Eastern Mass ARRL

Field Day Planning & Scoring Comments
for ARES and general use

Bill Ricker, N1VUX

Sections of this page: Thoughts § Scoring § Rules & Bonuses § Power § PR § Band-Dups/Transmitter Control

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2008 Updates: 2008 Rules, ARRL commentary

"GOTA (Get on the Air) stations are those stations set aside by Field Day teams designed to get non-hams or newly licensed hams on the air. Unlike in past years where GOTA stations were limited to only the HF bands, the 2008 rules state that these stations may operate on any authorized HF or VHF Field Day band. Keep in mind that only one signal may be transmitted from the GOTA station at any time. ... the eligibility for operating the GOTA station has changed slightly: Anyone who has been licensed since Field Day 2007 is eligible to operate the GOTA station, regardless of license class."
[So inactive but un-lapsed hams no longer allowed?]

"For 2008, the Demonstration Mode Bonus category has been eliminated and replaced by an Educational Activity Bonus worth 100 points. "This bonus is intended to encourage clubs and groups to do some more formal educational activity during their Field Day operation," Henderson said. If you have any questions concerning what activities might be appropriate for this bonus, Henderson said you should submit them via e-mail."
[This is what WB1GOF/PART did last year and will do again this year.]

4.1.1. GOTA … This GOTA station may operate on any Field Day band, HF or VHF, but is limited to one transmitted signal at any time. The GOTA station may be operated by any person licensed since the previous year’s Field Day, regardless of license class. It may also be operated by a generally inactive licensee. Non-licensed persons may participate under the direct supervision of an appropriate control operator. A list of operators and participants must be included on the required summary sheet to ARRL HQ. A person who operated a GOTA station the previous year is ineligible to be a GOTA operator.

7.3.6. Message Handling: … Available to all Classes. All NTS messages claimed for bonus points must leave or enter the site via amateur radio RF. [see EMA NTS tutorial for FD(updated 2016)]

7.3.10. Educational activity bonus: One (1) 100-point bonus may be claimed if your Field Day operation includes a specific educational-related activity. The activity can be diverse and must be related to amateur radio. It must be some type of formal activity. It can be repeated frequently during the Field Day period but only one bonus is earned. For more information consult the FAQ in the complete Field Day packet. Available to Classes A & F entries and available clubs or groups operating from a club station in class D and E with 3 or more participants.
[New 2008]

7.3.11/12 Elected/Served -- Still discriminates against Council-Manager form of government; a Professional Town Manager should count even if not a Served Agency. "the result of an invitation issued by your group" -- Still appears to discriminate against visits that are result of successful publicity or the invited Served Agency bringing the Mayor along. Having a Non-Served But Potential to Be Served agency show up is even better since it's potential starting point and should count, but not as written.

2007 Changes

2007 Rules, ARRL commentary

"Henderson points out two small changes in the Field Day rules starting this year. First, participating stations may only complete one satellite contact for bonus points via a single-channel FM-mode spacecraft (Rule, and it must be an Earth-satellite-Earth contact. "This will allow more stations to access this very limited resource," he says."

"an individual Get-On-The-Air (GOTA) station operators will earn 20 points for each 20 contacts, up to a maximum of 100 per GOTA operator. Henderson notes that no partial point credit is available, and GOTA operators may not "pool" contacts toward any 20-QSO GOTA station bonus."

* The GOTA station uses the same exchange as its parent

* A maximum of 500 QSOs made by this station may be claimed for credit by its primary Field Day operation. In addition, bonus points may be earned by this station under rule 7.3.

* The emergency power source must be tested during the Field Day period but you are not required to run the Class F operation under emergency power. [This renegs on the promise not to make the town provide a person to operate the generator, probably on Overtime.]

* Many changes in Bonus section, worth total update … -- Many bonuses available to B,E stations as well as A/F, even some C/D.

2006 Changes http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2006/02/06/100/ "The only rule change in 2006 involves the GOTA ('Get On The Air') station bonus-point structure," says ARRL Contest Branch Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND. "An individual operator may earn a 50-point bonus for completing 50 QSOs at the GOTA station. They may earn an additional 50 bonus points when they reach 100 QSOs." Henderson notes there's a 100-QSO cap for bonus points per individual GOTA operator, but additional GOTA operators may earn the bonuses for the club, up to a maximum of 500 GOTA bonus points. "Additionally, Field Day operations can double their GOTA bonus points by having a designated GOTA Coach/Mentor supervise the station whenever it's on the air," Henderson notes. "The GOTA Coach/Mentor may talk the participants through the QSOs and serve as control operator, but GOTA participants must make and log all QSOs themselves." This means that if a Field Day group has a GOTA Coach/Mentor, the 50 and 100-point bonuses GOTA operators earn will double to 100 and 200 points respectively, while the maximum GOTA bonus increases to 1000 points.

2005 Updates: Official ARRL Rules updates: See http://www.arrl.org/contests/announcements/fd/; Rules download http://www.arrl.org/contests/forms/05-fd-packet.pdf [pdf, requires Adobe Acrobat Reader] and see ARRL Story on rules changes. Changes for 2005 -

2004 Notes carried forward - ARRL Story on rules changes. The rules comments below were based on the FD01 rules but have been updated for the obvious changes in the 2002 - 2003 rules; no guarantees about subtleties. The FAQ-Q&A sections of the 04fdpack are interesting and helpful.

2003 Changes / or clarifications noted or stressed by ARRL:

2003 Notes carried forward:

Hint ... look at the logo for the 2m frequenchy to meet other FD stations on -- 146.550. Remember 146.52 is offlimits.

Rules Changes 2003:


Thoughts § Scoring § Rules & Bonuses § Power § PR § Band-Dups/Transmitter Control

Maximixing Scoring & Abiding with Rules Commentary

Thoughts § Scoring § Rules & Bonuses § Power § PR § Band-Dups/Transmitter Control

Download or read the Official rules from ARRL contest page.

Unofficial Commentary follows. Paragraph-numbered Text like this and this are quotations from the official rules, 2005 edition. Bold is ARRL's indicator that the text is new or important. My comments will be in Roman Italics like this. My annotation of changes are color coded by year as always.

Below 30 MHz, once a transmitter is used for a contact on a band, it must remain on that band for at least 15 minutes. [Deleted 2005: The 15 minute rule is deleted. Actual number of simultaneous transmissions is now the rule.]

(Class D) Home stations: Stations operating from permanent or licensed station locations using commercial power. Class D stations may only count contacts made with Class A, B, C, E and F Field Day stations. [In other words, Class D stations may NOT contact each-other, but can contact everyone else.]

A Class F station may claim the emergency power bonus if emergency power is available at the EOC site. [This is for harmony between the volunteers and the professionals. If emergency power is professionally maintained, you don't have to test it on the weekend, the professionals will test it in their own time, so you can count it without using it!]

A person may not contact for QSO credit any station from which they also participate. [2005 Supposed clarification, still doesn't define Participate at the other end -- if a SM or SEC or Fire Chief visits 12 sites but only operates at his/her club site, are they "participating" where they sign the guest roster or only where they sign-in as a operator / support person? Participants in English would not normally include spectators, but would include non-operator cooks, which the usage elsewhere of "operators and participants" seems to include -- but doesn't distinguish carefully.]


Public Information Table: 100 bonus points for a Public Information Table at the Field Day site. The purpose is to make appropriate handouts and information available to the visiting public at the site. A copy of a visitor's log, copies of club handouts or photos is sufficient evidence for claiming this bonus. Available to Classes A, B and F.

7.3.5. Message Origination to Section Manager: 100 bonus points for origination of a National Traffic System (NTS) style formal message to the ARRL Section Manager or Section Emergency Coordinator by your group from its site. You should include the club name, number of participants, Field Day location, and number of ARES operators involved with your station. The message must be transmitted during the Field Day period and a fully serviced copy of it must be included in your submission, in standard ARRL NTS format, or no credit will be given. The Section Manager message is separate from the messages handled in Rule7.3.6. and may not be claimed for bonus points under that rule. Available to all Classes.

See EMA's NTS tutorial for FD(updated 2012)

7.3.6. Message Handling: 10 points for each formal NTS style originated, relayed or received and delivered during the Field Day period, up to a maximum of 100 points (ten messages). Properly serviced copies of each message must be included with the Field Day report. The message to the ARRL SM or SEC under rule 7.3.6. may not be counted in the total of 10 for this bonus. Available to all Classes.

7.3.7. Satellite QSO: 100 bonus points for successfully completing at least one QSO via an amateur radio satellite during the Field Day period. Under the "General Rules for All ARRL Contests" (Rule 3.7.2.), the no-repeater QSO stipulation is waived for satellite QSOs. Groups are allowed one dedicated satellite transmitter station without increasing their entry category. Satellite QSOs also count for regular QSO credit. Show them listed separately on the summary sheet as a separate "band." You do not receive an additional bonus for contacting different satellites, though the additional QSOs may be counted for QSO credit. The QSO must be Earth-Satellite-Earth in nature. Available to Classes A, B, and F. [The E-S-E clarification appears to disallow ISS and Shuttle contacts, and require a full ARRL Field Day exchange with another FD station if using Packet Satellites. "Groups" implies that a one-operator Category B station doesn't get it a free station, so would use is 1 transmitter to earn this bonus.]

7.3.8. Alternate Power: 100 bonus points for Field Day groups making a minimum of five QSOs without using power from commercial mains or a petroleum driven generator. This means an "alternate" energy source of power, such as solar, wind, methane or water. This includes batteries charged by natural means (not dry cells). The natural power transmitter counts as an additional transmitter. If you do not wish to increase your operating category, you should take one of your other transmitters off the air while the natural power transmitter is in operation. A separate list of natural power QSOs should be submitted with your entry. Available to Class A, B, E, and F.

7.3.9. W1AW Bulletin: 100 bonus points for copying the special Field Day bulletin transmitted by W1AW (or K6KPH) during its operating schedule during the Field Day weekend (listed in this rules announcement). An accurate copy of the message is required to be included in your Field Day submission. (Note: The Field Day bulletin must be copied via amateur radio. It will not be included in Internet bulletins sent out from Headquarters and will not be posted to Internet BBS sites.) Available to all Classes.

7.3.10. Non-Traditional Mode Demonstrations: A maximum of 300 bonus points (100 points for each demonstration up to three) for setting up a demonstration of a non-traditional mode of amateur radio communications. This includes modes such as APRS, ATV, and SSTV. Available Class A, B, and F. This bonus is not available for demonstration of a mode for which regular QSO credit is available, such as PSK31. A complete portable packet system may be included as one of the demonstration modes. This system must include a temporary, portable node and must be completely separate from the existing packet infrastructure of your area. Simply setting up a packet station does not qualify as a demonstration mode.

[By "simply ... packet station" they mean an end-user terminal station isn't enough, the Demo must be Temporary Infrastracture, BBS Node+Digi or equivalent. Who will talk to it if it's outside the existing structure? Doesn't matter, it's a demo. You could demo with another FD site that does the same thing, or just have a couple of terminal stations around the site too. I guess the point is to demonstrate a system of several field-deployable packet station that coulds connect a couple shelters and an EOC? Why not say so? ] Demonstration modes may not include communications carried outside of the amateur radio spectrum (such as Internet relay). Frequency bands, such as 10 GHz are bands, not modes of communications and do not qualify for the demonstration mode bonus.

7.3.11. Site Visitation by an elected governmental official: A 100-point bonus may be claimed if your Field Day site is visited by an elected government official as the result of an invitation issued by your group. Available to all Classes. [Nice that this was split in 2004, but (1) this wording is unfair to communities in which the elected City/Town Councillors hires a Town/City Manager instead of electing a Mayor. (2) In larger cities, appointed Assistants to the Mayor do some of these Visits, why not count them? (3) And if they show up as a result of the Publicity, shouldn't that count? Better include an Invitiation in the wording of the press release! ]

7.3.12. Site Visitation by a representative of an agency: A 100-point bonus may be claimed if your Field Day site is visited by a representative of an agency served by ARES in your local community (Red Cross, Salvation Army, local Emergency Management, law enforcement, etc) as the result of an invitation issued by your group. Available to all Classes. [It was nice to split Official and Agency in 2004. Bu the 2004 clarification hasn't helped, it's all too clear now. (1) If a representative of an agency that ARES isn't serving presently shows up, that's even better -- why not count points for that? (2) If the Agency represented is served by a non-ARES ham team with MOUs or unofficial cross-membership with the club, why doesn't that co unt? If a SATERN club isn't able to count a SA visit without being ARES, this effectively is points reserved for clubs that are ARRL affiliates; (3) As above, better include an open invitation in the PR so an un-invited guest doesn't lose points! (4) To avoid abuse, could require a qualfied Leadership representative, not just any member of the agency - as written, any member of a Fire Department served by a ARES or joint ARES-RACES team qualifies for points, (5) even if he's also a member of the club.]

[2003]: Now 2 bonuses possible, one for Elected Government and one for Agency.

7.3.13. GOTA maximum achieved. A 100-point bonus may be claimed by a group whose GOTA station completes a minimum of 100 QSOs. Available to Class A and F.

7.3.14. Web submission. A 50-point bonus may be claimed by a group submitting their Field Day entry via the www.b4h.net/cabforms web site. Available to all Classes.

7.3.15. Field Day Youth Participation. A 20-point bonus (maximum of 100) may be earned by any Class A, C, D, E, or F group for each participant age 18 or younger at your Field Day operation that completes at least one QSO. [So an 18 year-old who turns 19 in 2 days is an adult under law but a Youth for the purposes of this rule. They must make a contact and complete a full QSO, not just sign in. They apparently do not have to be licensed, they can be operating under a control operator. ]

Thoughts § Scoring § Rules & Bonuses § Power § PR § Band-Dups/Transmitter Control


Thoughts § Scoring § Rules & Bonuses § Power § PR § Band-Dups/Transmitter Control

PR (Publicity / Public Relations)

Thoughts § Scoring § Rules & Bonuses § Power § PR § Band-Dups/Transmitter Control

Band/Transmitter Control

Requirement is to prevent two transmitters being on the same "band". (for purposes of contest, that means Band & Mode pair, where Mode is one of Data, Code, Phone - FM, AM, SSB are same "mode" for Field Day contest "Band" purposes.)
Tricky bits:

Several classes of solution
Solutions address Logging-for-Dups, Visual Control or both

Computer per mode or band/mode (Dups)

Somewhat drastic, but if bands were sensibly grouped in a 3A or 5A operation … all HF phone on one laptop, all HF CW on another, all VHF+ on a third … moving Dups is automatic by moving the laptops. For larger number of physical transmitters, group bands that don't open at the same time on the same computer. Transmitter control is automatic, you need the logging computer for the band/mode.

Diskette per band (Dups)

A Diskette can be a Band Token! Pop in the diskette for the band you're working, you've automatically got the right dup-file. Still need visible tokens on the board, so Diskette & Visible Token must pass together. Only diskettes matching the token should be used.
Is the "re-writing the floppy on multiple PCs" problem still a problem? Seems to me I've run into it recently on what I thought were new enough PCs that I shouldn't have.

Log-sheet / dup-sheet per band - real paper (Dups)

Only the Dup Sheet must be turned into HQ. Computer logs and even log sheets are not required. So the Dup Sheet is the important record! Paper logging is immune to power glitches, cheaper, and easier to correct. Penmanship can be a problem.
Each "Band" (band-mode) has One active dup-sheet, paired with the Band Token. Active sheet must be returned with Token to Central file, and checked out with token.
Q - Will one dupsheet last the whole contest? What good is it if it doesn't? (ARRL has Domestic and DX versions. Plenty of room.)

Band-checkout/transmitter checkout tokens & boards (visible control)

Central table has a board with a series of tokens, one for each authorized transmitter (the free and the counted); tokens not in use cover a number, so the number in use and free are obvious at a glance.
Also posted at central table is a board of tokens for all possible band-mode "bands", making it immediately obvious which are in use or reserved, and which are available. (UHF+ likely combined on one!)
Each Station has a card to post one or more transmitter tokens and one or more band tokens. Each station must have rules posted -ARRL FD rules and our Token control rules; and ARRL Section id list!

Rules for control

HF rules: Station with one transmitter must have as many tokens as the number of bands worked in the last 15 minutes, which bands' tokens must be posted next to the transmitters' tokens. Other bands "reserved" for future QSY are posted separately. QSY to a band is only allowed if it is next to a transmitter token. If a Transmitter-token has no band next to it, a band token from the reserved set may be placed on the transmitter, allowing QSY. After 15 minutes off of a band, it may be retired to the "reserved" row. If more than one HF station is equipped for the mode in use, bands not likely to be used should be returned to central; new tokens may be acquired as may be useful.
VHF rules: Station needs as many tokens as transmitters being simultaneously operated (number of QSO operators), with all bands in use on that token posted next to it. Band-QSY on one transmitter is legal on one token, if both bands' tokens are held. QSY to another transmitter is also permitted by same operator, on one token, VHF+. (Note: 10m FM is still HF for this purpose?)
Physical: Tokens and central & station signboards are likely magnetic material - which can now be fed through inkjet printers. (Alternative is cardboard / plastic pockets with pocker-chip technology - more handycrafts required and less Presentable, but possibly more tactile satisfaction?)
Central board has 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 to be covered by Tx tokens; numbers higher than authorized covered by the "A" on a wide tag, and Tx tokens filed away for next year. Extra spots for each Free transmitter's token. Separate sign for bands available/in use. Maybe a separate sign counting which Bonus points have been scored, are in progress, and remain to be scored as a visible reminder system. [maybe bring a white-board?]
Signs in addition to being magnetic should have Velcro at corners, maybe grommets too, for versatile hanging.

Sections of this page: Thoughts § Scoring § Rules & Bonuses § Power § PR § Band-Dups/Transmitter Control

Pages in FD web: EMA FD Home! § Directory! § Site List § Tour Plans
§ FD and ICS/NIMS ! § FD Planning,Rules, Scoring, & ARES § Safety: Safety Officer, Lightning, Heat, Resources!
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