ARRL Field Day is the most popular Amateur Radio annual event in the United States and Canada. In 2018, nearly 3,000 ham radio clubs, groups, and individual ham radio stations tallied their results and submitted log reports. Over 35,000 individuals attended and participated in a 2018 Field Day Event.
The purpose of Field Day remains the same today as it was in the beginning — back in the 1930s. Field Day exists as a method of demonstrating the communications ability of the Amateur Radio community under simulated emergency conditions.
Ham Radio Operators take their radio station equipment and antennas to places representative of where they might be asked to set up a communications focal point if an actual emergency had occurred. The Ham Radio Operators practice their ability to set up their equipment and make it operational in a fairly short time span. Then, the Ham Radio Operators set out to make two-way radio contacts with as many other similar ham radio stations as possible during the next 24 hours.
Field Day provides an opportunity to practice the types of communication skills that come into play for other, non-emergency, situations such as walk-a-thons, parades, and fairs where some additional two-way communication support can be helpful to the organizers.
Field Day also is a fun time for Ham Radio Operators to renew friendships through face-to-face contacts with other ham radio operators.
Field Day demonstrates ham radio’s ability to work reliably under just about any conditions, from almost any location, and create an independent communications network. That’s the beauty of Amateur Radio during a communications outage.
In today’s electronic Do-It-Yourself (DIY) environment, ham radio remains one of the best ways for people to learn about electronics, physics, meteorology, and numerous other scientific disciplines. Anyone may become a licensed Amateur Radio Operator. There are more than 725,000 licensed hams in the United States, as young as 9 and as old as 100. The Cumberland Amateur Radio Club makes it easy for anyone to get involved in Ham Radio. Read about our club meetings and activities on the Events page of this website.
Field Day takes place the 4th full weekend of June, every year.
The 2019 dates are Saturday June 22, and Sunday June 23.
The Cumberland Amateur Radio Club has made plans to set up and operate several Amateur Radio Stations at Shaffer Park in Carlisle, Pennsylvania (North Middleton Township). We plan to be on-site from 9 a.m. Saturday June 22 through 11 a.m. Sunday June 23, 2019.
The park is located at 1649 Spring Road, Carlisle, PA. This road is also known as Route 34. If you can visualize the Carlisle Car Show fairgrounds on the south side of the PA Turnpike you have a frame of reference. Shaffer Park is located across the PA Turnpike, on the north side.
There is a green and gold “Shaffer Park” sign-board at the entrance. The park cabin and a gravel parking area are located up a narrow, paved driveway. Visitors to the Carlisle Dog Park share the same parking lot.
Saturday Morning June 22, 2019, beginning about 9 a.m., there will be 15 +/- members of the Cumberland Amateur Radio Club setting up their amateur radio station equipment and antennas. They will gladly describe what goes into making a workable ham radio station.
As each of our stations becomes operational there is time to make some radio contacts with other ham radio stations who are setting up their stations. Visitors are invited to talk on the radio under the direction of a licensed ham operator. We will help you with some things you might talk about with the other radio operators.
This is a casual part of the day when there is time to have an actual conversation with another ham operator, perhaps located far away.
Our goal is to have our Field Day radio stations fully operational by 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon. At that time the participating ham radio stations in the United States and Canada begin to make two-way radio contacts with each other. If you would like to “sit in the chair” and make some radio contacts we will show you how and what to say. Ham Operators have a special name for these contacts — GOTA which stands for Get On The Air. It is our pleasure to show you, and let you talk on our Ham Radio stations as part of this GOTA activity.
This is a focused part of the day when the radio conversations are brief and to the point. The two stations that are in radio contact with each other take turns transmitting a Radio Call Sign, a number and letter code that describes the type of radio station in use, and a location code that tells where the station is located. The other station — the one on the receiving end of the radio contact — captures that information as it comes across the airwaves, and enters the details into a computerized logging and scoring application. You will see our scores grow after each radio contact has been completed.
We usually have maps of the United States and Canada on display showing the states and provinces where we have successfully communicated. This blends a little bit of geography into the mix in case we have students who wish to remain sharp during their summer vacation.
We stay on-the-air Saturday afternoon, Saturday evening, continuing through the early hours Sunday morning.
Our activity winds down about 10 a.m..Sunday morning. At that time we shift into our “Packing Up and Moving Out” mode. Our goal is to have all the radio equipment and antennas dismantled and loaded into cars and trucks by Noon Sunday for the trip back home.
FYI — The number code represents the total number of ham radio transmitters in use at a particular location.
FYI — There can be up to six types of radio stations in use on Field Day represented by Letter Codes A through F.
A — a portable radio station operated by three or more people at a location where a ham radio station does not normally exist.
B — a portable radio station operated by one or two people at a location where a ham radio station does not normally exist.
C — a radio station installed in a car, truck, or other vehicle in a way that could be used while the vehicle is in motion..
D — a radio station located at a person’s home
E — a radio station located at a person’s home, and which is being operated using electricity from a source other than the commercial power lines.
F — a radio station that is being operated as part of an Emergency Operations Center such as a 911 facility.