Field Day 2-Meter and 630-Meter Opportunities
Created: Wednesday, 24 June 2015 23:11
Written by Tony Mendina
Traditionally, Field Day activity has been concentrated in our HF bands, but this year we have two unusual opportunities.
FM Simplex Operation
In the 2-meter band, the Richardson Wireless Klub is leading an effort to promote VHF FM operations during Field Day. Instead of using horizontal polarization and SSB, which many operators cannot use on 144 MHz, area participants can use the same vertical polarization and FM signal that they use every day to make simplex contacts and boost their score. Judging by simulated emergency tests conducted by the NTS and other groups, many hams will be surprised at how far they can reach without using a repeater.
The ARRL rules have also been changed to encourage the use of VHF frequencies. Even though it's still prohibited to make contacts using a repeater and count them towards your score, it's now perfectly OK to "self spot" your VHF station. You're free to announce your frequency and times of operation on area repeaters, on Facebook or Twitter, or using on-line spotting networks. Remember that you are required to use one of the standard FM simplex frequencies, and you can't call the other station on a repeater to help you "fill in" missing details from a contact.
The Richardson Wireless Klub has the following suggestions for DFW hams:
- Use 146.49 MHz as primary (calling and/or contact exchange—voice)
- Use 146.55 MHz as secondary (contact exchange and radiograms—voice, CW, & digital)
- Use 146.58 MHz as tertiary (spotting assistance and ragchew)
- First 15 minutes on-the-hour operation is emphasized (rest of each hour encouraged!)
- Feel free to make digital contacts; use MT63-2KL as the primary mode—please use RSID if you're operating differently
- Digital ARRL radiograms are great, with FLDIGI and FLMSG as the primary tools—please include the email address of the recipient
630-Meter Reception Tests
In recent years, enterprising hams have obtained experimental licenses allowing communications tests in the medium-wave band, just below the conventional AM broadcast frequencies. In fact, John, KB5NJD—whom many of you know from our local traffic nets and TEX—has been experimenting as WG2XIQ. He's one of several hams who will be transmitting special Field Day greetings around 475 kHz. John said:
My plan for 2015 is to transmit a message in normal, aural CW, 7-8 minutes long at about 17-18 wpm on a :00, :15, :30 and :45 minute schedule on 474 kHz starting around 8am CDT on Saturday, June 27 and running through Sunday, June 28, probably ending around 6pm CDT. Note that many radios have two CW mode settings which usually involve where the receiver bandpass is located while receiving. If your dial frequency is 474 kHz CW (U) and don't hear anything during a time I should be transmitting, try switching to CW (L) or CW-rev as it is listed on some radios. Also note that weather is a game changer and any passing storms could result in a stoppage until the threat has passed.
If you copy my signal or others, you can file a report at http://w5jgv.com/enterlogs.htm . These reports are very helpful. Additionally, why not also send NTS traffic to me, C/O of the DFW Traffic Net, and also to the ARRL at 225 Main St., Newington, CT 06111, 860 594 0200. You can claim 10 points per NTS message that you originate up to 100 points! Why leave easy points on the table?
So why are we doing this? On April 23, 2015, the FCC announced the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the creation of amateur bands on 630-meters and 2200-meters. We continue to show the value of these bands, both in ground wave and skywave coverage. The ground wave signals will outperform anything we have available to us currently under Part 97 and the skywave, particularly during the winter, will surprise you, often times providing thousands of miles of coverage. In fact, my signal, transmitter from North Texas, has regularly been heard in Europe, Alaska and Oceania and regular coast-to-coast QSO’s on CW and digital modes are commonplace on 630-meters.
There are so many misconceptions about what goes on below the AM broadcast band and we hope to provide opportunities for individuals at their club’s Field Day operation to experience the band first hand.
Most HF transceivers offer reception at 474 kHz, and for reception you can try using whatever antenna happens to be connected to your radio. You can even record the CW message and get help from another ham to decode it. Why not give it a try? You can find more information and an updated list of all the experimental stations that will be transmitting at http://njdtechnologies.net/mf-and-lf-demonstration-opportunity-for-arrl-field-day-2015-the-field-day-greetings/.