I have been a ham not quite long enough to experience field day. I have been excited for the weekend ever since I heard about it.

I looked at the ARRL site for field days in my location, and found a few I could visit.

I currently don't have HF capabilities yet due to cost of being a teenager, but I wish I still could enjoy the fun.

What is the day like exactly if I attend one of the ones listed on the ARRL, and will I need to find some equipment before? I might be able to get an HF rig from my friend's house if I need it because he left for a month and he just has it sitting there, but the rig is far from "really good" and does not have tiny filters to block all unwanted signals.

BTW I'm in the USA if that's important, although field day is a worldwide activity.


3 Answers 3


Field Day is an emergency preparedness exercise/ contest that is held the last full weekend of June each year in the United States and Canada. It is sponsored and maintained by ARRL. Points are awarded in a variety of ways, but the general idea is that the station should be set up in short order, operate only on emergency power, and a number of other activities related to emergency preparedness. You could operate on VHF only, but most of the action will be on HF.

There are a number of ways to participate. Some people participate as individuals, but most people participate in clubs. I strongly suggest you find a local club that is participating, and go join them. You shouldn't need any equipment, although there usually is a talk in frequency available if that helps, so a mobile rig can be useful, along with an HT. You've already found the list of clubs participating, feel free to join one of them. Or if you have a club you've participated with in the past, then find their field day site. If you are a new operator, there is a station that most clubs will have called a GOTA station, where there will be someone who will help you to get on the air. There might also be sign ups to operate one of the main stations. You can also sit as a secondary operator, helping to log the contacts and otherwise helping out. You might want to contact the club, or look at their website for more information ahead of time.

For reference, here's my club, if you're in the area, feel free to stop by and say hi! Most of the club listings will look pretty similar to this one.

Loudoun Amateur Radio Group
38668 Sierra Lane
Lovettsville, VA
Talk-in: TBD
Contact: Norm Styer
[email protected]

In addition to what @rhaig said, a field day group can have a Get-On-The-Air (GOTA) station, for use by unlicensed operators or newly-licensed hams, overseen by an experienced ham/instructor (the Control Operator of the station).


The field day location finder usually has info about the group running the local field day op. Get in contact with them about participating, see if they have any needs you can help with (sometimes it's not gear that is needed).

The last time I went to a field day location, they had a station for each band/mode they were operating on, and when I walked up they pointed me at the 20m SSB station, walked me through their logging software, and turned me loose.

Ping the locals and see what the situation is.


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