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Field Day discussion - Get on the Air station

PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:41 am
by Jamie_WB4YDL
Let’s talk about the Get On The Air station, or GOTA station. This started about 8 or so years ago and was designed to get basically inactive or newcomer hams back on the air. Here’s how it works:

• Any Class A (club station) or Class F (EOC station) can run a GOTA station.
• It does not count as another HF station and does not change the base entry category – for example our base entry category will be 3A – phone, CW, and digital.
• It uses a different callsign than the primary Field Day entry callsign (K4RFT) - - in our case, we use Glenn’s callsign N4MJ.
• The same exchange is used as the parent call – in other words 3A TN, that is “3 Alpha, Tennessee”.
• It may be operated by any licensed operator who obtained their license in the past year, regardless of license class.
• It may be operated by a generally inactive licensee.
• Non-licensed persons may participate under the direct supervision of a control operator.
• A list of operators and participants is required to be included with the entry. We show how to enter the operator name or initials into the logging program.
• A maximum of 500 QSOs made by this station may be claimed for credit (!)
• The GOTA station may operate on any Field Day band

OK now, here’s where it gets interesting – the GOTA station has a tremendous potential for bonus points ! LOTS OF THEM !

• When a GOTA operator successfully completes 20 QSOs, they receive 20 bonus points.
• If that same operator, achieves another 20 QSOs, they receive 20 more bonus points, up to a maximum of 100 bonus points.
• Additional GOTA operators may earn the GOTA bonus points up to a maximum of 500 bonus points.
• If the GOTA station is supervised by a GOTA coach, the bonus points earned for each 20 QSOs will be doubled ! Generally, Glenn or myself tag team as coach.

This is also the station that the youth bonus is generally obtained although it doesn’t have to be. The Youth Participation bonus of 20 points is obtained by any participant who is 18 years old or younger who completes at least one QSO. The maximum points for this is 100 points, that is 5 QSOs – 5 participants.

So for example, we have an 18 year old new licensee at the GOTA station who completes 45 QSOs. We have a full-time GOTA coach. So the calculation is two sets of 20 QSOs obtaining 20 bonus points each set, which is doubled as there is a GOTA coach, and 5 spare points. So (20 Q’s + 20 bonus points x 2) x 2 sets + 5 spare QSOs = 125 points. But because the operator qualifies for the Youth bonus, we add 20 points, or a total of 145 points. Not bad for 45 QSOs !!!

Now the base question I get every year is “does the operator have to get the 20 QSOs all in one sitting ?” and the answer is no. You can split it up during the entire FD weekend. The main thing to remember is DON’T LEAVE POINTS ON THE TABLE !!! What I mean by that is be sure and finish the 20 QSO set. We have in the past seen operators simply stop at 18 QSOs. In the above example, the 18 QSOs would have qualified for 20 youth bonus points but none of the other GOTA bonus points. This also goes for a second set of 20 – don’t stop at say 38 QSOs when you’re just 2 QSOs away from another double-double bonus !!

This is the one station where we need a LOT of qualified operators and 5 youth operators (for the max. 100 point youth bonus).

Another question I get is “what areas of the (say) 20M band can I operate ?” The station carries the N4MJ callsign which is an Extra Class privileged call – so you can use the full Extra Class section of this band. :D

Questions and discussion time …

73, Jamie
WB4YDL