Digital GOTA attracts the Youth

If you are like many ARRL Field Day operations you have a Get On The Air (GOTA) station for guests.

We have done this every year I have been involved with my club’s Field Day and have had mostly good results. We usually have one Boy Scout troop stop by and make a few QSOs each. Also some technicians in our club like to operate the station during the late hours to get a chance to do SSB HF (yes we always have a control operator with valid privileges). Also it seems every year a new ham really enjoys the simplicity of the GOTA station without the concern over band sharing the other stations deal with.

Every year our GOTA is set up pretty much the same…

  • Icom 746
  • HF Antenna – Wire Dipole
  • Microphone
  • Key
  • Computer for logging
  • and that’s about it

Last year I posted observations about what the youth seem to enjoy most about our Field Day 2008…

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PSK with no Interface

Perhaps you have heard about PSK31 and the many other digital modes available to today’s ham radio operators.

You have gone the next step and know you need to, somehow, connect your computer soundcard with your radio’s speaker and microphone.

Many devices exist to help you do just that including US Interface, BuxComm, SignaLink, etc. I have my eyes set on the US Interface Navigator product to be my sound interface plus mop up a WinKey CW Keyer and rig control (CAT) in one box entirely powered by the USB port. Nice.

However, I am enjoying the digital modes today with absolutely no interface. How?

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Young Attracted to PSK31

During Field Day 2008 we carefully observed what operating modes the young teens did and did not enjoy while they operated. Without a doubt the digital modes, especially PSK31, got their attention.

Teenager and a younger boy sharing PSK31 contacts on an HF station.
Teenager and a younger boy sharing PSK31 contacts on an HF station.

The older of the two, KJ4FAJ, in the picture above said this when he made his first PSK31 contact just after midnight during Field Day…

Read moreYoung Attracted to PSK31