General News

Making a Field Day QSO that counts

CAARC Participation in 2020 ARRL Field Day

First an amendment to the  last post, the second participant in a Class B station would not have to be an amateur as long as he or she is supervised while making QSOs by the licensed amateur and the amateur is ready to take over to check for the existence of a third party agreement in case there is an answer to a CQ from beyond Canada and the United States. So, an interested family member could be your partner.

Making a Field Day QSO that counts

This is aimed mostly at first time participants in Field Day.

Field Day is kind of a contest. The goal is to contact as many stations as possible during the time you are operating. Many operators use sort of a contest mode. Lengthy rag chewing is not part of these QSOs.

There are two possible strategies for making a contact. The first is to find a blank frequency in the traditional sub-band for the mode you are using, ask if it is in use and then call “CQ Field Day” (CQ FD in CW). After a QSO is completed often “QRZ” with or without a call sign is used. Do not give up calling “CQ Field Day” before a few minutes pass, other amateur operators will probably be tuning around to find stations such as yours. This is sometimes called Running. Avoid emergency frequencies and frequencies reserved for intercontinental contacts.  The second way is to tune across the band, looking for CQs to answer, often called Search and Pounce.

To include the station that you contact in your reported count to the ARRL, you must make the official Field Day Exchange. Your part of the exchange is your call sign, your station class, and your ARRL/RAC Section.

The usual QSO format is brief, with use of call signs being just enough. If calling “CQ Field Day”, listen for amateur stations calling back. They use just their call signs. There may be a pile up which makes all call signs hard to read. You may have to untangle the pile up by picking out part of a call sign that you recognize and asking for only stations with that part call sign. Once you pick out a complete call sign, respond to that station by using his or her call sign, and then sending your station class and your RAC/ARRL Section. Your station class will always lead with a number showing the maximum number of transmitters that will be simultaneously used by your station during the Field Day period. For us it would nearly always be 1. Our RAC Section is Alberta or AB, recorded AB. Be ready to repeat any part of this if the station you are responding to asks. When the responding station is ready, the operator will send his class and section for you to record. IF you don’t understand all of it, ask for repeats until you get it all. When you enter the responding station’s call sign the logging program may tell you that he is a “dupe” or “duplicate”, which means that you have worked him on this band-mode previously during this Field Day period. Or you may find him on your “dupe” sheets. You can either tell the responding station that this QSO is a duplicate, or log him again, which some people say is faster.

If you are in the Search and Pounce operating style, when you hear a “CQ Field Day” or a “QRZ”, and your logging program or dupe sheet does not show a previous contact with that station in the current band-mode, respond on his frequency with your call sign. Try to know the CQing station’s call sign before you respond. That station may be in a noisy receiving environment where he can’t hear your signal, or you may have joined a pile up. If you don’t hear the CQing station responding to anyone, try again once or twice. If you are in a pile up, you have to decide how long to try before you move on. When the CQing station responds to you, record his call sign, (which he may not send again), his class and his section. Ask for repeats until you are sure that you have it right. He may tell you that you are a dupe or duplicate (In CW sometimes B4). If you have no record of the previous contact, log him anyway, because now you know the exchange has happened.

If not using direct entry into computer logging with Computer Aided Tuning, record the time of the QSO and make sure you are logging on the page for the actual band used for the QSO.

Coming up: Which QSOs can you count?

Background, official rules, and many hints can be found at .

Comments or questions to Paul VA6MPM (find his email on, or John VA6SJA, .

John VA6SJA and Paul VA6MPM


SOTA Activations and Outdoor Operations

For those interested in SOTA or outdoor portable operations, I am attaching some recent photos of recent operating locations from which I have been working. In addition to SOTA activations, I do some maintenance and custodial work for the Alpine Club of Canada so I have been operating from the ACC back-country huts. The video link below is a short tour of one of the huts I visit frequently which has a short clip of my operation within the hut.

Sota set-up on Allstones Ridge

sota activation in Japan as JJ1TLL

With Troy (VA6TNA) on a SOTA activation of Corkscrew Mountain

Great Cairn Hut, Selkirks.

Elizabeth Parker Hut, Yoho

Fryatt Hut, Jasper


Snow birds fly over VE6BLD in Lacombe

The Canadian Snow birds flew over Lacombe in support of all the front line covid 19 workers.

Click the video below


Click the following link to watch full video from my YouTube channel

Snow Birds flyover

Watch the snowbirds fly over Saturday after 9:30 am

ARISS is live now: ISS Space Chat – Airdrie Space Science Camp 5-15-2020



This will be the second test of the new-style radio contact, called Multipoint Telebridge Contact via Amateur Radio. The concept was developed for distance learning when schools closed worldwide due to COVID-19. The virus eliminated all opportunities for ARISS radio contacts at education organizations. A new ARISS telebridge radio ground station will be used this time, this operated by John Sygo, amateur radio call sign ZS6JON, near Johannesburg, South Africa.




Long-Lost U.S. Military Satellite Found By Amateur Radio Operator

There are more than 2,000 active satellites orbiting Earth. At the end of their useful lives, many will simply burn up as they reenter the atmosphere. But some will continue circling as “zombie” satellites — neither alive nor quite dead.
“Most zombie satellites are satellites that are no longer under human control, or have failed to some degree,” says Scott Tilley.
Tilley, an amateur radio operator living in Canada, has a passion for hunting them down.

Click this link to read the complete story.


Cochrane Winter Rally 2020


There is an opportunities for public service at the upcoming Cochrane Winter Rally. This event is sponsored by the Calgary Sports Car Club and is one of the best radio service events of the winter season. Some of you have already helped us to advertise this event, so please accept my thanks for the efforts that you have made to date.

I am helping to organize the rally and one of my responsibilities is to recruit radio operators for the event. The rallies are some of the best field radio operations opportunities available to the Amateur Radio community in our region. They are challenging, fun, and a great way to test your equipment and skills in “real world” conditions. I hope that members of your club will consider joining us.

This year’s event takes place on Sunday 08 March in the Waiparous region northwest of Cochrane. Radio operators are needed to provide communication services and safety observation at various locations throughout the course. Training is provided, so no prior experience is required.

Additional information is available at the URLs noted below. Please consider circulating this invitation among your club’s members.

General event information is posted on the Rallywest website, at:

Information that is specific to radio operators is posted in the following forum:
Registration instructions have been posted in this forum. Anyone interested in helping at the rally should check this forum regularly for updates.

Thank you for your assistance and please contact me with any questions you may have.

Garry, VE6GDS