Winter Field Day—When Ham Radio is a Dish Best Served Cold

Want to get a small taste of what it’s like to operate from Bouvet Island without the perilous 1,553-mile voyage? That’s the distance the 3Y0J 2023 Bouvet Island DXpedition team will be traveling from Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands to the foreboding shores of Bouvet in late January. The good news is that you’ll only need to venture as far as your backyard to take part in Winter Field Day—ARRL Field Day’s frostier cousin which has been helping operators get better prepared for EMCOMM when there’s ice, snow, wind, and freezing temperatures getting in the way.

While the temperatures in your operating area may not plummet to subzero extremes, here’s an excellent video from DX Engineering friend and DXpeditioner Hal Turley, W8HC, who stopped by our showroom in Tallmadge, Ohio, a couple of years back to demonstrate some of the wintery apparel he had planned to wear during the 3Y0Z Bouvet Island DXpedition.

For a deeper understanding of the level of cold on Bouvet Island, here’s how Gus Browning, W4BPD, described it in his 73 Magazine article about his time on the island:

“I had on the following clothing: regular undershorts and shirt, then two pair of those red, long, insulated underwear, a flannel shirt with long tails, two pairs of woolen pants, one pair of regular socks, and then a pair of woolen socks coming about six inches above my knees, then a very heavy turtleneck sweater. I also had a wool headpiece covering all but my eyes, and a big heavy overcoat, and last but not least, a pair of fur-lined gloves coming almost to my elbows. And I was still cold!” 

And check out this article on what gear OnAllBands blogger and DX Engineering customer/technical support specialist Troy, KE8DRR, took along for operating on Winter Field Day, along with some advice for newbies.

Some Quick Facts about Winter Field Day

  • The event is sponsored by the Winter Field Day Association.
  • The first Winter Field Day was held the weekend of January 13-14, 2007.
  • You can participate by solo or get your friends, family, or whole club involved.
  • Winter Field Day can be worked from the comfort of your home or in a remote location.
  • Participation is open to hams worldwide.
  • Hams may use frequencies on the HF, VHF, or UHF bands and are free to use any mode that can faithfully transmit the required exchange intact.
  • Like ARRL Field Day, there is a contesting aspect to the event. Bonus points are earned in several ways, including using non-commercial power sources, operating from remote locations, satellite contacts, and more.
  • Find many more details at the Winter Field Day Association website.

Want to keep yourself warm while braving less-than-balmy conditions? Check out these DX Engineering Logo Knit CapsHoodiesFleece Jacketsand Sweatshirts.

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