The whole point of this event was to have another field day. Why would we change any of the rules? There’s a whole pile of reasons why I just chose to use ARRL rules instead of having a group write our own, but there are a few rules that just don’t work with what we’re doing.
Most importantly, this event is not meant to compete with the ARRL event in any way. We’re not going to have groups out there asking elected officials and served agencies to stop by. We’re also not going to ask you to invite the public or have a “Get On The Air” station.
Because I’m not going to play tech support for the rules, I’ll list the specific differences first and then I’ll paste in the ARRL rules and strike through the pieces we’re not using for our events.
If anything is unclear, let’s talk about it on twitter @resistancehams so everyone can see the “official” response. I’ll paste that over to the facebook group if necessary.
When the idea for more field events popped into my head I was sitting in an ice shack running some PSK 31 contacts for Winter Field Day. At the time the exchange included the outside temperature. It didn’t count for points or anything, but it was fun to hear what the people at the other end were dealing with. This lead me to think about why were we doing this craziness in the middle of winter.
The original group that created Winter Field Day said “emergencies can happen at any time, in any weather.” I agreed that it was a good idea. Places with harsh climates require unique solutions to weather related issues. When the idea of having more events came up, I took that into account and decided it would be good to do events when weather could be a real wild card. In Minnesota the spring and fall are rarely predictable. We could have 60F high temps, or we could be dealing with a few inches of snow. Sometimes “mud season” comes in March, sometimes we wait until late April for the ground to thaw and liquefy.
Since Field Day is, on its face, an emergency communication exercise I also thought about how few times teams really get to practice. Many groups get some practice with public service events, but their only real HF emergency communication exercise is Field Day. Why not make a couple more events? The October event is within a month of the ARES Simulated Emergency Test. We can put those skills to use.
Some groups treat ARRL Field Day like any other contest. These operating events will allow those operators to practice and optimize their field setups to get the most points. It’s an opportunity to try new antennas, practice setting up faster, and otherwise polish their setup without taking a chance during the “big dance”.
Along that same vein it’s a great opportunity for individuals to step out of their club’s social obligation and go their own way. QRP operations get bonus points and it’s a lot easier to run one station on alternative power than it is to run a 4A operation with GOTA station. Maybe a subset of your regular group would like to try being more competitive or less competitive than the rest of the club.
All in all, the events I envision are just two more times “at bat” for field operations with the same rules as ARRL Field Day. The weather is different, possibly more friendly, and you can try new things that may not meet with the approval of your normal Field Day group. Let’s give it a try.