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Southwest Missouri Amateur Radio Club

Winter Field Day Rules

What is Winter Field day?

To foster Ham camaraderie, field operation, emergency operating preparedness, and just plain on the air, outdoor fun in the midst of winter for American, Canadian, and DX Hams.

Don’t let those winter doldrums keep you locked up in the house… get out and play some radio!!  When: Winter Field Day runs for 24 hours during the last full weekend in January each year from 1900 UTC (2pm EST) Saturday to 1900 UTC (2pm EST) Sunday. For 2020 the dates are January 25th and 26th. Station set-up may commence no earlier than 1900 UTC (2pm EST) on the Friday before. Station setup may consume no more than 12 hours total. How & when you schedule/spend those 12 hours is up to you. 

Band and Mode Information

Bands: All Amateur bands, HF, VHF, & UHF except 12, 17, 30 and 60 meters. 

Modes: Any mode that can faithfully transmit the exchange intact without a conversion table. Such as; CW, SSB, AM, FM, DStar, C4FM, DMR, Packet, PSK, SSTV, RTTY, Olivia, Satellite, etc… (note FT8 2.0 cannot) 

Suggested Frequencies:

HF CW – 1810-1820, 3.530-3.550, 7.030-7.050, 14.035-14.055, 21.030-21.050, 28.03028.040 

HF SSB – lowest 30 kHz of the US General Class Phone bands (160m-15m), 28.400-

28.425MHz (10m) 

6m/VHF/UHF – adjacent to, but not on, nationally recognized simplex calling channels.  Entry categories: (..if operating as a group under one call, all stations in your entry must fit the category you choose. Also see further clarification in “definitions” below) 

Station Identifiers

Indoor: Operation from inside a remote, insulated, heated (or cooled, depending on your local weather), and weather-protected structure where an Amateur station is normally not available. (Park buildings/cabins, community center, EOC, senior center, club shack, etc).  Outdoor: Operation from a location partly or fully exposed to the elements and at least 30 feet away from your normal station location and not using any part of a previously erected antenna system or ham station. A campground, park pavilion, canopy, picnic table, tent, pop-up camper, or a backyard shed/tent/deck, etc may be used. Operation from a noninsulated car/truck/van/boat (mobile or not) is considered “outdoor”. 

Home: Operation from inside a home or inside another structure attached to a home that could or would be the usual location of an Amateur station (garage, sunroom, etc), generally using a previously erected antenna system. A “Home” entrant may still be eligible to claim the “alternate power” bonus if not using commercial power. Use of any pre-existing (on site) or permanently installed antenna system or station components renders your station a “Home” station. 

Entry Class: your entry “class” is a number designated by the number of stations in your entry that are capable of simultaneous transmission. (Explained further in summary below) 

Exchange: Your WFD exchange will be a combination of your “class” and “category” and your

ARRL/RAC section as described below, using an appropriate letter designator or phonetics (examples: 1I, 2H, 5I, 6O, 3H, 9I, etc) In short: Call sign, Class + Category, ARRL Section (or DX). 

Example: K4YM this is KB8X, we are Two Hotel, Ohio ..or in CW: K4YM de KB8X TU 2H OH… 

KB8X this is K4YM, thank you, we are Twelve India, West Central Florida ..or in CW: KB8X TU 12I WCF 

In summary: There are only 3 categories of entry: Indoor, Outdoor, and Home as described above and in the definitions. Your entry class will depend on the number in your exchange. That number will be determined by the number of stations capable of simultaneously transmitting at your WFD site. If you only have one station set up, but plan on using it on several bands and modes (example: 160-2m, CW, SSB, FM, Digi, etc), the number in your exchange would be “1”. If you have 10 stations set up and operators working at all of them, regardless of bands, and modes, the number in your exchange would be “10”. If you have only two operators, but have two HF stations set up and a third and possibly fourth station dedicated to VHF, UHF, or a Satellite contact, your exchange number would be “2”, as one op would have to leave a station idle to make contacts on the other. In other words, don’t count a station where one station has to be left idle to make contacts on another. Once you decide upon your number of stations (class), you must use it for the duration of the contest. There are no points awarded for number of stations and it does not affect your score. 


QSO Points: 1 point per Phone QSO, 2 points per CW & Digital QSO… Busted exchanges will be penalized by 1 additional point for each missed exchange or call sign. Duplicate contacts (same call, band, and mode) will not be counted, but will not be penalized. 

Mode and Band Multipliers: Count 1 multiplier for each mode operated per band. For example, operating CW and Phone on 80, 40, 15 and 10 meters, CW and PSK31 on 20m, FM on 2meters & 440 would be a total multiplier of 12x. 

Power Output Multipliers: >100W = 1x, 100W or less = 2x, QRP = 4x (QRP defined below)  Bonus points:  

  • You may claim 1500 bonus points if no commercial power is used in powering your WFD station. (see “alternate power” definitions below). Your logging-only computer may use any available power. 
  • You may claim 1500 bonus points if your operation is “Outdoors” (see definition below).   You may claim 1500 bonus points if your operation is not a “Home” operation (remote). 
  • You may claim 1500 bonus points for making a QSO via Satellite (once only, see Satellite rule). 

Example: Operating outdoors on your back deck table more than 30 feet from your usual station without commercial power and using a temporary WFD antenna, set up within the allowed timeframe, would be 1500 + 1500 = 3000 bonus points (outdoors, no commercial power), while operating from a campground tent using commercial power and making one Satellite QSO would be 1500 + 1500 + 1500 = 4500 bonus points (outdoors, not home, and


Note: There must have been at least 1 valid QSO in order to claim any bonus points. This is to ensure that someone claiming bonus points without actually making any contacts cannot win a category! Bonus points may not be claimed unless all stations covered in your entry qualify as well. 

Claimed Score Tabulation: QSO Points x Power Output Multiplier x Band/mode multiplier + Bonus Points. 

Logs and Deadline

Logs must be submitted to via email before 0000 UTC March 1st to be considered. Logs should contain the following in the subject line… “WFD 20XX Log K8XXX” with K8XXX being the callsign you used for the event.

Logs MUST be submitted as an attached Cabrillo File, not as an email text. If simply submitting a question about WFD, please put “WFD Questions” in the subject line to ensure your query gets to the right in-box. ALL logs must be in Cabrillo format and should contain the following information: 

Frequency: kHz, band, or a generic frequency for the band. Frequency accuracy is not used to judge valid QSOs. 

Modes in the log: CW = CW. PH = Phone, as in AM, SSB, FM, C4FM, DStar, Mototurbo,

DMR, etc (..if the end result is voice transmission, it’s phone). DI = Digital, as in RTTY, Olivia, Packet, PSK, SSTV, ATV etc (if the end result is text or pictures on a screen, it’s digital). Note: Working the same station in multiple digital or phone modes on any one band will result in “dupes” in your logging software.

Date and time: UTC/GMT (..need not be exactly accurate. Exception: QSO’s timestamped/logged outside the contest period will be disqualified) 

QSO data required: Entrant’s Call, Class + Category, ARRL/RAC Section — Call worked, Class + Category, ARRL/RAC Section. Any station worked without an ARRL/RAC section designation is to be logged simply as “DX” in the space allotted for the section identifier. DX entrants would give DX or their country as their “section” in their exchange.  Bonus Points: Please enter your calculated bonus points in the Cabrillo Soapbox comments as shown directly below with a short explanation. The soapbox is just above the main body of the log in the header. 

The Cabrillo Entry template with only the required fields is as follows: (leave other fields blank)


Created-By: whatever program you used to make this log


SOAPBOX: 1,500 points for not using commercial power 
SOAPBOX: 1,500 points for setting up outdoors 
SOAPBOX: 1,500 points for setting up away from home 
SOAPBOX: BONUS Total 4500 (remote location, outdoors and generator power)(example)  CLAIMED-SCORE: xxxx (your calculated total score including bonuses)  OPERATORS: Call #1, Call #2, Call #3, etc.

NAME: YourName (contact person) 
ADDRESS : #### Your Street  ADDRESS-CITY: Your city
ADDRESS-POSTALCODE: Your postal code
EMAIL: The email address to contact you

QSO: 3750   PH   2017-01-07  1911 W8D 1O OH  WB9XXX 2H   IL 
QSO: 7030   CW 2017-01-07   2021 W8D 1O OH  K8UO       14I  MI 
QSO: 14070  DI   2017-01-07  2131 W8D 1O OH  K6XXX    14I  LA  END-OF-

QSO format
QSO: freq  mode      date      time   urcall Cat section hiscall     Cat  section
QSO: 3750  PH  2017-01-07 1911 W8D   1O    OH  WB9XXX 2H   IL 
QSO: 7030  CW 2017-01-07 2021 W8D   1O    OH  K8UO       14I  MI 
QSO: 14070 DI  2017-01-07 2131 W8D   1O    OH  K6XXX     4I   LA 

Notes: There MUST be at LEAST one space between fields.  More than one is fine, but at least one is required. Each line in the log MUST end with a carriage return and line feed. There MUST be at least one space following the colon in each line. More than one is fine, but at least one is required. The frequency for HF must be in Kilohertz rounded to the nearest kilohertz, no decimal, 3750 is fine, 3750.134 is not. If your logging software is NOT connected to your radio, any inband frequency is fine. The callsign in the file name for the log MUST be the same as the callsign USED in the contest.  EG: w3ert.log or w3ert.txt

Results will be posted on the Winter Field Day Association website ( as we check and score them. Your pictures, videos, description of operations, and logistics are encouraged and welcome at both the website and the WFD Facebook group. Your submission of photos and comments implies your consent to their use and possible editing by the WFDA to promote WFD both on the website, Facebook Group, or elsewhere. Though we attempt to ID who took photos, it’d be best if you use software (like MS Paint) to add your callsign/name to any photos you submit.  

Paper Logs and logs not in the correct format: Paper log are being accepted. However, they must be legible and in the correct Cabrillo format or they will be rejected. They must reach my QTH before the Deadline posted above. A PDF form will be available for download.  Mail logs to: Tom WD8MBE  235 Leonard Ave N.W.  Massillon, Ohio 44646 

On your return address, be sure to include the callsign that was used during the event.  Logs submitted in wrong file formats, as email texts and as screen captures will no longer be accepted. logs must be submitted in the correct Cabrillo format and as an attached file in your email. 

Further definitions & rules clarifications

Station Location Limitations: A WFD operation, regardless of the number of stations operating under one call sign, must be located in one physical location; ergo all station equipment, including antennas, feed lines, and accessories used must be located within a 1000 foot (300m) diameter circle at the site chosen. Remote station operation (via internet link) is allowed, but may only enter WFD as a “Home” station (w/o bonus pts) since a remote station, almost by definition, is previously assembled and operates off local commercial power. 

Qualifying Alternate/Non-Commercial Power: Any power not connected to the commercial power grid… generator (stand alone or built into an RV), battery (which may not be re-charged from commercial mains while in use), solar power (yours), hydroelectric (yours, not the local power company’s!), wind power (yours), etc. You may only recharge batteries in use using alternate power… generator, solar, hydro, wind, etc. Batteries, when not in use, may be charged by any means available. WFD operations claiming the “alternate power” bonus, must run all station equipment and accessories from an alternate power source, with the exception of the logging-only computer. In multiple station set-ups, that means all stations working under one call sign must do the same. If even one station in a multi-station set-up uses commercial power, the group may not claim the bonus. 

Station accessories & power requirements: Your logging-only computer/device may use any power available ( a real emergency there’d likely be little contest type QSO logging going on). If you are claiming an “alternate power” source for bonus points, any peripheral devices that assist in the making of WFD QSOs must also run on an “alternate power” source. Simply put, if your computer is used to generate the transmission of or the decoding of WFD QSOs and you’re claiming alternate power, it must also run on alternate power. This standard also applies to any other external devices used in making or decoding transmissions like CW keyers/decoders, tablets/iPads, voice memory keyers, soundcard links (rigblasters, etc), equalizers, and audio filters (timewave, etc). 

QRP: CW = 5 watts maximum carrier. Phone/Digi = 10W maximum peak power. 

Multiple Transmitter Limitations: The use of more than one transmitter on a single band & mode is prohibited. Operation of multiple transmitters at different physical sites is prohibited (see station location limitations above).

Indoor: Operation from inside a building or structure at another temporary, remote (away from home) location where amateur radio equipment and antennas are not typically available, including community centers, park buildings/cabins, some RVs, etc. If it has a permanent roof, windows, doors, and walls, it’s indoors. Indoor stations, already eligible for “remote” bonus points, may also claim “alternate power” bonus points if not using commercial power 

Outdoor: Operation from a location remote to your normal at-home station and fixed antennas, such as locations with no permanent buildings, no insulation, no central heating/AC system, including campgrounds, park picnic tables, tents, some RV’s (see below), lean-tos, etc. Comfort allowances are made for windbreaks, sun/rain/snow cover (canopy/tent/pop-up), and heat source (fire, patio heater, catalyst/propane heater, torpedo/kerosene heater, electric heater, etc), or cooling as needed. Operating from your pool deck or backyard screen gazebo would be considered “outdoor” as long as it’s not attached to the house and you’re more than 30 feet from your normal station. An open-air pavilion with no walls would be considered Outdoor as would a tent, canopy, utility trailer, or canvas pop-up. An entrant using a plugged-in, fully enclosed, insulated, and centrally heated/cooled motor-home or trailer would be considered “Indoor” although they may still be eligible for “remote” and “alternate power” bonus points. A station set up thusly may still qualify for the “alternate power” bonus if not using commercial power. Conversely, operation from an un-insulated vehicle (car, van, boat, or truck, mobile or not) would be considered “outdoor”. In order to claim the “outdoor” bonus, all stations in your entry must fit the definition, no exceptions. 

Home: Operation from a place where an amateur station is already or would normally be established, whether it’s your home or another person’s, including any enclosed structure attached to the home (garage, deck, sunroom). Use of any pre-existing feed line or pre-mounted antenna system, such as a backyard tower/beam, roof antenna, or previously installed dipole/wire, or previously installed rig renders your station a “Home” operation. A home station may still claim “alternate power” bonus if using non-commercial power. Operation from another ham’s home other than your own, from a seasonal rental ( your Florida/Arizona snowbird condo), or from a second home you own would still be considered a “Home” operation unless no equipment, antennas, or accessories were present before the stated WFD set-up time (in which case you’d be an “Indoor” entrant and eligible for the “remote/not at home” and possibly the “alternate power” bonuses). 

Allowed Bands: The Amateur non-WARC band allocations recognized by the ITU, i.e. 160,

75/80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6, and 2 meters, plus the UHF bands. To qualify as a band worked, at least

1 valid, non-solicited, two-way QSO must have taken place on said band during the contest. The WARC bands (30m, 12m, & 17m) and 60m are off-limits for WFD QSOs as they are for any other contest. Entrants are strongly advised to avoid parking on recognized national simplex calling channels on the 6m, VHF, and UHF bands and use adjacent frequencies. 

Satellite Contact rules: Satellite contacts do not count as a new mode/band multiplier. Satellite contacts are limited to ONE ONLY per entry so as to not tie up satellite frequencies with stations calling CQ WFD. A simple CQ (versus CQ WFD) is sufficient and you should be prepared to give a signal report and your VHF Grid Square to the other station versus your normal WFD exchange. A satellite contact is worth 1500 bonus points, one time only. Making further contacts earns no extra points, but by all means answer any calls you might hear.. it makes a good demo! If you complete a satellite QSO, be sure to note the bonus points as well as a short synopsis of the contact in the “Soapbox”. It’s likely the other station will not be a WFD contestant and he will likely want a confirmation of the contact afterwards, especially if your location is remote. Please be considerate and comply. 

Qualifying WFD QSO: You must copy the full exchange (with the exception of Satellite QSOs, see above). QSOs may not be solicited… in other words; you may not phone someone, use the internet (email, IMs, Facebook or spotting networks) or repeater/digipeater to request/suggest they meet you on any frequency for a WFD QSO or set up a QSO in advance of WFD. The internet, Echolink, VOIP, IRLP, repeaters, digi-peaters, and cross-banding are off-limits and barred from use to make WFD QSOs as they are in all other contests, with the single exception of a cross-band Satellite QSO. Do not park on the national VHF/UHF/6m calling frequencies to make QSOs. Entrants may not count for QSO credit any contact with anyone who is or was a participant in their WFD operation or is present at their WFD location. No credit may be taken for QSOs involving, light, laser, or LED unless the stations are more than 1000m/1km distant from each other and the receiving station includes detection circuitry. 

Qualifying WFD Modes (underlined): CW, Phone (includes SSB, AM, FM, Dstar, C4FM,

Mototurbo… if the end result is voice, it’s phone), and Digital (includes PSK, RTTY, Olivia, Packet, SSTV, ATV, and other soundcard modes. If the end result is text or a picture, it’s digital). Note: Working the same station in multiple digital or phone modes on any one band will result in “dupes” in your logging software. 

Operator: Any person that operates a radio, keyboard, microphone or CW key, including logging assistance. This does not include non-operators, such as those who cook or serve food, but do not participate in the radio operation. 


All rules governing amateur radio at your location must be observed throughout. 

Bonus Points: The more details you add here will help with scoring. Although not required, we recommend the WFD Logging program by N3FJP. W3KM also has excellent logging software N1MM also has some excellent logging software, but it can be tricky to set up for WFD and if done improperly may not log properly. Be sure that whatever software you use generates a properly formatted Cabrillo WFD log file… THAT’s the file you’ll be attaching to your entry submission email. 

FT8 Notes

WFD has always had an Ecomm emphasis, even back when SPAR sponsored it.. We waited for FT8 2.0, hoping it would be more flexible as we were told it would be, but were disappointed that the new release would NOT do the WFD Exchange as it currently stands. That alone rules out using FT8 for WFD. Also, its ability to carry any emergency message is near nil… try sending

“SOS – HMS TITANIC – HIT ICE – SINKING – 82.566N 34.713W”. Almost any other mode can send that (or the WFD Exchange). Getting a message through bad conditions is great.. but getting only a grid square and a signal report is hardly a message of value to Ecomms. When FT8 can do the WFD exchange verbatim, as written in the rules, it’ll become part of WFD. That has been the consensus of the WFDA board for some time… 

We are not anti-FT8. The ARRL did not change any rules in its contests to allow FT8… FT8 developers changed what it could send to fit a few ARRL contest exchanges. 

PS… There are a few folks talking about using JS8Call… you might want to try that. It works similarly to FT8, but is far more robust in what it can send and receive