I started to realize some operators are seriously freaking out about their first winter field day. Because of this, I thought to offer a few words of wisdom.
- Regardless of Winter Field Day rules, it’s just another day out in the field. Remember this!
- For me the actual Winter Field Day contest is not at all important. The contest is only used to provide people who traditionally operate from a fixed location, some incentive to get out in the field. It’s the carrot! The real meaning of Winter Field Day is to get outdoors with your gear, to practice in less-than-optimal conditions. That should be the sole motivator to participate in Winter field day.
- Don’t get caught up in all the details, eg What to say, how to say it, what bands to operate. … again the only difference between winter field day and any other day operating your radio is you’re doing it outdoors and perhaps in bad weather. Besides who cares if you actually fail? With failure comes additional field deployment experience. Whether or not you get it right or wrong doesn’t actually matter.
- Remember to remain flexible about your operating plan. If you are in a place with low operator density, or you’re working with low tx power, limited electricity, or a less than optimal antenna system, you may have to rethink the purpose or goals of winter field day for yourself. The points really don’t matter, what matters is getting out there working as many stations as you can, for as long as you possibly can, without coming home frozen or wet.
I think you’re starting to get the idea here. Focus on the deployment, focus on your gear, focus on your power, takes notes about how you can improve your station next time. Winter Field Day is all about setting up, operating, and coming home safe. Beyond that nothing else matters.
My own anxiety
these are the things freaking me out about winter field day.
- I should set up the spiderbeam 12 meter mast (for the first time), guy it and anchor it on ice and frozen ground.
- Should I operate in the forest where I have more trees to deploy my antennas, or up on a hill where I’ll have clear view to the horizon!?
- although I’ve tested my batteries to death, will they last in the cold weather!?
The cool thing here is after winter field day I’ll have the answers to all these questions!
Well – I usually do the summer field day. Now a few of them it rained so heavily and wind was awful. It’s funny I clearly recall one – they used ladders as portable towers. Worked well enough. I was in the mess tent grabbing a bite to eat and I saw the bottoms of the ladders dancing around. So picture a bunch of hams out in the rain trying to stablize those.
And I’m not one who is averse to a little of natures worst.