Winter Field Day 2024

Do you like operating in the field but hate dripping in sweat while setting up antennas? Does the idea of enduring another Field Day constantly fighting off every mosquito in Tampa Bay make you wish they held Field Day in January? Well, you’re in luck! Winter Field Day is an event very similar to the June ARRL Field Day except—you guessed it—it’s held in Winter. Specifically January 27 & 28, 2024. This is a joint operation with the Clearwater Amateur Radio Society (CARS). The event will be held at the Clearwater Fire Training Facility on Belcher Road south of Sunset Point Road in Clearwater. Prior efforts were a great success.

Winter Field Day is a 24-hour operating exercise where hams across the country go to the field, set up portable stations running on emergency power with temporary antennas. This event is not sponsored by the ARRL but the Winter Field Day Association. It has been operating since 2007 and gets bigger each year. There are several differences from the ARRL Field Day. Notably, there are only four classes of operation: (Outdoor, Indoor, Mobile, and Home). We will be operating Outdoor with 3 HF stations capable of SSB, Digital modes like PSK31 and CW plus a satellite station. We have some preliminary plans but the most important thing we need now is for people to register. As with summer Field Day, you will work stations operating from home and also indoors in non-traditional settings. But when you work outside stations in Minnesota, please try not to comment on how it is a chilly 65 degrees here. They may not share your amusement. 

We have the radio and computers secured and a pretty good handle on the supplies as this is the fifth event we have done from this facility. We need people to help with putting things up, some people to help with food and of course, operators. Setup begins at 9:00 AM on Saturday 1/28. Three radios will be going 24 hours from 2:00 PM Saturday to 2:00 PM on Sunday so we need people that can operate. No experience is necessary. If you are brand new to ham radio, you are welcome to come out and with a little training; you get to operate the radios. If you are interested in operating portable, you will get first-hand experience in how to setup a station outside with no other infrastructure. Additionally, if you are interested in Emergency Communications, you have the opportunity to setup in an unusual location, operating radios on generator power. Note that is just like people had to do in Houston and Puerto Rico after the hurricanes so if you are an EMCOMM operator, this event is tailor-made for you. Plus you will be on the grounds of the premier fire training facility in the area.

We have a great facility in the Clearwater Fire Training Center including access to the classrooms, restrooms, etc. However, all operating is outside running on generator power with portable antennas. While this is winter in Florida, we hope the weather is nice but last year’s Winter Field was cold and rainy so you never know what you will get.

Here is a Google Map to the location. This is centrally located to all three club’s members so we hope the facility proves to be a success for all.

Submitted by Tom Schaefer NY4I