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2024 Winter Field Day Ham Radio Event

January 27 @ 9:30 am 2:30 pm PST

Winter Field Day is a communications exercise. WFD is held on the last full weekend in January. WFD can be worked from the comfort of your home or in a remote location. You can participate by yourself or get your friends, family, or whole club involved. Winter Field Day is open to participants worldwide. Amateur radio operators may use frequencies on the HF, VHF, or UHF bands and are free to use any mode that can faithfully transmit the required exchange intact. Similar to the ARRL’s Field Day, bonus points are earned in several ways, including using non-commercial power sources, operating from remote locations, satellite contacts, and more.

Columbia State Park Historic School House

22890 School House St
Columbia, California 95310
View Venue Website

This Winter Field Day Exercise is to encourage you to test your emergency preparedness capabilities in various conditions and push yourself to new levels. Operating out in the field, away from the comforts of home, is the best way to increase your preparedness for disasters and improve your operating skills in subpar conditions.

WFD is a learning experience, and we hope at the end of this year’s WFD exercise, you will feel more confident about your ability to adapt and overcome adverse weather conditions.

To be clear, WFD is an EMCOM exercise, so don’t get too hung up on the rules. At the end of the day, your total points don’t matter. What you learn during WFD and your ability to adapt and overcome sudden obstacles will help you during unexpected emergencies. As we continue with another year of the WFD exercise, we want to encourage participants not to chase the contacts or the points but to test their abilities and equipment. If you want to exchange signal reports, please give each other accurate information so the other station knows how well their station is working.

One thing you will notice this year is our “Bonus Points” have changed to “Objectives.” These rotating objectives will change slightly from year to year. One of your goals should be to achieve as many objectives as possible during the event.

Finally, have fun with the Winter Field Day, talk about the temperature, meet new friends, and make memories as you continue to enhance your skills as an amateur radio operator.

WFDA Presents the 2024 Operating Guidelines for the Winter Field Day Event!

Download the complete WFD packet by clicking here.

Notable Guidelines for Winter Field Day 2024

·      All stations are limited to a maximum of 100 Watts PEP.

·      All logs must be in the Cabrillo format and submitted online at www.winterfieldday.com

·      Mexico stations should use MX as their location identifier. 

·      Bonuses are now listed as objectives and are recorded separately.

·      Multiple transmitters are allowed to operate on the same band/mode at the same time.

Objective: To set up an amateur radio field station and successfully make multiple contacts. Successful participants are those who can set up their equipment and correctly log the designated exchange during the operational period explained below. All participants are encouraged to complete as many objectives as possible and submit a log of stations worked. 

Eligibility & Identifier: All licensed amateur radio operators are encouraged to participate in the emergency communications exercise known as Winter Field Day.  Radio operators in the United States and Canada will use the designated location identifiers the ARRL and RAC field organizations set up. Operators in Mexico will use MX as their location identifier, and all other operators outside of North America will use DX as the location identifier.

Operational Period: Winter Field Day is held the last full weekend in January. For 2024, it will be held on January 27th and 28th. The 24-hour operational period starts at 1900 UTC on Saturday, the 27th, and ends at 18:59 UTC on Sunday, the 28th. Stations may begin setting up no earlier than 19:00 UTC (2 pm EST) on the Friday before. However, cumulative set-up time shall not exceed 12 hours. 

Class: your class is a number designated by the number of transceivers at your location that are capable of transmitting simultaneously. 1,2,3,4, etc. This means you have the people needed to operate the number of transmitters you choose. Don’t count a transceiver if it has to be left unattended in order to make contacts on another.

Categories: A WFD operation, regardless of the number of stations operating under one call sign, must be in the same physical location. All station equipment, including antennas, feed lines, and accessories used, must be located within a circular area whose diameter does not exceed 1,000 feet (300m). 

You must choose which category you are going to operate in. If operating as a group under one call sign, all stations in your entry must fit the category you choose.

The categories are:

H = Home station: is defined as any station participating from their permanent livable residence or within 500ft of their Home regardless of operating inside or outside.

I = Indoor station: is defined as any station operating away from Home but from inside an insulated, weather-protected building or structure on a permanent foundation. Indoor stations typically have plumbing, heating/cooling, and running water. Church, EOCs, a club shack, a cabin, and community centers are all examples of an Indoor station.

O = Outdoor station: Outdoor stations operate from a partly or fully exposed building or shelter that does not typically have plumbing, heating/cooling, or running water available. Operating from a picnic table, park pavilion, tents, or under pop-up canopies are all places that could be considered Outdoor. These are locations where you may have to provide your own heat source and/or protection from the elements. 

M = Mobile / Mobile Stationary: These stations are defined as operations from a mobile or potentially mobile structure like an RV, car, van, sailboat, cargo trailer, mobile EOC, ETC. These are operating positions that may offer some sort of built-in heating/cooling. Mobile Stations do not have to be mobile during the event. They are defined as having the ability to be mobile should it be necessary to move during the event. RVs and Cargo trailers with external antennas set up are still considered Mobile. 

Exchange & Additional Information: The designated Winter Field Day exchange is your call sign, your Class and Category, and your location identifier. US and Canadian stations will use the ARRL / RAC Section as designated by those organizations. Mexico stations will use MX, and all other stations outside of the US will use DX. The goal is to copy and record the full exchange accurately. Because we use the Exchange as a cross reference when looking at the logs, your Class, Category, and Identifiers must remain the same throughout the whole event. If your location changes sections during the event, such as a long-haul trucker, your section is the first section you made a contact from. Note: Signal reports and other additional information are not a required part of the exchange; however, it is encouraged to practice exchanging additional information, which may include- signal reports, temperature, weather conditions, antenna configurations, etc. In an emergency, you may be asked to relay anything from a list of supplies to GPS coordinates. Collecting and correctly copying down this information is an important skill that should be practiced during Winter Field Day.  

Bands: All Amateur bands may be used except 12, 17, 30, and 60 meters. To qualify as a band worked, at least 1 valid, two-way QSO must have taken place on the said band during the contest.

Modes: All modes, CW, Phone, and Digital, may be used. CW and Phone include SSB, AM, FM, DMR, C4FM, etc. If the end result is voice, it’s Phone. Digital includes PSK, RTTY, Olivia, Packet, SSTV, ATV, JS8Call, and other soundcard modes except for FT4 & FT8. If the end result is text or a picture, it’s digital.

QSO Points: Phone contacts count as one point each, and all CW and digital modes count as 2 points each. Logging incorrect data will be penalized by two points for each missed exchange or call sign. Duplicate contacts (same call, band, and mode) will not be counted nor penalized.

Point Multipliers:

The total number of points will be multiplied by two numbers. The first number is the Power Output Multiplier of 1 or 2 and the second number will be the Band / Mode Multiplier. 

Power Output Multipliers: QRP stations are defined by transmitting less than 5 watts on CW or 10 watts on phone and will get a multiplier of 2. All other stations have a multiplier of 1. The maximum permitted power is 100 watts measured from the output of the final amplifier. 

Band / Mode Multipliers: Each mode worked on each band counts as 1 multiplier. If you worked both CW and Phone on 20 & 40 meters, your total multiplier would be 4. If you operated CW and Phone on 80, 40, 15, and 10 meters, CW and PSK31 on 20m, FM on 2 meters & 440 you would have a total multiplier of 12x.

Calculating Points: Scores are based on the total number of QSO points x Power Output Multiplier x Band / Mode Multiplier.

Total Score = (# of QSOs x POM x B/MM)

Additional Objectives:

More than points, achieving objectives should be your primary goal during WFD, these objectives, combined with your own, should be your main focus during the exercise. 

Operate 100% on alternative power: This means any power not connected to the commercial power grid. Generators, batteries, solar power, and wind are all possible alternative power sources. Batteries in use should only be recharged using alternate power. When not in use, batteries may be charged by any means available. WFD stations should run all station equipment, accessories, lights, heaters, etc., from the alternate power source, except the logging-only computer, which may be connected to the power grid or any power source available. . If you use a laptop for Digital modes, this should not be connected to the power grid but should also be powered by batteries. 

Operate away from Home: Get out of the house and operate from any other location more than a 1 mile from your home. Do you have the ability to walk into any shelter, parking garage, hospital, or community center and set up a portable Amateur radio station? Now is the time to start planning what you will do if your home location is destroyed during an emergency. 

Deploy multiple Antennas: Pre-installed antennas are defined as any antenna attached to anything that could be used day to day or was set up before the WFD set-up time. This includes home antennas, antennas installed on vehicles, cargo trailers, and RVs, or, any other antenna that would be considered permanently installed. Now ignore all pre-installed antennas and deploy multiple antennas; this could be a dipole and a hex beam or an EFHW and a 2meter J-pole. No matter how you do it. Are you capable of deploying multiple antennas for different bands?

Make a Satellite contact: See the appendix below for more information on satellite contacts.

Operate on at least six different bands: Conditions may change throughout an event. Can you operate HF, VHF, and UHF? Do you ever use 1.25 meters (220)? It’s a great band for local emergencies. 

Send and receive at least 1 Winlink email: Winlink has been proven to be useful during emergencies and is a digital mode.

Operate 6 continuous hours during the event: Emergencies may last days or even weeks. If you are operating alone or in shifts, you may be expected to man a radio station between 4-12 hours. Are you able to sit and operate of extended periods of time with enough backup power? This does not necessary mean you are making contacts the whole time, but you are in front of the radio, monitoring and ready to pick up a microphone if you were called. 

Objectives are not included in your final score. You do not need to place them in the soapbox. When you submit your log, we will ask you to select your completed objectives. Additional Objectives are percentage-based.  These will be displayed separately in the WFD Results. 

Miscellaneous Statements:

·      All rules governing amateur radio at your location must be observed throughout the event.

·      All participants submitting a single entry must be using one callsign.

·      Any mode used must be able to fully transmit the exchange intact and must be able to pass additional information. 

·      Stations can only be worked once per band, per mode.

·    Entrants may not count for QSO credit any contact with anyone who is or was a participant in their WFD operation or is present at their WFD location.

·      QSOs may only be solicited during the contest and only via the airwaves. The use of spotting clusters, the RBN, APRS, and Winlink to solicit contacts will be

allowed during the contest. 

·      Cross-band contacts are not permitted (satellite QSOs cross-band contacts are exempted).

·      No repeater contacts are allowed, including DMR, that may be transmitted through a repeater on the receiving end. 

Submitting a Log

To receive a certificate, all logs must be submitted on our website by filling in the form and uploading a Cabrillo log or ADIF file containing the proper exchange data. Logs must be submitted by 11:59 UTC on March 1st to be considered. Late entries cannot be accepted. If you find an error in log after submitting, just correct your log and resubmit. The corrected version will replace the original you submitted.

You must submit your entries at www.winterfieldday.org

Once you click submit a log, you will receive a confirmation email.

All official results will be posted on the Winter Field Day website.