Pictures tell a thousand words.
I have uploaded a photo from last year's (2009) Field Day at L.L.Stub Stewart State Park, put on by the Oregon Tualatin Valley Amateur Radio Club (OTVARC), running the callsign W7OTV. Go to the Yahoogroup's "photos" section...there's only one folder, and one photo in it. The photo is taken from the south, looking north. CW tent on the far left, VHF/UHF tent on the far right, up on the hill. Too many antennas in between (part of FD is learning - we learned - no more single-band HF antennas, they're a waste...they take up lots of space with little benefit...and no more vertically-polarized antennas for a domestic operating event). Note the cluster of people on the right - we have a socializing tent, which should be imperative for a group effort...allows people a place to gather and yack, without disturbing the radio operators while the ops try to make QSOs and train newcomers.
Field Day can be many things. As an emergency preparedness exercise, it should show that you (the collective, community "you") know how to quickly erect an effective communications station. All exercises have a test, and that's the contest part of Field Day - did you really put up an *effective* station, using *effective* operators? The contest score is only that - your way of showing *to your own group* that you knew what you were doing and really could do it in an emergency. The "operator skill" part of Field Day is taking people who only do one thing, and getting them to try something else. Like taking the "I'm not a contester" guy and getting him to try out computer-sent CW, and going for rate for a change. That's what learning is - getting outside of your own comfort zone. For me, the learning of FD the past few years has been about operating SSB - having been a nearly 100% CW op over the years, it was a bit of a leap to get me sitting in a chair with a microphone, going for rate instead of avoiding it.
And, FD can also be a major club social event, a picnic, a camp-out, a way of experimenting with antennas, modes, etc.
In order to be all things, an FD group needs to be large...and OTVARC's most certainly is. Last year we had 144 people sign into the guest log, placing us 4th place nationwide. No other club in the northwest exceeded 50.
That's why we were able to have two digital modes, two CW stations, two SSB stations (shared with digital in one case), 50/144/432MHz, a fully-staffed 4A operation and catered food. Everybody got out of FD what they wanted...unless what they really wanted was a one-man campout with a bit of radio attached. That's fun too, I've done it, and I'll do it again. But for now, I'm enjoying going out with a team that's hugely about enhancing the operators' abilities.
This year, I'm told, we'll be adding a satellite station, just to add more to the mix.
So, there's probably the biggest FD in the area with the most variety. For some, it's too much...but it's a good heavy dose of lots of ham radio in one weekend, if that's what you want.
One of the ham radio clubs does a primarily QRP Field Day, other clubs choose a site with a great view...you should probably contact each group to ask what makes their FD special and what they emphasize - points, party, food, or campout.
No matter which group you choose, if they publicize it on the web, they'll definitely welcome you.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, TDPOPP@... wrote:
> Portland Amateur Radio Club, (PARC) usually has a QRP Field day at Kelly
> Butte. (Between Division and Powell just off I-205) See their website at
> _http://w7lt.org/_ (http://w7lt.org/)
> The West side club, Oregon Tualatin Valley Amateur Radio Club, (OTVARC)
> will be having their Field Day at Stewart Stubb State park West of Hillsboro.
> See their Website at _http://www.otvarc.org/_ (http://www.otvarc.org/)
> The East Side Club, Hoodview Amateur Radio Club, will be having their Field
> day at Larch Mountain, Oregon. Go to Corbett, Oregon on the rim of the
> Gorge adn go East. From teh Womans Forum Park and the view of Vista House it
> is 14 miles up the road to the Top of Larch Mountain. The club sets up in a
> gravel lot about 200 yds downhill of the main parking lot. Usually a
> fantastic set up to check out if you are not operating yourself. See their
> website at _http://www.wb7qiw.org/_ (http://www.wb7qiw.org/)
> And for those brave enough to cross the Columbia, the Clark County Club
> Amateur Radio Club, has Field day at the Overflow parkilng lot at SEH America
> on 112th Ave. north of 39th St. Usually the Hams at the Field Day site are
> a friendly bunch who are glad to show the public what they can do.
> See their website at _http://www.w7aia.org/_ (http://www.w7aia.org/)
> There are a LOT of smaller Non-club setups and operations. If you can't
> operate Field Day yourself, at least visit and support those who are.
> Introduce Non-Hams to the Emergency Operation sided of Ham Radio.
> Please pass alon this Field Day info to other Hams and interested peopkle
> in the PDX area as well as Club emails.
> Thanks Tom Popp - KA0TP