Field Day 2020—What Are Your Club’s Plans?

A lot can happen in a year.

As we wrapped up Field Day 2019, many Hams were already hatching plans for 2020. How can we improve our club’s score? What can we do to make setup more efficient, get better organized, encourage more participation, solve that nagging RFI problem, experiment with a different power source, reach a larger number of non-Hams in the community, and have even more fun?

Then the pandemic hit, and the pressing question shifted to, “How can we still have Field Day but do it as safely as possible?”

Leave it to Hams to quickly adapt when conditions change.

Perhaps ARRL Contest Manager Paul Bourque, N1SFE, said it best: “Field Day isn’t about doing things the same way year after year. Use this year to develop and employ a new approach that is in line with the current circumstances.”

Where past Field Days were all about “the more, the merrier,” many clubs will be foregoing activities that encourage interaction with the public or each other, such as GOTA stations and Class A contesting. This year is likely to see a greater emphasis on setting up emergency stations at home and getting family members involved. Of course, how your club approaches Field Day will vary depending on your region of the country, what local and state restrictions are in place, how comfortable members are with even a modified Field Day gathering, and the latest news, good or bad, regarding COVID-19.

As lock-downs are eased around the country, there may be more group operations than thought possible a few months ago, but clubs will still be pushing safety first through social distancing, sanitation stations, mask-wearing, and other recommended practices. Some clubs are considering moving operations to private land rather than public parks to minimize interaction, while others are planning on using remote-controlled stations operated by their members from home. Highly competitive clubs that once encouraged attendance are now giving out a different message: If you’re uncomfortable about gathering for any reason, please do what’s best for you—no questions asked.

Rule Changes

To “allow greater flexibility in recognizing the value of individual and club participation regardless of entry class,” the ARRL announced two “2020 only” rule waivers:

  • Class D stations may work all other Field Day stations, including other Class D stations, for points.

 Field Day rule 4.6 defines Class D stations as “Home stations,” including stations operating from permanent or licensed station locations using commercial power. Class D stations ordinarily may only count contacts made with Class A, B, C, E, and F Field Day stations, but the temporary rule waiver for 2020 allows Class D stations to count contacts with other Class D stations for QSO credit.

  • An aggregate club score will be published, which will be the sum of all individual entries indicating a specific club (similar to the aggregate score totals used in ARRL affiliated club competitions).

Click here for more details about 2020 rules and loads of useful advice from the ARRL on planning Field Day 2020.

Check in at OnAllBands throughout June for Field Day blogs about gear you can use to upgrade your stations, whether going solo in your backyard or as a properly-spaced group. DX Engineering has generators; batteries and accessories, like the West Mountain DC-to-Go Portable Power System; power supplies; band pass filters; Icom and Yaesu Portable Field Day HF Packages; Go-Kit Packages; ARRL 2020 Stickers, T-shirts, patches, hats, and pins; and more.

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