Augus 2014 Communicator
The August 2014 FCARC Communicator can be downloaded
from the website.
The webmaster apologizes for the delay posting this issue on the website. This issue was distributed by e-mail and US Mail a few days after Labor Day.
Back issues for 2013 and 2014 can be accessed
and earlier issues back to 2005 are online
Leyden Repeater Receiving Problem
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.
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.
September, a New Club Year
Our club year begins in September. Events scheduled this month are:
Club breakfast, Saturday Sept 13 at Denny's Pantry in Greenfield
(click for directions).
E-board at 6 p.m. and club meeting at 7:15, Monday September 15.
Update: We will meet this month at Greenfield Community College, in the
Engineering Classroom S301, thanks to Ted Johnson, WA1KJI. For directions
directions page, www.fcarc.org/directions.htm.
Meeting topic: last year in review.
Public Service: we will provide communications for the WillBike4Food fundraising bicycle tour event for the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts on Sunday August 28th. This all day event starts at the Food Bank headquarters in Hatfield, and cyclists follow various routes of up to 100+ miles. Contact Chris Myers KB1NEK at
phone: 413-625-0344. Event info is at
web pages are now updated for the 2014-2015 year.
VE Session 8/25/2014
Our August VE session resulted in two brand-new hams and three upgrades.
Russ Pasternak will be a new Technician. Amy McNeil will be a new Extra, having taken and passed Technician, General, and Extra tests all in one evening.
Just out, new callsigns are known now: Amy is AB1WH, Russ is KC1CLW.
Upgrading to Extra was John Glezen KB1URV, who got his original Technician license at our August 2010 session.
Upgrades to General were earned by Ann McGettigan-Erez KC1CFG, and also by Leon Small KC1BZD, who was originally licensed at our May 2014 session.
2014-15 Calendar, E-board Changes
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
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
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
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
before the next E-Board meeting, August 18.
440 Repeater Down
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
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:
For the WRTC big picture see
and for preliminary results (subject to log checking) see
Field Day Success
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
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!
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
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
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
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,
FCARC at Boston Marathon
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.
WA1QKT in May QST
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
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
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
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
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
More information about the ARRL National Traffic System and message
handling procedures is available at the
Hi Juno Experiment Success
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:
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.
FCARC in QST
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
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
ARRL E-Mail Forwarding Problem??
Many ARRL members take advantage of the ARRL e-mail forwarding service. You can register for an e-mail forwarding address like firstname.lastname@example.org - 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
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
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
page now has links to the
Info Net Preamble
document and information about the
a slow speed CW practice net.
Sending Sloooow CW to Juno Spacecraft
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
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
M.A.R.C. Frequency List Update
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.
New Club Year Begins
Our Club Year runs from September through August. Three things should be noted:
Terms of officers elected in the June meeting begin on September 1st. Ron Niswander, K8HSF has joined the Board of Directors. Bob Solosko did not stand for re-election to the Board, but continues as Communicator
editor. For contact information for all officers
We have started to develop a schedule for the coming year. A first draft of a calendar, with firm dates for the rest of 2013, is on the
Club dues are due now, although we allow a grace period until the end of December before we purge membership lists. You should receive a dues notice from our Treasurer, Howard Field, soon. For more information see the
Membership Information page.
Field Day 2013 Results
Here is a summary of our 2013 Field Day scores.
2013 ARRL Field Day (claimed score 7/18/13)
Call Score Class QSOs Mult GOTA Sec # Club
AC1L 2,418 2A 552 2 KB1MSU WMA 28 Franklin Co ARC
QSOs: c.w. 205, digital: 7, phone: 340 (HF: 309, GOTA: 10, 6 m: 20, Sat: 1)
QSO points: 1528, bonus points: 890, total claimed: 2418
To compare with results in previous years look at the
FCARC Field Day History
Update: Complete results, including copies of all supporting documents for
our entry, can be seen
in the 2013 Field Day Files area.
Date Change: July Breakfast Moved to July 20; WRTC Station Test on July 13
The 2013 Station Test for the 2014 World Radiosport Team Championship (WRTC 2014) is scheduled for the weekend of July 12-13-14. Those present at the June
15 breakfast agreed with a proposal to change the July FCARC breakfast date from July 13 to July 20.
Did you miss Jim Mullen's presentation about WRTC at the June 10 FCARC meeting?
To learn more about the WRTC,
click here for the WRTC 2014 website.
To learn about the July 2013 preparations,
click here for the WRTC 2013 Station Test website.
To see more about the Hampden County Radio Association's role in coordinating
Western Massachusetts support, look at
this article on the HCRA website.
Annual Meeting Election Results
At the Annual Meeting of the FCARC on Monday June 10, no additional nominations were made. Howard Fuller, N1LUP, and Al Woodhull, N1AW were re-elected as Treasurer and Vice President, and Ron Niswander, N8HSF was elected as Director.
Bob Solosko continues as Communicator editor. New terms begin September 1st.
We want to acknowledge that Dick, AC1L, again served as
the Nominating Committee, as he has done for many years now. This involves a
substantial amount of work, and Dick deserves thanks for this continuing contribution to the club.
June 10 Meeting: Club Election; World Radiosport Team Championship
The FCARC June meeting will take place on Monday, June 10, at Greenfield High School, starting at 7:15 p.m. (coffee and goodies at 7:00, E-board meeting at
As noted on the
FCARC Calendar Page,
the June meeting is when we have our annual election of officers. This
year the offices of Director, Treasurer,and Vice-President are up. Incumbent
Director Bob Solosko, W1SRB, was nominated for re-election, but declined the
nomination. He will continue as Communicator editor. Cathy Mitchell KB1SNA and
Ron Niswander, K8HSF, were also nominated for Director, but Cathy declined.
Howard Field, N1LUP, and Al Woodhull, N1AW, were nominated for re-election as
Treasurer and Vice-President, respectively.
But wait, there's more reason to attend the meeting: a really big amateur radio event is about to happen here in New England. Jim Mullen, KK1W, will be here to tell us about the 2014 WRTC (World Radiosport Team Championship) preparations that are in progress.
The WRTC is held every four years and consists of approximately 50 two-person teams of amateur radio operators competing in a test of operating skill. Unlike most on-the-air competitions, all stations are required to use identical antennas from the same geographic region, eliminating all variables except operating ability. Previous WRTCs have been held in Seattle (1990), San Francisco (1996), Slovenia (2000), Finland (2002), Brazil (2006), and Russia (2010). The 2014 WRTC contest will take place in a number of sites in New England.
The WRTC2014 Organizing Committee will be conducting a capability and
training test for the WRTC2014 stations and volunteers during the July
2013 running of the IARU HF Championship. The goals of the 2013 Station
Expand the pool of experienced teams for station set up
Evaluate proposed site locations for radio quietness and equality
Confirm logistics and procedures to set up and tear down a large
number of stations
- Gather log data under competition conditions to share with WRTC
This will be the final test before the full running of the WRTC 2014
competition in July 2014. The plan is to set up and operate as many as
30 stations during the test.
Tom Frenaye, K1KI, the ARRL division manager for New England is one of
the organizers of the effort to determine what sites will be the best
for the event. Jim Mullen, president of the Hampden County Amateur Radio
Association is leading the effort in western Massachusetts. The WRTC website
New Tech Licenses and Upgrades
At the final meeting of our Technician license class on May 16, four participants took the test, and all passed with scores better than 90%!
Less than a week later callsign info was on the FCC database. The new amateurs
KB1ZYW Harold Kelly (Greenfield)
KB1ZYX Walter Stephaniv (Amherst)
KB1ZYY Frances St.Sanot-Stephaniv (Amherst)
KB1ZYZ Hussain Hamad (Hawley)
We have never experienced such quick response by the ARRL VEC and the FCC.
If you hear someone using a new callsign on one of our repeaters please say hello!
Harold KB1ZYW and Hussain KB1ZYZ came to our regular quarterly VE session
May 27th in Northfield and upgraded to General licenses, even before their Technician licenses had arrived in the mail! Also on May 27, Jake, KB1VPN,
upgraded to General, and Frank, KB1YYY, upgraded to Extra Class - Frank had earned a new General license at our November 2012 session.
Click here for info about future FCARC VE sessions.
KB1BSS 146.985 MHz Repeater Maintenance
FM radio station WPVQ owns the tower on Frizzell Hill in Leyden where
our 2 meter repeater is mounted. The engineer for the station notified us
in early April that he was going to have a tower climber on site to prepare for
improvements to the broadcast antenna, and we were invited to use this
professional's skills to work on our repeater installation. We made a
quick decision to use this opportunity to replace the repeater feedline.
This was done on Tuesday, April 9.
The old feedline that was removed showed definite signs of corrosion
due to water getting inside the cable, and preliminary reports seem to
indicate that the repeater is performing better than previously. However,
we are still considering replacing the antenna itself, which has been in
service for many years. Reports of any problems with the repeater from
users are welcome - contact Chris, KB1NEK, or Al, N1AW.
Update: the weather data recorder was reset on April 29, and the temperature at the repeater site is now reported as part of the ID at half past the hour. You can get a temperature report at any time by keying up the repeater and pressing 476 on a touch tone pad.
N1AW's Arduino Keyer
At the March 1 HCRA DIY Show-and-Tell meeting N1AW demonstrated a CW keyer that features accurate reporting of the current speed setting using Morse output. Related files, including Arduino microcontroller source code, are on this website at
WA1QKT's "How to Use Your FT-60" Info Available Online
The PowerPoint file Bob Dickerman used for his presentation at the 2/11/2013 meeting is available on this website as
./Files/How to configure your HT_ppt.ppt.
FCARC Facebook Group???
Other amateur radio clubs in Western Massachusetts have created Facebook groups. Club members who are Facebook users can post to and view postings on the groups. It's an easy way to share news, pictures, and information. Are any FCARC members interested in trying this? Please contact Al, N1AW, if you have thoughts about this.
MA-RI CW Traffic Net
The following was posted recently on the
Western MA ARRL Section website
by Marcia Forde, KW1U, Section Traffic Manager for EMA and WMA:
There has been no section CW net for either East Mass or West Mass for some time. Some have approached me concerning their interest in CW, so I plan to run a slow speed CW traffic net for both Massachusetts sections and Rhode Island which will offer training in message handling and net operation and at the same time hopefully give folks a chance to increase their CW capabilities. We will meet on 3565 Khz plus or minus at 7PM Monday through Friday. If enough interest and personnel are available I will add weekends as well. Training messages will be provided and questions and comments are always welcome. I plan on a Q&A session on the Boston 145.23 repeater following the EM2MN which meets at 8 PM. Obviously most in West Mass section will not be able to make that, but I can be available by email or either following CM2MN on the Paxton repeater or on HF or Echolink by arrangement.
Anyone interested in CW will be most welcome. Come meet new friends, learn new skills and hopefully have some fun.
WebSDR - Hear (and See) Your Signal on a Distant Receiver
A WebSDR is a Software-Defined Radio receiver connected to the internet, allowing many listeners to listen and tune it simultaneously. SDR technology makes it possible that all listeners tune independently, and thus listen to different signals; this is in contrast to the many classical receivers that are already available via the internet.
The quote above is from
http://www.websdr.org where you can find links to more than 40 WebSDR sites around the world. Links to other sources of information also can be found there.
N1AW found that
a WebSDR site in New Jersey operated by K2SDR
was able to display and repeat his 80 meter c.w. signal from Western Massachusetts during both daylight and nighttime conditions when he was using as little as 5 watts output. He listened to himself checking into the new MA-RI c.w. net described above. It's really fun to see the spectrum of your own signal and everyone else in a net, as well as many other signals from the entire low end of the 80 meter band.
High Performance HF Transceiver Design
Doug Grant, K1DG, has written some interesting articles about ham radio
for Electronics Design News, a publication aimed at engineering
professionals. His latest is on "High Performance HF Transceiver Design" and
has interesting things to say about the design process, as well as the
state of the art. You can see the article
online at the EDN website
N1YPS in June QST
Phill, N1YPS, describes his "rigpod" invention in the Hints & Kinks
column of QST for June 2012. Look on page 63.
Software Defined Radio References
Links to Internet information sources about software defined radio (SDR), the
subject of Bob Solosko's presentation at the January meeting, are now online
here. The link is
Contest Operator Haiku
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.)