The 2017 ARRL Field Day has come and gone and reports of how stations and clubs did during the event are starting to circulate. As usual, this year’s Field Day fell on the fourth full weekend of June and went from 18:00 UTC on Saturday June 24 to 21:00 UTC on Sunday June 25. We participated in a little bit of class 1D operations but did not have a lot of spare time to make contacts within that window.
For those of you who may not be familiar with it, the ARRL describes Field Day as “ham radio’s open house.” Tens of thousands of hams throughout North America set up temporary stations in public places to demonstrate the science behind, skills involved with, and service provided by Amateur Radio operation. The ARRL says that the event “combines public service, emergency preparedness, community outreach, and technical skills all in a single event” and calls that event, which has been going on since 1933, the most popular event in ham radio.
Many local hams and several local clubs participated in this year’s Field Day event. Speaking on KY4KY B.A.R.S. club performance, club president Buddy Sohl shared that, despite some early equipment issues, their stations, which were in operation for 95% of the total Field Day time, concluded with more than 1700 contacts made between CW and SSB. W4CN A.R.T.S. club secretary Glen Gawron Sr. shared that their operation included more than 650 contacts, mostly in phone mode, but also in CW and PSK31 modes.
More than just an excuse to hang out with fellow hams or a fun exercise, the annual Field Day operations are just that – an exercise of amateur radio operating abilities. As with any other perishable skill, this one must be exercised to keep it in shape. Portable, field-expedient stations set up for this event somewhat simulate the types of stations that might be set up in times of disaster, during which traditional forms of communication are often overburdened to the point of being unusable or knocked out completely. During such situations, the skills, resourcefulness, and resiliency of these radio operators and their equipment provide a vital lifeline of communication between emergency operation centers, and between those affected by the situation and their loved ones or responders outside of the affected area.
If you worked Field Day 2017, let us know how you did in the comments below.