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Franklin County Amateur
Radio Club

Current club news is on this page. For older items see the News Archive.

The Activities page is our detailed calendar of events, updated 4/28/2015. There is also a summary calendar (PDF file). What's new here? See the Website Change Notes

Amateur Radio License Exams, Northfield, MA, Monday May 25th
posted 5/20/2015

The FCARC VE (Volunteer Examiner) team will hold an Amateur Radio License exam session on Monday May 25th (Memorial Day). The session begins at 7:00 p.m., downstairs at the Unitarian Church on Main Street in Northfield (Routes 10 & 63). Click here for a map.

The fee is $15 cash or check. Bring 2 forms of ID (one photographic), Social Security number, any current CSCEs & photocopies, any amateur radio license & copy, pens & pencils. A calculator is OK if it is cleared.

Walk-ins are OK, pre-registration is not required. However we appreciate knowing in advance how many candidates we'll have and what exams they plan to attempt. Contact Al Woodhull, N1AW, phone 413-773-3522, e-mail n1aw@arrl.net if you expect to attend or if you have any questions.

For more information, including the schedule of future FCARC VE Sessions, please see the Amateur Radio License Exams page on this website.


Saturday May 30 is FCARC Picnic Day!
posted 5/20/2015

You should have read about this in the Communicator, and you may get an e-mail or a call. Last year we revived the tradition of an annual picnic. All who attended felt it was a success, and we are planning a similar event for 2015.

Location: Leyden Town Field, behind the Pearl Rhodes Elementary School, at the intersection of Greenfield Road and Brattleboro Road in Leyden. There are rest rooms, and grill facilities (charcoal and propane), and a pavilion with space for a crowd if rain threatens.

(Click image for a map) [PRSchoolAerialView]

Time: Last year a short-range (on foot) foxhunt starting at 11 a.m. was popular, and we plan a repeat. There will be an open E-Board meeting at 12:45, and the picnic itself will begin at 1:30. During and after the meal we will have a general meeting to talk about Field Day and the election of club officers, both coming up in June.

Picnic details: Hamburgers, hot dogs, beverages and utensils will be provided, but side dishes and desserts will be potluck - bring something!

More! There is plenty of space under the pavilion. If you have radio or related items you would like to swap, trade, or give away we will have tables for a swapfest. (Just remember, you have to bring home anything you did not persuade someone else to take). We will also have an HF station similar to our Field Day Get-On-The-Air (GOTA) station set up for anyone who would like to use it. A tour to see the nearby site of the KB1BSS repeater is also a possibility.

Directions: From Greenfield, follow Leyden Road to the Leyden town line, where it becomes Greenfield Rd. At about 3 miles from the town line bear right to stay on Greenfield Rd (Mid County Rd goes steeply up on the left here). About 0.4 miles further on Brattleboro Rd goes off to the right, the school is right there, and the entrance to the picnic site is a few hundred feet beyond the school on the right.
From Bernardston, follow West Mountain Rd to Eden Trail. Just before Eden Trail (paved) becomes East Hill Rd (dirt) go left on Frizzell Hill Road, up over the hill and steeply down on the other side (note the radio tower where our repeater is located on your right at the top of the hill). At the bottom of Frizzell Hill go left on Brattleboro Rd, less than a half mile to the picnic site on the left.
From the North or West, if you are coming from Vermont, Weatherhead Hollow Rd in Guilford becomes Brattleboro Rd in Leyden at the state line. From Colrain, West Leyden Rd continues as West Leyden Rd in Leyden. At the Leyden Town Hall go right on Greenfield Rd, Brattleboro Rd will be on your left at the bottom of the hill.

More info? Call Al, N1AW, at 773-3522 (home) or 348-1932 (cell) if you have questions. On Saturday someone will be listening on the KB1BSS 146.985 MHz repeater for talk-in.


May 2015 Communicator and May Events
posted 5/3/2015

The May 2015 FCARC Communicator is on its way to your e-mailbox now. For those who get it via US Mail look for it in a day or two. You can download it from the website at www.fcarc.org/communicator/comm201505.pdf.

The monthly breakfast at Denny's in Greenfield will be on May 16th at 8:00 a.m.. In lieu of a Monday evening meeting this month the annual FCARC picnic will be on Saturday May 30th at the Leyden Town Pavilion, next to the Pearl Rhodes School at the intersection of Greenfiled Rd and Brattleboro Rd in Leyden.


New England QSO Party May 2-3
posted 4/28/2015

Date: First full weekend of May (May 2-3, 2015)

Contest Period: 2000Z Saturday until 0500Z Sunday (4pm EDT Saturday until 1am EDT Sunday) and 1300Z Sunday until 2400Z Sunday (9am EDT Sunday until 8pm EDT Sunday).

Categories: Single-operator high power, low power(150w or less) and QRP(5w or less) categories, plus multi-operator, single transmitter. Same four categories for mobiles.

Contest Exchange: Send signal report and state/province (DX stations send signal report and "DX"). New England stations send signal report, county and state.

You can find the full rules at http://neqp.org/rules.html Please let us know if you'll be active by sending a brief email to info@neqp.org


SKYWARN Training Schedule
posted 04/05/2015

Organized by Albany Office of NWS:

Wednesday, April 8, 2015, 7:00 - 9:00 PM Berkshire Medical Center Auditorium 725 North Street, Pittsfield, MA Go to web page to register: http://cstar.cestm.albany.edu:7775/skywarn/Talks.htm

Wednesday, April 22, 2015, 7:00 - 9:00 PM Bennington Free Library 101 Silver St., Bennington, VT Go to web page to register: http://cstar.cestm.albany.edu:7775/skywarn/Talks.htm

Organized by Taunton Office of NWS:

Check website for updates: http://www.wx1box.org/

Tuesday April 28th, 2015 - 7-10 PM: Cummington Town Hall 33 Main Street, Cummington, MA Taught by: NWS Forecaster No registration required

Tuesday May 26, 2015, 7:00 - 10:00 PM Holden Public Safety Building 1370 Main Street, Holden, MA Taught by: NWS Taunton Forecaster Registration: Pre-registration is required. Pre-register via email to holden.cert@gmail.com

Monday June 8, 2015, 7:00 - 10:00 PM Granby Senior Center (Behind Granby Town Hall) 15 North Granby Road, Granby, CT Taught by: Amateur Radio Coordinator Registration: None Required


Wanted: FCARC Communicator Editor
posted 4/2/2015

Bob Solosko W1SRB will be away for several weeks in April and May, and we are looking for a volunteer to edit the May issue of the newsletter. We are also looking for someone to take it over on a longer-term basis. Please contact Bob or any other club officer if you are willing to help.


Rebecca Campbell, SK
posted 4/2/2015

Rebecca Campbell was not a radio amateur herself but she was an honorary member of the FCARC and a frequent participant at our monthly Saturday breakfasts. Beckie passed away on March 18th after a brief illness. Her obituary was published in the Greenfield Recorder on March 25. Her husband Bill passed away quite a few years ago. He was a much respected member of the club, and it was evident that Becky continued to enjoy friendships with many members.


February VE Results
posted 3/9/2015

New callsigns from the February 23rd VE session. Greet them if you hear them on the air.

  • KC1DIA - Adam
  • KC1DIB - John
  • KC1DID - Richard
  • KC1DIE - Edileuza

License upgrades:

  • Anne KC1CRS to Extra
  • Aaron KC1CXX to General
  • David KC1DDQ to General


Congrats to Jeanne, KC1DCQ
posted 1/22/2015

Jeanne Dodge took her Tech exam from our VE team during our postponed E-board meeting last Saturday. Despite the holiday on Monday her new call has come through already. Look for KC1DCQ on the air soon.


Boston Marathon Needs Ham Volunteers
posted 1/22/2015

From AB1RL (VIA Reddit.Com/r/amateurradio and Hampden County RA website)

For years, the Boston Marathon has relied on a big group of ham volunteers to provide communications support for the race. For 2015, they've even put together a Communications Committee to review event plans and make sure we're as useful as possible to the race. I'm one of seven hams on that committee.

We need almost 300 volunteers to keep all the communications running smoothly. If you can make it, I hope you'll sign up to join us. I've worked at the Marathon for a few years now. You really get put to work, and the energy of the race and the community around it makes it really rewarding.

Race day is April 20, and there are assignments available all along the course. The Boston Athletic Association has more information about volunteering on their site. That's also where you sign up to volunteer. The registration deadline is February 10, so don't put it off. If you have any questions, feel free to send me a message. Thanks, and I hope I'll hear you there!


November 24th VE Session
Updated 12/7/2014

This was a very busy VE session, we administered 16 tests. Because of the Thanksgiving holiday it took longer than usual for the FCC to update the database. Results are now available:

Scott Phelps is a new Extra: AB1WU
Jessica Bower is a new General: KC1CXZ
Scott Wichowsky is a new General: KC1CXY
Aaron Addison is a new Technician: KC1CXX
Andrew Bower is a new Technician: KC1CXW

Also at the November session, Russ Pasternak N1TOC (new Tech in August) upgraded to General.

If you hear any of these folks on the air or meet them anywhere say hello and offer to help them as they learn all the things about amateur radio that they didn't have to know to pass a test.

An unrelated FCC action: Al N1AW is now the trustee of the FCARC club license KB1BSS.


A New Amateur in the Family: Update
posted 11/23/2014

Another member of the family of Keith KU1N and grandson Keith KC1BZB has been licensed. Say hello to Anne, KC1CRS, when you hear her on the air.

Update: Congratulations are due: less than a month after passing her Technician license test Anne upgraded to General at a VE session in Holyoke on November 22.


FCARC Holiday Party: GHS Cafeteria, Wednesday December 17, 6:00 p.m.
posted 11/18/2014

It is a club tradition to have a Holiday Potluck Party instead of a regular meeting in December. We will continue that tradition (and say goodby to the soon-to-be-demolished old GHS cafeteria) this year. However, because of a new GHS policy of not allowing use of the cafeteria on nights with basketball games, the party will be on Wednesday evening, December 17th rather than Monday of that week as originally planned.

This will be a true potluck - bring what you like, a few people may be asked to make sure that important dishes are provided.


November Program: Antenna Experiments and Explanations
posted 11/14/2014

Our next meeting is Monday November 17 at 7:15 p.m. in Room S301 (Engineering Lab) of GCC. E-Board meets earlier, at 6 p.m.

The program will be a presentation by Al, N1AW: "Antenna Experiments and Explanations". Update: The complete Power Point presentation is online in the Files directory on this website: ./Files/AntennaTalk141116.ppt. It's a big PowerPoint file, if you just want some basic notes and links to websites mentioned there is a summary here.


License Class, a Mini-Contest, and Meetings Nearby...
updated 11/17/2014

Don't forget the November 9th FM Sprint that our guest speaker told us about in October. Update 11/17: FM Sprint results have been posted on the massRADIO website. Also coming up to our south, license classes and study groups in Holyoke the week before Thanksgiving. Scroll down for information about both events previously posted here.

Other clubs in our area have regular monthly meetings. The Hampden County Radio Association meets on the first Friday of each month, and the Mt Tom Amateur Repeater Association meets on the third Friday. Check their websites for info on activities: http://www.hcra.org and http://mtara.org.

There are other clubs nearby in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. See the Links to Other Ham Clubs page on our website.


Contesting for Everyone & a Contest for Everyone
updated 10/23/2014

The October 20th meeting topic was "Contesting for Everyone", presented by ARRL Contest Branch Manager Matt Wilhelm W1MSW.

Matt closed his presentation with a plug for a short, local, low-key contest coming up soon, open to amateurs with any license class except Novice: the MassRADIO 2M FM Challenge. The event will take place on Sunday, November 9th, from 7 to 8 p.m. EST, and the object is to make as many two-way QSOs (contacts) with as many different hams as possible in as many different towns as possible in the 1-hour time period, using simplex frequencies on the 2 meter band (that is, not using repeaters).

For more information on the MassRADIO 2M FM Challenge see this website: http://www.massradiogroup.com/.

A list of links to other websites of interest has been posted in our Files area as a PDF file, ContestingLinks.pdf, or if you prefer, an MS-Word file, ContestingLinks.doc.


Leyden Repeater Receiving Problem Resolved!
updated 9/11/2014

Sometime around last weekend something happened to our KB1BSS 146.985 MHz repeater that caused a drastic decrease of receiver sensitivity. Exceptionally strong signals are repeated, but weaker ones are not. For instance, N1AW who lives less than a mile from the repeater can normally access it with a 200 mW handheld radio but now needs to use a mobile with a proper antenna to hit it from home.

Update: The problem has now been solved. We have a spare repeater, and swapped the receiver and transmitter sections. Receiving problems are gone. Some users say our power output may also be a little higher. We can now work on diagnosing the spare components for when they are again needed. We thank Josh Smith, engineer for WPVQ-FM, for his help.


2014-15 Calendar, E-board Changes
posted 8/19/2014

A preliminary version of the detailed 2014-2015 club year calendar has been posted (click here). A one-page graphic summary of the calendar is also available (PDF file).

At the August 18 meeting of the e-Board, Bruce Fuller KB1TLX was appointed a Director to complete the term of Ron Niswander K8HSF who will become vice president on September 1. Bob Dickerman WA1QKT was appointed FCARC Clerk. A directory of officers and appointees for 2014-2015 is now online.


WRTC on NPR "Only A Game" - Available On-Line
posted 8/11/2014

Local broadcast of the NPR "Only A Game" program on WFCR comes on Saturdays from 7 to 8 a.m. Last week near the end of the program there was a 9 minute segment about WRTC, the World Radiosport Team Competition, the "Olympics of Amateur Radio." At that very time many FCARC members were busy getting ready for the Bridge of Flowers 10K in Shelburne Falls. If you missed it you can still catch it on line at http://onlyagame.wbur.org/2014/08/09/wrtc-radiosport-ham-radio.

You can listen to the audio, download it as an MP3 file, or read the transcript. This has got to be one of the best programs about amateur radio ever presented on national media.


Ron K8HSF Appointed Vice-President, Director Position To Be Filled
posted 7/27/2014

The election of Al N1AW as club President for the club year starting September 1st leaves his unexpired term as Vice-President open. Our By-laws call for the E-Board to fill open positions. At their meeting on July 21st, the E-Board appointed Ron K8HSF to fill that position as of Sept 1. Ron was elected last year as a Director, so one of two Director positions will be open then. Anyone with a suggestion should contact a club officer before the next E-Board meeting, August 18.


440 Repeater Down
posted 7/23/2014

The tower supporting the antennas for the KB1BSS 448.875 MHz repeater near Poet's Seat in Greenfield was damaged early today, and by midday was on the ground. So our UHF repeater is off the air, we hope not for too long. This was not our fault, and nobody was injured. We expect everything will be replaced, probably at no cost to us, as the Town of Greenfield had their own antennas on this tower and will want it usable as soon as possible. Meanwhile we hope to get our repeater on the air with a lower temporary antenna soon.

Expect a full story in the September FCARC Communicator.


World Radiosport Team Competition
posted 7/15/2014

The WRTC took place as part of the IARU-HF contest Saturday and Sunday, July 12 and 13. The webmaster is aware that FCARC members Bob WA1QKT, Bruce KB1TLX, and Al N1AW participated in the setup of several WRTC operating sites near I-495 in eastern Massachusetts.

If you would like to know how some of the operating sites installed and supported by hams from western Massachusetts fared see the article posted on the Hamden County Radio Association site: http://www.hcra.org/2014/07/14/wrtc-2014-results-and-hcrawrtc-trivia/.

For the WRTC big picture see http://www.wrtc2014.org/, and for preliminary results (subject to log checking) see http://sb.wrtc2014.org/.


Field Day Success
updated 7/6/2014

Our Field Day score as submitted was 4510 points, the highest since we began posting a Field Day History web page showing results back to 2006.

Triple or double digit QSO totals were racked up by:

  • Al Mason WG1H, 633, CW
  • Chris Dickerman K1SMY, 184, SSB
  • Al Woodhull N1AW, 136, CW and SSB
  • Belle Dyer KB1NOG, 32, SSB
  • Keith Rowley KU1N, 29, CW and SSB (on GOTA station!)
  • Kevin Tracy KC5KKS, 25, SSB
  • Bob Solosko W1SRB, 14, SSB

Disclaimer: these results may reflect tolerance for sleep deprivation as much as operating skill, and ten operators competed for use of the SSB station.

More details will be posted when we have time to do more analysis.


Club Officers 2014-15
posted 7/4/2014

Results of the annual election held at the June 16 meeting: Al Woodhull N1AW was elected President, Chris Myers KB1NEK was elected Secretary, and Belle Dyer KB1NOG was re-elected as a Director. The two year terms begin September 1st. Al's election as President will leave the office of Vice President open; the E-Board will select a replacement to fill that office for one year until September 1 2015.


Contest Operator Haiku
posted 03/28/2011
I'm hearing voices
They're all so soft and distant
but logged as five nine.
  -- Scott Andersen, NE1RD

(We don't normally steal items from the newsletter for the web page, but this one was irrestible.)


Older news items may now be found on the FCARC News Archive page.


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