Field Day West Allis Radio Amateur Club
A Non-Profit Educational Organization

What is Field Day?

In a nutshell, Field Day is an annual, nationwide Amateur Radio emergency communications exercise combined with a contest.

A fundamental purpose of Amateur Radio (also known as Ham Radio) is to provide emergency communications in the event of a disaster or other disruption of normal communications. Field Day is an opportunity to learn and practice skills needed to communicate during floods, hurricanes, fires, earthquakes and other major disasters. These skills involve setting up generators and batteries for independent power sources, erecting an assortment of antennas and configuring radio equipment for various modes of communications. The idea is to quickly put together self-sufficient, working stations in an affected location.

The other part of Field Day is a competition for participating stations to contact as many other Field Day stations as possible. The contest runs for a 24-hour period from midday Saturday until midday Sunday on Field Day weekend, which is the fourth full weekend of June every year. Any ham station in North America, whether operating under emergency conditions or not, may participate.

During the competition, each radio contact to another station counts for points. Contacts between stations may be made on a number of communications modes including Morse code, a number of voice and digital modes and satellite communications. Bonus points may be collected by using natural (solar or wind) power to run the radio equipment, and by sending and receiving certain messages. This message handling is training for operators to handle emergency messages accurately, efficiently and as a team.

Field Day is a sponsored by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL). ARRL is an organization that represents Radio Amateurs in the United States and is based in Newington, Connecticut. The ARRL website is .

In 2018, Field Day logs were submitted by nearly 3000 clubs, groups and individuals across the U.S. and Canada. These logs showed participation by more than 35,250 individuals and over 1.2 million radio contacts were reported during the event.

Ham radio clubs and other groups across the continent use Field Day to demonstrate the communications ability of Amateur Radio in simulated emergency situations. At sites from Alaska to Puerto Rico, Amateur Radio brings together its resources to show officials in government and various agencies what “Amateur Radio can do”.

Tom Macon, K9BTQ
West Allis Radio Amateur Club
© 2019 West Allis Radio Amateur Club