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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 12/5/2016. We also have an FCARC Facebook group. What's new here? See the Website Change Notes

Communicator for February
posted 2/9/2017

A reduced size Communicator for February 2017 has been posted here and will be e-mailed soon.


Coming Events, February 2017
posted 2/9/2017

Dates to note in February:

  • Monday February 13: E-Board, 6 p.m.; Membership Meeting, 7:15 p.m., GCC Hammond Lounge. Discussion and decision on Leyden repeater antenna replacement; also, Antenna Modelling – a talk and demo by Bob Solosko, W1SRB. . Note, this meeting is not on the 3rd Monday because February 20th is the Presidents' Day holiday.
  • Saturday February 18: Club Breakfast, 8 a.m., Denny's.; Emergency Communications Group, 10 a.m., GCC Hammond Lounge.
  • License Exams: Monday February 27, Northfield Unitarian Church. See website: www.fcarc.org/venews

Dates to note in March:

  • Amateur Radio Technician License Classes are planned for Tuesdays and Thursdays, March 7, 9, 14, and 16 with final review and a License Exam session Saturday March 18. Can you help teaching? Contact N1AW.
  • Mt Tom Amateur Repeater Association Hamfest: Saturday March 11


January and February 2017 Events
updated 1/12/2017

Dates to note in January:

  • Saturday Jan 14: Club Breakfast, 8 a.m., Denny's.; Emergency Communications Group, 10 a.m., GCC Hammond Lounge.
  • Monday Jan 23: E-Board, 6 p.m.; Membership Meeting, 7:15 p.m., GCC Hammond Lounge. Discussion and decision on Leyden repeater antenna replacement; also a mini-Show-and-Tell on making antennas. (Antenna construction project postponed). Note, this meeting is not on the customary 3rd Monday because January 16th is Martin Luther King holiday.

Coming in February and March

  • The Sleighbell Road Race, part of Greenfield's Winter Carnival, takes place on Saturday, February 4, 2017. This is another public service event for us. We'll be looking for volunteers at the January breakfast and meeting.
  • The 3rd Monday in February is another holiday, President's Day. The February E-board and General Meeting will take place on the 2nd Monday, February 13. Planned topic: Antenna Modelling, demonstration by Bob Solosko, W1SRB.
  • Other February events: Breakfast and Emergency Group Meeting Saturday February 18th; License Exams Monday February 27.
  • Amateur Radio Technician License Classes are planned for Tuesdays and Thursdays, March 7 and 9 and March 14 and 16, (note date corrections) with final review and the License Exam session Saturday March 18.

Note: There will be no Communicator newsletter in January, a combined January-February issue will be published early in February.


Report: Montague Sawmill River 10K Road Race December 31st
posted 1/9/2017

Despite a late start in recruiting volunteers we had an adequate team for the Sawmill River 10K road race in Montague, on December 31st. Joe,KB1WVO, coordinated our effort, which was much appreciated by the Montague Recreation Department. There were no problems with weather (although it was cold) and no lost runners. The baked potato lunch was much appreciated by runners and volunteers.


Website Updates & Future Events
posted 10/20/2016

The directions page has been updated; club meetings this year will usually be held in Hammond Lounge, in GCC East Building.

For the January meeting we are planning a project to build simple VHF antennas.

The FCARC is planning an Amateur Radio Technician License class for late February or early March, to be held at GCC. We will probably have four weekday evening class sessions followed by a Saturday review and license exam session.


Weekly Nets Reminder
posted 9/9/2016

The FCARC sponsors two weekly nets on the Leyden 146.985 MHz repeater. On Tuesdays at 9 p.m. the Emergency Net is a time for practicing formal net procedures and sharing information about emergency readiness. On Thursdays at 8 p.m. the Information Net is a less formal occasion for chatting about news and activities, just about anything of interest. For details, including schedules of net control operators, see the Net Listings page on the website.

On Sunday mornings the weekly Western Massachusetts Emergency Net meets on the Mt Tom 146.940 MHz repeater at 8:45 a.m. FCARC members are encouraged to check in. You can also check into a similar net on the Mt Greylock 146.910 repeater at 9:00 a.m.

Are you interested in practicing Morse Code? The Snail Net is a slow speed CW practice net which meets on the 80 meter band on or near 3.532 MHz on Sundays and Wednesdays at 8 p.m. - more info can be found on the Snail Net page. Even if you have a Technician license you can operate CW on this part of the 80 meter band.

Club members with licenses allowing voice operation on the 75 meter band are also encouraged to check into the Sunday morning 75 meter net at 8:30 a.m.on 3.944 MHz. Checking into nets like this is a good way to become familiar with net procedures and to be assured that if an emergency occurs your equipment will be adequate.


FCARC Greenfield Repeater Update
posted 7/8/2016

The duplexer for the club's 448.875 MHz repeater at Rocky Mountain in Greenfield has been realigned and reinstalled, so the transmitter and the receiver are now sharing an antenna high on the tower. The repeater is a Yaesu DR-1X and digital voice modes have been enabled.

A second new Yaesu DR-1X repeater has been put into operation on two meters at the same location. We have a new frequency pair for this one, you listen on 147.120 MHz and transmit to it on 147.720 MHz. It uses a PL tone of 131.8 Hz for analog FM voice. At this time it is operating at a low power level with separate transmit and receive antennas. Digital voice modes are enabled on this one also.

If you do not have a radio with digital voice capability these repeaters will work on ordinary FM just the way you are used to. However it is recommended that you set the squelch type on your radio to Tone-Squelch (TSQ). Without Tone Squelch conversations between users using digital modes will just sound like noise.


Preliminary Field Day 2016 Results
posted 7/1/2016

Here are the results for Field Day 2016 compared with last year:

2016 ARRL Field Day 
Call    Score   Class QSOs Mult GOTA    Sec    #    Club
AC1L    3960    2A    885  2    KB1MSU  WMA    29   Franklin Co ARC 
     QSOs: HF c.w. 590, phone: 295 (HF: 252, GOTA: 32, VHF: 11)
     QSO points: 2950, bonus points: 1010, total: 3960 (Submitted entry is here). 

2015 ARRL Field Day 
Call    Score   Class QSOs Mult GOTA    Sec    #    Club
AC1L    4114    2A    959  2    KB1MSU  WMA    29   Franklin Co ARC 
     QSOs: c.w. 688 (HF 686, VHF 2), phone: 271 (HF: 200, GOTA: 51, VHF: 20)
     QSO points: 3294, bonus points: 820, total claimed: 4114

(Click here to see all FCARC results back to 2006).


Annual Election of Officers
posted 6/9/2016

The terms of elected officers begin on September 1 and run for two years. The President, Secretary, and one Director are elected in even-numbered years, and the Vice-President, Treasurer, and one Director are elected in odd-numbered years.

In 2016 the terms of President Al Woodhull, Secretary Chris Myers, and Director Belle Dyer expire. All three have agreed to run for re-election to their present positions. Notification has been made in the Communicator and no additional candidates have been nominated as of this writing, but additional nominations can be made by contacting Treasurer Howard Field, who is serving as the Nominating Committee this year. Any additional nominees must agree to accept the nomination. Additionally, at the annual business meeting nominations may be made from the floor. Any person nominated from the floor must be present at the business meeting and agree to accept the position

If the Presidency becomes vacant between elections the Vice President becomes President. The E-Board fills other vacancies by appointing a new officer to serve until the next annual election.

Current officers are listed on the Club Officers web page with contact information and term expiration dates. Various appointed positions are also listed on that web page.


The FCARC For-Sale Web Page
posted 6/9/2016

The webmaster wishes to call attention to our Sale/Swap/Wanted page on the website at http://www.fcarc.org/forsale.htm. The club has a number of donated items that we can offer for sale to benefit the club treasury and we also have some items that we have agreed to sell for the benefit of the Greenfield High School Amateur Radio Club. New items will be listed soon.


Picnic and May Communicator
posted 5/25/2016

Picnic - the picnic is Saturday May 28th at the Leyden Pavilion. Details have been sent to the mailing list. Call Al N1AW at 773-3522 or email n1aw@arrl.net if you have questions.

May Communicator - the webmaster was out of town in early May when the May issue of the FCARC Communicator went out by e-mail and that issue was not posted on the website. This has been corrected, you can now access the May Communicator here.


FCARC Picnic May 28th
posted 4/27/2016

We will have a Saturday picnic instead of a Monday meeting in May. The location will be the same as the last two years, the Leyden Pavilion behind the Pearl Rhodes Elementary School in Leyden. Save the date: Saturday, May 28th.

As in the past this will be a partial pot-luck - soft drinks, hot dogs, burgers, etc., will be provided, but other items - deserts, salads, whatever you feel like bringing will be welcome. When we get closer to the date a food coordinator who can offer suggestions will be announced, but uncoordinated pot-luck is OK.

Activities may include a mini flea market, local fox hunt, a demo portable HF station. Want to sell or trade something, show off a mobile rig, or test your Pixie? Bring it along.

See the directions page for directions to the Pearl Rhodes School and locations of other FCARC events.


SKYWARN Training in Amherst
posted 4/27/2016

A SKYWARN training will be held in Amherst in May. The current NWS schedule now lists a session at UMass (Morrill Science Center II - Room 222, 627 N Pleasant St, Amherst) from 7 to 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday May 17th. RSVP not required.

Information about additional SKYWARN trainings was posted about a month ago, scroll down to see it.


From Deerfield to Tulsa; from Ham Radio to TV News
posted 4/6/2016

Our speaker at the Monday April 11 FCARC meeting will be Tony Russell, KC0IKK. Tony is now a television news reporter in Oklahoma, but he got his start in ham radio as a student at Eaglebrook in Deerfield. He was a member of our club when he lived here. He is making a short visit to meet old friends. Among other things he will tell us how his ham radio hobby led to his interest in reporting.

There is more info about Tony and awards he has received on the website of Tulsa TV station KOTV-TV.

The FCARC meeting begins at 7:15 at our usual meeting place, the GCC Engineering Lab, Room S-302 of GCC's Main Building. (click here for directions). E-board meets in the same place at 6:00 p.m.


SKYWARN Training
updated 3/28/2016

There are several opportunities for SKYWARN training coming up in Western MA:

  • Tuesday April 26th, 2016: 700 PM-930 PM
    Blandford Town Hall, 1 Russell Stage Road, Blandford, MA
    Taught by: NWS Taunton Forecaster; Registration: not required

  • Thursday May 5th, 2016: 700-930 PM
    Fitchburg Fire Department Headquarters - Community Room, 33 North Street, Fitchburg, MA
    Taught by: NWS Taunton Forecaster
    Pre-registration required - RSVP to Rob Macedo KD1CY rmacedo@rcn.com

  • Monday May 16th, 2016: 630-900 PM (*)
    Orange Fire Station 2, 50 Millyard Road, Orange, MA 01364
    Taught by: NWS Taunton Forecaster
    Pre-registration required - RSVP to Rob Macedo KD1CY rmacedo@rcn.com

Additional sessions (generally further away) and other information can be found at http://www.weather.gov/box/skywarn#fragment-2.

Update: The information above came from the Taunton MA National Weather Service office. The Albany NY NWS office sponsors SKYWARN training in Berkshire County MA, western Connecticut, and Vermont. There will be a session in Pittsfield in April:

  • Thursday April 14, 2016: 7:00-9:00 p.m.
    Berkshire Medical Center Auditorium, 752 North St, Pittsfield MA

Information on registering and on other Albany-sponsored sessions can be found at http://cstar.cestm.albany.edu/skywarn/Talks.htm.

(*) An FCARC E-board meeting was scheduled for Monday May 16th. At least a couple of E-board members want to attend the SKYWARN training that evening; thus the April E-Board meeting has been rescheduled for Saturday May 14th, at 9 a.m. at GCC, after the breakfast.


Boston Marathon Communications Committee Seeks Additional Amateur Radio Volunteers
posted 3/20/2016

The ARRL announced on March 16th: Registration for Boston Marathon Amateur Radio volunteers remains open with assignments available for new volunteers who have a passion for public service as well as for experienced hands. The Boston Athletic Association (BAA) sponsors the marathon, and preparations are in high gear for the April 18 Patriots’ Day event.

Each spring, some 300 trained Amateur Radio volunteers staff the event, providing vital communication services over the entire 26-mile course. Amateur Radio volunteers are recruited, selected, and managed by the BAA’s Communications Committee.

For more information: https://www.hamradioboston.org//


Results of February FCARC VE Session
posted 3/10/2016

Look for some new calls on the air:
New General: Brad KC1FEM
New Technicians: Peter KC1FEN and Tom KC1FEO
... and congratulations to Leon, KC1BZD, upgraded to Extra.


FCARC and Other Local Club Programs Coming Up
updated 2/24/2016

The annual MTARA Amateur Radio and Electronics Hamfest is coming on Saturday March 5th. FCARC will have a table. Contact Al N1AW if you can help and/or want to sell something. Click here for Hamfest Flier.

Hampden County Radio Association: Friday 3/4, First Robotics Competition: Gary Fields WA1MOW. (more info: hcra.org).

Franklin County Amateur Radio Club: Monday 3/21, Lad Nagurney WA3EEC on Swedish Radio Museum and Ham Radio Across the Pond (postponed from our snowed-out February meeting). GCC, 7:15, click here for directions to FCARC events.

Mt Tom Amateur Repeater Association: Friday 3/18, ( Check website mtara.org for program info).


E-Board and Emergency Planning Meeting After 2/13 Breakfast
posted 2/12/2016

Because Greenfield Community College closed due to the snowstorm on Monday 2/8, the E-Board and Program Meetings scheduled for that evening were cancelled.

The E-Board will meet on Saturday February 13 at 9:30 in the GCC East Building after the breakfast.

Following the E-Board meeting, at 10 a.m. there will be a meeting to discuss the lack of active Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) in our region. The agenda for this first meeting will be to assess the existing state of readiness to use amateur radio in emergencies and to figure out strategies to improve it. Any FCARC member or interested friend is welcome to attend.


VE Exams in February, HCRA License Class & Study Group in April
posted 1/28/2016

The FCARC Volunteer Examiner Team will conduct Amateur Radio License Exams at 7 p.m. Monday February 22 at the Northfield Unitarian Church. More info is available on the VE License Exams page on this website.

The Hampden County Radio Association will sponsor a Technician License Class and General License Study Group at Holyoke Hospital in April. This will be an accelerated series of sessions. Classes and study sessions will take place on the evenings of Wednesday April 27th and Thursday April 28th, and in the morning of Saturday April 30th, followed by license examinations on that Saturday afternoon.

More information and signup form at http://www.hcra.org/.


Repeater Info Online
posted 1/14/2016

The Repeaters PowerPoint and the Public Repeater Codes documents presented at the January meeting have been posted on the website: RepeaterTalk20160111.ppt and PublicRepeaterCodes.txt. The links also have been added to the Repeaters page.


Breakfast January 16th, Sign Up for Winter Carnival on February 6th
posted 1/14/2016

Our January breakfast takes place on Saturday the 16th, 8 a.m. at Denny's

There will be a signup list for volunteers for our communications support of the Greenfield Winter Carnival Sleighbell 10K Road Race, coming the first Saturday in February.

If you can't make it to the breakfast contact Rich Stewart KB1NOX to sign up: phone 413-863-2657, e-mail:stwricha@aol.com


Thomas Foxwell N1OTS, SK
updated 12/15/2015

News was received on December 7th that Tom Foxwell N1OTS passed away. Tom was a former President of the Franklin County Amateur Radio Club, and was especially active in emergency preparedness. His death was unexpected. Update: An obituary was published in The Recorder Tuesday 12/15. The memorial service will be at Kidder Funeral Home in Northfield on Saturday 12/19, viewing starting at 10 a.m. and service at 12 p.m..


Ham Radio Volunteers for Boston Marathon 2016
posted 12/2/2015

The Boston Athletic Association Radio Communications Committee has put out a call for volunteers to assist with communications with the April 18, 2016 Boston Marathon. Click here for full info.


VE Session Results
Updated 12/4/2015

All candidates who appeared for the November 23rd license exam session in Northfield were successful. Peter Landry of Lunenberg, recently licensed as KC1EPV, passed the Extra test; Adam Holloway of Warwick, KC1EJI, licensed here in August, advanced to General; Ellen Anderson of Petersham and Andrew Marquis of Shutesbury will be new Technicians. Update: because of the Thanksgiving holiday it took longer than usual for the FCC to act. Now we know that Ellen is KC1ETL and Andrew is KC1ETM. Peter asked for a new callsign with his upgrade to Extra and he is now AB1YM.

VEs were Chris KB1NEK, Belle KB1NOG, Ron K8HSF, and Al N1AW. Our pool of Volunteer Examinars is rather small. It's easy to qualify. Contact Al if you are interested.


FCARC Shirts and Hats
posted 11/19/2015

We are preparing to order FCARC shirts and hats. Anne KC1CRS has researched the prices and is coordinating the ordering. If you are on our e-mailing list you will receive an e-mail notice with an order form, or you can download an order form here (PDF file). Please print it out, choose type, quantity, and size, and return by mail with a check made out to Franklin County Amateur Radio Club for your total amount, using the address on the form. Please do this by December 1st, we want to place the order then in time for the shirts to be available before Christmas.


Jim Bronson K2YSR, SK
posted 9/12/2015

Jim Bronson K2YSR passed away on September 3rd in Kingsport TN. He and his wife Lois KB1CWD were very active in our club when they lived in Buckland. Jim was a Volunteer Examiner and an avid CW man. They left this area to move to Kingsport about 15 years ago.

An obituary can be seen here: http://www.timesnews.net/obit/23463/james-f-bronson. The sad news was passed on by Ralph WA1UOL, who had a call from Lois.


August VE Session: One Upgrade, Five New Amateurs
updated 9/10/2015

Six candidates came to the FCARC's August VE session in Northfield. Carolyn KB1DBV upgraded from Technician to General, Joshua KC1EJJ earned a new General license, and David KC1EJH, Adam KC1EJI, Scott KC1EJK, and Alec KC1EJL all are now new Technician licensees. Please welcome them if you hear them on the air.

The FCC website was shut down for maintenance during the first week of September, and there was a longer than usual delay before upgrades and new callsigns were posted, which is why this web report is so long delayed.

Amy AB1WH, Belle KB1NOG, Ron K8HSF, and Al N1AW participated as Volunteer Examiners for this session.


FCARC on Facebook
posted 8/10/2015

The Franklin County Amateur Radio Club now has a Facebook Page!

N1AW says: I suggested this to the club a few times without getting an enthusiastic response. But Facebook is a good medium for many people who are used to being connected electronically at all times. The website and the Communicator will remain the main channels for club information. It is easy to communicate on Facebook. And any member who has information to share can post. Other ham clubs in our area, HCRA and MTARA, have both found it useful.

Thanks to Chet, N1XPT, who took the initiative to get the Facebook page started.


Preliminary Field Day Results
posted 6/29/2015

Operating as AC1L, the FCARC's 2015 Field Day operation had ten operators keeping the HF SSB station on the air, four operators working the HF CW station, and four operating on 6 meters. Additionally, one newly licensed ham and two unlicensed guests made contacts on the KB1MSU Get-On-The-Air station.

Our QSO total was slightly lower than last year: 689 CW contacts and 271 voice contacts, for a total of 3298 QSO points. Last year we scored 3740 bonus points. Bonus points are still to be counted.

To compare with scores from past years look at the FCARC Field Day history web page.


Greenfield 70 cm Repeater Is Up!
posted 6/20/2015

The Greenfield 448.875 MHz repeater located on Greenfield's Rocky Mountain, is back in service.

The club decided last winter to take advantage of a promotional offer by Yaesu and purchased a brand new Yaesu DR-1X repeater. It finally arrived last week, and was shown to club members at the June 15th club meeting. On Friday June 19th KB1NEK and N1AW put it on the air.

Yaesu's promotion is aimed at getting their C4FM digital mode better known to radio amateurs. This mode can support various kinds of digital data transfer as well as standard FM audio. This mode is not compatible with Icom's D-Star digital mode. Unfortunately both of these modes are proprietary, which is contrary to the tradition of amateur radio, indeed contrary to a stated purpose of amateur radio to contribute to the state of the art. Unfortunately open-source or non-proprietary methods are not available at present.

The new repeater operates on the same frequency pair as our old one, 448.875 MHz output and 443.875 MHz input, with a PL tone of 136.5. It is configured to accept both standard analog FM as well as digital voice input signals, but the output at present uses only standard analog FM voice output. The simple built-in controller provides CW ID as KB1BSS/R.

The new repeater is capable of three levels of power output, 5, 20, or 50 watts. Other groups have reported that the 50 watt level causes problems with overheating in an unmodified repeater if the duty cycle is too high. In the interest of caution we have initially configured for 5 watts transmitter output, so the useful operating range will be less than what was generally available with the old repeater. We expect to boost power to the 20 watt level when we are sure that operation is reliable, and we are looking at ways to sense temperature and allow higher power operation when and if needed - but this will require modifications which we do not want to make until we are sure there are no problems covered by the manufacturer's warranty.

We want feedback. Please e-mail Al N1AW or Chris KB1NEK with reports of your experiences. We want to know about any problems you observe, as well as general observations about range and signal quality. The more we know the sooner we will consider changes.


Results: May VE Session
posted 5/28/2015

At the May VE session two candidates upgraded their license class. Roy K1LKY upgraded to Extra and Brad KC1DQX upgraded to General.

The FCARC VE team conducts license exam sessions in Northfield MA on the 4th Monday of February, May, August, and November. More information is available on the Amateur Radio License Exams page on this website.


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.


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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