It's that time of year again; summer and Field Day! Each year the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) sponsors Field Day as an emergency preparedness exercise. The event takes place during a 24-hour period on the fourth weekend of June. For 2004 the event takes place during a 27-hour period on the fourth full weekend of June, from 1800 UTC on Saturday June 26, 2004 through 2100 UTC on Sunday June 27, 2004. The Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT) promotes its own version of Field Day for operation via the HAMSATS, held concurrently with the ARRL event. Those who setup prior to 1800 UTC on June 26 can operate only 24 hours.
If you are considering ONLY the FM voice satellites like AMRAD-OSCAR-27 or SaudiSat-OSCAR-50 for your AMSAT Field Day focus, don't, unless you are simply hoping to make one contact for the ARRL rules bonus points. The congestion on FM LEO satellites was so intense in 2000 that we must limit their use to one-QSO-per-FM-satellite. This includes the International Space Station. You will be allowed one QSO if the ISS is operating Voice. You will also be allowed one digital QSO with the ISS and PCSat.
The format for the message exchange on the ISS or PCSat packet is an unproto packet to the other station (3-way exchange required) with all the same information as normally exchanged for ARRL Field Day, e.g.:
W6NWG de KK5DO 2A STX KK5DO de W6NWG QSL 5A SDG W6NWG de KK5DO QSL
If you have worked the satellites on Field Day in recent years, you may have noticed a lot of good contacts can be made on some of the less-populated, low-earth-orbit satellites like Fuji-OSCAR-29. During Field Day the transponders come alive like 20 meters on a weekend. The good news is that the transponders on these satellites will support multiple simultaneous contacts. The bad news is that you can't use FM, just low duty-cycle modes like SSB and CW. AMSAT-OSCAR-10 can also be a lot of fun on Field Day if the solar panels are properly illuminated and it is in a good position in the sky for Field Day (it has not been usable in well over a year). And, of course, the big news this year is AO-40, which is not operational so other plans must be made such as FO-29 and AO-7.
The AMSAT Field Day 2004 event is open to all Amateur Radio operators. Amateurs are to use the exchange as specified in ARRL rules for Field Day. The AMSAT competition is to encourage the use of all amateur satellites, both analog and digital. Note that no points will be credited for any contacts beyond the ONE allowed via each single-channel FM satellite. Operators are encouraged not to make any extra contacts via each single-channel FM satellite. CW contacts and digital contacts are worth three points as outlined below.
1. Analog Transponders
ARRL rules apply, except:
2. Digital Transponders
For the Pacsats (e.g., UO-22), each satellite is considered a separate band. Do not post "CQ" messages. Simply upload ONE greeting message to each satellite and download as many greeting messages as possible from each satellite. The subject of the uploaded file should be posted as Field Day Greetings, addressed to ALL. The purpose of this portion of the competition is to demonstrate digital satellite communications to other Field Day participants and observers. Do not reply to the Field Day Greetings addressed to ALL.
The following uploads and downloads count as three-point digital contacts.
(a) Upload of a satellite Field Day Greetings file (one per satellite).
(b) Download of Satellite Field Day Greetings files posted by other stations. Downloads of non-Field Day files or messages not addressed to ALL are not to be counted for the event. Save DIR listings and message files for later "proof of contact."
Please note AMSAT uploaded messages do not count for QSO points under the ARRL rules.
Satellite digipeat QSO's and APRS short-message contacts are worth three points each, but must be complete verified two-way exchanges. Remember, only one digipeat contact is allowed for the ISS and one for PCSat.
The use of terrestrial gateway stations to uplink/downlink is not allowed.
Sample Satellite Field Day Greetings File:
Greetings from W5BTS Field Day Satellite station near Katy, Texas, with 20 participants, operating class 2A, in the AMSAT-Houston group with the Houston Amateur Television Society and the Houston QRP club. All the best and 73!
Note that the message stated the call, name of the group, operating class, where they were located (the grid square would be helpful) and how many operators were in attendance.
3. Operating Class
Stations operating portable and using emergency power (as per ARRL Field Day rules) are in a separate operating class from those at home connected to commercial power. On the report form simply check off Emergency or Commercial for the Power Source and be sure to specify your ARRL operating class (2A, 1C, etc.).
The Satellite Summary Sheet should be used for submission of the AMSAT Field Day competition results to:
Bruce Paige, KK5DO
Vice President User Services
PO Box 310
Alief, TX 77411-0310
Make sure to also send your Field Day photographs with your submission! The deadline for submissions is July 17, 2004. You can also send your entry sheet and digital photos via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. The first-place emergency power/portable station will receive a plaque at the AMSAT General Meeting and Space Symposium in Washington, D.C., October 8-9, 2004. Certificates will be awarded for second and third place portable/emergency operation in addition to a certificate for the first-place home station running on emergency power. Stations submitting high, award-winning scores will be requested to send in dupe sheets for analog contacts and message listings for digital downloads.
You may have multiple rig difficulties, antenna failures, computer glitches, generator disasters, tropical storms, and there may even be satellite problems, but the goal is to test your ability to operate in an emergency situation. Try different gear. Demonstrate satellite operations to hams that don't even know the HAMSATS exist. Test your equipment. Avoid making more than ONE contact via the FM-only voice HAMSATS or the ISS, and enjoy the event!
This form is designed to allow for easy editing in a Word Processor.
AMSAT Satellite Summary Sheet - 2004 Satellite and number of Voice QSO's AO-27 1 (example) Satellite and number of CW/RTTY/PSK31 etc QSO's FO-29 5 (example) Satellite and Up/Downloads UO11 3 (example) Score Calculation Total Voice QSO's x 1 = Total CW/RTTY/PSK31 QSO's x 3 = Total Up/Downloads x 3 = Grand Total = Please provide the following information Your Field Day Callsign Your Group Name ARRL Field Day Classification ARRL Section Power Source (Select 1) Emergency Commercial Your name and home call Home address Any Comments