In the announcement for the first Field Day, the stated purpose was defined by this statement. “The real object of this contest is to test ‘portables’ wherever they may be available.… If successful, we want to make it an annual affair.” And successful it was. It has been a defining event for amateur radio operators every year since then except for 1942-1945 due to WWII.

Throughout its history, Field Day has evolved and continues to evolve to this day. It is fundamentally an opportunity to demonstrate the capabilities of amateur radio to operate off-grid during a disaster to help maintain essential communications. To this end, it is a fundamental demonstration of emergency communications.

While we have come a long way from paper logs, you may be surprised to learn that computers were first used to create a contact log in 1966 when contacts were entered via a keypunch machine and processed on an IBM 1401 computer.

A review of the history of Field Day was published in the December issue of QST by Rol Anders, K3RA. A link to that article is below. I encourage you to read the article and capture many more interesting facts about Field Day and its evolution.

Knowing some of the history of Field Day makes it even more interesting and fun. Be sure to participate in this event this year and have some fun. 73

Rick Mead


Utah SEC / ASM

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