What is Field Day?
By Larry Wilcox – VE3WEH [sk]
Amateur Radio Field Day is held during the last full weekend in June and is an annual event of the Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) in conjunction with the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) and takes place throughout North America.
Field Day is an ideal time for us to test all our communication capabilities and all equipment and to train new members of our service. Field Day provides a common focus for our service which encompasses young and old alike from all walks of life. Should an emergency ever arise in our region, local Radio Amateurs would immediately provide emergency communications whenever, wherever, and for as long as is required. For example, vital emergency communications were provided by thousands of amateurs throughout the duration of the Ice Storm of 1998.
The set up of many types of towers, beam antennas, dipole antennas, kitchen and radio tents and other radio equipment begins on a Saturday morning. At exactly 2pm, we go “on the air ” for the next 24 hours until 2pm, Sunday. Field Day simulates operating under emergency conditions and is an opportunity to demonstrate our capabilities to the local authorities and to the public. We generate our own electric power using generators and operate our radios from tents for protection from adverse weather and mosquitos.
Canadian and American Amateurs also operate from their home stations. The final objective for all during the 24-hour event is simple: contact as many stations as possible during the 24 hours of operation. The final score results are submitted to the ARRL and are published by QST, the official magazine of the ARRL.
Our local radio Amateurs also routinely volunteer their time to provide radio communications for community events in the region such as Canada Day Celebrations, Gloucester International Soccer Tournament, Ottawa Athletic Club Annual Corporate Relay, National Capital Air Show, and other community events.