Field Day is fast approaching, so I want to let you all know what the Annapolis Valley Amateur Radio Club (AVARC) has planned for this year.
Dates and Times:
Field Day will take place on the weekend of 25-26 June 2016. Setup will start early Saturday morning. The operating part of Field Day starts at 1500 Saturday and continues for 24 hours. We will then tear down and return home.
Field Day will be held at the picnic park in Cottage Cove, just outside Port George. To get there from Kingston/Greenwood, take Exit 18 (Middleton/Port George/Margaretsville) from Highway 101. From the exit, turn right onto Victoria Road. Travel 1.4 km, and turn left onto Route 362 South at the T intersection. Travel 1.7 km and turn right onto Gates Mountain Road. Take that road over North Mountain 4.9 km until you reach a T intersection. Turn left at the T onto Shore Road, and travel approximately 6 km through Port George and beyond until you reach the park, on the Bay of Fundy side of the road.
If coming from the Bridgetown direction, there are several options. Just get to Shore Road and remember that the picnic park is about 2 km southwest of Port George.
The park itself is about 270 meters end to end, and 35 meters deep at its widest point. It has an open area to the northeast, and is treed to the southwest. It is a very popular place, especially when the weather is nice. We have received permission from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to operate there for the weekend.
The location is also outstanding from the point of view of propagation! We have a clear shot to the rest of North America and our signals will have an excellent groundplane in the form of the Bay of Fundy. I expect that we will have booming signals!
To quote the ARRL website, the objective of Field Day is: “To work as many stations as possible on any and all amateur bands (excluding the 60, 30, 17, and 12-meter bands) and to learn to operate in abnormal situations in less than optimal conditions. Field Day is open to all amateurs in the areas covered by the ARRL/RAC Field Organizations and countries within IARU Region Two. DX stations residing in other regions may be contacted for credit, but are not eligible to submit entries.”
AVARC has two objectives for Field Day. The first is to practice those skills necessary to operate in an emergency – deploying to a remote location, setting up effective stations without relying on commercial power, and making QSOs in an efficient manner. The second is to have a
fun and interesting weekend! We fully recognize that many of you have not operated before, especially in a contest-type situation. There is no need to worry! The idea is to learn in a fun, non-intimidating environment.
Category, Stations and Exchange:
AVARC will operate in the 2 Alpha category. This means that we will have two HF stations operating on emergency power (generators). These stations will use the callsign VA1AVR.
If we have enough people, we may also have a GOTA (Get On The Air) station. It is a “free” station that may be operated by any person licensed since the previous year’s Field Day or by generally inactive or inexperienced Hams. Non-licensed persons may participate under the
direct supervision of an appropriate control operator. Phyllis VA1PR will be GOTA “coach”, and the station will use her callsign.
Providing enough operators for 3 stations for the entire weekend is a challenge for even large clubs however, so I suspect that one of the HF stations will do double duty – It will operate under the VA1AVR callsign when the more experienced operators are using it, and as VA1PR when
being operated as the GOTA station. This will require separate logging computers, so we’ll need to ensure that we change laptops when switching between the “regular” and GOTA station.
We will also have a 2M FM simplex station. It would use the VA1AVR callsign.
For a Field Day QSO to count, both stations must accurately copy the other station’s report. This is called the “exchange”, and for Field Day it is our operating category and Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) / American Radio Relay League (ARRL) section. For us, that is “Two Alpha
Maritime”. The “Two” means we are using 2 HF stations. The ‘Alpha” means we are using emergency power, and “maritime” means we are in the maritime provinces of Canada – NS, NB and PEI.
If we answer a station calling CQ (K7UM for example), the exchange would go like this:
CQ Field Day. This is Kilo Seven Uniform Mike.
Kilo Seven Uniform Mike this is Victor Alpha One Alpha Victor
Romeo. You are Two Alpha Maritime.
Victor Alpha One Alpha Victor Romeo you are Four Alpha Utah.
Thanks for the Four Alpha Utah. Good luck with Field Day and 73.
A list of the different categories and RAC/ARRL sections will be located in each station. As well, the logging software will also have that information.
There are a wide range of bonus points available for Field Day. We will try to take advantage of as many of them as possible. They include:
100% emergency power
Public information table and visitor’s log
Message to the RAC Section Manager
Alternate Energy QSO (solar panels)
Copying the ARRL Field Day Bulletin
Site visit by an elected official
Site visit by a served agency (EMO, Wing Operations)
GOTA station bonuses
Use of Social Media
Submitting our report online, and
We will publish more information on the Bonus Activities closer to Field Day.
HF Station One – This station will be located in the northeast part of the park. It will be housed in a cargo trailer specifically modified for use as a communications facility, and will use a 3 kw generator. It will have a Kenwood TS-870 transceiver, a 3-element triband yagi on a 30-foot
tower, and dipoles/inverted V antennas for 40 and 80 meters. This station will be set up for Voice, CW and digital operations.
HF Station Two – This station will be located in the center part of the park, close to the galley tent and the public information table. It will be located in its own tent, and will use a Kenwood TS-440 transceiver with a 3-element triband yagi on a 30-foot tower and dipoles/inverted Vantennas for 40 and 80 meters. It will share a 7 kw generator with the galley facilities. This station will be set up for Voice and CW operations, and will be used as the GOTA station when required.
Visitor Information Table – This will be located in the center of the park, co-located with the Galley Tent. It will have a slide show and pamphlets explaining Amateur Radio, as well as a visitors’ logbook. This is also where we will conduct lessons in antenna building and attaching
coax connectors for the bonus points.
Galley Tent – This will also be located in the center of the park, and will house our galley and eating area in a 10” x 20” screen tent. Information about meals can be found further down!
Toilets – The park has two modern pit toilets. I checked them out recently – they are very clean and don’t smell. I don’t offer any guarantees on that however!
Camping – Although not normally permitted, we are allowed to camp in the park overnight. There are several places where tents can be erected away from the sound of the generators. Good news – the south end of the park is much drier than it was last year, so there should be plenty of suitable camping locations.
We will have food available for the following meals:
Lunch Saturday – hot dogs, hamburgers
Supper Saturday – Potluck!
Overnight – snacks
Breakfast Sunday – ham and eggs etc. for overnight operators
Lunch Sunday – hot dogs, hamburgers
There will be a nominal charge for food to cover costs.
Please bring your culinary masterpieces for all to enjoy at the potluck supper on Saturday! For those who will spend the entire day onsite, we will also have a bowl of chili and hot dogs/hamburgers available. If the weather permits, Paul Murphy will organize a fire on the beach Saturday evening, so don’t forget your folding chairs, wieners and marshmallows!
AVARC is a new and informal club, and we don’t have funding available to support Field Day. We will therefore have to charge to cover the cost of food, soft drinks and gas. Donations will also be gratefully received!
While planning for Field Day is progressing well, we will need information and support from
We have most of the equipment requirements filled, but if you have something you think might be useful, please let me know. We can always use folding tables, chairs, coolers etc. Does anyone have a propane BBQ that can be easily moved to the site?
If you are able to transport equipment to/from the site, then please let us know.
We need people to assist with all aspects of setup, operating and teardown. If you can help, please let us know!
Field Day 2016 promises to be a fun occasion! We will have effective stations, efficient antennas, tasty food, and a beautiful location. You do not need to be a member of AVARC to take part – everyone is welcome. Further details will be promulgated in the next few weeks, but please mark the weekend of 25/26 June in your calendar and come out for Field Day!
Field Day Coordinator