HCRA Contest University – Slides And Links

Thanks to all who attended HCRA Contest University. Hopefully it was beneficial. Here are the slides (in PDF format) and notable links.

HCRA – Introduction To Contesting Presentation

HCRA – Small station Bang For The Buck Presentation

VOAcap Online – Propagation Prediction Website/Software
Contest Calendar – Upcoming Contest Schedule
3830 Scores – Study your colleagues
CQcontest.net – Live contest scores

HCRA Contest University – Sept 17th 2016


On Saturday (September 17th 2016) HCRA will be continuing its “Share The Knowledge” series with Contest University. This class is perfect for those who are interested in contesting and for experienced contesters to use a refresher. The goal is to make the transition into contesting as easy as possible. We will be covering everything from choosing a contest, setting up your station, and optimizing both your station and score. We will also cover the installation and overview of the popular contesting software N1MM Logger +

Class will start at 9am and continue on into the early afternoon. Please come prepared.

When: Saturday, September 17th 2016
Where: Holyoke Medical Center Aux Conf. Center
Address: 575 Beech St. Holyoke MA, 01040
Time: 9am – ???

HCRA will provide coffee, donuts and lunch to HCRA members.


“Make a cheap ham HAPPY” night at HCRA!

Returning Friday, September 9, is HCRA’s Swap & Sell Table. A sight guaranteed to brings smiles of joy to any frugal hams’s face.


Take a look at the photos, it gives you an idea of just some of this month’s offerings. That’s correct, you see a 1.3G frequency counter, project boxes, transformers, and more. There’s even a LARGE box of assorted wire and cable, dig through, pick what you want and make your donation. No reasonable offer refused.

Make the table even better by bringing along your own items for sale. The more we have, the more exciting for everyone!

NEWS FLASH! Rumor has it N1FJ may have a Mosley Tri-Bander to contribute to the cause. Watch for more info and and bring your roof rack for an HF antenna bargain

IMG_20160906_083201130 IMG_20160906_083313937 IMG_20160906_092721237

HCRA BOD meeting notes for 29Aug2016

HCRA Board of Directors meeting 29-Aug-2016


President – NT1K

Vice President – WM1B

Secretary – N1FTP

Treasurer – NV1Q

Program Dir. – W1AST

At Large – KB1RXO

Membership – K1VOI



Tech. Dir – K1YO

Zero Beat Ed. – WA1MOW


——————————— Meeting Open at 7:09pm ———————

President Report:

  • Jeff will be delegating more responsibilities. He was overwhelmed, especially at FD. Emphasis this year will be on committed volunteers.
  • PayPal account administrator name needs to be changed.
  • The Web site and domain name has been renewed. The web site is good for 2 years while the domain name is good for 3 years.
  • Ownership of the domain name should also be changed to a BOD member.

Vice President Report:

  • Nothing to report at this time.

Secretary Report:

  • Harold will be liaison for the MTARA/HCRA Holiday. To date, the hall is secured, the date is set, and we are just waiting for the tickets.
  • 43 tickets have been sold in our KX2 raffle.
  • Harold and Dave will get together to discuss submission of the Annual Report as well as the 990 form that needs to be filed.

Treasurers Report:

  • Financial Statement:
    • Beginning Balance: $8985.65
    • Dep/Wdr: $1744.35
    • Ending Balance: $7241.30

Program Director Report:

  • September’s guest speaker will be with K1KP, Tony Brock-Fischer on Solar energy.
  • October’s guest speaker will be W1JSB, Hanz from Radio Set Go.
  • November’s guest speaker will be Dennis N1IMW on the history of Chatham Marconi Maritime Center.

At Large Report:

  • Nothing to report at this time.

Membership Report:

  • Currently there are 22 members including family members. 16 paid members. A big push will be made for renewals in the coming months.

Old Business:

Field Day 2016

  • Field Day overall was a success but things need to change:
    • People/Volunteers need to be dedicated to the entire event. This includes
      • Tower captains
      • Beam captains
      • There needs to be a co-chair who knows the station layouts, radio hookups, etc.
      • Volunteers must be committed to setup and teardown.
    • New stakes will be looked into due to difficulty in removing the old screw type stakes.

Contest University

  • Contest University with Matt and Jeff is nearing completion. There are three parts to the presentation and will tentatively be held on Sept 17th.
  • A motion to have Coffee, Donuts and Pizza at the Contest University presentation.
    • In Favor – 7
    • Apposed – 0

Arduino Class

  • Jurgen has purchased a few more Arduino kits and the ready for a third week in October presentation date. More to follow.

Holiday Party

  • From KC1AEO, Rich, 50% of the work is complete. The Castle of Knights had a deposit for the December 4, 2016 date. The menu is set.
    The tasks that need to be completed at this juncture are to have tickets printed, and to promote the party as we approach the event date.  We will also need to finalize menu plans, floor plan and final head count.
    The first task we need to complete is to have the tickets printed.
    Al Grimaldi KB1XG has already procured some nice prizes for the party including a Accurite weather station with color monitor.

License Classes

  • Jeff has been getting the run around from the WSP library and is now looking into alternative locations. The difficulty is that the classes are held on Wednesday night, Thursday night, and all day Saturday.

New Business:

  • Volunteers, volunteers, volunteers …
  • The ClubLog competition is still going on and the certificates were a good idea.
  • Show and Tell prizes were discussed with a motion to purchase an Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and 2 tickets for the KX2 drawing.
    • In Favor – 7
    • Apposed – 0
  • An Auction discussion was held and will be brought up to the membership in the understanding that there will need to be a lead person as well as volunteers to head this up.


——————————— Meeting Closed at 8:13pm ———————

Good stuff cheap – Swap & Sell September 9th


Swap and Sell will be returning to HCRA meetings for the remainder of 2016. Since the program started this past January lots of good stuff has changed hands, people have gone home with either cash in their pocket or a new trinket to play around with in the shack and HCRA added a few dollars to the club treasury.


The photo on the left shows a sample of items that could make their way to the swap table, but we need more! We need YOUR good stuff to keep up the excitement, attract customers and most of all – have fun! It’s like a mini-hamfest at every meeting.

We all benefit if you have items you’re willing to donate to the cause. Think of all the things you’ve purchased, used for years but they’re now sitting unused in the shack or workshop. You can sell them and make a few bucks or….. Why not donate them? You’ve had your fun, maybe it’s time to pass it along to someone else. Donations benefit HCRA but most of all the new owner gets to take something home and not break the bank. Everyone wins!!! If you do want to sell your items please remember the suggested donation is10%, thanks! All donations are tax deductible under 501 c3 guidelines.

One last thing. We’re looking for a new caretaker for Swap & Sell starting January 2017. All it takes is 15 to 30 minutes a month, a small donation of time to bring fun to dozens throughout the year. If you’re interested let us know. You’ll be supplied with everything you need to make it happen and at least five minutes of OJT! It’s an easy job that puts lots of smiles on our members faces. Please let me or Jeff/NT1K know if your interested in the job.

Looking forward to seeing everyone at the September 9th meeting.


HCRA is READY for Field Day – are YOU!

About seven days from now HCRA will be blasting the airwaves with “CQ Field” day from School St. Park in nearby Agawam, MA. Our plans have solidified to a 5A operation, perhaps even 6A, the usual superb four towers with beams on 40, 20, 15 and 10 and dipoles for 80/75. a Saturday VE session, lots of operators, KX2 raffle tickets and….

FOOD! Alan/AB1XW will be serving up dogs and burgers, “on the house” Saturday evening. A perfect way to stoke the fires for an all-night operation.

Read all the details and see the participants by clicking here.  After looking through the list you’ll see a few spots where we could use YOUR help. What would you like to do?

1. We can make 100 points by simply originating an NTS message to our Section Manager and up to an additional 100 points by sending 10 radiograms. Are you ready for the challenge? It’s easy and shouldn’t take more than an hour at most. Want to give it a try? Contact Jim/KK1W for more info.

2. Are you a good teacher? There’s another 100 points on the table for organizing an educational activity. It could be as simple as showing how to get active on digital modes or constructing a wire dipole. Interested, contact Jeff/NT1K or Jim/KK1W and we can get you going.

3. Finally, we can make up to another 100 points for “Youth Participation”. Any operator under 18, that makes at least one FD QSO earns HCRA 20 points. If we get five youth operators we make another 100 points! How cool is that? Remember they (or you) don’t have to be licensed to operate at Field Day. It’s a perfect opportunity to expose youngsters to a hobby that could shape their future. Time your visit just before Saturday evening and have a burger or hot dog for your (and their) efforts.

Don’t forget to pick up a KX2 raffle ticket while visiting Field Day. A mere $10 donation could bring you a spanking new Elecraft KX2!

The weather forecast looks promising and plans are in place. What are you waiting for, all we need is YOU!

Yes, Swap & Sell will be at Show & Tell!



Here’s a chance to make money on your project. After you win one of the prizes put your hand crafted watchamcallit’ on the swap table and go home with to cash along with your prize 🙂 Or maybe find something on the table for your next creation?

Once again the Swap & Sell table will be there, how exciting it is falls entirely on the shoulders of you, our members. We know everyone has at least ONE thing they probably should ‘recycle’ and the HCRA swap table is the perfect place. No shipping, no eBay fees, supports the club, makes meetings more interesting and is fun. Need I say more?

Before coming to our April 1st meeting why not take a look around the shack and find an item or fifteen worthy of creating excitement in someone else’s shack and bring it to the meeting.

No foolin, see you April 1st!


Meeting Topic Changed For Feb 5th’s Meeting


Due to a sudden work schedule change, John Kalotai will not be able to be our guest speaker this Friday. However the meeting is still taking place.

Frandy Johnson (N1FJ) and Jim Mullen (KK1W) will be doing a presentation on their recent National Parks on the Air (NPOTA) adventures. We will also be discussing some possible future club events. This will be an excellent way to discuss our club.

We apologize about the short notice but we wanted to make sure we had a speaker lined up. A Big thanks to Frandy and Jim for helping us out. It should be exciting.

Jeffrey Bail (NT1K)

HCRA BOD meeting notes for January 20th, 2016

HCRA BOD meeting notes for 20-Jan-2016

President: NT1K
Vice President: N1FTP
Treasurer: NV1Q
Membership: K1VOI
Program Dir: W1AST
ZB Editor: WA1MOW
Tech Dir: K1YO

At-Large: W1MOR
Secretary: WM1B

President Report:

– Jim Mullen has volunteered to help out with updating our Website.
– A Web Forum has been created at “members.hcra.org”. The site will be
directed and administered by the BOD. It will be a members only site and
integrated with our web site.

VP Report:

– 90 tickets for the TS590SG have been sold to date. The minimum goal is 150
tickets sold. Many tickets will be sold at the MTARA flea market. We should reach
our goal plus some.

Treasurer Report:

– There was quite a bit of discussion on how to divvy up the funds from the Xmas
party. From members to non-members to MTARA members and non-member
spouses as well as member spouses. There may be some double-dipping. This
needs to be revisited.

Financial Statement:

Beginning balance: $6771.95
Dep/Wdr: $1038.68
Ending Balance: $7810.63

Membership Report:

– There are 89 members with 80 paid and 9 family members. Question was
raised, why does it take so long for some individuals to renew? Could there be
some sort of incentive added to renewing? One suggestion was to put all the paid
members in Zero Beat. If your name is not there, you didn’t pay. This also answers
the question “Did I already pay my dues?”. Also discussed was greeting new
members and asking them what their interests are at the monthly meetings.

Program Dir Report:

Here is a tentative list from W1AST

– February 6, 2016: Jon Koltai, Hamsource – Power poles & really cool shack gadgets
– March 2016:  First Robotics Competition: Gary, WA1MOW
– April 2016: Mini Presentation: Jeff, AB1WT: Portable IRLP & Echolink Node PLUS
Show and Tell
– May 2016: Jon Perelstein, WB2RYV –  How to Report Weather & How to Properly
Read Your Weather App
– June: Field Day planning, Jeff, NT1K


– September 9, 2016: Tony Brock-Fisher, K1KP – Solar Power and RFI, what you
need to know
– October 7, 2016: Dennis Markel, N1IMW : The history of WCC and Chatham
Marconi Radio.
– Nov 2016: tbd
– Dec 2016: annual HCRA Holiday Party

Zero Beat Editor:

– Submit your articles by 29th of January. Submit anything, please. Someday there
will be blank pages in Zero Beat…

Technical Director Report:

– 2 requests on interference. Services rendered, none.


Old Business

Welcome Package:

A draft of the Welcome Package was handed out. The BOD must read and submit
changes to Jeff or Larry within the next 2 weeks. These Packages will be handed
out to all who pass their exams.A motion was made for HCRA to pay for the printing of the Welcome Package. The front page should be printed in color with printing on both sides. Staples is the preferred vendor for printing.

In Favor – 7
Apposed – 0

A motion was made for HCRA to pay for the printing of the HCRA tri-fold as well.
In Favor -7
Apposed – 0

Stub J-Pole Project:

The material has been purchased and cut. 80% of the project is complete.

License class exams:

Classes will be held on April 27,28, and 30. With Saturday being a full day.
Bob, K1YO has volunteered to help with the Extra Class.

DXLabs Class:

Setup will be on Feb 6th starting at 9am. Looks like 6-7 people will be in the class.
The Club will supply Coffee and donuts.


New Business

Field Day:

We need Band captains ! Band captains bring their own radios and computers.
Antennas and antenna accessories are supplied by the Club.

Larry W1AST has volunteered to step up for 40m CW.
Jeff NT1K will be contacting the Parks & Rec dept.

Field Day will be discussed at the next membership meeting.

Open Floor

More special classes and presentations.

– Introduction to digital modes
– Tips and Tricks on Towers
– Contesting in general/Awards chasing
– Member Benefits

EZ-UP with Walls

Gary made a query as to purchasing a good EZ-UP for the Club. In the $300 range.

One with walls. A motion to purchase a EZ-UP with walls and not to exceed $300
was made.

In Favor – 7
Apposed – 0

The Big E’s 100th

The discussion was around HCRA participating for only a weekend. Gary will look
into getting permission and location. Participants will be required to purchase their own entry tickets for each day. To be successful, we need to make this a very
big deal. SDR’s, HF live, Multiple Monitors, tower, large antenna. More will be
discussed at the next BOD meeting .

Next meeting with be in Mid March and be a VOIP meeting.
Jeff will be handling the details with “Google Hangouts”

HCRA’s Amateur Radio License Class – April 2016


Hampden County Radio Assocation Amateur Radio License Class
April 2016

Are you or do you know someone who’s interested in amateur radio? Do you want to upgrade your license? The Hampden Country Radio Association (HCRA) is holding classes and study groups for those interested. With a combination of these classes and at-home studying, it’s possible to make it happen. Learn from experienced instructors who are active within the amateur radio community who are willing to help you along the way.

We now have 13 new techs, 1 new Tech+General, 5 New Generals and 1 New Extra. Class had a 97% pass rate. Next course will be planned for the Fall (Sept/Oct) 

Thank you to those who signed up 


Wednesday April 27th, 2016 – 6:00pm to 9:00pm
Thursday April 28th, 2016 – 6:00pm to 9:00pm
Saturday April 30th, 2016 – 9:00am to 3:00pm
VE Session: Saturday April 30th, 2016 – 3:15pm (Walk-Ins Welcomed)

Holyoke Medical Center Auxiliary Conference Center
575 Beech Street, Holyoke MA, 01040

Cost: FREE/$15 Exam Fee

Classes open to anyone and everyone interested in obtaining or upgrading their amateur radio license.

Our classes consist of two weekday night classes and one full Saturday class with an examination following the course. Due to the short amount of time, it’s up to the candidate to do most of the studying at home before attending the classes. The classes will cover the exam questions, provide some details about the questions and help you to better understand the material needed to pass the exam.

Even though it’s not required, it’s suggested that you purchase and use the latest edition of ARRL’s Ham Radio License Manual (Level 1/Technician) to study. Other alternatives can be found online like KB6NU’s No-Nonsense study guides (FREE For Tech/General). It’s best that you study and learn as much as possible before attending the classes.

We’re also having study groups for those who are interested in upgrading their current license to general or extra class

If you’re interested in these classes or study groups, please contact the following or fill out the form below.

Jeffrey Bail (NT1K)
P.O. Box 562
Agawam MA, 01001