Field Day is an annual exercise that encourages emergency preparedness among amateur radio operators. It is thought that over 30,000 amateur radio operators participate as individuals, members of clubs, or with a group of friends in what is thought by many to be the largest single emergency preparedness exercise in the country!

Since the very first ARRL Field Day in 1933, radio amateurs throughout North America have been planning, preparing for, and practicing their response. Often times Field Day simulate operating conditions under less than ideal circumstances. Whether it be from home, under a tent, mobile from a car, an emergency communications trailer, or from an Emergency Operation Center amateur radio operators strive to make it work! Since electricity is often the first to fail during a natural disaster or severe weather so using emergency and alternative power sources is highly encouraged during Field Day.

To determine the effectiveness of the exercise and of each participant’s operations, there is an integrated competitive component, and many clubs also engage in concurrent leisure activities (e.g., camping, cookouts). Operations typically last a continuous twenty-four hours, requiring scheduled relief operators to keep stations on the air. Additional contest points are awarded for experimenting with unusual modes, making contacts via satellite, and involving youth in the activity.