Try the GOTA experience

This topic contains 1 reply, has 1 voice, and was last updated by Fred Kemmerer Fred Kemmerer 1 year, 11 months ago.

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    Fred Kemmerer
    Fred Kemmerer

    Hello to all our newly licensed HAMs out there.  Have I got a deal for you!!  No, it’s not a bridge in Brooklyn,  Hi Hi.  It’s a GOTA station!  What’s a GOTA station you ask?  GOTA stands for ‘Get On The Air’ and it’s a Field Day station just for you.

    Many of you, especially those who have only recently earned your Technician ticket, have only operated on the VHF/UHF bands and haven’t had a chance to use your HF privileges yet.  You don’t know CW so that lets out the lower bands and you don’t have a rig that covers the 10 Meter band.  So all your experience to date is 2 Meter FM simplex and repeaters.  Maybe not even that if you haven’t purchased an HT yet.

    Well, now’s your chance to dip your feet in the HF pond.  You’ll have the opportunity to gain some experience and have many if not all of your questions answered.  What’s the difference between rigs?  What modes do you want to operate?

    For Field Day, I’ll be setting up and operating the club’s GOTA station.  As of now, it looks like we’ll be operating on the 20 Meter band with a vertical dipole and the station will be capable of SSB (phone), CW and many of the digital modes (PSK31, MT63 etc.).  Myself or another experienced operator will be there to Elmer you through the whole time.

    Not only will you have a chance to make some HF contacts, but you can help make Field Day points for our club.  Every contact you make adds to the clubs point score.  Yay!

    I’ve added some FAQs to give you a better idea as to what it’s all about.  See you there!!

    GOTA Station FAQs
    <h2>Q. What is the GOTA station?</h2>

    1. It is an opportunity for any Technician or Novice licensees, newly licensed amateurs, other generally inactive licensees, and nonlicensed persons to experience first-hand the fun of amateur radio by allowing them to GET ON THE AIR (GOTA).

    <h2>Q. How many GOTA stations may a club have on the air?</h2>

    1. A club may employ only one GOTA station.

    <h2>Q. What are the bands for the GOTA station?</h2>

    1. The GOTA station may operate on any amateur band on which Field Day operation is permitted (HF or VHF) for which the control operator has operating privileges..

    <h2>Q. What modes may the GOTA station use?</h2>

    1. The modes and frequencies are determined by the license class of the control operator of the GOTA station. There must always be a control operator with operating privileges for the frequencies and modes desired present at the control point of the GOTA station any time it is transmitting.

    <h2>Q. May a non-licensed person operate the GOTA station?</h2>

    1. A non-licensed person may never operate an amateur transmitter. They may participate at the GOTA station by speaking into the microphone, sending CW, or making digital contacts but may do so only under the direct supervision of a properly licensed control operator at the control point of the transmitter.

    <h2>Q. What callsign does the GOTA station use?</h2>

    1. The GOTA station uses a callsign different from the call used by the group’s main Field Day operation. The GOTA station must use the same, single callsign for the duration of Field Day. Remember that you must have permission of the holder of the callsign in order to use it for the GOTA station. Also remember the rules of station ID. A two-by-three call issued to a Technician licensee may be used, but if the call is being used outside of the Technician privileges of the licensee, it must also include the callsign of the control operator (WA4QQN/N1ND for example), who must be present at the control point.

    <h2>Q, What Field Day exchange does the GOTA station send?</h2>

    1. GOTA stations use the same exchange as its “parent” station.

    <h2>Q. Who may the GOTA station contact?</h2>

    1. The GOTA station may contact any other amateur radio station, with a couple of exceptions. The GOTA station may not work its “parent” Field Day station. It may not contact any station operated by a person who was involved with their group’s Field Day operation. Remember that if a DX station is involved, the FCC rules involving Third Party traffic apply. A station worked by the group’s main Field Day set-up may be worked again by the GOTA station and not considered a dupe.

    <h2>Q. What is considered a generally inactive licensee?</h2>

    1. The GOTA station is not for everyone. The generally inactive licensee provisions pertain to someone who holds a General or higher class license but has been inactive. The intent and the spirit of this station is to provide an opportunity for persons to gain on-the-air experience and progress to operating the regular club stations in the future. The intent is not to develop a group of “permanent GOTA Field Day operators”. This is also not a station that a club “ringer” operates in order to rack up points. The list of operators of this station must be submitted with the Field Day entry. For example, a “seasoned” operator who has been away at college and off the air for a couple of years really is not considered a generally, inactive amateur. In order to claim the GOTA bonus, the club/group must provide a list of operators and the number of QSOs each operator makes at the GOTA station. Clubs should use their best judgment in determining the operators of the GOTA station.

    <h2>Q. May someone operate both the GOTA and the main Field Day stations?</h2>

    1. It is permissible for someone to operate both GOTA and the main stations. However, remember that to use the GOTA station, you must meet the requirements of license class and be generally inactive. It is not permissible for a seasoned operator to operate the GOTA station.

    <h2>Q. I am an active Novice licensee. May I operate the GOTA station?</h2>

    1. Yes. The GOTA station may be operated by any Novice or Technician licensee, under the terms of their license privileges, or under the supervision of a control operator.

    <h2>Q. How do I calculate the GOTA bonus points?</h2>
    A: Please refer to the separate GOTA Scoring FAQ in this packet.

    - Fred (AB1OC)
    President, Nashua Area Radio Society
    Visit us on the web at -

    Fred Kemmerer
    Fred Kemmerer

    It just keeps getting better!

    Yesterday, Fred (AB1OC) and I tested a Buddi-Pole 20m vertical that we’ll be using for the GOTA station on Field Day.  Despite poor band conditions and a bit of noise, we made several phone and digital contacts during the late morning and early afternoon.  It looks like we have a winner and it promises to be a lot of fun.

    I want to encourage EVERYONE to come to Field Day (even if it’s just for a few minutes) and check out the GOTA station.  For you new folks, you can have a chance to see and operate an HF station.  For you more ‘experienced’ hams, you can help by answering some of the newbies questions and showing them how it’s done.

    This is also a great time to show the younger generation that there  are more fun ways to communicate with people all over the world.  It’s hard to make a lot of new friends on a cell phone unless you dial a lot of wrong numbers.  And that gets pretty expensive very quickly.  Hi hi!  (And they can learn what ‘Hi hi’ means, too!)  So if you have children, or your kids friends, or your younger brothers and sisters, bring them all and let them have some fun on the GOTA station.

    Hoe to see you all there.

    - Fred (AB1OC)
    President, Nashua Area Radio Society
    Visit us on the web at -

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