ARRL FD and COVID-19 Social Distancing, What’s Your Plan?
I have a feeling that Field Day, the premier Summer Radio Activity for most Amateur Radio Clubs, is going to be a little different this year. With limits imposed by the COVID-19 precautions of Social Distancing and the higher risk populations present in most AR Clubs, club officers are scratching their collective heads to decide how they are going to do FD this year.
Traditionally FD was the event where many Hams were first exposed to HF operating, setting up antennas and stations, simplex SSB VHF (not FM repeater operation) and Contest style contacts. It is a time of fellowship and learning that is impossible to replace. But this year we may have to take a break from the normal mode of club-sponsored operations, but we do not have to skip operating FD.
I have put together a Slideshow Presentation- “Field Day in Social Distancing”. You can read through the presentation, share it with fellow club members and even have me present it to your club as an online meeting presentation. Here is the link - tiny.cc/fdsd.
Before We Go too Far, SAFETY FIRST!
● By its nature Socially Distanced FD is a compromise in many ways with untested tools, equipment and plans
● Thus, we need to be even more vigilant
○ Don’t Rush
○ Don’t Cut Corners
○ Don’t Go Near Overhead Wiring!!!!
○ Care when climbing, better yet avoid climbing when possible
○ Be careful with Generators
■ Gasoline, especially refueling
■ Carbon Monoxide fumes in enclosed spaces
Some of the highlights of the presentation:
● What FD Classes are they and how does each adapt to Social Distancing
○ Class B solo or duo operations
○ Ideas for Class C mobile operations
○ Class D and E operations from your home
○ Using a vehicle to do a Class B operation with the advantages of the vehicle as a shelter and power source but with the advantage of larger, more efficient portable instead of mobile antennas
● Operations for those without a station or even an HF radio at home
○ Remote operation of stations
■ Permanent (home) stations
■ Temporary field station (along the lines of a club set up Class A station)
○ Home VHF operations
○ Increased use of simplex FM
● FD Options for Technician Licensees (Technician class Licensees have additional limitations due to operating privileges)
○ VHF Station 6 and/or 2 Meter
○ Satellite Contacts
○ 10 Meter SSB
○ CW Only Operations on 80, 40 and/or 15 M (including ideas for those with little or no code proficiency- tiny.cc/fwm)
● A call for local clubs and ARRL officials alike to encourage operation on less frequently used bands and modes to provide opportunities for Technician Licensees and newly licensed hams of all classes
○ Calling CQ on 10 Meters for local/regional contacts even during poor band conditions
○ 2 Meter FM Simplex to provide local contacts
○ Slower speed CW opportunities at top of old Novice band CW allocations
● FD Logging Software and help with setup and use
Another thought for FD this year-- consider getting younger family members at your house involved in your home or vehicle-based FD, but remember to keep safe with both Social Distancing and regular FD safety.
Here is the link to “Field Day in Social Distancing” - tiny.cc/fdsd. You can read through the presentation and please share it with fellow club members via your club’s newsletters, website and nets. If you are looking for an online meeting presentation, I would be happy to do this for you. If you prefer another talk here are seven I have been recently presenting remotely:
7. Ideas & Resources for Growing Youth Involvement in Amateur Radio (based on my article in March 2020 CQ Magazine)
Recently, through these presentations, I have been able to meet club members around the state of Ohio that I never would have imagined I’d have an opportunity to speak to. It has been great and I am always looking for more opportunities to present (and I don’t limit to Ohio) so have your club program director contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit my website www.k8zt.com for a wide variety of resources during this time of imposed isolation.