better bring your Elmer J. Fudd hunting clothes and
shotgun too as you can't eat Mother Natures power
sources regrettably..
The only way I see to end this rant is as follows.......
REPENT !

Posted by KA2VTI on June 10, 2016

Field Day-Every Day
I do not do field day. I stay "Field Day" ready with Comms an other logistics every day. When trouble starts calling for an appointment, I will start planning for the event weeks ahead, but until then I'll continue like I've lived these past 69 years, ready 24/7/365.

Posted by NQ3M on June 10, 2016

FD
I run a 1E station on battery and
generator power. It's a enjoyable way to
spend some time making sure that
everything is running as it should. To me
this is as real world as it gets because
if I lose my antennas in a catastrophe I
will have bigger worries than trying to
get on the air. I have done the entire
"toss the wire in the air and make some
contacts" so I'm plenty happy to use the
exisiting iron. People need to calm down
and relax, if you don't like field day
then do something else. People complain
about contests but for several weeks now
DX has been calling CQ on 20m in the
evening and very few are answering. My
guess their radios are off and they would
rather watch some insipid tv show.

Posted by W4IOA on June 10, 2016

Loosing Practicality
I see less and less real world
practicality every year unless the total
objective of the ARRL is to public
promotion of Amateur Radio, which is not
bad, mind you, but not nearly a practice
for emergencies. I know it is easier for
every one, but computer logging is not
real world emergency, particularly when
only the RADIO power must be from non-
commercial sources. Why not a 500 point
bonus for ALL non-commercial power,
including computers, lights, fans, rotors,
etc. not just radios. That includes
cooking cooling. I know some do this and
they should get a BIG bonus.

Posted by K3FHP on June 6, 2016

Field Day in Germany
It's not a contest here because every club schedules their own Field Day date. It's often also a Family Day. Yes Grills and Beer are important Field Day ingredients in Bavaria ;-)

Vy 73 de Bob DJ0RD/WU5T

Posted by DJ0RD on June 5, 2016

Field Day in Germany
It's not a contest here because every club schedules their own Field Day date. It's often also a Family Day. Yes Grills and Beer are important Field Day ingredients in Bavaria ;-)

Vy 73 de Bob DJ0RD/WU5T

Posted by DJ0RD on June 5, 2016

Field Day?
Few will admit it but Field Day is nothing
more than another Useless Contest.YES it's
a Contest.If it were NOT a Contest then
nobody would keep score.Call it what it
really is & Stop with the BS attempts too
make everyone think it's anything more
than a Contest.It's another time not too
be on the radio listening to folks
screaming on the air & complaining about
other stations being much to close in
frequency to them & they can't hear anyone
or anything so they can get some points
for the Contest.Think I'll go Bass Fishing
that entire weekend because at least that
is FUN & Rewarding because me & my wife
both love fresh fish. {:>)

Posted by W4KVW on June 4, 2016

Fiekd Day
I agree with N8AUC. Also, the food, snacks and beverages are a good part of the enjoyment and draw. As well as the things that make people (ops) feel comfortable and appreciated such as proper seating, tents, shelters, pest control, etc. Lastly, always try to include public relations such as invites to newspaper, radio and TV. I started attending Field Days 40 years ago with the Wheaton Community Radio Amateurs (W9CCU) at Pratt Wayne woods near Wheaton , Illinois. Still enjoy it greatly. No I am not on medication.

Posted by WB9YCJ on June 3, 2016

Field Day
Yes, it's part contest and part social gathering. But there is some emergency comms aspect to it as well. The most important part is to get people starting to think in terms of what you need to operate in the field, then try doing it before you are in a position where you "have" to do it. The contest and social parts are to make it fun so people WILL participate, and then end up learning something along the way. If it were made "too serious", people wouldn't participate at all.

At any rate, it is big fun, and I enjoy it immensely. Always have. Hey - let's go camp out and play radio all night. Sounds like a good time to me!

Posted by N8AUC on June 3, 2016

Field Day
The non practical day when every Ham in
the club goes out and has a crack at
contesting with no regard to band plans,
Emergency nets, and plain common courtesy.
Everyone is on top of everyone else and as
the bands change you can certainly hear
that. I will never play in Field Day
again. you wanna be prepared for an
Emergency? Go set your self up with a nice
mobile setup. Have a dipole and a tuner on
hand to throw into a tree. Figure it
out.Once you do indeed get that emergency
rig setup you will not hear all that trash
on the air unless your emergency is on
Field day weekend itself. Than you might
as well forget it and wait until Sunday
afternoon to get your emergency traffic
out because all the other person you make
contact with wants is your exchange
1A-PA.....senseless

Posted by N2FI on June 2, 2016

Field Day
As I pointed out in my letter to the editor of QST last year, there should be a bonus for turning off all cell phones within the 1000' circle. The bonus would make this optional, but would at least encourage groups to consider the implications. In a real emergency, can we count on cell coverage? And isn't FD supposed to prepare for real emergencies? The truth is that most of us would feel naked without our phone, even for a few minutes, never mind a few hours.

Posted by VE6TL on June 1, 2016

What is Fieldday to you?
Over here the iARU Region 1 Fieldday is a little bit different.
The rules say you have to operate off the grid, no antennas on permanent buildings and the next house has to be 330 ft. away. This means to set up in some "remote" place, for example in a vineyard or this year at a lake.
Since all the power from the generator goes to the HF-station (100 W) we have to do the bbq the traditional way. Even the (large amount of) coffee is brewed on a gas stove.
I am doing FD now for some years, but believe me it is always an emergency (read last minute) exercise to grab the equipment :-) Otherwise Fieldday is, what you make of it.

OK, assuming I would be pounding out “SOS” in a real emergency is romantic at least. Then I hope my equipment will survive so I can set up Pactor/Winlink for communication.

Posted by HB9IRF on May 31, 2016

11.9 months to prep
Ya real E-Drill with 11.9 months to prepare for the FD Emergency, i.e. ARRL Jamathon contest that the OO's are not to observe...

There is some good intro/PR aspects but as an E-Drill, what a joke.

Don't forget to reserve the site the following weekend AFTER FD for next year with the Park/fairground/camp-site. And make sure you also reserve the rent-a-generator for next year too. Got to plan out those Emergencies well in advance to be effective.

Posted by N6JSX on May 30, 2016

Field Day
I sincerely hope a real emergency doesn't occur during FD or when some other big contest is underway. Odds are the emergency traffic would never be heard over the 5-9 QSL's.

Posted by KF4HR on May 26, 2016

Field Day
It all depends on the the club and group of people you have involved. At the very least the group should focus on home brewing the antennas then somebody might learn something?? And powering at least one station off the grid....

Posted by KJ4JSN on May 26, 2016

Field Day
Field Day today is a joke. Years ago hams
went out in a field and setup and operated from
there. Now they can operated from your home, back
yard, club station. we should get back to how
field day was set up for. to operate from a field
on generators. not plugin in to a AC outlet in
your home.

Posted by WA2AAR on May 25, 2016

Not as relevant now
I actually participated in providing emergency health and welfare communications during the 1989 Loma Prieta quake in the SF bay area. I was a FEMA and OES trained ARES AEC. The epicenter was only a couple of miles away from my QTH. Field day is a contest sponsored by the ARRL with the guise of emergency preparedness. In the 80's before the advent of cell and satellite phones, I believed that amateur radio emergency communications was a benefit. Now that the infrastructure has been built out in the last 25+ years, I do not believe that EmComm is as relevant as it was a few decades ago. Field day is mostly HF and there is no practical message handling done. It is just another ARRL "traditional" contest. I participate almost every year in field day. I enjoy field day. I even hate contesting, but I enjoy field day. I am even in charge of operations for my local ham club for field day this year. I just do not believe that it is a practice for Emergency communications. Times have changed. But field day I have participating in field day since the early 70's. It is just a lot of fun! My newly minted ham YL will be in charge of the GOTA station this year, so it is exciting to see her getting so excited about field day.

Posted by KB6QXM on May 24, 2016

It's an experience
I feel every amateur should get one of these
field day exercises under their belt. In the
end, they really make you appreciate having a
ham shack in a controlled environment and
exposure to what a S9+ QRM environment is
like.

Posted by AD0AR on May 24, 2016

FD is what you make of it
Living on the front line of the soon to come Cascadia Subduction Zone quake, which will be the most devastating natural disaster in modern times for breadth and cost, I use FD and our SET's to work with what I would use after the Big One comes calling assuming I survive. New gear needs to be checked out. Improvements will come as shortcomings are noted. Constant refinement is a literal life and death deal for me. I take it as seriously as I did my radio ops with SAC back in the day, when World War III hung on what I said.

For those who want to do the social aspect, have fun! I'll be going to the worst possible QTH for on-air work to see what my gear can do and no one will be around to bother me nor get entangled in my footprint of radials, tripods, solar power gear, antennas and radios. I won't be bothering with any logs, just checking out what the radios and I can do. Why not? There's gonna be a lot of on-air activity so this is a GREAT time to see how your equipment does in the FIELD!

That's why it's called Field Day.

Posted by WA7SGS on May 22, 2016

sausage fest
A bunch of old men playing hide the salami.

Posted by SSBER on May 21, 2016

Its ok
Most FD ops nowdays are not so much an
emergency excerise but a social gathering.
Here in The Valley of the Sun most clubs
pack all their gear and people up into the
high country to get away from the heat.
thats not really much of a emergency
training op but more of a group get away.
They plan for months on what equipment to
take, what antennas they are going to use,
who is bringing what food. everyone that can
takes their RV/campers so they will have all
the comforts of home. But thats ok..they
have fun in a way that suits them. It is
good planning for those emergencies that you
have 3 months advanced warnings of!!!

Posted by N0FPE on May 20, 2016

Field Day
FD doesn't have to closely adhere to someone's imagined disaster scenario form, in order to have practical value. As long as it has components that help to expose participants to various parts of possible scenarios, it serves the purpose. As governmental entities took in higher tax revenues, along with technological advancements, the necessity for an amateur radio response to disaster has declined. Sometimes we can aid and benefit but really being needed, for serious and important communications, has greatly declined, in the US. Unless doomsday befalls us all, it's unlikely that amateurs will ever play a major roles in most disasters again.

Posted by WA4DOU on May 20, 2016

Field Day
A planned event like field day is hardly
an exercise for emergency preparedness. If
anyone seriously wanted to make it an
emergency preparedness type of event, give
15 minutes notice, to get home, and gather
up what you need. It won't be a contest,
or show off your gear fun day. You will
probably be hoping that fuel stabilizer
worked, or be going barefoot with a
mobile, from your vehicle. I have had the
unenviable experience of setting up
generator sets for mobile command centers,
triage and temporary morgues, after
hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, blizzards,
& an earthquake. It ain't field day, by a
long shot. I start by running around with
a hi pot tester, checking distribution
gear, then getting everything hooked up, &
the power on. You can and will run through
fuel like crazy. You may need to truck the
fuel in from miles away. I did a solitary
station after a major hail storm. I had 6,
5 gallon cans of gasoline, and an 8000
watt generator. SRP had three service
trucks stuck in the mud, trying to get the
69,000 volt lines off the interstate.
Meanwhile women were giving birth in their
cars. I tore the feeders out of my house
panel and ran the house off the generator.
I cut the house back to the bare
essentials, and had a friend's station on
the air within a few hours. We had to
board up windows, and pump out flood
water. Cell phones were useless. Land
lines were down. No electricity. I am
looking into a natural gas and or propane
gen set. You just need to change the jets
to switch fuels. I had to siphon gas from
vehicles. I worked a flood. The gas
station underground storage tanks had all
been fouled with flood waters. We found
one up on a hill with good gas. It's not
field "day". It's more like, "We don't
know when it will end day". It could be a
24 hour day, or a 288 hour day, or even
longer. With diesel gen sets, you do NOT
let those tanks run dry, and it's a bad
idea to let a gasoline generator run dry
too. We set a schedule & refuel every 2-24
hours depending on the setup. You may be
siphoning fuel from vehicles, just to get
any fuel at all. Food is another matter,
as is potable water. You may need to boil
all your drinking water. You may be wading
around in sewage, garbage & gasoline. You
might be fighting off heatstroke &
dehydration, or frostbite & dehydration.
It sure ain't no field day!

Posted by KI7AQJ on May 19, 2016

Great experience
Even though Field Day on-air operations are generally nothing like what you would do in a real emergency and Field Day setups are different than and generally way beyond what you would actually use for emergency communications, the experience of planning, setting up, fixing unexpected problems, making do when you forget some piece of equipment, operating for a long time away from home, etc., are very definitely relevant. Besides FD being just plain fun and a great social event, any activity that help potential emergency preparedness is certainly not a waste of time and effort.

As far as a "waste of DX Band Space," chasing DX serves no useful purpose because in an emergency when normal comms break down you generally need to communicate with someone 5 or 50 or maybe up to 500 miles away, not on the other side of the ocean in some pseudo-country defined only for the purpose of getting an award for DX.

If DHS/FEMA thought Amateur Radio was not a valuable communications resource in emergencies, then they would not have developed and be offering a free 2 day classroom AUXCOMM course/workshop for hams across the country, and would not be talking about adding AUXCOMM as an official function in the ICS/NIMS structure.

Posted by KC2WI on May 18, 2016

Field Day
Having participated in the State's largest Fire Disaster in 2014 Ham radio played a very small part, passed one msg in 10 days. Portable cell towers and sat phone were the winners. In an even larger Disaster in 2015 Hams were not called out. I think they were to busy having to evacuate themselves. But again other Comm modes replaced Ham Radio. I participated in many FD over the years but none beats the simulated disasters prep. FD is more of a social event.

Posted by KI7DG on May 18, 2016

only a little
Most of the FD operations I've seen are
just real good at organizing and putting
up a FD site, and getting on the air and
making a lot of contacts.
If they actually had to pass a lot of real
messages, forget it.
The public service exposure can sometimes
be minimal. One group operates on the
athletic field of a school, but they're
not visible from the front street. They do
put up one banner, but it's not something
Joe Public would notice, let alone, "Hey,
let's see what they're doing!"
A lot of the time it's a big club social
event with FOOD. That's sometimes all that
brings even their members out there.

Posted by AD7DB on May 17, 2016

Field day & Net ops
I find both field day and regular network operation's go hand in hand. Remember the Boy Scout model BE PREPARED.

Posted by KK6FYE on May 17, 2016

Not Reality
Part contest - Part party - Part emergency
operations - Part public awareness

Neither fish nor fowl

Posted by KG4RUL on May 17, 2016

Field Day
I find that it is a good way to check out my ecomm equipment and attempt to find it weaknesses and shortcomings. I also try out new equipment that can fulfill the needs.

Admittedly, it is not really the way that emergency communications, but can be used for practice.

Posted by WB5X on May 16, 2016

It's fun, but it's not ECOM
As an amateur radio institution, Field Day is still awesome! It's SUPPOSED to be fun ... and an excuse to camp out all weekend! But practical by today's ECOM model? Nope. In fact, if amateur radio is to regain relevance in anything outside of the 2-meter handheld, bicycle race or marathon mode ... we'd better change the way we do business ... which means the FCC rules have to change slightly as well. If not, we're gonna hear more and more "Thanks, but no thanks!" when we volunteer for service during actual disasters that require real Emergency COMmunications where the proven ICS model is used ... and since its use is tied to, guess what? Money! You should get the picture.

Posted by K9CTB on May 16, 2016

Not practical
WB0HZL has it right. Field days are just
social events now. Running a generator powered
station while off duty ops cook burgers on the
grill and drink cold beer is hardly emergency
preparedness.

Posted by WB4M on May 15, 2016

Field day
I agree that Field Day is nothing more than
glorified contest on steroids. It if really
wants to be for emergency practice then make
it where you actually have to pass traffic.
Set up several hundred messages that would
need to be passed to either specific points
or to all points. Not just a 59 2X garbage
either. Pass it in true message format and
received messages written in correct format.
Turn these in for your points. Bet a lot of
big guns would scream no-no that this idea.
Waste of time for the 4KW + stations. Yes,
they are out there. Lets make it a real
practice and not a free for all like it is
now.

Posted by N0FQN on May 15, 2016

Good Memories of FD Here...
Hi Guys,

Field Day at our local club was regarded as a superb
outdoor get-together for like-minded Hams --- a great
way to re-enforce friendships in a wonderful fraternity.

Maybe true-blue-dyed-in-the-wool emergency simulation
wasn't a primary goal --- but it sure was fun to mingle
with old friends, make new ones, experiment with wire
antennas that you couldn't do on limited suburban lots,
increase your CW speed, & hone your contest skills.

I have nothing but wonderful memories of my
participation going back 45 years, with 3 separate radio
clubs.

Posted by VE3CUI on May 15, 2016

Field day
Let's stop trying to kid ourselves and
others...IT'S JUST ANOTHER CONTEST!

Posted by K0CBA on May 15, 2016

Not ECOMM practice
Events like contesting and field day are NOT practice for
ECOMM. The type of operation during an "actual"
emergency has very little in common with field day or
contesting.
During an emergency, ECOMM nets come on the air,
and are strictly controlled. It's not a "free for all", it's
standardized and tightly regulated.
Contests and field day (to a lesser degree) are radio
chaos,with seemingly not limits on power or bad
operating technics.
ECOMM is orderly and regulated. Very little to related to
contest style operations.

Posted by KK5DR on May 15, 2016

Field Day
It let's you set up out in the field and see
how well things work. Way too many people
think it is a big outdoor contest and only
care about winning.

Posted by KC9HQV on May 14, 2016

Field Day
I really enjoy setting up on the fly. When REAL emergencys such as hurricaines cruise thru und all the vhf,uhf und microwave links r destroyed or inoperative...that's when the good 'ol hf works for sure. Just make sure all ur batteries are charged und gas und oil for the generators. Respectfully Jimi*Starr a.k.a. KB3WGE

Posted by KB3WGE on May 14, 2016

Train, train, train...
Field Day probably doesn't lend itself to a real world
scenario where field conditions would be replicated. But
it does provide the opportunity to train, train, train and to
think about what you would really need in austere
conditions, probably at your own QTH. During a serious
emergency where a large metropolitan area is affected,
you will first ensure your own QTH and family are safe
and secure before moving on to a larger scale reaction..

Posted by KA4AQM on May 14, 2016

Slightly Practical
So far most communication related emergencies are local in nature, or slightly larger. Most of them involve situations that do not lend themselves to be reproduced on field day.

The one area where it can be most useful is in a thorough checking out of your field ready equipment, portable antennas, power sources, and transceivers. However, when you are engrossed in field day operating,you usually forget all about this and concentrate on contacts. So it is not much different than day to day operation.

Posted by AI2IA on May 14, 2016

Field Day
Not practical at all. A lot of clubs worry
more about stuff like this than actually
planning what to do when an real emergency
strikes:
http://www.eham.net/ehamforum/smf/index.php/t
opic,107638.0.html

Posted by N0IU on May 14, 2016

True Emergencies
Field Day is generally planned many months in advance and everyone knows their job, where the equipment is, who is assigned what task, where to be and when. Meals are planned and chow times are posted.

In a True Emergency, when everything is like OMG what just happened. You use what you can find that is working and get on the air as best you can. In addition you are worrying about friends and family. Unless you are truly prepared, your food and drinking water may be severely limited, along with gas for generators - if gas stations are working - then there is fuel for cooking food and the like.

Field day is fun and a great time but it is only slightly practical to prepare for a true full-blown emergency.

I have done real emergency communications after floods, tornadoes, blizzards, hurricanes and a Super Typhoon. Prior planning does help but it truly does not prepare you for or cover everything that can and probably will happen. Just my 2 cents worth.

Posted by WA0TML on May 14, 2016

Field Day
Mostly just like 99.9% of the Nets on Amateur
Radio it's a useless waste of time,effort,&
energy & a huge amount of good DX Band Space.

Posted by W4KVW on May 13, 2016

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