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FCARC News Archive  

Current news items are posted on the FCARC Home Page.
To keep that page short and timely, older items considered to be of continuing interest
are removed and posted here. The newest items are usually at the top of the page,
but exact chronological order is not guaranteed. Information not of lasting interest (like
meeting location details) may be edited out.

Remembrances of FCARC members who have passed away are archived on the Silent Keys page.

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Summer 2017: Volunteer Opportunities
posted 7/21/2017

Volunteers are needed for: Greenfield Triathlon, Sunday August 6; Bridge of Flowers 10K, Saturday August 12;
and Deerfield Dirt Road Randonee, Saturday August 19.
To volunteer contact Al, N1AW (e-mail: n1aw@arrl.net)

[GfldTri,BoF,D2R2 logos]

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Summer 2017 Coming Events
posted 7/12/2017

FCARC Events, July 2017

  • Saturday July 15: Club Breakfast, 8 a.m. at Denny's. Note, no Emergency Communications Group meeting this month.
  • Monday July 17: E-Board meeting, 7 p.m.: GCC Hammond Studio

FCARC Events, August 2017. Because of Saturday public service events this month, the breakfast and the emergency group meeting will be on the first Saturday.

  • Saturday August 5: Club Breakfast, 8 a.m.: Denny's; Emergency Communications Group 10 a.m: GCC Hammond Studio
  • Sunday August 6: Public Service: Greenfield Triathlon at Greenfield Swimming Pool, 7 a.m.
  • Saturday August 12: Public Service: Bridge of Flowers 10K Race Shelburne Falls, 7 a.m.
  • Saturday August 19: Public Service: Deerfield Dirt Road Randonee (D2R2) Deerfield to Vermont, all day
  • Monday August 21: E-Board meeting, GCC, 7 p.m.;
  • Monday August 28: Amateur Radio License Exams, Northfield Unitarian Church, 7 p.m.;

See the July-August newsletter for more details on August public service events.

Click here for directions and links to maps showing meeting locations.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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//

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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/.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Moving FCARC Storage After 6/13 Breakfast
posted 6/11/2015

We are looking for a few volunteers to help with moving club equipment and material from our current storage space to a new space. If you can can help for a few hours after the breakfast at Denny's Saturday, please consider helping.

For some time FCARC has been sharing a storage locker at Casey storage with the local MRC-CERT organization. We contributed our labor in rebuilding shelving there a while ago, and when the cost became excessive for the CERT group we contributed.

Recently Homeland Security and the Western MA MRC Advisory Group purchased a refurbished storage unit for MRC-CERT use. It is housed at the Sheriff's office next to the Franklin County Jail. We have been invited to continue to use a part of this storage space.

The CERT group intends to move most of their material on Field Day weekend, which is a conflict for us. But we will be taking quite a few items out for Field Day anyway, and we can return them to the new space after Field Day. On Saturday we want to move some of the material that we won't be using on Field Day.

Almost everything can be moved in cars, but the shelf on which our equipment is stored is too large to move by car without being disassembled. If someone can help with a truck that would be appreciated. Please contact Chris KB1NEK or Al N1AW if you can help.

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June: Field Day Month
posted 6/6/2015

ARRL Field Day, always the fourth full weekend in June, is a major event for our club. As we have done for many years we will operate two HF stations, using CW and SSB, at the Poets Seat Tower in Greenfield's Rocky Mountain Park. Setup begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday June 27th. After lunch (free to all) the on-the air phase begins at 2 p.m. and lasts 24 hours.

Everyone is welcome at Field Day, club member or not. In addition to the HF operating positions we will also have a VHF station and a "Get-On-the-Air" (GOTA) station where new hams or unlicensed members of the public can get a taste of amateur radio operation.

Field Day is officially not a contest, it is an "emergency preparedness exercise". But we like to see how well we do. A compilation of our scores in past years can be seen on the FCARC Field Day history web page.

We will also have our usual monthly events in June:

  • Breakfast at Denny's, Saturday June 13, 8 a.m.;
  • Meeting at GCC, Monday June 15, 7:15 p.m.; Annual election of officers; Field Day planning. E-board meets at 6 p.m.

For more information on Field Day see the June Communicator and the ARRL Field Day web pages. For directions to Denny's, GCC, and our Field Day site see the directions page on this website.

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FCARC Annual Election of Officers
posted 6/6/2015

Six officers of the Franklin County Amateur Radio Club serve for two year terms. In even numbered years the President, Secretary, and one Director are selected; in odd numbered years the Vice-President, Treasurer, and another Director are selected.

In 2015 the incumbents for all offices up for election have consented to be renominated:

  • Vice-President: Ron Niswander K8HSF;
  • Treasurer: Howard Field N1LUP;
  • Director: Belle Dyer KB1NOG

Additional nominations may be made and accepted at the Annual Meeting provided the nominee is present and consents to the nomination.

Current officers are listed on the Club Officers page of the website. The By-Laws of the Club are also available as a PDF file on the website: click here.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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CERT Training Series
Updated 10/17/2014

The Franklin County Citizen Corps will hold trainings for members of the public interested in becoming part of the Franklin County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). Please contact Robert Quinn-O’Connor at citizencorps@frcog.org or 413-774-3167 x137 for more information or to register.

The schedule has been revised.
Thursday, October 23rd, 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Saturday, October 25th, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Thursday, October 30th, 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Thursday, November 6th, 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Saturday, November 8th, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

All classes will be held at the Montague Public Safety Complex on Turnpike Rd in Turners Falls.

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Skywarn Spotter Training
posted 10/10/2014

The Albany National Weather Service office has announced Skywarn weather spotter training. Two sessions in southern Vermont might be of interest to FCARC members:

  • 10/14/14 630 PM-830 PM
     WINDHAM COUNTY  TOWNSHEND, VT
     GRACE COTTAGE HOSPITAL EMS TRAINING ROOM
     185 GRAFTON RD ON ROUTE 35

  • 10/22/14 700 PM-900 PM
     BENNINGTON COUNTY BENNINGTON, VT
     BENNINGTON FREE LIBRARY
     101 SILVER ST.

For more information or to register go to this website: http://cstar.cestm.albany.edu:7775/skywarn/Talks.htm. Other sessions in Berkshire County and eastern New York are also listed there.

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Columbus Day Weekend is Hamfest Weekend in New England
posted 10/5/2014

Columbus Day weekend brings these opportunities to attend ham radio oriented fleamarkets and to check out specials from dealers in everything from obscure miniature components to brand new transceivers:

  • NEAR-Fest XVI - the New England Amateur Radio Festival takes place on Friday, October 10 and Saturday October 11 in Deerfield New Hampshire. Look at the NEAR-Fest website for details.
  • The 2014 Nutmeg Hamfest and Connecticut State ARRL Convention is on Sunday, October 12, in Meriden, Connecticut. This is their 22nd year. They also have a website: http://www.nutmeghamfest.com/.

Events like this are your best bet to find the things you will never find at Radio Shack without going online and paying shipping costs, not to mention that you could win a door prize or a raffle.

Google Maps indicates that from Greenfield MA, the distance and time to NEARFEST is 118 miles, and will take 2 hours 6 minutes, the distance and time to the Nutmeg Hamfest are 83.9 miles and 1 hour 21 minutes.

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More Volunteers Needed for Bike4Food Event
updated 9/25/2014

[] A few more volunteers are needed for FCARC's communications support of the WillBike4Food fundraising bicycle tour event on Sunday September 28th. This is a fund-raiser sponsored by the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. The all day event starts at the Food Bank headquarters in Hatfield, and cyclists follow various routes of distances 10, 25, 50, or 100 miles. To volunteer for a half-day or all day contact Chris Myers KB1NEK at camyers_1@verizon.net, phone: 413-625-0344. Event info is at https://www.foodbankwma.org/events/bike/. Details of the various routes to be followed by cyclist participants can be seen here.

The Food Bank HQ is on North Hatfield Rd in Hatfield. Click here for a map.

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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.

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September, a New Club Year
updated 9/4/2014

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 check the 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 September 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 camyers_1@verizon.net, phone: 413-625-0344. Event info is at https://www.foodbankwma.org/events/bike/.

The Activities and Club Officers web pages are now updated for the 2014-2015 year.

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VE Session 8/25/2014
posted 9/4/2014

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.

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Public Service in August: Greenfield Triathlon, Bridge of Flowers, D2R2
updated 7/28/2014

August is a big month for public service events:

  • Sunday August 3, the Greenfield Triathlon. Our support is very important for this event. Contact Richard Stewart by e-mail, stwricha@aol.com, or phone him at 413-863-2657 (corrected) to volunteer. Meet at Greenfield Swimming Pool on Nash's Mill Rd at 7 a.m. Event info is at: http://www.greenfield-triathlon.com.

  • Saturday August 9: the Bridge of Flowers 10K Race in Shelburne Falls. Volunteer coordinator for our communications effort will be Chris Myers KB1NEK. Contact info is email: camyers_1@verizon.net, phone: 413-625-0344. Event info is at: http://www.bridgeofflowers10k.com.

  • Saturday August 23rd the Deerfield Dirt Road Randonee (D2R2) is a fund-raising bicycle tour event supporting the Franklin Land Trust. The event starts in Old Deerfield. More than 1000 cyclists will ride routes of 40 to 112 miles length through Franklin County and southern Vermont. This an all-day event, you can volunteer for morning, afternoon, or all day. FCARC will set up communications between the starting/ending location in Deerfield and critical check points where lunch is provided to the riders. There is no cell phone coverage at these sites, so ham radio is the only communications available. Dinner, a beer and a souvenir beer glass are provided to volunteers. Call Bob Solosko, W1SRB, at 413-527-0725 or e-mail him at w1srb@arrl.net to volunteer. See http://www.franklinlandtrust.org/randonnee.html for more D2R2 information.

Also in August - the Club Breakfast Saturday August 16, as always at 8 a.m., Denny's Pantry. Click for directions), and the E-Board meets at 7 p.m. Monday August 18 at Ron Niswander's house, 20C Phyllis Lane, Greenfield. There will be an amateur radio license exam session at the Unitarian Church in Northfield on Monday August 25.

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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.

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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/.

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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.

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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.

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FCARC PICNIC!!! SATURDAY MAY 31
posted 5/28/2014

You should have read about this in the Communicator, and you may get an e-mail or a call. We are hoping for a good turnout to revive a event which we haven't held for several years.

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: We will have a short-range (on foot) foxhunt starting at 11 a.m., 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 may 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.

Extra bonus: Saturday May 31 is the Leyden all-town Tag Sale Day. There will be numerous tag sales on all of the main roads in Leyden.

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.

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Tri-State Public Safety Day, May 17
posted 4/29/2014

We have been invited to participate in the Tri-State Public Safety Day on the GCC campus, Saturday May 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Our participation is expected to consist of a table with descriptions of our contributions during emergencies, and information about how to get involved in amateur radio. We will also have a station set up similar to what we would use for net control during an emergency or a public service event.

We don't expect to need many volunteers on site at GCC, but we encourage members to keep listening to our repeater during the day and to respond if we give out a general call to ask who can communicate with us.

Contact Al N1AW for more info, email aswoodhull@yahoo.com.

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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/.

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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/.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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WA1QKT in May QST
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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FCARC in QST
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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New England QSO Party May 3-4
posted 4/29/2014

Via e-mail from New England ARRL Director Tom Frenaye, K1KI:

For those of you who haven't seen the 2013 results for the New England QSO Party, they are available at http://www.neqp.org. There were 44 plaques awarded for last year's event! Thanks to YCCC for sponsoring four of them.

The 2014 NEQP is next weekend, May 3-4. We want to make sure every one of the 67 New England counties will be on the air again.

Will you be QRV? Interested in going mobile through some of the more difficult counties? Please let us know if you'll be on the air, send a note to info@neqp.org.

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April 28 Meeting: Barry Baines, AMSAT President
posted 4/25/2014

Our guest speaker for the April meeting will be Barry Baines, WD4ASW, president of AMSAT-NA.

The Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (as AMSAT is officially known) was formed in 1969 as an educational organization. Its goal is to foster Amateur Radio’s participation in space research and communication. Today, the “home-brew” flavor of early Amateur Radio satellites lives on, as most of the hardware and software now flying on even the most advanced AMSAT satellites is still largely the product of volunteer effort and donated resources.

AMSAT has been instrumental in “keeping amateur radio in space” over the past 44 years. We are lucky to have a guest speaker who is so deeply involved in this. There are new developments all the time, come to hear the latest.

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SKYWARN Training Schedule 2014
updated 4/1/2014

SKYWARN training sessions in Western Massachustts and nearby in New Hampshire are scheduled soon.

  • Thursday April 3rd, 2014: 7-10 PM: Petersham Center School, 31 Spring Street, Petersham, MA,
    Taught by: NWS Taunton Forecaster
    Registration: None Required
  • Thursday May 1st, 2014: 630-930 PM: Jaffrey NH Fire Department, 138 Turnpike Road, Jaffrey, NH
    Taught by: NWS Taunton Forecaster
    Registration: None Required

More details and notices of training sessions in CT, RI, and eastern MA can be found at the Southern New England Amateur Radio SKYWARN website. Additional sessions are likely to be announced soon.

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Radio Ops Needed: Emergency Shelter Drill at UMass
posted 3/17/2014

Amateur radio operators are needed for an emergency shelter drill at the Mullins Center on the UMass Amherst campus, Thursday April 10th. There is more info on the HCRA website, http://www.hcra.org/2014/03/13/ham-radio-ops-volunteers-needed-for-simulated-emergency/, and you can sign up here: http://umassdrill.eventbrite.com.

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Sawmill River - Volunteers Needed on New Year's Day
updated 12/26/2013

Update: as of 12/26 volunteers are still needed.

As noted in the December Happenings article below, the FCARC will continue its tradition of providing communications support for the Sawmill River 10K race in Montague on New Year's Day.

As of December 20, 14 radio volunteers have signed up. Ideally 6 or 7 more are needed. The Montague Recreation Department is not a big-budget operation, they really depend upon our volunteer help to carry off this event. To volunteer Please contact Al Woodhull, N1AW, at 413-773-3522 or e-mail: aswoodhull@yahoo.com.

Race headquarters and our net control station will be at the Montague Grange in Montague Center. The race begins at 10 a.m. and we ask radio volunteers to try to arrive by 9 a.m. The net control station will be on the air early, call in on the KB1BSS 2 meter repeater (146.985, PL 136.5) if you need directions or to let us know if you might be late (weather has sometimes been a problem on January 1st).

If you have not participated in a public service or emergency event before, or if you want to review net procedures, please download the Public Service Net Procedures PDF document from our website.

The Montague Grange, also known as Montague Common Hall, is on the Common in Montague Center. Click here for a Google map

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Boston Marathon 2014 Volunteer Signup Now Open
posted 12/11/2013

Are you interested in volunteering for communications support in the April 2014 Boston Marathon? Registration is now open on the Minute Man Radio Association website.

Because of the size of this event and security concerns, this is not something you can volunteer for at the last minute, early registration is recommended.

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New Club Year Begins
posted 9/1/2013

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 click here.
  • 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 Activities page.
  • 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.

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Field Day 2013 Results
updated 8/6/2013

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 page.

Update: Complete results, including copies of all supporting documents for our entry, can be seen in the 2013 Field Day Files area.

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Date Change: July Breakfast Moved to July 20; WRTC Station Test on July 13
posted 6/16/2013

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.

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Annual Meeting Election Results
posted 6/13/2013

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.

Added 7/9/2013: 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.

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June 10 Meeting: Club Election; World Radiosport Team Championship
posted 6/4/2013

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 6:00) 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 Test are:

  • 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 2014 competitors

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 is http://www.wrtc2014.org/

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New Tech Licenses and Upgrades
updated 6/03/2013

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 are:

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!

Update: 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.

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KB1BSS 146.985 MHz Repeater Maintenance
updated 5/2/2013

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.

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N1AW's Arduino Keyer
posted 3/5/2013

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 ./Files/N1AWkeyer/index.htm.

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WA1QKT's "How to Use Your FT-60" Info Available Online
posted 2/15/2013

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.

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FCARC Facebook Group???
posted 1/8/2013

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.

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MA-RI CW Traffic Net
posted 1/8/2013

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.

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WebSDR - Hear (and See) Your Signal on a Distant Receiver
posted 1/8/2013

“ 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.

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High Performance HF Transceiver Design
posted 5/19/2012

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

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N1YPS in June QST
posted 5/11/2012

Phill, N1YPS, describes his "rigpod" invention in the Hints & Kinks column of QST for June 2012. Look on page 63.

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Software Defined Radio References
posted 1/25/2012

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 ./Files/SoftwareDefinedRadioRefs.pdf.

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DX Alert! Sunspots Increasing
posted 10/25/2013

This could be a good time to look for DX on 15 or 10 meters, maybe even 6 meters. In the ARRL's weekly Propagation Forecast Bulletin issued today, Tad Cook, K7RA says:

Solar activity is increasing, suggesting that perhaps now in Fall 2013 we are in the midst of a second peak in Cycle 24. We hope it sustains.

Sunspot numbers this week ran up all the way to 228, a level not seen in the past decade since October 27 through November 1, 2003 when the daily sunspot numbers were 238, 230, 330, 293, 266 and 277.

The complete bulletin is available online at http://www.arrl.org/news/the-k7ra-solar-update-292. ARRL members can also receive propagation bulletins by e-mail upon request.

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Western Mass Food Bank - "Will Bike 4 Food" Ride
posted 10/03/2013

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts sponsored a fund-raising bicycle tour event, Bike4Food, on Sunday September 29. This group is an important agency within the Community Organizations Active in Disasters (COAD). They are a good example of where a traditionally charitable organization is coming to see itself as being able to play an additional role during disasters.

The FCARC attempted to provide radio links between event headquarters in Hatfield and remote water/rest stops where cell phone service was not available. In addition, radio operators accompanied Food Bank volunteers in route patrol vehicles on the 100 mile course.

Not everything worked out as planned. This was the Food Bank's third running of the event, the first for some of the routes. Errors were made in planning and marking the routes. For radio operators, some of the remote sites proved difficult for various reasons. However, the overall feeling is that our participation was helpful. Having radio operators in the patrol vehicles was particularly useful in the late stages of the event, as cyclists tired or dealt with bicycle problems.

FCARC participants included Chris KB1NEK, Bruce KB1TLX, Richard KB1NOX, Bob WA1QKT, Carter WA1TVS, Ron K8HSF, Chet N1XPT, and Al N1AW.

Like the Franklin Land Trust D2R2 event of last month this was a long-distance, all day event. As such it presented challenges similar to those we may have to deal with in emergencies, including the need to plan for multiple shifts, lack of advance knowledge of conditions at remote sites, and impracticality of all volunteers meeting together before the start of the event.

As the boys of South Park say, "We learned something today...".

The original announcement of this event has been moved to the News Archive page

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Wayne Green, W2NSD, SK
posted 9/15/2013

If you were involved with ham radio any time between the mid-1950s and 2003 you heard of, and may have both loved and hated, Wayne Green, W2NSD. He passed away on Sept 13. There is much more information here, on the ARRL website.

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Western Mass Food Bank - Bike4Food - Sunday, Sept 29
posted 9/23/2013

The Western Massachustts Food Bank is sponsoring a fund-raising bicycle tour event, Bike4Food, on Sunday September 29. The event website is http://www.foodbankwma.org/events/bike/.

The FCARC has been asked to help with communication. As this is a new event for us, we are being cautious in what we offer. We plan to provide radio links between event headquarters and remote water/rest stops where cell phone service is not available. We also plan to have radio operators accompany EMTs in route patrol vehicles that will follow the last riders on each of two 50 mile loops.

Starting at the Food Bank offices and warehouse in Hatfield, cyclists will follow routes of 100, 50, 25, or 10 miles. The first half of the 100 mile route will loop west through Williamsburg, Ashfield and Conway, then back to Hatfield. The second half of the 100 mile route will follow the west bank of the Connecticut River to East Deerfield, cross over to the Montague side and back again, heading up through Gill and Bernardston to Leyden, and then back through Greenfield, Deerfield, and Whately to Hatfield. Those who want to ride only 50 miles will also follow this route. Details on the routes are at http://www.foodbankwma.org/events/bike/route-descriptions/.

We are looking for volunteers for:

  • Initial setup in Hatfield, Saturday 9/28 mid-day.

All other times are for Sunday 9/29:

  • Net control operation in Hatfield, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., possibly split into 2, 3 or 4 hour shifts.
  • Remote site operators, 8-11 a.m. in Ashfield, 8:30-11:30 a.m. in Conway.
  • Radio operator for sweep vehicle on first 50 mile loop, 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Radio operator for sweep vehicle on second 50 mile loop, 12:30-5:30 p.m.

If we have additional volunteers we may also operate at a remote site in Leyden from about 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and we may place operators with earlier sweep vehicles at 8:30-12:30 and 12-4.

If you would like to participate in this event please contact Chris Myers, KB1NEK, at 413-625-0344 or Al Woodhull, N1AW, at 413-773-3522.

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Deerfield Dirt Road Randonnee
posted 9/1/2013

A relatively small number of FCARC volunteers provided communication for the Franklin Land Trust's bicycle tour event on August 24th. More than 1200 cyclists followed routes of up to 120 miles over routes that stretched from Deerfield to Brattleboro and Marlboro VT, and as far west as Rowe and Charlemont. Our assignment was limited, but quite essential: we linked sites along the Green River in Colrain and Guilford VT with the event headquarters in Deerfield. There was no land line or cell phone service available at these remote sites, so we were not just a backup, we were the major communications link. As the ARRL slogan goes, "When all else fails... Amateur Radio."

By all accounts the event sponsors were very glad for our help. We relayed many messages between Deerfield and the remote sites. It was a long day, we were on the air at our net control station from 7 a.m. to almost 5 p.m.

FCARC operators participating were Bruce, W1SRB, Bob WA1QKT, Cathy KB1SNA, Bob W1SRB, and Al N1AW.

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Help Requested for Vermont 100 Ultra Marathon, July 20-21
posted 7/11/2013

Rob Mather, N1XSS, wrote us:
With just a few weeks left until the 25 running of the Vermont 100 Ultra Marathon July 20- 21, I am still looking for a few radio operators. ... Click here for more information

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2013 Field Day info [original title: June 2013 Events]
posted 6/9/2013 (archived 7/8/2013)
  • Field Day is always the 4th full weekend in June, this year it's the 22nd and 23rd. Setup at Poets Seat Tower begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, on-the-air operation starts at 2 p.m. Saturday and continues to 2 p.m. Sunday. If you haven't signed up to help or operate yet there will be sign-up sheets at the 6/10 meeting and the 6/15 breakfast. If you can't sign up ahead of time, just show up, we'll find something for you to do, or we'll get you on the air. Bring family members or friends who would like to know more about amateur radio.
    Information about past Field Days is collected here in a FCARC Field Day History page.
    Plans for this year's Field Day are on-line in a power point file here, and details of our 2012 results are in the PDF file we submitted to the ARRL. You can browse here for more info about past Field Days.

Do you know how to find the FCARC Field Day site at Poets Seat Tower? Click here for a map.

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FCARC Officer Elections Notes
posted 6/6/2013

Notes regarding the election of officers to take place at the June 10 meeting:

  • Dick Burnham, AC1L, pointed out that even if there are no contests for open offices due to nominations made in advance of the election meeting, our by-laws state that "additional nominations may be made and accepted at the Annual Meeting provided the nominee is present and consents to the nomination."
  • This is also a good place to acknowledge that Dick, AC1L, has 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.

... and if you would like to know more about the FCARC Club By-laws, they can be seen on the website at www.fcarc.org/Files/FCARC Bylaws Ver. 2.pdf

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Amateur Radio Technician License Class Begins April 4
updated 4/3/2013

An Amateur Radio Technician license class will be presented by the Franklin County Amateur Radio Club at the Shelburne Fire Department, 18 Little Mohawk Rd, Shelburne, MA. The first of six sessions starts at 7:00 p.m. Thursday, April 4th. Additional classes will be at 7:00 p.m. on April 11 and 25, and May 2, 9, and 16. Note that there will be no class on April 18 during the school vacation week.

The Shelburne Fire Station is across the street from the First Congregational Church, which is quite visible from Rte 2. It is about 4 miles east of the turnoff to Shelburne Falls, and 5.4 miles west of the Greenfield Rotary (I-91 exit 26). (Click here for a Google map).

Anyone interested should contact Chris Myers KB1NEK, email camyers1@verizon.com, phone 413-625-0344, or Al Woodhull N1AW, email n1aw@arrl.net, phone 413-773-3522.

Additional information will be posted on the FCARC 2013 Technician Class web page.

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SkyWarn Training
updated 3/27/2013

Two opportunities for SkyWarn training are coming up in Franklin County:

  • Greenfield Transportation Center, 12 Olive Street, Greenfield, Wednesday May 1, 2013, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
    PRE-REGISTER with Nina Martin-Anzuoni at 413-624-0131 x101 or email admin@frcog.org
  • Heath Community Center, Thursday May 9, 2013, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. (organized by Ellen Jenkins, KB1RCF).

Additional SkyWarn training sessions in southern New England are listed on the National Weather Service, Taunton MA website.

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November [2012] FCARC Meeting: Antennas, Towers, and the Law
updated 11/14/2012

On November 19 the FCARC will have a guest speaker, Fred Hopengarten, K1VR, telecommunications lawyer, author of the definitive book, Antenna Zoning for the Radio Amateur. Fred has represented many amateurs in conflicts with local zoning authorities about antennas and towers, including right here in Franklin County. His book is published by the ARRL and he will probably have a few copies on hand with him. Click here for Fred's website.

The meeting will be at the usual time and place, Greenfield High School, Lenox Ave (off Silver St.) at 7:15 p.m. (coffee at 7:00).

...

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Field Day 2012
updated 7/8/2012

Update: Preliminary results are in.
Total QSOs were cw: 601, ssb: 260, GOTA ssb: 25, 6 mtr ssb: 7, a total of 893 QSOs. Our QSO point total was 2988.
We more than doubled our QSO points, last year we had 1446 QSO points.

The news archive has an article summarizing FCARC Field Day results back to 2006.

Our total FD 2012 score has not been calculated yet. There is a possibility of many bonus points, the rules for which seem to change every year. But FD 2012 was clearly a good one for the FCARC. From an operating point of view we seem to have done well. We had a time when we had to shut down and disconnect antennas as thunderstorms went by. The interruption was short and we had night-owl operators keeping both the cw and ssb stations almost continuously on the air, close to 24 hours non-stop. We had fewer operators take advantage of the GOTA station, but they worked hard and produced an almost-full log sheet. Fickle 6 meters did not bless us with sporadic E propagation, with no DX and less local activity than a more active band would produce.

The official ARRL Field Day message, sent as a bulletin from W1AW, was copied off the air, and is posted here.

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Skywarn Training Summer 2012
updated 6/17/2012

. . . [obsolete information deleted]

The SKYWARN Training Schedule ... can be seen on the WX1BOX Southern New England Amateur Radio Skywarn website, www.wx1box.org/node/36.

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KB1BSS 448.875 MHz Repeater Problems Continue
posted 6/17/2012

A few days after being put back in service (announced here on May 31), the club's 70 cm. repeater had a relapse and and began acting much as it had been when taken down for repairs. Several members are working on the problem.

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KB1BSS 448.875 MHz Repeater is Up
posted 5/29/2012

The FCARC 70 cm. repeater in Greenfield, located on the ridge just south of the Poet's Seat tower, is back in service.

The repeater started acting up last November, seeming to respond to input but then cutting off the audio. Attempts to diagnose it in place were unsuccessful. Gerry, KA1STZ, took it to his home and eventually found a failed power connection. See the article in the May Communicator for details and pictures.

After several weeks running on a dummy load it seemed there were no other problems, and the repeater was placed back in service on Tuesday May 29.

For more information, including how to activate the h.f. link on 29.6 MHz, see the FCARC Repeaters page on this website.

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Annual Elections Meeting and E-Board Schedule Change
posted 5/8/2012

Because of the lack of snow days this year the Greenfield school year will be over before the traditional 3rd Monday of June when we would normally have our annual Business and Elections Meeting. Greenfield High School will not be available for a meeting on June 18. So this year the June meeting will be on the second Monday, June 11, starting at 7:15 p.m. (coffee and snacks at 7 p.m.)

Traditionally the E-Board met on a Monday, but in recent months it was moved to Tuesdays because one member had a conflict with meetings of another organization. However, that conflict has ended, and board meetings have been moved back to Mondays. The June E-board meeting will be held before the Business Meeting, at 6 p.m. in the usual room at GHS. All members are always welcome to attend E-board meetings.

Nominations and Elections: If you are an active member of the club (dues paid or a new ham enjoying a complimentary membership year) you should have received a nomination form in the US mail recently, with a return envelope. The offices of President, Secretary, and one Director are elected in even-numbered years. The incumbents are Chris Myers, Bob Dickerman, and Belle Dyer, respectively. Nominations received early enough will be announced at the June picnic, but nominations can be made later by returning the nomination form you received by June 1st.

Officers and Members: Current officers are listed on the club website at www.fcarc.org/clubofficers.htm. Current members are also listed on the website at www.fcarc.org/members.htm.

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E-Board and Program Meeting, Monday February 13
posted 2/5/2012

The February FCARC meeting is scheduled for Monday the 13th. Because of school vacation we are meeting a week early this month.

The E-Board will meet at 6 p.m., before the program meeting.

Our speaker will be Ellis Rud, N1MWJ, who will be talking about living off the grid. Ellis got started with solar energy by our own Walt, W1ZPB. Ellis is also the president of the North Berkshire Amateur Radio Club which operates several repeaters on Mt. Greylock.

[snip]

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Updated FCARC Calendar for 2012
posted 1/10/2012

This is a reminder that FCARC activities for the entire September-August club year are posted on the FCARC website Activities page.

You should check this page once in a while for updates about meetings and other activities. For 2012 the page now has information about the Technician license class beginning January 12th, the program meetings January 23rd and February 13th, and the Sleigh Bell Race on February 4th.

Also note that our "regular" monthly plan of meeting on the third Monday of the month gets disrupted by holidays and other events - for instance, the January and February 2012 meetings are not on third Mondays because Greenfield High School is closed on the Martin Luther King Day and Presidents' Day holidays in these months. We have also learned that, unless we have an unusual number of snow days this year, school will end before the 18th of June, and thus our Annual Meeting and Election of Officers has been scheduled for June 11th.

Changes made since the original schedule was published in the Fall are printed in red on the activities page to draw attention to the changes.

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KB1BSS 440 Repeater Off
posted 12/13/2011

The KB1BSS 448.875 MHz repeater has had a problem of not passing audio to the transmitter for several weeks. The nature of the problem is such that you wouldn't notice it unless you could listen to the repeater while transmitting at the same time. Since the repeater is not heavily used it's not known when the malfunction started. As of 12/13 it is off the air - control components have been removed for testing.

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Official 2011 Field Day Results in QST
posted 11/12/2011

December QST is out, and Field Day 2011 results are posted. Our entry under the call AC1L is listed on page 76. By your webmaster's count our entry is 178th of 344 entries in class 2A -- almost exactly in the middle. Apparently no errors were detected in our submitted logs, we are credited with 531 QSOs and 2,296 points, exactly as posted on this web page in July (note this is now in the news archive).

You can access a database of Field Day results on the ARRL website and select many different ways of seeing the results. For instance, you can see all entries in all classes from Western Massachusetts. Here you can see that the top entry in Western Massachusetts was the effort of the Hampden County Radio Association, in class 7A, and that the only other WMA class 2A entry was the combined effort of the M.I.T. and Harvard Radio Clubs, who have been at this far longer than the FCARC.

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2011-2012 FCARC Activities Calendar
posted 8/19/2011

The 2011-2012 Club Calendar has been posted. Click here or on "Activities" in the menu on the left side of this page.

We are returning to program and business meetings every month for two reasons:

  • Having months without meetings has not led to better attendance.
  • Breakfast at a crowded restaurant is not a good time and place for membership discussions of club business.

Another change for 2011-2012 will be the meeting room. This year we plan to make our usual meeting place the Faculty Dining Room at Greenfield High School. We can have coffee or other refreshments here, and we can sit around tables for hands-on activities or connect to antennas ouside a window here. This room is easy to find, just turn left inside the main entrance of the school. The Small Auditorium (room 59) will still be available for us to adjourn to if a program can benefit from the nice audio-visual facilities there.

For reference the 2010-2011 calendar can be seen on the website.

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Final ARRL Field Day Results
updated 07/27/2011

Logs have been scrutinized, a few unnoticed dupes were expunged, some corrections made, all data and documentation has been sent off to ARRL.

2011 ARRL Field Day Results for FCARC (as submitted)
  Call	Score	Class	QSOs	Mult	GOTA	Sec	# participants
  AC1L	2,296	2A	531	2	KB1MSU	WMA	25
  QSOs: c.w. 192 (3 at GOTA station), phone: 339 (30 at GOTA, 23 on 6 meters)
  QSO points: 1446, bonus points: 850

Some participants were saying, well, we may not have done all that well, but we learned a lot. But actually when the score was calculated we did better than we had done in recent years. Here are scores for the previous five years as reported in the ARRL Contest Results archives (yes, we know, "Field Day is not a contest").

2010 ARRL Field Day
Call	Score	Class	QSOs	Mult	GOTA	Sec	#	Club
AC1L	2,078	2A	438	2	KB1MSU	WMA	25	Franklin Co ARC

2009 ARRL Field Day
Call	Score	Class	QSOs	Mult	GOTA	Sec	#	Club
AC1L	1,770	2A	319	2	KB1MSU	WMA	25	Franklin Co ARC

2008 ARRL Field Day
Call	Score	Class	QSOs	Mult	GOTA	Sec	#	Club
AC1L	2,066	2A	334	2	N1AW	WMA	25	Franklin Co ARC

2007 ARRL Field Day
Call	Score	Class	QSOs	Mult	GOTA	Sec	#	Club
AC1L	2,128	2A	339	2	N1AW	WMA	22	Franklin Co ARC

2006 ARRL Field Day
Call	Score	Class	QSOs	Mult	GOTA	Sec	#	Club
AC1L	3,620	2AB	288	5	 	WMA	30	Franklin CTY ARC

Note that the high score in 2006 came about because both stations were operated QRP -- the actual number of QSOs was low, and by all accounts it was a disappointing experience for the ssb operators who had a hard time being heard with only 5 watts.

Of our 25 participants, thirteen licensed hams operated the cw, ssb, and 6 meter stations, four unlicensed operators made 30 supervised QSOs at the GOTA station, and eight others participated in various ways including helping with setup and takedown, moving the trailer, and supervising the GOTA station.

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Repeater Repairs and Enhancements
posted 12/14/2010

For some time the FCARC 2 meter repeater in Leyden has actually been our backup portable repeater, while Bill Boutwell, N1EWK, and Gerry Lempicki, KA1STZ, analyzed and then repaired the damage done by lightning or power surges in the summer or fall -- nobody seems to have noticed exactly when the damage occurred. One of the effects of this damage was to disable the CTCSS tone control, which led to repeating of noise or distant users trying to access another repeater.

On Friday, December 10, the backup repeater was replaced with the main machine, with all control functions restored. CTCSS is operating properly, using the 136.5 Hz tone. Also, we can now exercise control functions such as temporarily disabling CTCSS if a net or an emergency operation requires opening up access. We can also reset the repeater controller remotely if necessary. As required by FCC regulations the repeater can be reset remotely using a frequency different from the repeater input channel.

There are still some parts needed to restore all of the functions of the weather station at the repeater site.

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FCARC Holiday Party, Monday 12/19
posted 12/15/2011

The annual FCARC Holiday Potluck Party starts at 6 p.m. in the Greenfield High School cafeteria (directions below) on Monday, December 19. Barbara Berrigan, KB1NOI is coordinating the potluck part -- if she does not call you, please call her and tell her what you can bring (main course, desert, etc.).

We will have an auction to benefit the club treasury. Carter, WA1TVS, will serve as auctioneer. If you have a new or nice usable radio or other items you would like to contribute to this auction, please contact Carter for listing the item and arrange for its delivery to the potluck if feasible. Or bring an ad or picture of the item with a description. No items-no auction! But that won't happen, so bring your checkbook or cash.

By popular demand, a group of talented club members will provide music again this year!

Directions to Greenfield High School: From the center of Greenfield go north on Federal St. (Rtes 5 and 10) about 1.5 miles, at Silver St. (stop light) turn left. (From the north, the Silver St. intersection is about 0.3 mile south of Rte 2 on Rtes 5 and 10, turn right). On Silver St. look for a sign for the High School on the left, about 0.3 mile from Federal St. (Click here for a map.)

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Official 2011 Field Day Results in QST
posted 11/12/2011

December QST is out, and Field Day 2011 results are posted. Our entry under the call AC1L is listed on page 76. By your webmaster's count our entry is 178th of 344 entries in class 2A -- almost exactly in the middle. Apparently no errors were detected in our submitted logs, we are credited with 531 QSOs and 2,296 points, exactly as posted on this web page in July (note this is now in the news archive).

You can access a database of Field Day results on the ARRL website and select many different ways of seeing the results. For instance, you can see all entries in all classes from Western Massachusetts. Here you can see that the top entry in Western Massachusetts was the effort of the Hampden County Radio Association, in class 7A, and that the only other WMA class 2A entry was the combined effort of the M.I.T. and Harvard Radio Clubs, who have been at this far longer than the FCARC.

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Amateur Radio License Exams, Northfield, MA November 28
posted 11/3/2011

The FCARC VE (Volunteer Examiner) team will hold an Amateur Radio License exam session on Monday November 28. The session begins at 7:00 p.m., downstairs at the Unitarian Church on Main Street in Northfield (Routes 10 & 63).

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.

Pre-registration is not required. However, it is helpful if we have an idea of how many candidates to expect and what exams they plan to attempt. Please 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.

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November Club Meeting
posted 11/3/2011

For the club meeting at 7:15 p.m. on Monday, November 21, our guest will be Terry Dun, former Fire Chief, Emergency Manager, and Select Board member in Shelburne. He has worked with the Franklin Regional Emergency Planning Committee in planning communciations improvements for public safety agencies.

[snip...]

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Meeting October 17: The SOTA Jerks
posted 10/9/2011

Our guests for the October FCARC meeting will be The SOTA Jerks: Frandy, N1FJ, Jim, KK1W, Matt, W1MSW, and possibly another collaborator will present a talk about Summits on the Air -- how it works, and why it's so much fun. Since July, 2010 Frandy has activated 33 summits. This is growing in popularity around the world -- check out the SOTA website http://www.sota.org.uk to learn more. On Patriots' Day last spring Chris N1EWK and Al N1AW joined Frandy and Matt to activate Pocumtuck Rock in Deerfield, and pictures of this expedition were published in the May Communicator, archived on this website at http://www.fcarc.org/communicator/comm201105.doc.

[snip...]

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Hurricane Irene Alert
posted 08/26/2011

Webmaster's note: This article has been archived for reference in case another emergency event such as a hurricane occurs. The information here is specific to Hurricane Irene of August 2011, you should expect a similar message with possibly important changes to details in a future event. To receive bulletins like this by e-mail you should register with Western Massachusetts ARES - go to the ARRL WMA Section web page at http://wma.arrl.org and click on the WMA ARES REgistration link.

Subject: WMA ARES - Hurricane Irene Standby

From: n2yhk@arrl.net

Date: 8/26/2011 11:07 AM

To: ARES members

ARES Standby / Availability Check

At this time, WMA ARES is being placed on standby. I am asking the DECs to put together a list of those who might be available for assignments in support of potential EmComm operations. Support that may be necessary might include:

* HF Net Control Operators (3943 / 7245)

* VoIP Net Control Operators (IRLP / Echolink)

* WL2K Relay Stations (from HF / VoIP)

* Operators to staff the SEOC / MEMA Regions / ARES Command Stations

* Operators to assist served agencies in the field, such as local EMAs, EOCs, shelters or the Red Cross.

If you are interested in being placed on standby, please contact your local EC or DEC and make sure they are aware of your contact information, availability and capabilities.

Please advise of your availability to do any of the following:

* Activation in place, i.e. those that can help with HF nets, IRLP/EchoLink, WL2K, or other such things from home

* Deployment to major EOC, i.e. Agawam Region 3/4 HQ, Worcester ECC (WC1MAD Region 4 station), SEOC in Framingham, etc.

* Field deployment to assist a served agency - Specify within or outside of the WMA section

We are asking for people to indicate availability for 12 hour shifts:

* Saturday 7 PM to Sunday 7 AM

* Sunday 7 AM to Sunday 7 PM

* Sunday 7 PM to Monday 7 AM

* Monday 7 AM to Monday 7 PM

The DECs are listed below. Please continue to monitor the track of the storm and updates about potential EmComm responses. Prepare your go kits and yourselves for potential deployment. As the storm approaches, monitor HF, VoIP and your local EmComm frequencies.

Franklin County DEC - N1OTS: n1ots@yahoo.com

Preparation WMA ARES asks you to prepare yourself for any possible communications assistance requests. Check your go kits, charge your batteries and stock up your personal supplies. Some potential requests for assistance for this type of situation might include providing preliminary damage assessment reports to emergency management and disaster relief organizations and providing communications to assist localities in the restoration of power and other essential services.

Situational Awareness / Disaster Intelligence Reporting

ARES members should be prepared to assist SkyWarn spotters with net control and liaison duties as well as report local weather or damage meeting or exceeding the following criteria:

* Winds (40 mph or greater; specify whether estimated or recorded) -- large branches downed (specify diameter of branch) -- Trees/power lines downed -- Structural damage to buildings (roof, windows, etc.)

* Rainfall -- 1 inch or greater in an hour (NOT a 1"/hr. rate for 10 minutes) -- 2 inches or greater storm total

* Flooding -- Streams/Rivers -- also, when nearing bankful -- Coastal -- Street (Road Closures/Washouts, Cars Stuck due to flood waters - Minimum of 6" of water covering an entire roadway or lane of a major route/highway)

* Damage -- Any storm damage the affects major roadways or infrastructure (to include transportation, public safety or medical facilities) -- Any major power or telecommunications outages

You should also monitor your local municipalities and relay in any CONFIRMED reports of the above situations. They should be relayed to the NWS as well as to any local served agency, your regional or state MEMA HQ and to any Red Cross chapter / Salvation Army liaisons that are active. This information will help those agencies issue warnings and prepare for their response to any disasters.

Frequencies The local ARES / RACES / SkyWarn frequencies are listed below: 146.910 162.2 Mt. Greylock 146.940 127.3 Mt. Tom 146.985 136.5 Greenfield 146.925 100.0 Worcester 146.970 114.8 Paxton 145.370 136.5 Gardner 145.450 74.4 Fitchburg 53.31 71.9 Wachusett - Statewide Coordination IRLP (9123) / Echolink (*NEW-ENG*) - Command / Liaison The HF frequencies of 3943 / 7245 will also be utilized for command / liaison as necessary. The National Hurricane Center uses 14.325 MHz for wide scale communications.

NO REQUESTS FOR ASSISTANCE FROM OUR SECTION HAVE BEEN MADE AT THIS TIME. We are only at the planning stage, preparing to fulfill any potential requests, by checking on the availability of operators. Let me know if you have any questions, concerns, suggestions, etc. Thanks! John, N2YHK WMA SEC

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Statewide Hurricane Drill, Monday, 8 Aug. from 7 to 9 PM
This is IN PLACE OF the regular monthly drill usually held on the first Monday of each month.

posted 07/29/2011

Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and statewide ARES and RACES will participate in a two hour hurricane drill, Aug.8 to test communications interoperability.

The test will utilize many forms of communications available to hams:
1. HF voice, on 3.943 MHz (7.245 MHz, if propagation permits)
2. VHF voice on local repeaters: 146.985 (Leyden), 146.91 (Mt. Greylock), and 146.94 (Mt. Tom)
3. Echolink, *NEW-ENG* Conference Node (#9123) and IRLP Reflector, 9123
4. VHF packet

Individual operators, operating from home or mobile stations, are encouraged to invent damage reports, always to be prefixed with the statement: "This is a drill."

For more information, go to the web reflector page: groups.yahoo.com/group/mass_races_ares_skywarn_general/message/1600

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Officers Election Results
corrected 06/28/2011

At the FCARC Annual Meeting on June 13, Bob Solosko (correction) was elected a Director, Howard Field was re-elected as Treasurer, and Al Woodhull was elected as Vice-President.

The next Monday meeting will be in the Fall, but there is a lot going on during the summer. Field Day is next, on the weekend of June 24-25. See the FCARC Activities page for more information.

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FCARC Communicator: New Issue, New Editor
posted 03/28/2011

The April issue of the FCARC Communicator has been published. Club members who get it by e-mail should have received it today. Those who opt for hard copy via the US Postal Service should see it soon.

With last month's issue you may also have noticed a change of editor. Hyrum Huskey, KB1KRS, did a splendid job for many years, since before those who now edit this website became members of the club. Hyrum is preparing to move from our area and has turned over the editorship of the Communicator to Bob Solosko, W1SRB.

Each issue of the Communicator is posted on the website at about the time the next issue is due to be published, and old issues going back more than 5 years are available. Click here for Communicator archives.

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New Years Net
posted 12/09/2010

Join us on the air to celebrate the New Year on the KB1BSS repeater, starting at 11:50 P.M. on New Years Eve.

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Sawmill River Race, New Years Day
posted 12/09/2010

The FCARC has been invited by the Montague Parks and Recreation Department to continue its tradition of providing communications support for the Sawmill River 10K Road Race, to be held in Montague on New Year's Day. We need 15 to 20 volunteers to cover this race.

Al Woodhull, N1AW, is coordinating the FCARC effort on this. Please contact him at 773-3522, n1aw@arrl.net, or on the air to let him know you will participate.

The race will begin at 10 a.m. at the village common in Montague Center. Our communications center will be upstairs from the race headquarters in the historic Montague Grange building. We will start setting up the net control station between 8 and 8:30. Radio operators should plan to arrive by 9 a.m. to allow time to sign in, get an assignment, and get to assigned positions on the race route. Parking in Montague Center can be a problem if you arrive late.

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Summary of E-board Meeting September 13
posted 09/17/2010
  • Vice President: Al, N1AW, was elected by the board to fill the position vacated by Chris, KB1NEK. A Director position is now open. Anyone interested in serving as a Director should contact the board in order to be considered.
  • Repeater: The 2 m repeater PLL tone is not working. A temporary controller will be put in place so the permanent controller can be repaired.
  • Program meeting October 18: Carter, WA1TVS, will give a talk about his cross-country trip, including observations during an actual tornado warning.
  • New licensees: Two new licensees are being offered a year of free club membership after the recent VE session. See article below.
  • Crop Walk: See article above. Howard, N1LUP, is coordinating volunteers.

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August License Exam Session
updated 09/13/2010

The FCARC VE (Volunteer Examiner) team held an Amateur Radio License exam session on Monday August 23. One new licensee is the result. Congratulations to John Glezen of Swanzey, NH, who qualified for a new Technician license. According to QRZ.com John's new call is KB1URV and became effective on August 27.

Congratulations are also in order for two others from the FCARC area who passed license tests at Boxboro last weekend. Chris Dickerman of Northfield, KB1SMY, upgraded to a General Class license, and Martin Boucher of Hinsdale, NH, earned a new Technician license. Martin's call is KB1USR, and became effective on September 9.

The FCARC VE Team holds exams four times a year, on the fourth Monday of February, May, August, and November. The next session will be November 22nd. For more information, please see the Amateur Radio License Exams page on this website.

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Program Meeting, Monday November 15: Six Months to Field Day!
posted 10/18/2010

The next FCARC meeting is scheduled for Monday November 15. Time: 7 p.m. Location: Greenfield High School, Small Auditorium, room 59.

Dealing with Field Day problems: several club members have been working on bandpass filters and checking out club-owned transceivers, and thinking about possible new station and antenna configurations for our Field Day operation at Poet's Seat. The goal is to reduce some of the interference problems we have had between the stations operating close together. Work in progress and proposals for changes will be presented. It is hoped the discussion will lead to additional suggestions and broader participation as we work toward the June 25-26 2011 event.

Directions to Greenfield High School: From the center of Greenfield go north on Federal St. (Rtes 5 and 10) about 1.5 miles, at Silver St. (stop light) turn left. (From the north, the Silver St. intersection is about 0.3 mile south of Rte 2 on Rtes 5 and 10, turn right). On Silver St. look for a sign for the High School on the left, about 0.3 mile from Federal St. (Click here for a map.)
To find GHS Room 59: Go in the main door of the High School (left end of the building). Go straight back through the lobby toward the restrooms. Turn right and go down that hallway about 2/3 of the way to Room 59 on the right.

For dates of future meetings see the FCARC Activities page.

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Special e-board meeting September 13
posted 08/20/2010

Due to the election of Chris, KB1NEK, to serve as club president, there is a vacancy for the remainder of his term as vice-president. At the regular e-board meeting on Aug. 9, Al, N1AW was nominated to fill the position. He and others thought it would be best to wait a month to make a final decision in case a club member wants to nominate someone else. According to the by-laws, the e-board itself has the power to fill a vacancy in any club office.

The board also decided to take a closer look at the state of the KB1BSS repeater. This summer there were a number of problems with the equipment, and some members expressed a desire to make improvements to avoid future disruptions. Another task discussed was the improvement of equipment used during the annual Field Day. Four club members are working on a project to make band-pass filters in the hopes of preventing interference between the two radios usually operating in the trailer.

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Annual FCARC Picnic May 22
updated 05/14/2010

The annual club picnic will take place on Saturday, May 22, at Fred and Jan Smead's house, 73 Mt. Warner Rd, Hadley. Click here for a map, or click here for directions.

Please note the time has been changed to 2 p.m. (it was originally listed as 3 p.m. on the 2009-2010 FCARC Calendar).

Betty, KB1DCG, will be coordinating the potluck. Please let her know if you plan to attend and what food you will bring.

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April FCARC Meeting Program: "Build It Yourself" 4/12 (Note Date Change)
updated 03/23/2010

Greenfield schools are closed on April 19, Patriot's Day, a state holiday, so the April meeting at GHS will be a week earlier than originally scheduled, on Monday April 12.

The meeting program will be "Build It Yourself". Have you built a kit, or a gadget described in a magazine, or modified commerical or surplus equipment? Several club members will talk about home-brew projects and kit building, and will show and talk about their projects.

Anyone interested in making a presentation should contact Al, N1AW. We would like to have each presenter give a 5 minute (+/-) talk on one project, hopefully with pictures on digital media so we can use the projection system to make things visible to all. Bring pictures of the construction process, or of things like antennas which you can't bring along. If you don't want to give a talk, or you have more than one project, bring them along and we'll have an informal show-and-tell session after the presentations.

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Club T-shirts
posted 01/25/2010

Cindy Dickerman, KB1IAE, will be ordering a new batch of club T-shirts from Valley Tees in Greenfield. She plans to place the order after our March club meeting. Anyone attending the meeting can order there. Or call Cindy at 413-498-0166.

The shirts are crew type, forest green color, with the FCARC logo on both front and back.

Cost-$10.00 for sizes small, medium, large and xlarge. $12.00 for sizes 2XL, 3XL.

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Program Meeting, Guest Speaker N1BAA, Monday March 15
posted 03/06/2010

The next FCARC meeting is scheduled for Monday March 15. Time: 7:15 p.m., location: Greenfield High School, Small Auditorium, room 59.

Our guest speaker will be Jose Castillo, N1BAA, ex-N4BAA, KG4SB, YI9BAA, and VP5BAX. He is now a Franklin County resident. He is currently setting up for serious contest operation at a new home in Sunderland. He moved from Amherst recently so he could put up higher towers than Amherst would permit without a hassle.

Jose wrote: "I have PLENTY of photos....and experiences on which to draw from as I speak quite regularly all over the US.... I will put together a short program in Power Point that addresses operating from a small footprint to what I have today...AND integrate contesting into it as well as every day modern logging."

Directions to Greenfield High School: From the center of Greenfield go north on Federal St. (Rtes 5 and 10) about 1.5 miles, at Silver St. (stop light) turn left. (From the north, the Silver St. intersection is about 0.3 mile south of Rte 2 on Rtes 5 and 10, turn right). On Silver St. look for a sign for the High School on the left, about 0.3 mile from Federal St. (Click here for a map.)
To find GHS Room 59: Go in the main door of the High School (left end of the building). Go straight back through the lobby to the restrooms. Turn right and go down that hallway about 2/3 of the way to Room 59 on the right.

For dates of future meetings see the FCARC Activities page.

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Public Service: Sawmill River Race, New Year's Day
posted 12/20/2009

The Montague Sawmill River 10K run will take place on Friday, January 1st, 2010. As we have done in the past, the FCARC will be providing communications. We are looking for ham radio operators!!!

  • Place: Town Common in Montague Center
  • Net control Center: The Grange, 34 Main Street, Montague Center
  • Race time: 10 a.m.
  • Volunteer checkin time: 9 a.m.
  • Talk-in: 146.985, negative offset, PL 136.5 (FCARC Leyden repeater)

We would like to have communications volunteers meet at the Grange by 9 a.m. for assignment of posts, handing out of maps, and allowing time to get to assigned posts. Parking can be a problem if you arrive late.

Directions from I-91 North or South, take exit 27 to Rte 2 East. Go to the second traffic light, the landmark is a Mobil gas station across the street. At this light turn right and go over the bridge to Avenue A. At the next traffic light turn left onto 3rd Street and follow this up the hill. This road will become Unity Street and then you will come to a fork in the road. Bear right onto Turners Falls Road. Continue on Turners Falls Road to Montague Center.

From the Amherst-Hadley-Sunderland area: take Rte 47 or Rte 63 north. These routes join near Montague Center. Main Street in Montague begins off Rte 47, about 200 yards west of where it ends at Rte 63. The Town Common and the Grange Hall are about a mile north on Main St. Click here for a map showing the location of the Grange Hall.

To volunteer, or for more information, contact Barbara, KB1NOI, or John, KB1NOH, at 413-773-5903.

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November 16 Club Meeting: Cell Phone Technology
posted 11/10/2009

Monday the 16th is the date, and 7:15 is the time for the November FCARC meeting.

The program will feature Paul Allis of Western Mass Communications speaking on "Cell Phone Technology". Cell phones use radio, but in different ways from what we are used to as amateur radio operators.

Paul's company operates cell phone stores in Deerfield and Greenfield and a two-way radio business in Bernardston.

Directions to Greenfield High School: From the center of Greenfield go north on Federal St. (Rtes 5 and 10) about 1.5 miles, at Silver St. (stop light) turn left. (From the north, the Silver St. intersection is about 0.3 mile south of Rte 2 on Rtes 5 and 10, turn right). On Silver St. look for a sign for the High School on the left, about 0.3 mile from Federal St. (Click here for a map.)
To find GHS Room 59: Go in the main door of the High School (left end of the building). Go straight back through the lobby to the restrooms. Turn right and go down that hallway about 2/3 of the way to Room 59 on the right.

For dates of future meetings see the FCARC Activities page.

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ARRL Sweepstakes Contest (phone)
updated 11/10/2009

The phone portion of the ARRL November Sweepstakes contest begins at 4 p.m. EST (2100Z) Saturday, November 21, and runs until 10 p.m. Sunday evening, November 22 (0300Z Monday Nov 23). Stations can operate up to 24 hours in the 30 hour period. Total operating time is reported with entries. So if you operate only a few hours you will be able to compare how you did with others who made a limited effort when the results are published on the ARRL website .

QST for November 2009 has a good discussion of operating techniques for Sweepstakes in the "This Month in Contesting" column on page 85. Much more information is available on the ARRL Contests web page.

N1AW has written a short Contesting: Why and How for the Beginner page with reasons why you might want to participate and some hints for getting started.

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Field Day 2009 Pictures!
posted 08/19/2009

Finally, some pictures from our June 2009 effort have been posted... See the photos page for a link.

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Two important public services events coming up
posted 07/12/2009

Sunday, August 2, the Greenfield Triathalon starts at the swimming area on the Green River. Operators should report by 7 AM to the park on Nash's Mill Rd, between Colrain Rd and Leyden Rd. The event starts at 8 and will run to about 1 PM.

Saturday, August 8, the Bridge of Flowers Race in Shelburne Falls, starts in the village center. Radio operators should report by 7 AM, to the alley way between Baker's Pharmacy and the Keystone Market. The race will start at 8:20. You may want to bring a chair and a bottle of water.

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Annual MTARA Hamfest March 7
updated 02/24/2009

The Mount Tom Amateur Repeater Association's 21st Annual Amateur Radio & Electronics Hamfest will be held Saturday March 7, 2009. Doors open at 7:00 a.m. for vendors and at 9:00 a.m. for bargain hunters. The location is the Springfield Turnverein Club, 176 Garden Street, Feeding Hills, MA.

Advertised features include: Snack Bar, Door Prizes, Raffle Prizes, Handicapped Parking & Access, Amateur License Exams, Tailgating, and Help Loading/Unloading. 120 VAC is available.

See the MTARA Flea Market web page at http://www.mtara.org/flea09.html for more information, including a map, and driving directions.



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Emergency Communications Seminar February 28
posted 02/10/2009

Topics to be covered are:

  • ARES, RACES SKYWARN and other emergency communications groups in Western MA
  • Amateur operations with EOC's (Emergency Operations Centers)
  • Simplex Operations
  • Go Kits
  • Net Operations and Procedures
  • Public Service Operations
  • Traffic Handling with examples and practice

The Details:

  • When: Saturday February 28th
  • Where: Pioneer Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross, 506 Cottage Street, Springfield MA (same location as the MTARA Meetings)
  • Time: 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM
  • RSVP- Contact Tom, N1MUV indicating that you are planning to attend. His e-mail address is n1muv@charter.com

A map showing the location of the venue can be found on the MTARA website.



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New Extras, New Calls
posted 12/29/2008

Three of the four who passed their Extra Class exams at the November FCARC VE session have new calls:

  • Eric Parham is now AB1JW
  • Alan Corey is now AB1JX
  • Janice Peeters is now AB1JY



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FCARC Breakfast Dates May Change
Updated 12/29/2008

At the club meeting at the holiday party on December 15 a resolution was passed to revert to the traditional formula for setting the date of the monthly FCARC breakfasts. The breakfasts will now take place on the Saturday after the second Monday of each month. This replaces the formula that scheduled the breakfasts on the third Saturday of each month.

More often than not both formulas indicate the same date, but this is not always true. The date of the January 2009 breakfast remains January 17. The February breakfast will be on February 14, Valentine's Day, not February 21 as scheduled previously. (Note this is also the date of the Winter Carnival).

As it turns out there are no other changes to the breakfast date for the rest of the 2008-2009 club year (The March breakfast was already scheduled for March 14). The calendar page (http://www.fcarc.org/activities.htm) has been updated with changes color-coded.



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Four New Extras from November FCARC VE Session!
posted 11/30/2008

Kudos to: Barbara, KB1NOI, Janice KB1DCC, Eric, KB1QYO of Shelburne, and Alan, formerly WA1ZTA, all four of whom were the only examinees at our November 24 testing session; all four of whom took Extra Examinations; and all four of whom passed! Quite an evening for both the successful candidates and the volunteer examiners! [from December 2008 Communicator]

Pictures from the evening are posted here.



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Tuesday Evening C.W. Practice Continues on 10 Meters    
updated 10/22/2008

Dave, KB1MU, has organized a slow-speed c.w. net meeting at 8:15 p.m. on Tuesdays. The net meets on 28.135. The purpose is to provide a place for those interested in practicing and improving c.w. skills.



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Greenfield Triathlon Photos     09/14/2008

Photos from the FCARCs participation in the August 2008 Greenfield Triathlon are now on-line. Go to the Photos page for links to these and other pictures.



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Fox Hunt Photos     08/02/2008

A report on the 8/2 fox hunt is now on line here.



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Preliminary 2008 Field Day Results     07/09/2008

Scott passed on a preliminary estimate of our score. We had 334 contacts, 910 bonus points, and a total claimed score of 2026 points. This is very close to last year's result.

For details and a comparison with 2007, go to the new Field Day Results page.



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Field Day 2008 Pictures!     07/05/2008

Pictures of the FCARC Field Day effort are posted on the Flickr site, at http://www.flickr.com/photos/50505234@N00/sets/72157605890641039/

There are pictures of past FCARC Field Days in the FCARC Photo Gallery. You can find more information about past Field Days in the FCARC Communicator archives (look for the Summer 2006 and 2007 issues).



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Items of Interest on WMA ARRL Section Website     06/24/2008

Did you know that the Western Massachusetts ARRL Section has its own website at http://wma.arrl.org? Several articles that may be of general interest are currently posted, including:

  • Information about Public Service Volunteer Opportunities in the New England Division, listing public events at which Amateur Radio communications is providing a public service and for which additional volunteers from the Amateur Community are needed and welcome.
  • A description of recent organizational changes of the American Red Cross in Western Massachusetts, and effects upon the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES).
  • A preliminary announcement and pointer to more information about the ARRL New England Division Convention at Boxboro, coming up August 22 through August 24 this year.



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Repeater Coverage Maps Online     03/30/2008

Maps are now available showing the theoretical coverage of the KB1BSS 2 meter and 440 Mhz repeaters, as well as the 10 meter link to the 440 Mhz machine. Click here for more information.



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Vintage Radio Museum Now Open     10/27/2007

The Vintage Radio and Communications Museum of Connecticut is located at 115 Pierson Lane in Windsor, CT. It is dedicated to the preservation of old time communications equipment and to educating the public. The museum displays radios, televisions, motion picture and telephone equipment, as well as vintage advertising and memorabilia. Audio, video and paper libraries, along with an extensive collection of schematics, are also available for research.

The Museum has now obtained its Certificate of Occupancy. The museum is tentatively open Thursdays & Fridays 11a-4p, Saturdays 10a-5p. Sundays are coming. The grand opening celebrations are taking place the weekend of October 26 and 27.

More info is available at the Museum website (http://www.vrcmct.org/).



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"Radio Hams" - film from 1939     10/13/2007

An amusing 10 minute film about ham radio produced 68 years ago can be seen on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBGIdf0VjQ4. Look up the film credits at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0031834 and note the part of the ship's radio operator was played by Clayton Moore, who later was the Lone Ranger.

Info from ARRL Propagation Bulletin, October 12, 2007.



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Emergency Net Procedure On-Line     09/26/2007

It's approaching 9 p.m. on a Tuesday night and it's your turn to be net control for the first time? Are you nervous about the procedure? A copy of the preamble and procedure document for the Western Massachusetts – Franklin County Emergency Net has now been posted on this website. Click here!



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New Weather Spotter Software for Skywarn/ARES     08/29/2007

WXSpots, a new tool in the tool chest for SkyWarn operations and weather enthusiasts is now available! WXSpots is a free, Internet based system designed to quickly disseminate observed reports of severe weather.

WXSpots is not intended to replace Amateur Radio. By it's vary nature of dependence on the Internet, WXSpots can't provide data from a severely affected area. On the other hand, WXSpots can quickly communicate data from those observers just outside it. It also provides the means to help monitor local severe weather as it unfolds with many more observers able to communicate what they are seeing.

For more info see the website www.wxspots.com.

(From the Western Mass Amateur Radio newsgroup,
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WesternMassAmateurRadio/)



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