The point of Field Day isn’t necessarily to achieve the highest score. The socialization with friends, emergency preparedness, and fun-factors can’t be quantified in a chart. That said, I got a little nerdy and took a look at Field Day scores since 2002 (when I became a ham) for the RARC. I noted some cool trends. These are the factors I believe are contributing to what we see in the chart above.
- Bonus points have become more available, and we’ve become MUCH better at achieving the various bonuses.
- The high-power years, denoted by the 1’s along the X axis labels, have been relatively inefficient at converting QSO’s to points. The flip side of this is that running high power is a LOT of fun, you can talk to literally anyone you can hear.
- Class 3A seems to be our sweet spot. Not shown on this chart is our overall ranking in-class, but we always do best in 3A. There are many 2A clubs which absolutely dominate our QSO rate. 4A and 5A have been tried and were completely ineffective at raising our QSO count, most likely because its hard to staff additional transmitters for 24 hours.
- Crazy high CW QSO rates have a multiplicative effect on our overall score. 2012 we ranked 2nd in the nation in class 3A partly because we had some serious CW contesters at the helm.
The club will most likely average around 2000 QSOS in 2022, assuming we continue with 3A and the level of participation we’ve had. If we’re interested in maximizing our score we could:
- Grab every bonus point we can get
- Keep all 3 stations active throughout the 24 hours to raise the QSO count
- Maximize usage of the higher bands as they are available
- Methodically work different regions of the country as bands change
- “Run” as much as possible vs search-and-pounce. We’ve had great club presentations on the use of these two strategies.
- Maximize CW and Digital contacts, remember its 1 transmitter per Mode/Band combo, transmitters can change modes at will as long as we never have more than one on the same band/mode. As much as I personally dislike FT8, it may be one key to increasing digital QSO rates. Also it doesn’t require a ton of operator interaction, clicking a few things every minute or two is sufficient to keeping the contacts rolling in.
- Maximize GOTA contacts, especially the ones associated with bonus points but every one counts!