On our club e-mail list, we’ve been doing a post-mortem on our Field Day operations. One of the cooler things was our “Get On The Air” (GOTA) station. At the GOTA station, a dozen different people made their first HF contacts, including a number of Technicians. It has spurred several of them to start working on their code so that they can upgrade to General.
Another thing that we noted is that while we made many more contacts this year, we scored just a few more points than last year. The reason, of course, is that all those extra contacts were SSB contacts, not CW contacts. We ran two phone stations, but only one CW station.
Next year, I’m proposing that we go to 4A and run two CW stations. I’m going to call the second CW station the “Get On CW” (GOCW) station. At this station, we’re not going to care how fast someone operates or how many contacts he or she makes. Instead, the idea is to show them how much fun it can be to work CW. I plan to be around as much as possible to demonstrate CW, coach those that want to operate, and help them make contacts (by logging for them and helping them copy the fast stations).
In addition, I’m going to talk to the guys in the club who keep talking about working CW, but never seem to find the time or the energy to do so and encourage them strongly (i.e. twist arms, if necessary) to operate for an hour or two. The idea being to get them over the hump as far as CW goes. I might even give out awards to the operator who made the most contacts, the operator who showed the most courage in sitting down and operating, etc.
I’d like to see this become a nation-wide FISTS effort. The GOCW stations could even congregate around the Fists frequencies–or designate some other frequencies around which to find one another–so that we can work one another without having to deal with the contest twits who are rude to slower operators.
You can participate in the Get On CW effort even if your Field Day operations don’t allow for a separate station. My suggestion would be to designate some time period at one of your stations for GOCW operation. If you do this, realize that you’re going to have to steal some prime time from the “real contesters,” though. You’re not going to have a successful effort if you schedule the GOCW operation from 2 am to 4 am Sunday morning.
Let me know what you think of this idea, and please e-mail me if you plan on participating. Also e-mail me if you have an idea of how to make the GOCW effort more effective.