ARRL Field Day 2010

A few weeks ago I took part in ARRL Field Day with my local club, the Granite State Amateur Radio Association which operates with the callsign N1QC. We also had a GOTA ("Get On The Air") station for new hams operating as KB1NH.

It was a great weekend. A good exercise in team work, organization and generally having fun. It has a serious purpose which is a test of emergency preparedness. I think we demonstrated our abilities in that area pretty well although I must admit that I didn't personally contribute much to hard work of the preplanning and organizing antennas etc.

My main activity was operating CW mostly on 20 and 15 meters. I hardly ever touched a key. Most of the CW was sent from the N1MM logging software via a K1EL WinKey USB keyer.

It was very reminiscent of the NZART National Field Days I used to participate in back in New Zealand with my then local club, Auckland, branch 02, ZL1AA. The main difference is that the NZ field day is more unashamedly a contest whereas the US event is more an emergency exercise first and a competitive event second. In the US we go for 24 hours and can use all bands and modes and can only work a station once on any one band and mode. In NZ we go for 24 hours with a 6 hour break between midnight and 6 am, it's only 80 and 40 meters, phone and CW but we can work the same station again every hour so it's quite fast paced and competitive. NZART branches count as multipliers so near the end of contest, a new branch can be worth thousands of points. Of course in NZ, considering the fewer stations available to work, if we could only work each station once then the contest would be over in a few hours.

Here are some photos.

Anyway ... it was all great fun. I hope to be back next year.