Planning Your ARRL Field Day 2020 Operation

For most of us, ARRL Field Day 2020 is going to look quite different than it did in past years. Considering the impact of social distancing due to the pandemic, many radio clubs and large groups will not gather in their usual Field Day locations this year. Whether you are a seasoned veteran or a Field Day first-timer, there are many questions about how to participate in amateur radio’s largest annual on-air event under these unusual circumstances. Here are some tips and suggestions to help you plan this year’s operation.

Don’t Forget 6 Meters

Remember, Field Day is a non-adjudicated operating event and not a “full speed ahead” contest. It is also not an HF-only event. All amateur radio bands above 50 MHz may be used during the event too.

This includes 6 meters, which often offers significant propagation enhancements in the summer months around Field Day weekend, to help you make contacts. The band is available to amateurs holding a Technician-class license or higher. If you have an HF/VHF/UHF multi-mode transceiver, try making SSB, CW, or digital contacts on 6 meters. You don’t need fancy beams or large antenna arrays. A simple vertical or dipole will allow you to experience operating on the “Magic Band.”

Activities for Techs

One suggestion for clubs to consider in order to increase participation among their Technician-class members is to schedule specific times where these club members will monitor designated VHF and UHF simplex frequencies for Field Day activity. Keep in mind that the published national FM simplex calling frequencies should be avoided, and the use of repeaters is prohibited for Field Day contacts. This way, members who have equipment capable of VHF/UHF-only operation may be able to participate from their homes or vehicles. Your club can choose a list of frequencies and scheduled times in advance, and publish them in the club newsletter, or via email or other electronic means before the start of the event.

On the HF bands, Technician-class licensees have CW privileges on 80, 40, and 15 meters, as well as RTTY/data and SSB phone privileges on 10 meters. If you aren’t a CW operator, try calling CQ on 10-meter SSB in the late afternoon and early evening on Saturday and see if conditions are favorable for long-distance communications. Try experimenting with a simple wire antenna for 10 meters. You might discover that the band can offer plenty of unexpected propagation.

Get Set Up for Digital Modes

You might want to explore one of the newer FT4/FT8 digital modes on 10 meters, 6 meters, or even the VHF/UHF bands. These modes offer an opportunity to make weak-signal contacts when band conditions often do not support voice communication. There have been reports of some great 6-meter openings in recent weeks, and these are likely to occur more frequently as the summer months approach. If you’ve never experimented with digital modes, perhaps this year is an opportunity to give them a try.

Setup is relatively straightforward. You’ll need a computer and a digital interface to connect the radio to the computer, and you’ll need to download one of the digital mode software packages such as the free WSJT-X suite, which incorporates FT8 and FT4. Many modern transceivers have built-in support for digital modes, so in those cases, all you’ll need is the proper cable to connect the radio to the computer’s USB port. You’ll need software that supports the ARRL Field Day exchange (WSJT-X version 2.0 or later, for example). ARRL’s book Get on the Air with HF Digital (2nd Edition) is also a great primer for anyone beginning to explore the digital modes.

The Excitement of Ham Satellites

Another area you might wish to explore is operating via one of the amateur radio satellites, or “birds,” as they’re often called. Many hams have had success making contacts via the FM satellites by using a VHF/UHF handheld radio and a small handheld directional antenna, or a multi-mode VHF/UHF transceiver for the linear (SSB and CW) satellites. You’ll only be able to work the satellites when they are overhead, so you’ll need to know when they will be visible at your operating location. Visit AMSAT’s Online Satellite Pass Prediction page to see which ones will be orbiting overhead, and at what times they’ll be visible. You can find many satellite operating tips and resources on the AMSAT website too.

An Opportunity for Learning

ARRL Field Day 2020 may be the year you decide to participate solo, or with other members of your household. You may want to focus on expanding your knowledge base and experiment with new modes or bands that you never thought of using before. If you’re a mentor to a newer ham, Field Day can be an opportunity to share some of your knowledge, and for you to expand your own operating horizons. This might be the year to leave your Field Day comfort zone and try something new!

http://www.arrl.org/news/view/planning-your-arrl-field-day-2020-operation

How to sign in to a Zoom Meeting

Question: I received an email invitation from a group of friends to join a Zoom meeting. I’ve never done this before. How do I join a Zoom meeting?

Answer: You’re not alone. Many people are using Zoom for the first time these days, whether to virtually hang out with friends and family or participate in a community meeting. Here are the steps to take to join a Zoom meeting on your computer:

  1. First, you’ll need to visit zoom.us/download to download the Zoom desktop app on your PC or Mac.
  2. Open the Zoom app.
  3. Click on the meeting invite URL that the host shared via email.
  4. Approve the request for permission to use your computer’s audio and camera. (Depending on the meeting’s setup, you may enter the meeting right away, you may need to wait for the host to arrive first, or you may be placed into a waiting room that the host controls.)

You can get more information, including how to use Zoom on your phone, at support.zoom.us/hc/en-us.

 
73,
 
Dale
W5WI

Ham-Com 2020 Has Been Rescheduled to 2021

Ham-Com 2020 Has Been Rescheduled to 2021

The Ham-Com Board of Directors announced today that in light of the
risks attendant to the C0VID-19 virus and based on input from multiple
advisors, it reluctantly made the decision for the safety of attendees,
vendors, volunteers, presenters and staff to postpone Ham-Com 2020 until
June 17-19, 2021.

The formal announcement was emailed this afternoon and is now
posted at:

https://sites.google.com/hamcom.org/ham-com

How Do I Sign Up for Newsletters and Section Emails?

I frequently receive questions regarding how to sign up for ARRL Newsletters and Section emails.

<Click This Link> for the easy to follow process process to follow.

73,
Dale

Skywarn Training Rescheduled.

The SkyWarn Basic class (previously scheduled at K5WPH on May 15) will be presented on a Google Meet video conference on May 29, at 7PM.

To register, send your name, address, email address, and a contact phone number to Lew Maxwell at KB5HPT@ARRL.net by May 14th.

This information is the same as what is on the form you would fill out at the in-person class, and is used to register you as a trained Skywarn Observer, and issue you a certification number, or update your current ID.

When the list is compiled, you will be sent access information for the class via the email address you submitted.