FARA Field Day Operations History 1983-Present
Year Score
1983 2342
1984 4108
1985 6132 (K1RK)
1986 5118 (K1GN)
1987 2362
1988 3280
1989 4034
1990 5796
1991 8060 8th pl.
1992 7894 10th pl.
1993 4140 (1A*)
1994 4510
1995 3500
1996 4670
1997 6374
1998 8598 6th pl.
1999 9334 7th pl.
2000 6688
2001 6794
4th  (4A)
13th pl.
2nd, (4A)
(*all other scores are 2A, except as noted)

My activity as Field Day Leader, 1991-92

Expectations for 1991 were fairly clear: upward and onward. We had begun to establish momentum, and we had shown strong performances in the past. With enough planning and some hard work a new record was a realistic goal. I had the good fortune of watching some excellent people organize prior Field Day efforts, and they were good examples to follow.

Our 1991-92 Game Plan:

Two 70-foot towers, one for each mode of CW and PHONE. Both used Cushcraft 40-CD-2 40M Beams, a Hy-Gain TH-5 on the CW tower, and a TH-3jr on PHONE. In 1992, we obtained another TH-5 for the Phone station. One 50-foot military crank-up tower for the Novice/Fun station with a TH-3jr. We aimed for (and succeeded in) covering every possible type of bonus score, and encouraged maximum Novice/Fun station participation. 

The Setup:

Think Safety First. No outing will be fun if anyone is hurt. Refer to current safety guidelines regarding the handling and erection of towers or other antenna support systems. Be sure to position towers and antennas away from utility wires. Wear appropriate clothing and protective gear: Head protection, Eye protection, sturdy footwear and gloves prevent injuries. Never work alone, and never handle antennas that have RF flowing through them. Ensure proper grounding of AC from power generators, and keep the AC lines clear of standing water. Be sure to observe proper grounding of antennas for minimizing the risk of a lightning strike, and cease operating when there are any indications of potential lightning.

Operating & Logging:

It is abundantly clear that operating can be carried out enjoyably at any level of intensity you like. If you wish to amass a large number of contacts, computer assisted dupe checking is very helpful. Practicing in advance with the computer is time well spent. In both 1991 and 1992 we used computer logging for all operations. Field Day is a great time to try new modes of operation, since you may have other operators available with more experience in that particular mode to help you become familiar with its subtleties. We operated 3.5 Mhz through 28 Mhz SSB and CW, VHF SSB/CW and PACKET, as well as UHF Tropo and Satellite modes. Band conditions in 1991 were better than 1992, which is reflected in our scores. Despite this, we remained among the top ten nationwide in the 2A class for both years.

Calling CQ vs. Search and Pounce:

Making contacts happens in two ways: you call CQ and someone answers, or you answer someone else's CQ. It is definitely easier to find someone calling CQ and answer them on HF or VHF/UHF. On certain satellite modes however, the opposite is true.

If you want to start gently, just find a loud station calling CQ, and listen to how they handle a few contacts. For example, you hear W1XYZ calling CQ, and K6ABC replies with their own call. W1XYZ then says “K6ABC, thank you. You are 2A EMA, over”, and then K6ABC says “Roger W1XYZ, thank you. You are 12A, SB”. Then W1XYZ says “Thank you, QRZ?” and a new station replies with their call.

When you are comfortable with what to do, you would then wait for the QRZ and make an exchange yourself. Eventually, you will want to call CQ yourself because you will eventually run out of stations calling CQ to answer. There are usually more stations out there answering than those calling CQ, and once you have covered the band they are the only ones left to work. 

Field Day is a really great event to participate in, and I encourage you to get involved even if you have no license, since one of the objectives is to provide the general public an opportunity to see what Amateur Radio is all about.