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Field Day Feedback Please
#1
Whether you attended FD2022 or not, your feedback, opinions and suggestions are needed to help with future planning. For example:
Should we still hold a group Field Day next year, and if so, should we change how we participate?
  • Strictly contest oriented
  • Public demonstration only, no contest entry
  • Mainly social gathering
What else can you suggest? Please reply to this post with your ideas.
John, VA3KOT
2021/22 President, Georgian Bay Amateur Radio Club
May the Morse be with you.
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#2
Field Day wouldn't be the same if there were no contesting but it's not the same type as your major contests such as CQWW, NAQSOParty or others contests.
Field Day contesting is more casual, relaxed and opportunity for others that may not have a capability to do from their own QTH for various reasons. 
In my 40+ years in this hobby we always had at least 3A stations, usually 2 SSB and 1 or more mixed SSB/CW or other modes. 

Various demonstrations/presentation are great for the new hams as well as the public to show many aspects of our hobby.

Public relations, such as setting up information table with pamphlets and having a PR person(s) to talk with the public about our hobby.

Setting up a GOTA (Get On The Air) station for visitors to try their hand at operating. 

I don't know what Field Day would be like without any of these, may just have picnic and leave the radios at home. What would a home station operating 1D do if not contesting.

This past year was different from previous years but still had fun and I wouldn't want to change any of it other than being prepared more in advance.
73, Adam ve3fp
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#3
Our current model of a mix of contesting and social gathering has worked for GBARC for many years. Although, this year we did not have many stations operating, it was still nice to sit and chat a bit with others that we have not seen for some time.

However, Adam's comments about being better organized are still valid. It is not with the setup, or location or other generic details. It seems that every year we have the same recurring issue and that is with our logging.
The time to prepare for field-day, is NOT the day of field-day.

Field-Day is an exercise in emergency preparedness. But it's not a test for Adam or Bernie to demonstrate that, its for other members as well. Take a turn and set up your station for field-day. All we ask is that you have N1MM+ logger operating and connected to your radio so log data can be automatically recorded.

For details on how to set up N1MM go here. It also includes setup information so you can use digital modes as well.
https://gbarc.ca/fd.php

Another thing to consider is interference caused by our own activities. Here is a link to some neat bandpass filters available as a kit.
https://va6am.com/items-for-sale/

My XYL and I are offering our QTH for Field day 2023.

I propose the following

80m station
40m station
20-15-10 station using the portable tower and beam.

" It's never to early to prepare for field-day "
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#4
I guess we can't compare this past Field Day with other years. Maybe some members were hesitant to participate due to Covid still lingering around but I assume all were fully vaccinated and being outdoors the risk of infecting anyone was considerably reduced.
Also, to get some practice using N1MM is to use it. N1MM is an excellent software for contest logging but can also be used for general logging. Easy to set up and use. The only thing is doesn't run in Linux OS, it's Windows only.
I too agree with Tom that we should have station(s) to cover 80-10m and possibly try 6 and 2m bands if we have enough members. 
We were 3A this year and accumulated over 200 contacts. Majority of  stations logged were 1A, 1D but came across few which had big station count W3AO 11A MDC, K5WW 10A STX, VE3LON 8A ONS, K2AA 8A SNJ, W9NE 7A IL, W4EZ 6D NC. In my view, general station count was lower than in pre Covid years.
Lets hope we'll do better next year.
73, Adam ve3fp
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#5
I’m guilty of not listening to or reading our local news, but maybe a little self-promotion would be helpful.  Possibly the newspaper or one of the local radio stations would have room for free public service announcements.

We could also consider small announcement posters, maybe 8-1/2” x 11”, that could be placed in grocery stores, the Bayshore Arena and even the Julie MacArthur arena beside us.

On the day of the field day, I would also suggest a couple of sandwich boards on 10th street along with a few signs to direct traffic into the back of Victoria Park.


73 Rob VE3RWY
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#6
Here is an option to improve our status. In the past there was some issue with insurance that the city was asking for so private vendors seemed to disappear. But we have insurance so it may be easy for us. Anyway, the event is the Owen Sound Hottest Yard Sale, held on the 9th of July. There is a fee and insurance is needed but if the club wants to be in the public eye, this would be a good way to do it. I think we missed the deadline for this year....

https://calendar.owensoundtourism.ca/tou...-Sale-2022

Registration form


Insurance Sheet

   
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#7
Thanks for all the feedback and ideas. I was personally very disappointed in our FD. The whole point of Field Day is to demonstrate our capability to setup radio communications in the field and to promote that readiness to our community. The social side of it is the enjoyment we get from doing that and the team spirit involved. The time for sitting around in lawn chairs is during meal breaks and during off-shift periods.

GBARC's FD 2022 was mainly a social event. Adam's station was the only one ready to operate. Our SSB station only operated on Saturday and produced only 5 contacts. Our digital station only became operational during the last hour of the event. I have read the suggestions about how we should have stations set up for various bands, but where are the operators?

Adam's comment that FD is not as serious as other contests is very valid. We don't have to be contesters to participate. It would be sufficient to demonstrate a working station and show how we can keep it operational for a 24 hour period with emergency power.

In regard to promotion of the event, based on the poor response to the forum post I made 2 weeks prior to Field Day, I decided not to potentially embarrass the club by inviting dignitaries and the media to attend and witness how poorly prepared we were. If we are serious about offering our services as an emergency communications group we need to significantly improve our readiness.

Perhaps the whole event has changed as a result of the events of the last 2 years. I have attended Field Day events for more than 20 years, with 3 different clubs before joining GBARC, and this year's event, although enjoyable as a social gathering, was the most disappointing from an operations perspective.

I thank Tom for offering his QTH as a venue for next year. This year's venue was a good radio location but attracted undesirable visitors who vandalized our porta-potty.

For the future, let's make a decision. Our we an active radio club, or a social group? We can be both as long as we maintain a balance  between the two.

Re N1MM:
Suggestion: some of us are allergic to Microsoft Windows and can't install N1MM. How about the club acquiring a Windows laptop with N1MM, Winlink and any other Windows only software for use on ARRL Field Day, Winter Field Day and similar events?
John, VA3KOT
2021/22 President, Georgian Bay Amateur Radio Club
May the Morse be with you.
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#8
I didn't get off the couch and come out to help this year, so I feel like I don't have the right to be making suggestions, but here goes:

Experience with GBARC FDs at very public venues (Conservation Area, Bayshore, Grey-Roots), showed that our success at connecting with members of the public to explain what we were doing, was very limited.  Tom's property is not public and I suggest we should not worry about that.  It's a good location and his offer is very generous.

In addition to forum posts, I'd suggest one or more mailouts directly to all the membership promoting participation.  Do this early enough to allow for some preparation.  There are a lot of people on the membership list that we're not hearing from, on the net, or at meetings.  We need to do more to keep connected.

Greg mentioned assigning responsibilities on the net.  I think that's a good idea.  One obvious one would be the "N1MM Captain", to help everyone be ready in advance.  The second most important role would be the "Food Captain" :-)

I don't think we need to designate ourselves as "social" or "contest".  I think we achieved a pretty good balance in past years and we just need to get back to that.

Remember that FD is supposed to exercise our ability to operate from a temporary location, with off-grid power, in case we have to do it for real some day.  ARRL positions it like a contest, with scores, etc., to bring out people who like contesting, and who probably wouldn't show up just for an "emergency drill".

73
Dave, VE3WI

RE Club Windows PC: 

FWIW: I have had very good luck buying used PCs from Infotech Computers in Toronto.  They always have a good selection of refurbished ex-business desktops and laptops, all preloaded with Windows 10 Pro, as well as monitors and accessories. I bought a desktop which I used in 2020 for delivering Bruce Power training from home.  I also bought a laptop which I reloaded with Linux Mint, and a mini-laptop for my wife.  https://www.infotechcomputers.ca/

Dave, VE3WI
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#9
I think the club should acknowledge Bernie, VE3BQM, who did a splendid job of organizing dinner for us on Saturday evening. He ordered pizzas, delivered right to our site and even negotiated a discounted price for us!
John, VA3KOT
2021/22 President, Georgian Bay Amateur Radio Club
May the Morse be with you.
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