Field Day

The Shenandoah Valley Amateur Radio Club actively participates in the annual American Radio Relay League Field Day. This event occurs the fourth full weekend in June every year, rain or shine. We get out of the ham shack at home and the clubhouse, set up portable stations running on emergency power sources at a remote location, and use those stations to make contact with other stations.

2020 FD Flier – What is FD

Use the link above to view or download the flier.

Not just another contest

Some think of Field Day as just another Amateur Radio contest. However, its theme centers on one of the most important functions of Amateur Radio – the ability to communicate independent of any municipal or commercial infrastructure (commercial power, telephone networks, etc.), which would likely be inoperative or severely overloaded in the event of a major disaster. ARRL’s Field Day Information pamphlet states:

Object: To work as many stations as possible on the 160, 80, 40, 20, 15 and 10 Meter HF bands, as well as all bands 50 MHz and above, and in doing so to learn to operate in abnormal situations in less than optimal conditions. A premium is placed on developing skills to meet the challenges of emergency preparedness as well as to acquaint the general public with the capabilities of Amateur Radio.

Come on out!

Keeping in mind that we must limit the number of folks onsite due to Coronavirus, we still invite guests, including licensed and prospective Amateur Radio operators and anyone just interested in seeing what it’s all about, to come out and enjoy the experience with us. We’d love to have you! Come share the spirit of Amateur Radio, experience the joy of making contact with other stations over the air, and enjoy the fellowship.

Plans for Field Day 2020

SVARC will participate in Field Day from the Clarke County Fairgrounds located at 890 West Main Street, Berryville, Virginia 22611. This address is on Route 7 Business, north side. Do not confuse the community center (on the south side of Route 7 Business) for the fairground; if you see a pool and tennis courts, you’re on the wrong side of the road!

We will complete most, if not all, antenna work starting around 4 PM EDT, Friday, June 26. General set-up of the stations starts around 9 AM EDT on Saturday, June 27. As always, we will set up under the pavilion at the front of the fairgrounds. On-air operations begin at 2 PM EDT, and continue through 1:59 PM EDT June 28. Following the end of operations, we will tear down and clean up. We will leave the site as clean as, or cleaner than, we found it.

Due to continued Coronavirus concerns, we will limit our operation to two HF stations this year. Depending on attendance, we will likely need to schedule operating times for individuals to help limit the number of people onsite at any given time. Additionally, all participants will be responsible for their own meals; there will be no club-provided food, although we will have the club’s gas grill available.

Also due to Coronavirus, aggregate scoring will be allowed for Field Day 2020. Individuals may conduct their own Field Day operations (using their own call signs, not the club’s) and submit their scores to ARRL individually, indicating the club name with their entries. Their individual scores will be published, and the club score will be combined with all individual entries identifying Shenandoah Valley Amateur Radio Club in their entries, regardless of Class, resulting in an aggregate score for SVARC – the entry for the SVARC operation at Clarke County Fairgrounds, plus all individual entries that include the club name. This is a one-time rule change, and provides a great option for anyone who wants to participate in Field Day with SVARC but are concerned about gathering with others during this time.

Be prepared

If you plan to join us, please prepare for inclement weather. The pavilion provides shelter for the operating positions and the Ruritan club members maintain the fairgrounds very well, but it’s an outdoor venue. We highly recommend sunscreen, rain gear, and bug spray to maximize your comfort during your visit. Planning to stay overnight? Have warm clothes available in case it gets chilly. Also, if you are coming to help with set-up, we recommend that you bring work gloves, eye protection, and work clothes.


If you aren’t going to be in the area for Field Day, perhaps there’s another club or organization event near where you will be. The ARRL has a Field Day Locator tool with which you can search for a nearby event based on your location.

Looking ahead

Each Field Day brings new challenges and lessons learned for improved performance. We’ve made improvements in equipment for a better operating environment, and continue to make other improvements. We also have some new club members, some of whom have never experienced Field Day. So, to all of those new (and veteran) members and guests, you’re in for a pleasant surprise! Get ready for a great weekend of fun as we head into Field Day 2020!

Here’s a slideshow from the 2017 SVARC Field Day: