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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 12/28/2014. There is also a summary calendar (PDF file). What's new here? See the Website Change Notes

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


April Communicator and April Events
posted 4/2/2015

The April 2015 FCARC Communicator should be in your e-mailbox now or your postal mailbox soon. It can also be downloaded from the website.

As usual the club will have a Saturday morning breakfast at Denny's in Greenfield in April on the 18th at 8:00 a.m.. We will also have a regular club meeting with a program on "Go Kits" on Monday the 13th at 7:15 p.m., in room S301 of the Main Building at GCC. Directions to both of these locations can be found on the directions web page.


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.


Picnic: a Success!
updated 6/5/2014

The picnic at the Leyden Town Field was a success. At least 25 club members, family, and guests attended. The first run of the short range fox hunt at 11 a.m. was easy, the foxbox was sitting on a rock in plain sight at the end of the playing field. Julie KB1WTP then hid it in the woods for a second round which turned out to be much more difficult. The e-board met at 12:45 (notes will appear in the June Communicator). The picnic itself began at about 1:30, there was plenty of food, but it was almost all consumed. Some items were sold, swapped, or given away at the swap table. Not offered for sale or trade, but of great interest to many, was the incredibly complete and beautiful restoration job in progress on a 1936 RCA BC+SW receiver, put on display by guest Fred Smead.

There will certainly be interest in repeating this event next year.


Amateur Radio License Exams Results
updated 6/11/2014

The FCARC VE team held an Amateur Radio License exam session on Monday May 26th. Three candidates qualified for new Technician licenses, and on Friday May 30th their new callsigns appeared in the FCC ULS database:

Keith Rowley of Greenfield is KC1BZB
Scott Duffus of Guilford Vt is KC1BZC
Leon Small of Hardwick is KC1BZD. (corrected 6/11)

In related news, two people who recently participated in our VE sessions have new callsigns:

Rose Ganim became KC1BHY after our February VE session. She subsequently upgraded to General and changed her call to WN1TUA.
Frank Smith gained a new General license in our November 2012 session. He upgraded to Extra in June 2013 and changed his call to WS1M.

Our next VE session in Northfield will be August 25, 2014. For more information see the Amateur Radio License Exams page on this website.


Update: AMSAT Satellite Presentation
posted 5/5/2014

AMSAT President Barry Baines, WD4ASW, has sent us a PDF version of the slides he showed at our April 28th meeting. The file is available on the FCARC website at http://www.fcarc.org/Files/AMSAT Presentation FCARC 4-28-14.pdf. (Warning - it's a big file, 18 MB).


April 28 Meeting: Barry Baines, AMSAT President
updated 4/29/2014

Our guest speaker April 28th was the president of AMSAT-NA, Barry Baines, WD4ASW.

This was one of the best attended meetings we have had in quite a while. Barry's presentation went into the history of amateur radio satellites. Ironically, the success of some of the innovations pioneered by amateur radio satellites has led to wider use of these techniques, which in turn has made competition for launches much more intensive and expensive. What hams could get for free in the early days is now priced very high. In response, AMSAT is now emphasizing a uniform of design of rather small satellites which offer space for educational and scientific experiments. The idea is to get universities and research institutions to pay for launching satellite that carry amateur radio alomng with their experiments.

There is a lot of information on the AMSAT website, http://www.amsat.org.


FCARC at Boston Marathon
posted 4/25/2014

At least three members of the club, Bruce KB1TLX, Jeanne (no call yet), and Al N1AW were among the 300 amateur radio operators who volunteered for the Boston Marathon on April 21st. We hope to have more about what they actually did in the May Communicator.

If there are other club members who took part please get in touch with N1AW so your story can be included.


posted 4/9/2014

Bob WA1QKT's hint on a device for grabbing broken antenna support ropes appears in the Hints & Kinks column of May QST, on page 66.


Two New Hams From February 24 VE Session
updated 3/6/2014

The FCARC VE (Volunteer Examiner) team held an Amateur Radio License exam session on Monday February 24.

Two candidates qualified for new Technician licenses. Gary Weber of Turners Falls is now KC1BHX and Rose Gamin of Haydenville is KC1BHY.

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


KB1NQK now Extra
posted 1/26/2014

Congratulations to Miner Thompson, KB1NQK, who upgraded his license to Extra Class on January 25. The VE session was the final event in a series of classes and study groups presented by the Hampden County RA during the past two weeks.


New Six Meter Repeater
posted 1/18/2014

Six Meters has a new repeater in the Pioneer Valley. AA1KK can now be heard on 53.350 (-) PL 71.9 The repeater is located on Mt. Tom and should offer a wide coverage area.

Richard Strycharz AB1RS wrote: 53.35 was located in Amherst for many years. My father N1MFT and myself AB1RS are pleased to have it in operation at this new location.

Thank you to the Hampden County Radio Association Facebook page for this information.


Mass-Rhode Island CW Traffic Net now daily
posted 1/13/2014

The MA RI CW traffic net on 3.565 MHz now meets 7 days a week at 7 p.m..

Anyone interested in CW traffic handling is welcome. The net runs at 13 to 15 WPM but NCS will slow down as requested (send at speed you can copy and send "QRS" to request slower speed).

Al, N1AW, has been participating in this net and can give you more information.

More information about the ARRL National Traffic System and message handling procedures is available at the http://nts.ema.arrl.org/ website.


Hi Juno Experiment Success
posted 12/11/2013

On October 9th as a satellite on its way to Jupiter made a slingshot pass around the earth, the "Hi Juno" experiment tested whether coordinated slow speed Morse Code CW from multiple amateur radio stations could be detected by the satellite.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory has posted two videos:


New Amateurs
updated 12/11/2013

Three people passed amateur radio license exams at our Northfield VE session on November 25th. The FCC database now shows their new callsigns.

  • Ralph Mroz of Greenfield now holds a Technician license, callsign KC1AWR.
  • Paul Siqueira of Amherst came to us having very recently passed the Technician and General class exams. He then passed his Extra test at Northfield. The FCC issued him a new General Class license, callsign KC1AWN, and a day later upgraded it to Extra Class. Update: Paul's call has been changed to AB1UV - thanks to Perry Green of the ARRL VEC for expediting this.
  • Kip Williams of Montague passed the Tech, General, and Extra tests at our session, and now holds an Extra Class license with call AB1UU.


posted 11/19/2013

In the December 2013 QST:

  • Phill N1YPS has another Hints and Kinks article published, on page 53.
  • The FCARC's Field Day 2013 score is reported at the bottom of the first column on page 75. Our score of 2,418 ranks 171st of 441 entries reported in class 2A.


Obituaries Will Be Archived on Silent Keys Page
posted 11/19/2013

Occasionally we must announce the passing of a member or former member of the club. When it comes time to archive such notices they will be reposted on the Silent Keys page.


ARRL E-Mail Forwarding Problem??
posted 11/11/2013

Many ARRL members take advantage of the ARRL e-mail forwarding service. You can register for an e-mail forwarding address like n1aw@arrl.net - mail sent to such an address will be forwarded to an e-mail address you specify. The service was recently upgraded and moved to a new server. A notable improvement is that the ARRL will inform a sender if mail cannot be delivered. This is good, now you will know if an e-mail you sent was undeliverable. However, recently your webmaster, N1AW, had several messages rejected which should have had valid addresses. As a precaution all e-mail addresses on our Club Officers page that had been listed as ARRL forwarding service addresses have now been changed to the real addresses.


October 21 Program: Community Organizations Active in Disasters
posted 10/14/2013

There is a new organization in the Valley called the Pioneer Valley Community Organizations Active in Disasters (COAD) The organization came about partly from new federal and state initiatives. It has gathered energy from the Red Cross and numerous organizations active in 2011, responding to the tornado in the Springfield area, widespread tropical storm damage, and the October snow storm. The lesson that seems to be giving the new organization its focus is that the long slow recovery after the 2011 disasters required help from numerous agencies. Many of these are not usually considered emergency response agencies, but they played important roles in the recovery period.

Representatives of FCARC, MTARA, Red Cross, Stavros, Western Mass Food Bank, and other groups participated in a recent general meeting of the COAD. At our October 21st meeting Chris KB1NEK, and Ron K8HSF will report to us. We also will discuss other aspects of emergency communications as well as the new regional shelter plan drawn up by the Regional Emergency Planning Committee for Franklin County.


Net Listings Updates
posted 10/10/2013

The Net Listings page now has links to the Info Net Preamble document and information about the Snail Net, a slow speed CW practice net.


Sending Sloooow CW to Juno Spacecraft
updated 10/10/2013

Update: Did you participate? WA1QKT and N1AW did. Did you hear any other stations on your frequency? N1AW heard a Puerto Rican station on his. Let one of us know if you noticed anything. Probably hearing DX stations was not a good thing, the idea here was to send signals that would not get bounced back to earth by the ionosphere.

NASA�s Juno spacecraft flew past Earth on October 9 to receive a gravity assist, putting it on course for Jupiter. To celebrate, the Juno mission invited Amateur Radio operators around the world to say �HI� to Juno in a coordinated Morse code message. If enough operators participate, Juno�s �Waves� radio and plasma wave experiment should be able to detect the message. The Say �HI� to Juno web page http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/hijuno/ will be updated with additional information as the event approaches. All transmissions will take place on 10 meters, with the precise (suggested) frequency determined by the last letter of your call sign.

If you think you can't send Morse code fast enough, think again... This event calls for really slow CW, dits will be 30 seconds long.

There's more info in the October Communicator.


M.A.R.C. Frequency List Update
updated 9/9/2013

An update has been added to the M.A.R.C. Frequency List noting changes to the Deerfield 145.13 MHz repeater and a proposed band plan change that would affect the 147.435 MHz simplex channel. The M.A.R.C list is a VHF/UHF channel guide to be used for emergency communications in Franklin County. It lists all local amateur radio repeater and simplex frequencies.


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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