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Updated June 22, 2017 @ 1212z
What is this?
Weather permitting, the operators above have agreed to operate their station during ARRL Field Day 2016 as a demonstration opportunity for Field Day participants at sites across North America. This outreach opportunity is intended to introduce individuals that might not otherwise realize the scope of activity occurring below the AM broadcast band.
How can I receive these stations?
The intent is to use amateur receivers and antennas that are already available at Field Day sites. Most modern HF rigs will tune down to about 100 kHz. Others are reported to work down to 30 kHz. HF Dipoles, verticals, and loops are commonly used to receive these stations. The fact that they are not matched is often a “feature”, improving signal-to-noise during an otherwise noisy summer. Some sites might have provisions for low band receive-only antennas to accompany their low band operations. Posted frequencies are carrier frequencies unless otherwise specified.
What type of transmissions will be made?
This varies from year to year and station to station. Some stations will use simple beacons with their information and operating conditions. Historically the messages originating from my station (WG2XIQ) are similar to the ARRL Field Day bulletin and tends to last 7-9 minutes at 15-18 WPM and it runs every 15 minutes “on the 15”. Other stations may run continuously. Some stations may be operating digital modes, like JT9 or KT65, which may require software in order to decode. QRSS modes will benefit from software packages like ARGO. If you are unable to copy CW manually, there are plenty of software packages, like FLDigi, that will.
When is the best time to hear these stations?
If you happen to be within a hundred miles of one of these stations, you may be able to hear and decode them 24-hours a day using something as simple as a hand-held short wave receiver that also covers MF and LF. Ground wave conditions during the daylight hours are very good, even during the summer. Skywave conditions will vary with solar and geomagnetic conditions as well as season but conceivably stations could be heard hundreds or thousands of miles away even during the summer under optimum conditions.
OK, I’ve copied the message or beacon. Now what?
You receive bonus points for originating NTS traffic during the Field Day period so why not send a message to the ARRL and let them know who you heard. Also look up the station your heard on QRZ and request a QSL card. You can also help by submitting a web report at http://w5jgv.com/enterlogs.htm.
Details on last year’s event and participants can be found here.
This page will be updated with as additional information becomes available.