Field Day for Beginners

A special event for GOTA

Q. What is the GOTA station? 

A. It is an opportunity for any Technician or Novice licensees (Basic or Basic with Honours in Canada), newly licensed amateurs, other generally inactive licensees, and non-licensed persons to experience first-hand the fun of amateur radio by allowing them to GET ON THE AIR (GOTA). 

Q. How many GOTA stations may a club have on the air? 

A. A club may employ only one GOTA station. 

 Q. What are the bands for the GOTA station? 

A. The GOTA station may operate on any amateur band on which Field Day operation is permitted (HF or VHF) for which the control operator has operating privileges. 

Q. What modes may the GOTA station use? 

A. The modes and frequencies are determined by the license class of the control operator of the GOTA station. There must always be a control operator with operating privileges for the frequencies and modes desired present at the control point of the GOTA station any time it is transmitting. 

Q. May a non-licensed person operate the GOTA station? 

A. A non-licensed person may never operate an amateur transmitter. They may participate at the GOTA station by speaking into the microphone, sending CW, or making digital contacts but may do so only under the direct supervision of a properly licensed control operator at the control point of the transmitter. 

Q. What callsign does the GOTA station use? 

A. The GOTA station uses a callsign different from the call used by the group’s main Field Day operation. The GOTA station must use the same, single callsign for the duration of Field Day. Remember that you must have permission of the holder of the callsign in order to use it for the GOTA station. Also remember the rules of station ID. A two-by-three call issued to a Technician licensee may be used, but if the call is being used outside of the Technician privileges of the licensee, it must also include the callsign of the control operator (WA4QQN/N1ND for example), who must be present at the control point. The main station for us is VE7SAR and the GOTA station will be VE7HME

Q. What Field Day exchange does the GOTA station send? 

A. GOTA stations use the same exchange as its “parent” station, in our case 2F BC - Two parent stations, and Foxtrot is the type of station (F = EOC). And of course our location is BC.

Q. Who may the GOTA station contact? 

A. The GOTA station may contact any other amateur radio station, with a couple of exceptions. The GOTA station may not work its “parent” Field Day station. It may not contact any station operated by a person who was involved with their group’s Field Day operation. Remember that if a DX station is involved, the FCC (ISED) rules involving Third Party traffic apply. A station worked by the group’s main Field Day set-up may be worked again by the GOTA station and is NOT considered a dupe. 

Q. What is considered a generally inactive licensee? 

A. The GOTA station is not for everyone. The generally inactive licensee provisions pertain to someone who holds a General (Basic) or higher class license but has been inactive. The intent and the spirit of this station is to provide an opportunity for persons to gain on-the-air experience and progress to operating the regular club stations in the future. The intent is not to develop a group of “permanent GOTA Field Day operators”. This is also not a station that a club “ringer” operates in order to rack up points. The list of operators of this station must be submitted with the Field Day entry. For example, a “seasoned” operator who has been away at college and off the air for a couple of years really is not considered a generally inactive amateur. 

Q. May someone operate both the GOTA and the main Field Day stations? 

A. It is permissible for someone to operate both GOTA and the main stations. However, remember that to use the GOTA station, you must meet the requirements of license class and be generally inactive. It is not permissible for a seasoned operator to operate the GOTA station. 

Q. I am an active Novice licensee. May I operate the GOTA station? 

A. Yes. The GOTA station may be operated by any Novice or Technician (Basic or Basic with Honours) licensee, under the terms of their license privileges, or under the supervision of a control operator. 

Q. How do I calculate the GOTA bonus points? 

A: Please refer to Field Day (arrl.org). In order to claim the GOTA bonus, the club/group must provide a list of operators and the number of QSOs each operator makes at the GOTA station. Clubs should use their best judgment in determining the operators of the GOTA station.

Our 2015 Field Day video


Are you ready to participate in Field Day?

The focus is on GOTA this year 

Field Day is always held on the fourth full weekend in June, this year on the 24th and 2th. For those who are not familiar with the event, Field Day is an annual exercise when Amateur Radio enthusiasts, primarily across North America, activate for a 24-hour period. It is more than a contest, however, as teams are encouraged to operate using alternative methods as needed for emergency conditions. It is also a great time to socialize, collaborate, and share ideas to innovate further.

Our focus this year is to make it more inclusive for recent graduates, new members and the public with a program called ‘Get On The Air’ (GOTA). Unlike previous years we will be providing our best antennas, radios, and frequency bands to GOTA on a priority basis to foster interest in the hobby and participation in our programs.

SARC participation in Field Day this year will take place at the OTC and in the SEPAR trailer - with the SEPAR trailer being set aside for GOTA use. The plan is for two individuals at a time operating, one as logger and one as operator. Ideally the logger will gain experience with N1MM logging software before moving into the operating position. You do not require a ham license to operate as I plan on being present as station manager for the full 24 hours. We hope to offer an N1MM workshop or presentation before Field Day. We also hope to offer training on the GOTA Field Day radio.

Are you a ham licensed in the past 3 years but mostly inactive? Please respond if you are interested in:

  • Volunteering to help with the set up on Friday (pizza dinner following set up)
  • Operating/logging Saturday morning
  • Operating/logging Saturday afternoon
  • Operating/logging Saturday evening
  • Operating/logging Saturday overnight
  • Operating/logging Sunday morning

Once I have an indication of interest, I will begin to put together a schedule.

Note: check this blog in the coming days for a "Field Day for Beginners" post.

That's it for now,




Larry Bloom VE7LXB
New Ham Coordinator
Surrey Amateur Radio Communications



Emergency Preparedness Week Webinar

 If you’re ready for earthquakes, you’re ready for anything!

This is Emergency Preparedness Week and the Ministry of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness is offering a webinar related to being prepared for earthquakes.

I encourage you to register (required) to attend. The information on how to register and the date and time are below. Please forward and promote this as appropriate.

Earthquakes can impact all of us, no matter where you live in the province, which is why this year's webinar theme for Emergency Preparedness Week is "If you're ready for earthquakes, you're ready for anything!"  During this webinar, the team from PreparedBC will provide you with resources and tips for getting prepared for all types of emergencies, including earthquakes.  A seismologist with Natural Resources Canada will talk about: 

  •  B.C.'s earthquake risk; and  
  • The incoming National Earthquake Early Warning System, which can detect earthquakes and send out emergency alerts 

Special guests from the B.C. Earthquake Alliance will share information on managing risk, and the ShakeOutBC team will give a preview of how to stay safe and protect yourself during an earthquake and what to expect during the Great ShakeOutBC Drill in October. 

Attendees will receive a list of resources discussed during the presentation and be entered to win a 4-person emergency kit. 

 Presented by:  

Date & Time: Thursday, May 11, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. 

~ Gord Kirk, VA7GK
  SEPAR Coordinator


May-June 2023 SEPAR Report


What seems like a very long winter finally seems to be over. 

It feels like we have had weeks of rain which impacts our outside activities. But as I write this report the sun is shining and the trees around me are all covered in blossoms. This means it is time to get busy with annual outdoor maintenance. Radio antenna’s, and all of the outdoor equipment we have, as well as doing some portable operating. In this issue of the communicator if you check out the SARC Monthly Meeting Minutes, or the the Report from Larry about the GOTA activities, the number of students graduating licensing classes and the participation of those in contesting you will see so much has been happening to get those newly licensed involved.

As with any program which relies on volunteers it is always exciting to see newcomers join us and grow both in their personal abilities but also assist with the program for emergency communications. We have recently had requests from NEPP (Neighborhood Emergency Preparedness Program) groups to talk about emergency communications. We are also participating in a local Emergency Preparedness Fair on June 10th with the ask that we talk about how local groups/ individuals can communicate during an emergency. We have been requested to show radio options and discuss these. This will be so much easier with some of the lessons learned helping with the newly licensed Hams, the GOTA class and net. In fact on the GOTA net one of the participants asked about using 440mhz as the nets are typically done on 2m. So instead of the simplex portion of the SEPAR net (where we move to a simplex frequency and then return to the repeater) we chose to have the net participants move to the 440 repeater and then return to the 2m one. This allowed the newer members to program the repeater frequencies into their radios and try it out. Even though the repeaters are side by site at the rooftop location some discovered they had a cleaner signal on 440 rather than 2m. The benefit of this is we expanded the knowledge of the group, tested the repeater equipment and increased those who can support emergency communications now on another band they hadn’t used.

The new hams often start with a simple handheld radio like the Baofengs as they purchase their first radio. As part of the licensing class we also provide a hands on antenna workshop where students build a roll-up J-Pole antenna and hopefully come away with a better practical understanding of antenna theory. As I have previously mentioned it is really quite noticeable the improvements on signals both in strength and clarity when the antenna which comes with a handheld is replaced with a gain antenna. Again this is a win to have hams understand and have the ability to improve their signal and help them get “connected” from their homes.

So, as we talk about the use of amateur radio in a disaster often we prepare but are not needed as normal communications often still work. This is a good thing, the reliability of our communications systems is so important in our daily lives we really don’t want failures. That said often the failures are small and limited in scope. It can simply be an overloaded area due to abnormal congestion, or a localized power outage, or perhaps a vehicle incident has caused a communications pole and line to be damaged. In our area it is often vehicle incidents or natural caused interruptions eg. windstorms impacting local areas.

So, that leads to the question: What is your personal communications plan? Lets start with identifying the answers to these 4 questions:

  1. Who do you want to communicate with? (spouse, family, friends, employer/ coworkers)
  2. Why do you want to communicate with them? (What do they need from you or what do you need from them, is it communications to let them know you are safe?)
  3. How will you talk with them? This is where most people expect me to start talking about amateur radio, frequencies etc. However, in emergency communications I would recommend you start with more traditional means of communication. At least identify which of these are options you should consider:

  • cell phone
  • texting
  • messaging app
  • social media, and
  • satellite communicators

are all examples of technology which might be better to start off with.

4. When will you communicate with them. Have you discussed how one person might get in touch with the other when one of the parties may be outside of any area experiencing challenges and be completely unaware of the issue.

Cell phones, texts, apps etc. allow to you to get in contact but if you are using radios how will the other person know to turn it on and start following your plan? Use of calling clocks can help with this. There is a protocol called the Wilderness Protocol and frequencies recommended to monitor. “The Wilderness Protocol” (ref. June 1996 QST, page 85), recommends that stations (fixed, portable or mobile) monitor the primary (and secondary if possible) frequency(s) every three hours starting at 7 AM local time, for five minutes (7:00-7:05 AM, 10:00-10:05 AM, etc.) Additionally, stations that have sufficient power resources should monitor for five minutes starting at the top of every hour, or even continuously.” The primary frequency is the National Simplex Calling Frequency… 146.52 MHz. The secondary frequencies are 446.0, 223.5, 52.525 and 1294.5 MHz.

Again, without a prior discussion (a plan) you might not establish the communications you think you will have.

Next month we will continue with developing our plan. For this month I ask you to spend a few minutes and write down the answers to the above questions as a start.

I hope everyone stays safe as we move into our spring and summer activities. If you are interested in the SEPAR program and wish to become more involved please let us know. Our website is www.separ.ca and there is a contact form to get in touch with us. 

Our weekly nets are every Tuesday night on the SARC repeater on 147.360 + T110.9 at 07:30 pm PST. All are welcome to check in.

~ Gord Kirk VA7GK
SEPAR Coordinator


Field Day for Beginners

A special event for GOTA Q. What is the GOTA station?  A. It is an opportunity for any Technician or Novice licensees (Basic or Basic with H...