ARRL Field Day 2009


I know we have a few Hams on the DTVUSA Forum. Did any of you participate in the ARRL Field Day this weekend? And we all think it's tough receiving a DTV signal from 45 plus miles across the earths surface. Some of the Amateur Radio stations go all out in this competition. Bouncing their signal off of the moon, to communicate with other Hams across the Earth.
"Conditions change throughout the day and at some point the signals will come in better from various different places. So we might be able to talk to someone in the Far East or someone back in Europe," Mair said.
Field Day also provides an annual exercise in setting up and operating radio equipment remotely. This way, the airwaves can be used in the event of an emergency such as an earthquake when electricity, phone and wireless communications can be lost.
ARRLWeb: Field Day 2009 Rules
Scores of Bay Area ham radio operators will aim high this weekend to see who can bounce their signals off the moon in an effort to talk to friends far away.
Radio signals normally are reflected off various layers of Earth's ionosphere, which ranges from about 55 to 375 miles high. The moon is 225,000 to 252,000 miles away, depending on its point of orbit around Earth.

It's a lot tougher for ham radio operators to bounce signals off the moon than off the ionosphere, said Teter, a ham operator whose "handle," or call sign is KG6LWE.

"The moon is far less than a perfect reflector," Teter said. "Its surface is rough and it keeps moving all the time, which means we'll have to keep moving our antennas constantly as we follow it."
Ham radio operators shoot for the moon


Moderator, Webmaster of Rabbit Ears
Staff member
I'm only Tech licensed and don't yet know CW, so the HF bands are pretty much off-limits for me. Even if those weren't true, I'm on a family vacation, so I was unable to participate.

I'd have liked to, though. The UVA ham radio club got together for it.

As far as moon bounce, I don't know anyone who does it, but I have a friend who's made an antenna to talk to satellites or the space station on 2 meters...

- Trip


Super Moderator
Bounce signals off the moon?? Oh, wait, we're talking about analog here hehehehe
Ohh, I thought this was an AARP thread. Going to need to start looking into that soon. ;) :p

LOL. Thanks guys!... :mad:)

Actually I have done both. Bounced a signal off the moon and played field day. Seems too I did it more so when I was younger? Actually has nothing to do with age.

This is going to sound funny but back in the 70's I used to do field day every year with a group, honest, called "The Hogtown Hammers".

Hogtown was Gainesville FL name before it was Gainesville. Hammers was a play on words that we were Hams and hammered the competition.

Our logo was a Hog swinging a Hammer. We normally placed very high in the SE and FL.

I used to run 10 meter phone and had my famous home made antenna. I was a quad loop reflector and with a yagi style dipole in front gamma feed, no directors so I could point NE out of Florida and didn't need to rotate.

Me and the other guy, one yacking and one logging contacts used to average 6 contacts a minute when the band was open. Nearly as fast as the best CW operators that could hit 8.

The real purpose of the exercise was to simulate emergency communications. You have 6 hours to put up an antenna, operater for a straight 24 hours then 6 hours to remove all antennas.

Many said this didn't simulate emergencies and was just a contest. I differ as I have done both many times.

In a real emergency you MUST get that antenna and generator working (remember before cell phones?) to get any help after a bad storm which was our foe here in Florida.

Then once up and running it was often days none stop of running communications for the Red Cross (there wasn't a FEMA then either). Also out mobile on the road trying to find food for people in the effected area by donations from stores and restaurants.

And out looking for people that was not, repeat not a pleasant thing to do.

Some of the sights I have seen after disasters are still burned in my brain decades later. Some tiny glimpse of what it must be like to be in a war.


Though the hams never kept up with technology we did have one of the first national then international digital networks by in the mid and late 1980's. The network is still there and active but it's now much slower than we are used to on the internet.

It didn't carry much data back then, 1200 baud, but the phone modems in that day weren't much faster.

We had digital relay stations (radio) set up in each town to connect the users, then relay to the next town. Most towns had BBS tied into the system whose main goal was to pass messages (we didn't call it email at the time).

Granted it was slow because HF, VHF and UHF bands were not always open (we covered a lot of distances that depended on skip to complete the journey), but I could send a message to anywhere in the US, Europe and a lot of Asia and Australia with 24 hours. That is when those phone calls were still a dollar or more a minute over seas.

Things have changed. Other communications systems are more robust but not infallible. The Red Cross still uses hams mainly during emergencies, when a lot of cell sites are down and crowded. So if the Red Cross shows up during an emergency, there is still a good chance it was a ham that sent them to your door with supplies you need.