Two Good Ideas for the GOTA Station

I think one of the good things about Field Day is the Get on the Air (GOTA) station. Its purpose is to introduce newcomers to HF and get those that have been off the air for a while back on the air. At the ARROW Field Day, we try to get as many people to make a contact as possible.

Unfortunately, the rules don’t always encourage this. Last year, for example, one operator had to make at least 50 contacts to get 50 bonus points. That doesn’t encourage sharing. This year, the rules say that to get a 20-point bonus, one operator has to make at least 20 contacts. This is an improvement, but recently on the ARRL PR mailing list, Terry, KB9YXV, had a couple of suggestions on how to make the GOTA station even better:

I have watched some of the public in the past as they watch a special event station working a pile-up and the operator says, “W9B, QRZed? Again? QSL. QSL K9ZOF, W9B. Your 5/8 in Wisconsin with a little QRMary QSL? Roger! 73’s W9B, QRZed?… This will go on for awhile and if the observer does not walk away they will ask “Is he done testing yet? When will he talk to someone?” So for demonstration purposes the members of the MVARA are going to operate the W9FCC G.O.T.A. station using plain, no radio jargon, english.

Another idea for the Field Day organizers. How about an incentive for working a G.O.T.A. station? Many times while operating the G.O.T.A. explaining how to make a contact or while a guest operator is operating the station that you are contacting will not communicate with the G.O.T.A. station because it takes too much valuable time out of their “contest”. They can work 5 “normal” stations in the time that they work one G.O.T.A. station. My proposal for the ARRL Field Day rule makers is to make G.O.T.A. contacts worth 5 points. This would make it worthwhile to take the time to make a contact with a guest G.O.T.A. station operator. Then if one G.O.T.A. station worked another G.O.T.A. station it would be worth 10 points.

I like both ideas. The first will make the operation more understandable for both newbies and observers. The second will encourage GOTA operation.

Anyone else have any good ideas?

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