COMEX AAR’s needed

Those of you who participated in the 2017 KY Communication Interoperability Exercise to receive exercise credit please complete the After Action Report (AAR). Click on the below link;

Cecil K4TCD

Field Day Observations

Well I believe this was my 38th Field Day.  It sure has changed a lot since the late 1970’s.  I participated with the Bullitt ARS at KY4KY where I believe I have been for 29 of those 38 Field Days.

My first observation is that the radio equipment has become significantly smaller in size and much larger in ability.  But that is common knowledge for anyone that’s been around for a bit.  It used to be a challenge to operate on a satellite or run a VHF/UHF station.  The equipment had to be rather complex and radios were designed especially for those operations.  Now most moderately priced rigs will get you on VHF/UHF, FM and SSB/CW and antennas can be a simple as a handheld Arrow.

My second observation is that antennas haven’t changed much.  It’s hard to improve, practically, over a simple dipole or vertical for a quick, short term operation.  Getting fancy may secure a few more Q’s over the long haul, but for a 24 hour operation, simple seems to be the key.  Both antenna types are fairly easy to erect and with some creative portable hardware can be deployed at respectable heights in short order (without trees or buildings around to support).

My third observation is that on the air ability is about the same.  Field Day is designed to get a newby some HF time, to develop the ability to hear through all the QRM and QRN and effectively transfer minimal information quickly, correctly and efficiently.  This is the observation that troubled me the most.  There is ALWAYS a ‘shortest’ way to get the message through… ALWAYS.  As a retired air traffic controller, I can attest to the fact that the more verbiage you use when trying to communicate, the more likely there will be a miscommunication.

So let me focus on this third observation and make some suggested improvements.  First, there is an orderly sequence of events that help move your ‘traffic’ (yes, that’s what that little exchange is).  In a contest style exchange, there is a station calling CQ… someone looking for a station with which to exchange information.  Secondly, there is station wishing to exchange information.  This would be you, if you are answering a CQ.  This is where oftentimes the sequence of events goes astray.

When you respond to a CQ, please send just YOUR call.  The CQing station knows his.  The object, remember, is to exchange the information QUICKLY and EFFICIENTLY.  Pleasantries should be minimal as well.  A TU on CW or a 73 on SSB is more than adequate.

So here’s the most efficient exchange format.

  1. Station calls CQ
  2. Any station responds
  3. CQing station acknowledges the caller by callsign and sends his information
  4. Responding station acknowledges reception (R on CW or Roger on SSB) and then sends the return information.  Remember via FCC rules you need not transmit the other stations call, only yours.
  5. CQing stations replies with TU or 73 and looks for more stations

Remember the point of the exercise is to exchange information and the more words that you slip into the mix, the more likely someone will get something wrong or miss something important. Any other verbiage such as ‘please copy’ or ‘I acknowledge your 2A Alabama’ just slows the process down and leads to the possibility of errors. (Granted, restating the information is a way to ensure you got it correct and some contests require that type of verification.  But overall, it is unnecessary.  You know if you got it right… if not ask for fills or repeats).  By doing things ‘out of order’ you introduce unnecessary repeats and confusion.  Also, standardize your verbiage. In aviation, especially when dealing with non-English speaking pilots, standardized verbiage is essential in getting the message delivered safely and correctly and has likely saved countless lives over the decades by preventing accidents.

Our operation in radio communication is no different. If the information you were tasked to exchange was of urgent nature (such as during a natural or man-made disaster), your use of non-standard delivery or less than standard verbiage may result in a misunderstanding that could delay or misroute needed assistance.

So remember, keep it short and only provide the necessary information to get the job done.  You will have a better success rate.  Your accounting will be more accurate and you will find there is more time to put more information into your log.


COMEX Ham test Today June 26

For those wishing to participate in COMEX here is today’s schedule :

Governor Bevin declares Ham Week

Governor Bevin declares AMATEUR RADIO WEEK for the Commonwealth of Kentucky!

KY Section Manager May highlights!

Check out ARRL Section Managers news at this link:

Field Day just around the corner

The biggest emergency communications event in the world is just about 2 weeks away.  Where will you be doing field day?   What does your club have planned for this event?  Have you notified the local media, print and broadcast?  Do you have adequate operators lined up?  Are you using computer logging?  If so, do you have an on site source to troubleshoot any networking issues?

Tons of questions and not lots of answers?  Getting prepared means just that… doing the leg work and preparation to ‘be ready’ when needed.  Does your club or group have all the needs for adequate antennas?  How about radios?

The annual field day is the greatest combination of amateur radio activities. Firstly, it is an operating event.  On that note, there are many aspects of that operating.  Many groups treat field day as a bonafide contest.  Other groups focus on getting a usable station on the air as quickly as possible.  For other groups, it is the big social event of the year, full of food and drink.

Secondly, it is the opportunity for amateur radio to be ‘seen’ by the public.  We operate in public places.  We notify the local media where we will be.  And, if done correctly, we put our best foot forward and make a favorable impression with our neighbors and public servants.

Thirdly, we communicate.  The goal is to accurately AND quickly pass simple information between stations around North America.  This is a great training exercise for those new operators and those of us long in the tooth.  It’s a time you can experience new modes, learn new techniques and develop what many call the HF ear… the ability to hear through all the noise.

What ever you do for field day, do it with gusto, make as many QSO’s as you can and get the information correct.  Make sure you get your field day location on the ARRL’s field day locator and invite those less than active hams, neighbors, family and media to come out and join the fun.  Don’t let the sun set on your field day without a few dozen QSO’s in the log.  See you on the air.  Look for me as KY4KY 2F KY…. where else!

Woodford County ARC Tech class June 12th