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ARRL Field Day Contest

 

Field Day is an annual event for amateur ‘ham’ radio enthusiasts in Canada and the US. It is held on the fourth full weekend in June. For 2015 the dates are June 27 and 28. It aims to simulate emergency radio operating environments.

Every year, the Mississauga Amateur Radio Club, actively participates in Field Day. It is an ideal event for Club members to practice their skills in erecting antennas, operating a station and logging, all in the ‘wild’. Field Day also takes our hobby, which can at times be pretty physically solitary, and turns it into a fraternal ‘shoulder to shoulder’ endeavour.

The object of Field Day is to set up an operating station or stations under emergency conditions and to contact as many other participating amateurs as possible within a 24 hour period. Stations are established under adverse and/or adhoc conditions and operate for ‘non stop’ periods under a set of published rules (non-stop does not mean that naps do not occasionally happen). Field Day, by its nature of taking the operator out of his comfortable normal operating position, places pressure on an operator's skills. This is intentionally meant to create comparable conditions to those which might be encountered during a real emergency radio communications situation.

We have a dedicated cadre of operators who come out year after year for Field Day. But there is always room for as many people who want to become involved at this event. Our club runs one of the larger Field Day set ups in Canada. We plan to be active on all bands and use multiple modes. Many of the stations will be operating around the clock, racking up points and contacts. Field Day is a great way to sample all the modes (voice, Morse Code, and computer to computer communication by radio) used by hams the world over.

This year, the Mississauga Amateur Radio Club Field Day site is located at Hewick Meadows Park. It is located at 4415 Mississauga Rd, on the east side. This park site is south of Eglinton Ave and north of Highway 403. The most recognizable feature of this site is the restored log cabin. Visitor parking is found at the log cabin entrance to the park.

Site set-up begins around 10:00AM local time on Saturday. We actually ‘get on the air’ with the start of operations at 2:00PM. We continue around the clock until 2:00PM on Sunday.

Rules for the event require that stations be set-up within 300m of each other. We actually set up at this limit to minimize interference and interaction between the antennas on one rig and the receiver on the rig next door. Each station set up is usually staffed by multiple operators. A more experienced operator will usually act as a ‘band captain’, responsible for coordinating the station set-up needs and to organize multiple operators for communicating and recording the contacts. Once on air and operations begin, we encourage all visitors to sit down and operate or log for a while.

Field Day is an ideal opportunity to get some on-air experience with various types of equipment and band conditions for our newly licensed amateurs. You will experience contest type operations. Field Day is not supposed to be a contest, but as soon as you organise a radio event with rules for hams, it turns into one. We try to keep it fun, but still want to score well relative to our local and national peer clubs.