WRTC 2014 Results and HCRA/WRTC Trivia

The scores are out! They can be found on the WRTC2104 web page. But here’s the really cool stuff.

We hosted four teams at Medfield State Hospital. Medfield was site 8 and the stations were 8A through 8D. Here’s the results from ‘our’ teams:

8A: K1M – IK1JHS & I4UFH – Won the SSB mode, placed 58th!

8B: N1A – DL1QQ & DL8DYL – The first YL WRTC team – placed 26th

8C: W1R – OH2BH & OH2MM – Sponsored by Azores Travel, placed 50th

8D: W1M – 4O3A & HA1AG – Placed 15th, our highest scoring team

Some of our team members held 1×1 calls for the event:

K1S: held by Don/KB5VP for the 12th placed W2SC team
N1P: held by Jim/KK1W for the 51st placed CX6VM team
N1Q: held by Dave/AA1YW was unassigned
N1R: held by Steve/N1SR for the 22nd placed UA3DPX team
W1H: held by Brian/K1LI was unassigned

About a 1/2 hour before the contest started I4UFH’s power supply cable broke for his iMac. One couldn’t be found quickly and they were scrambling for a computer. John/Kx1x came up with a Window’s laptop and within ten minutes the software was loaded and configured and Fabio was QRV when the opening bell rang! How cool is that?

Al/KB1XG was an official WRTC2014 videographer, we can’t wait to see some of his shots in the videos.

Rich/N1KXR was night security and roaming driver/helper from Wednesday through Saturday.

Nick/K1MAZ made many trips to town for team and competitor supplies.

Mary/KB1ME was the unofficial photographer for the DL1QQ team.

HCRA fielded 28 volunteers over the five day period. The weather was beautiful but the hot summer sun made the afternoons grueling, even with the low humidity. We drank plenty of water and used almost as much sun screen.

We serviced two cars with dead batteries (N1SR and W3SM) and changed one flat tire (KB1XG)

As far as I know, even though we spent four nights there, no ghosts were noticed haunting the Medfield complex.

Thanks to everyone who volunteered for this seventh running of WRTC. Everyone worked hard and created an outstanding experience for the teams we hosted. All competitors said they felt welcomed and appreciated by all we did for them.

What a great showing for the HCRA/WRTC volunteers!

Win an Elecraft KX3! – HCRA Raffle

HCRA’s raffle this year is going to be for a Elecraft KX3!


(Raffle for radio only! Antenna, angle adapter, microphone and keyer not included)

For a mere $10 donation to the HCRA, you get a chance to win an assembled KX3 by Elecraft valued at around $1000.

This is an very popular and excellent HF portable radio that has an excellent receiver, low power consumption, can run on external power or 8AA batteries internally, it can transmit up to 12W and has plenty of options like an 100W amplifier, 2M module, pan adapter, ATU, Roofing filters, internal battery charger, custom CW paddle and others that can be added later.

HCRA has printed only 250 tickets and we will start selling them during field day 2014. Tickets will also be sold at meetings and other events throughout 2014 and part of 2015. The drawing will happen when all 250 tickets have been sold or during MTARA’s Hamfest in March of 2015. Plenty of time to obtain your chance.

Raffle is just for the Elecraft KX3 Transceiver only.
Drawing Date Subject To Change

Matt Wilhelm, W1MSW Named as ARRL Contest Manager.

HCRA’s own Matt Wilhelm, W1MSW will be the Contest Manager for the ARRL starting on July 3rd. Good luck to you Matt and hopefully all goes well

From the ARRL:

Matt Wilhelm, W1MSW, of Williamsburg, Massachusetts, will be the new ARRL Contest Branch Manager. He will start work at ARRL Headquarters on July 3. An active contester and a member of the Yankee Clipper Contest Club and the Hampden County Amateur Radio Association, Wilhelm has been licensed since 2009 and holds an Amateur Extra ticket. He became hooked on contesting after the first ARRL Rookie Roundup in April 2010. His expertise — and contest scores — have been rising ever since.

“I cannot tell you how happy I am to be the next ARRL Contest Branch Manager,” Wilhelm said. “I’ll be working hard to provide the high-quality support that contest participants have come to expect from the Contest Branch.”

A native of Dallas, Texas, Wilhelm has an IT background in help desk operations and network security systems management. When not making contest contacts, Wilhelm enjoys mountain biking, home projects, and spending time with his family — his wife, Elizabeth, and his 2-year-old daughter Ruby.

Propagation Forecast Bulletin 24 ARLP024 From Tad Cook, K7RA Seattle, WA June 13, 2014

To all radio amateurs

ARLP024 Propagation de K7RA

Last week’s bulletin opened with your author (me) moaning about a decline in solar activity, but this was short lived. The current week saw average daily sunspot numbers more than double, rising from
60.1 to 144.3, and average daily solar flux rise from 104.1 to 146.4. In addition, on June 12 the daily sunspot number was 196, and solar flux was 174.5. It actually was not long ago when sunspot numbers were last at that level. April 16-19, 2014 had numbers ranging from 245-296.

Predicted values are also up. The latest has solar flux at 170, 165 and 155 on June 13-15, 145 on June 16-18, 140 on June 19, 130 on June 20-21, then reaching down for a low of 110 on June 24-25, then peaking at 165 on July 8. The outlook for Field Day Weekend has brightened, with solar flux at 115 on June 27-28 and 120 on Sunday, June 29.

Predicted planetary A index is 18, 20, 10 and 8 on June 13-16, 5 on June 17, 8 on June 18, 5 on June 19-24, 8 on June 25-26, 5 on June
27 through July 5, 15 on July 6, 5 on July 7-9, 8 on July 10, 5 on July 11-14, and 8 on July 15-16.

OK1HH predicts mostly quiet geomagnetic conditions on June 13, quiet to active June 14, quiet to unsettled June 15, quiet June 16-18, quiet to active June 19, quiet to unsettled June 20, mostly quiet June 21, quiet June 22-24, mostly quiet June 25, quiet to active June 26, active to disturbed June 27, quiet to unsettled June 28, quiet on June 29, quiet to active June 30, mostly quiet July 1-2, quiet to unsettled July 3-4, quiet July 5, quiet to unsettled July 6, active to disturbed July 7, quiet to active July 8, and mostly quiet July 9.

Again this week there was an interruption in data from the middle latitude geomagnetic observatory in Fredericksburg, Virginia, so the middle latitude A index numbers at the end of this bulletin for June
8-9 are my own guesses.

We saw a lot of geomagnetic activity over last weekend, June 8-9, when the planetary K index reached 6 in two 3-hour periods, and the planetary A index was 13 on Saturday, then 39 on Sunday. This geomagnetic storm was from a CME which hit Earth at 1630 UTC on June 7, but left the Sun on June 4.

A significant solar flare on June 10 could cause polar geomagnetic storms today, Friday June 13. It will probably deliver a glancing blow to Earth’s magnetic field. See http://earthsky.org/space/x2-solar-flare-today for an article about the June 10 flare, and for a UPI story on possible effects today, see http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2014/06/12/Solar-storm-to-hit-Earth-on-Friday-the-13th/7891402590302/

Ted Leaf, K8HI sent a fascinating video and article about renewed activity at the peak of the current solar cycle. See http://earthsky.org/space/solar-maximum-is-back .

Max White, M0VNG sent two relevant articles. See http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2014/06/11/Another-giant-solar-flare-erupts/4281402500673/



David Moore sent a review of “Nearest Star; the surprising science of our Sun” which you can read at http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2513/1#.U5NRe3TXbgY.email .

An excellent book I’ve been reading is “Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age” by W. Bernard Carlson. This may be the best biography yet on Tesla, as other articles and books I’ve seen accepted uncritically some of his later work, which included transmitting electrical power via wireless. I think copper wire works better for this.

NASA has a new and slightly revised prediction for Cycle 24.  View it at http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/predict.shtml . The changes from a month ago are:

May 2, 2014 forecast: “The current prediction for Sunspot Cycle 24 gives a smoothed sunspot number maximum of about 70 in the Fall of 2013. The smoothed sunspot number reached 75.0 in October 2013.”


June 12, 2014 forecast: “The current prediction for Sunspot Cycle 24 gives a smoothed sunspot number maximum of about 70 in late 2013.
The smoothed sunspot number reached 75.4 in November 2013.”

These are smoothed numbers, averaged with real and predicted values over a year, so when we have higher and extended activity this year, that changed the maximum from fall of 2013 to late 2013, and 75.0 in October 2013 to 75.4 in November 2013.

Astrophysicists at Trinity College in Dublin are using crowdsourcing for classifying sunspots. They want people to visit http://www.sunspotter.org/ to rank pairs of sunspot images based on complexity. As you are presented with each pair, use your gut feelings and vote for the image that seems the most complex. Or if you want examples, go to http://www.sunspotter.org/#/classify .

We learned of this from the Irish internet news site TheJournal.ie, and you can read their article “Trinity College astrophysicists want you to play ‘Hot or Not’ with sunspots” at
http://www.thejournal.ie/article.php?id=1513613 .

Another interesting project to use crowdsourcing is “Seafloor Explorer,” where they want help classifying real images of the ocean floor. Check it out at http://www.seafloorexplorer.org/ . People who believe they see a face on Mars or pyramids on the moon should find a lot to like here.

Find other projects and educational info at https://www.zooniverse.org/projects. Click on “Study explosions on the Sun” to enter their Solar Stormwatch project.

This weekend is the ARRL June VHF Contest. The multiplier is number of grid squares worked. The contest begins at 1800 UTC Saturday. See http://www.arrl.org/june-vhf for details.

If you would like to make a comment or have a tip for our readers, email the author at, k7ra@arrl.net.

For more information concerning radio propagation, see the ARRL Technical Information Service web page at http://arrl.org/propagation-of-rf-signals. For an explanation of the numbers used in this bulletin, see http://arrl.org/the-sun-the-earth-the-ionosphere. An archive of past propagation bulletins is at http://arrl.org/w1aw-bulletins-archive-propagation. More good information and tutorials on propagation are at http://k9la.us/.

Monthly propagation charts between four USA regions and twelve overseas locations are at http://arrl.org/propagation.

Instructions for starting or ending email distribution of ARRL bulletins are at http://arrl.org/bulletins.

Sunspot numbers for June 5 through 11 were 102, 132, 155, 144, 152, 149, and 176, with a mean of 144.3. 10.7 cm flux was 110.5, 133, 136.7, 148.6, 161.2, 166.2, and 168.4, with a mean of 146.4.
Estimated planetary A indices were 7, 6, 13, 39, 5, 7, and 7, with a mean of 12. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 7, 5, 14, 40, 6, 7, and 8, with a mean of 12.4.

FCC Decides Not to Adopt New Rules Affecting 902-928 MHz Band

ARRL Bulletin 13  ARLB013
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT  June 12, 2014
To all radio amateurs

ARLB013 FCC Decides Not to Adopt New Rules Affecting 902-928 MHz Band

The FCC has terminated a longstanding proceeding involving the
902-928 MHz (33 centimeter) band. In 2006, the FCC, in WT Docket 06-49, proposed rule changes to encourage development of the Multilateration Location Monitoring Service (M-LMS) – a terrestrial service for location of objects and tracking. Amateur Radio is secondary in the band to federal radiolocation systems, industrial, scientific and medical devices, federal fixed and mobile systems, and the M-LMS. This week, the FCC, with little fanfare, concluded that proceeding. The notice can be found on the web in PDF format at, http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2014/db0610/FCC-14-79A1.pdf

“Based on the record before us, and on recent developments pertaining to M-LMS operations in the 902-928 MHz band, we conclude that the various proposals for wholesale revisions of the applicable rules do not merit further consideration at this time,” the FCC said.

Commenting on the 2006 proposal, the ARRL expressed concern about increasing noise levels in the band. “This ‘kitchen sink’ of allocations is acceptable from ARRL’s perspective, provided that the noise floor is regulated, in terms of aggregate noise levels from unlicensed devices,” the League said. “The high power levels permitted in this band in particular bear careful watching, lest the allocated radio services, including federal systems, suffer decreased utility of the band.”

After the FCC last June gave consent to Progeny LMS to begin commercial operation of its M-LMS in the upper portion of the
902-928 MHz band, the ARRL worried that a portion of the band could become less useful to radio amateurs in urban areas. “Progeny is deploying a wide-area positioning system to provide more precise location services in areas where Global Positioning System (GPS) and other existing services may not work effectively, particularly indoors and in urban canyons,” the FCC explained at the time.
Progeny’s location service is designed to operate on approximately 4 megahertz – about one-half of the M-LMS portions of the band between 919.750 and 927.750 MHz – where Progeny holds licenses.

While M-LMS operations, at least on paper, have a higher priority than unlicensed Part 15 devices on the band, Progeny had to demonstrate through field testing that its network would not cause “unacceptable levels of interference” to such Part 15 devices as cordless telephones and baby monitors. This was a result of an FCC policy to promote “co-existence” in the band, while not elevating Part 15 devices to co-equal status with M-LMS systems.

In his June 2012 “It Seems to Us…” editorial in QST, ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, pointed out that effectively setting unlicensed services such as Part 15 at a higher priority than licensed services “is the reverse of the usual situation in which Part 15 devices are at the bottom of the pecking order.” Federal (military) radiolocation and ISM Part 18 devices are at the top of the 902-928 MHz food chain. Sumner predicted that operations such as Progeny’s “will pose some new challenges for amateurs in a band that is already impacted by other users.”

The latest FCC action will not affect Progeny’s M-LMS deployment. In terminating the 2006 proceeding, the Commission said it had concluded that Progeny could commence commercial M-LMS operations “within the framework that the Commission initially had established to promote the co-existence of M-LMS operations and unlicensed operations in the band.”

Baofeng is Now Pofung

Just a heads up to all that the most popular Chinese HT company has changed its name from Baofeng to Pofung to please Western Markets.

From  Baofeng Pofung:

We are pleased to announce today that we’re rebranding our products as ‘Pofung’? for international markets. 
  Thanks to our valued customers from all over the world, we’ve been embracing an exciting growth in the last few years. We feel it’s time to adapt our brand to the global stage. The current name ‘BAOFENG’, a literal Pinyin translation of our Chinese character name, may be difficult for a hobbyist across the ocean to pronounce. We’ve heard different kinds of pronunciations, like ‘BAY-O-FENG’. The new name ‘Pofung’ is easier to pronounce and more friendly to our customers, while maintaining the phonetic symbolism of our brand.
Our new brand ‘Pofung’ will gradually replace the existing brand ‘BAOFENG’ in the global markets outside China. Products for the domestic market in China will retain their current brand name and identity. Our official web domain www.baofengradio.com will remain unchanged. 
  The new brand builds on our heritage as a reliable and professional provider of high-performance ham transceivers.We will continue to provide our customers with high-quality, cost-effective radio communication solutions, through our authorized distributors like AMAZON.COM, SAIN STORE, RADIODDITY.COM, and BAOFENGTECH.COM. We advise you to purchase only from authorized distributors to ensure quality of the products and service you get. 
  The rebrand is also in line with our global vision and our commitment to strive toward excellence. We look forward to bringing you more exciting products under the new brand. For updates on our rebranding process and information on our new products, please visit www.baofengradio.com and the following websites of our business partners: www.baofengtech.com.www.radioddity.com and www.sainsonic.com.

Adding Wifi to a KX3

Wifi inside a KX3

20140512_131034-001While browsing info on the ‘Piglet’ on Nick Garner’s Pignology web site the thought struck me, I wonder if I could install a version of the Piglet inside my KX3. I built my KX3 from a kit and never installed the battery holders or the internal charger. I’ve always operated the rig from an external supply;  either Lipo batteries or from a 12 VDC supply in the shack. Looking at the size of the Piglet I thought there might be room enough to fit it inside the KX3.

A few emails back and forth with Nick/N3WG, (the guy behind the pig) confirmed the possibility. Nick suggested a through-hole version of the board, minus the DB9 and Power Poles connectors, for experimentation. A few days later the parts showed up and it was off to the races – another first for Muppet Labs. Actually It turned out to be an easy project and enables logging with  Pignology’s Hamlog app without having to deal with wires.

The first ‘trial by fire’ was on top of Cascade Mountain in the Adirondacks. I brought along pencil and paper as backup but Nick’s Hamlog software and the built in Piglet worked perfectly. I logged 22 contacts without a hitch. I was using the Android version of the app which unfortunately does not export a SOTA compatible .csv file, hopefully Nick may add that in the future. I experienced intermittent cell service while on Cascade which let Hamlog look up callers in QRZ while I was logging. Very cool to be able to answer someone with a ‘Thanks Barry, you’re 599 72”, making a personable, but quick QSO. The photo shows the ‘shack’ on top of Cascade (3880’) but not the phone I was using for logging because???  You guessed it I was using the same phone to take the photo!

Piglet closeup


What you get is a really cool, KX3/W – not everyone has one of those, right?

This mod isn’t for everyone. You should be comfortable with soldering in tight places and not afraid to damage a $1000 radio. Battery drain is increased as the Piglet draws 70 ma, and you have to disconnect it if you want to use the ACC1 jack to update firmware or use a different logging program. For my use this is perfectly acceptable. The ease of logging and (hopefully) log upload to the SOTA database make it perfect.  As always YMMV, follow along for a detailed, step by step, article.


  1. You will have to remove the battery holders in your KX3. This was not an issue for me as I never installed them in the first place. On summits I power the rig with an external Lipo battery, at home with a 12v supply.  If you’re OK with this then read on!
  2. You also need access to P3, so the KXBC3 can’t be installed. Since the battery holder isn’t installed you probably don’t have the charger anyway!
  3. Mounted inside the KX3 without its antenna exposed the Piglet’s wifi range is short, somewhere around 8 to 15’. I don’t see this as an issue as most people will be much closer than that when logging but figured I should point it out.
  4. The method I used to power it is unswitched, whenever there is power at the 9-15 VDC plug on the KX3 the Piglet is powered on. There is a spot on the circuit board with ‘switched’ 12 volts that could be used. This solves the always on when battery is connected problem but still means the Piglet is always on when the rig is turned on, and this presents the last caveat.
  5. Wired as shown the ACC1 jack is no longer usable with the KXUSB (or KXSER) cable when the Piglet is powered on. You must power off the Piglet in order to regain the use of ACC1 for firmware upgrades or using other logging programs.

If you can live with the above then here’s how you do it, including pictures!

This mod isn’t for everyone. You need to be comfortable with soldering in tight places. If you damage your KX3 I’m sure it won’t be fixed under warranty and you lose your internal battery holder.

Installing a Piglet inside an Elecraft KX3

  1. Obtain the Piglet board, minus the DB9 and Power Poles from Pignology
  2. Power up your KX3 and set the RS232 baud rate to 4800
    1. It’s easier to do this now than when the rig is apart for testing.
  3. Open up the KX3 for surgery
    1. I found it easier to work on the rig if I disconnected the flex cable and worked on the front half of the rig (the control panel side) without having the back half in my way.
  4. Remove the battery compartment shield board and battery holders if still installed. Don’t lose the screws holding the battery retainer and shield as It will be replaced.
  5. Prepare a small three conductor, 6” long, color coded cable.
    1. On one end strip 1/8” of insulation and tin the wires.
    2. Solder the ends to the ACC1 jack as shown
    3. Make note of the color code so you can connect them to the correct lands on the Piglet circuit board.
    4. Leave the other end of the cable free for the moment.ACC1 wiring
  6. Replace the battery compartment shield board (you didn’t lose the screws, correct?
  7. Prepare the Piglet (Figure x)
    1. Solder a jumper between pins 4 and 8 of the DB9 connector traces.
    2. Solder a (+) and (-) 2” jumper with jacks to the appropriate locations (where the Power Poles should connect) on the board. See the parts list for the jumpers/jacks I used.Piglet data connections
    3. Roughly locate the Piglet where it belongs
    4. Cut the wires from ACC1 to a comfortable length and solder them to connections 2, 3 and 5 of the DB9 connector traces. You did remember your color code, right?
    5. Use double stick foam tape to mount the Piglet as shown.
    6. Clean the shield and bottom of the Piglet board with alcohol, it really helps the tape stick better.
    7. Connect the power jumpers you installed to pins 1 and 10 to  the KX3’s plug P3KK1W on Cascade Mtn.
    8. Positive (+) goes to pin #1
    9. Negative (-) goes to pin #10
    10. P3 is the plug for the KXBC3
  8. Reconnect the KX3’s flex cable
  9. Plug a known power source into the KX3’s 9-15V power jack. You should see LED’s start to flash on the Piglet
  10. Verify you can see the Piglet in your mobile device’s Wifi list.
  11. Turn on the KX3
    1. Start your Hamlog app and follow Nick’s instructions for setup.
    2. If everything is correct you should now be able to control your KX3 with your mobile device
  12. Congratulations – you now have a KX3/W (Wifi)!

Parts List:

  1. Piglet board w/o DB9 and Power Pole connectors:  Pignology
  2. Small, flexible wire with push on connectors. I used product number 826 from Adafruit for both the ACC1 wiring and the power connections:   http://www.adafruit.com/products/826
  3.  Double stick foam tape. I used servo tape available from any R/C hobby store. Something similar to this should work fine:  http://www.sigmfg.com/IndexText/SIGSH119.html

Other information

1. Elecraft KX3 Schematic KX3 Control Panel Connectors:  http://www.elecraft.com/manual/KX3SchematicDiagramDec2012.pdf

2. KXSER Schematic the cable schematic is on the last page: http://www.elecraft.com/manual/KXPA100%20Owner’s%20Manual.pdf

Don’t forget to disconnect the battery when you’re not using the KX3 or the Piglet will deplete it. The Piglet shows approximately 70ma of current when running. Considering the KX3 can draw up to 3A on transmit it isn’t going to reduce your battery life significantly.

Remember! If you need to use the ACC1 jack with the KXUSB (or KXSER) cable you will have to turn off the Piglet. What I do is open up the rig and remove the (+) connection to the Piglet. I’m sure some craftier folks could find a way to add a switch but I’m OK with this simple approach. The KX3 is usually used portable and the frequency of firmware updates doesn’t make it a burden to stay with the simple approach.

There doesn’t appear to be any negative impact on the KX3’s performance, either RX or TX, since the modification. I don’t have access to sophisticated test equipment but A/B comparisons to an Icom IC756-2 with weak signals, before and after the mod, didn’t show any RX degradation from the mod.

Ideas, questions, suggestions, corrections?  Feel  free to drop me an email!

’73 and enjoy your KX3/W



60th Anniversary of HCRA Field Day Inferno

This year’s Field Day will mark the 60th anniversary of HCRA’s Field Day that didn’t happen. In 2010, Jim/KK1W asked Jack/W1WEF, an HCRA member in 1954, to give an account of the event. Jack gives a wonderful narrative on ham radio in Hampden County at that time, as well as what happened that day. The photo posted here was the 2004 W1NY QSL card marking the 50th anniversary of the event.

No fires planned for this year, but we do hope that you’ll come out and participate in field day.  It’s  a great chance to hang out with fellow club members and operate on HF radios and antennas you might not have access to at home. Please contact Matt/W1MSW or leave a comment below this post for more information.


Hampden County Radio Club Memories                     Jack Schuster   W1WEF

I was asked by KK1W to possibly give a short talk to the Hampden County Radio Club on my recollection of the Field Day fire on Wilbraham Mountain. I doubted I could remember enough to talk about for more than a couple minutes, but thought I’d see what I could remember in general from my earliest ham radio Field Days while a member of the club.

Licensed in 1952 at the age of 13, I was probably a member from around 1953 to 1956.   I can remember getting a ride to meetings…I think from Roger Corey, W1JYH at that time…W1AX now.  Roger lived on the next street, but the end of one of his wire antenna was only 100 ft from my bedroom window where my shack was located.

 In my early days of ham radio, it seemed like everyone built their own rigs. I’ll never forget my transmitter with a pair of 807’s…those were tubes before they were beers …that I built from an article in an issue of my Dad’s “Radio News” magazine.  As soon as I turned it on, the 807’s blew. I checked and rechecked my wiring, and my Dad did the same, but we couldn’t figure it out. After blowing a second pair of tubes, I asked Roger if he could take a look and see if he could figure out what was wrong.  I think it took Rog about three minutes to see that the screen and control grid pins were swapped on the schematic in the magazine. As a result, screen voltage was being applied to the control grid and zappo!  After that experience I converted the rig to 6146’s and had no further problems.

I was an active CW op in those days as I am now, and did a lot of traffic handling on the Western Ma net, First Regional Net and Eastern Area Net. Through the National traffic system,  I met a few other Hampden county members  I  recall. Art Zavarella , W1MNG (later W1KK) was on Western Mass Net every night. I remember Bob Julian , W1DVW also being active…and in later years learned that Art was Chief Engineer at the Springfield Armory, and  I think Bob was head of Research. It was probably because a good friend of our family was Art’s secretary and she always referred to me  as “Jackie“, that Art called me “ Jackie”  also as long as I knew him!

A few other CW op calls from the club that I remember were W1WEN, Bob Little, W1WDW, Don LeFebvre, W1SRM Ken DeCelle, and of course W1EOB, Vic Paounoff. Vic is now N4XR and in his 90’s is doing great. Ham Radio helped me get thru college…despite all the time I spent in the ham shack at U Mass. Vic hired me for three summers at Sickles where I was a troubleshooter on the TV tuner  production line, back in those days when we had an American TV industry.  Sickles was building the majority of the tuners used in every manufacturer’s TV sets back then. It was in HCRC that I met Jean and Norm Peacor, K1IJU and K1IJV. Jean also was a CW Op handling traffic in those days.

I remember Eunice and Bob, W1UKR and W1KUL who were active members of the club. Eunice was active in handling traffic on 75M, and a good phone op. Bob was a good engineer, working for Monsanto and building the station that did well for Eunice from a small city lot in Springfield. I remember their Johnson Ranger that Bob built from a kit, a rig I could only dream about in those days. I can also recall attending a lecture on modulator design that Bob presented on the U Mass campus. It’s funny how you never forget some little things that you learned at a young age. It was on a Hampden County Field Day that Bob Gordon saw me stripping some 14 ga antenna wire with dikes, and he showed me a neat trick that I use to this day. Instead of cutting part way thru the insulation to strip it with the business end of the dikes, he showed me how to first crush the insulation with the side opposite the cutters, and then just cut the insulation without nicking the wire.

I can remember FD that year was in a field somewhere in Hampden. I can remember Hank Baier, W1NY being there, as well as the Peacors and Hal, W1UPH. I probably only operated 3 or 4 Field Days with the club, but I remember going to the home of W1CJK, Bill Werenski one year in Holyoke for a FD planning session.

I also remember operating FD  (maybe 1953) on top of Wilbraham Mountain in someone’s back yard right on the ridge of the mountain. I seem to recall that the fellow was somehow associated with Springfield Sound company, and was not a ham, but others in the club who worked there were hams. The name Bob Lyman comes to mind. I know I did some CW operating that FD, but I recall being really impressed by how many Qs they were knocking off on 2M using a Gonset Communicator, aka a “Gooney Box“.

In those days, it seemed like the ham population density was far greater than it is today…at least that of active HF operators. W1JYH was one street to my West. W1QUQ was on the next street. W1KFV, Bob Leeson was one street to my East. Dick Stevens, W1QWJ was  a few houses from Bob Leeson. W1CCH, Lyle Luce was a big VHFer with 144 elements on 2 M just North of me about 300 yds away.

In those days, radio supply places were abundant. In Springfield alone, we had Springfield Sound (later Soundco), Springfield Radio owned by Lou Richmond W1AVK, Cushing Radio owned by Frank Cushing whose call I cant remember, Knapp Radio who sold radio kits and components, Hatry and Young owned by Murray Dressler…another ham. All sold components and some sold ham gear. That was a time when the only Radio Shack was in Boston, and it was primarily a Ham radio supplier. There was also a Lafayette radio in town, come to think of it, and there were even Lafayette ham rigs! How times change…today the computer stores like Comp USA are already disappearing!

That brings me to my last FD with the club, the reason I was invited to test my memory. After exchanging a couple emails with Mike, N0HI (ed. now N1TA), Mike mentioned a club QSL with a photo of a fire atop Wilbraham Mountain on a club field day. I told Mike I’d love to have one of those cards, because I the last one out of the structure that burned. We were getting set up for FD on Saturday morning in a terrific location atop Wilbraham Mountain. We had the use of  a wooden tower structure which at one time probably housed a concession stand on the ground level, and had an inside staircase going to an observation room on the top level. As I recall it was maybe 4 or 5 stories high and resembled a Dutch Windmill tower but with a porch all around the first level.  It had been closed for some time before the club got permission to use it for FD.

The VHF/UHF station was going to be on top, and the HF stations on the lower level. We would be protected from the weather, as it was all enclosed an ideal FD setup. I was on the top level after carrying up some gear, when someone down below yelled “FIRE”!

I was the only one on top at the time, and went flying down the staircase but grabbed a fire extinguisher that was on a landing at the second level. Unfortunately the fire extinguisher didn’t work, but I don’t remember how big the fire was at that point. It might not have mattered if it worked because the dust covered wooden structure was doomed to go down fast. Everyone got out in time, and I don’t think any of the gear on the first level was lost. All was lost on top however, including some homebrew gear that Bill Rosner, W1RFU had used to set records.

I think it was no more than ten minutes when the tower was burned to the ground. The cause was declared to be spontaneous combustion. Needless to say, the club didn’t operate FD that year!

Massachusetts to Host USA ARDF Championships June 5-8

The USA ARDF (Amateur Radio Direction Finding) Championships return to the Northeast this year. ARRL ARDF Coordinator Joe Moell, K0OV, said on-foot foxhunting fans of all skill levels will gather near Boston in early June for 4 days of intense competition. Registration to participate in the event has been extended to June 1.

Activities begin on Thursday, June 5 with a 10-transmitter short-course sprint competition on 80 meters. The following day is the foxoring event, a combination of RDF and classic orienteering on 80 meters in which participants navigate to marked locations on their maps where very low-power transmitters can be found nearby. Saturday morning will be the classic full-course 2 meter main event, with five transmitters in a very large forest. The banquet and awards presentation follow that evening. A similar full-course 80 meter main event takes place Sunday morning, with awards presented afterward.
ARDF champ Vadim Afonkin, KB1RLI, is this year’s lead organizer, event host, and course-planner.

National ARDF championships typically take place in late summer or early fall. This year, though, the ARDF World Championships will take place during early September, however. To provide plenty of time for selecting Team USA members and planning overseas travel, the 2014 USA ARDF Championships must take place 3 months before.

ARDF championship rules are set by the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU). For scoring and awards, participants are divided into 11 age/gender categories. In classic ARDF championships, competitors start in small groups comprised of different categories.

The USA ARDF Championships are open to anyone who can safely navigate the woods solo. A ham radio license is not required. Each participant competes as an individual.

Stateside winners will be considered for membership in ARDF Team USA, which will travel to Kazakhstan for the 17th ARDF World Championships.

An online entry form and more information are available on the Boston ARDF website. Read more. — Thanks to Joe Moell, K0OV, ARRL Amateur Radio Direction Finding Coordinator


Meeting Highlights – 5/2/14

Attended the meeting last night? Want to learn more about SDR (RTL) and JT65? Here are the links that were mentioned last night


One of the first websites that expermiated with the RTL-SDR, A lot of valuable information is located on this website. A suggest read to purchase the correct unit

RTL-SDR Dongle – $15 USB SDR Stick Blog
This site is a blog featuring articles about the popular RTL-SDR. There are many sources of retail shop online that offer the RTL-SDR Dongles

Ham It up converter
Want to use the RTL-SDR to listen to HF signals? This is a very popular up converter that allow you to listen to HF

NT1K-SDR-Final Power Point Presentation
The slides from last nights meeting.





Remote Rig and JT65 Resources

Powerpoint Slides

JT65 resources

JT65 Software and Setup

JT65 Add Ons

Remote Rig Software

Ham Radio Deluxe

DX Labs Suite

PC Remote Control

Team Viewer

Skype for Audio


Other Links

PSK Reporter Site


K3UK LoTW Sked Page

Who is Joe Taylor?