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!

HCRA Trailer Day

This past weekend some of your HCRA BOD members were hard at work getting the trailer in ready for field day!


We’ve took almost everything out the trailer and made note of any damaged or missing items. We also partially assembled one of two WRTC TX-38 antennas that we’ve purchased to get a general idea of how it will be assembled. Even though there are a lot of parts, it’s not really that bad.

Over the winter HCRA has acquired another 40 meter 2 element beam that is the same make and model as the one we already have. Since we’ve moved to school street park, we’ve been using  40m beams on both CW and SSB but we’ve always had to borrow the 2nd beam. Now we have two beams.


The beam has seen better days however but the traps are decent shape and there is no major damage other than crack in one of the support arms that doesn’t effect the antenna. The antenna also has rusted and missing U-bolts. We lightly sanded the antenna, assembled as much as we could and tested the driven element.



We hoisted the driven element up into a tree and hooked it up to an analyzer

Screenshot_2015-05-17-13-19-22Results are not bad considering the testing conditions. Once the replacement parts show up, I think we will have a decent beam to add to our stock. We will no longer have to beg people to use their antennas as we’re now fully stocked

The AB-577 towers

For many years whenever we needed to put up a fourth tower, we’ve always had to ask a club member to use their personal AB-577. Since we’re now located at School Street Park in Agawam, having a 4th tower is important due to the lack of trees with the height for a 40 or 80m wire antenna. This year proved quite difficult to obtain a 4th tower so we thought we should purchase one. Thankfully the Mount Tom Amateur Repeater Association (MTARA) had an AB-577 they were willing to sell. We’ve since picked it up and it’s now with the other AB-577s we have in stock. It’s in really good condition with no work needed. This means we no longer have to beg people to use their tower. If there were ever a situation other than Field Day where we would have to set these up, it will much easier to deploy and we would hopefully have enough.

Overall the day went well. Other than a couple broken bolts/clamps, the list is quite small. We now have a better understanding of the TX-38s and having the 4th AB-577 made things much better and easier.

If you’re going to be in the Agawam Area on the weekend of June 27th, please stop by school street park and say hello. We’re also looking for volunteers to help with setup, operating and teardown. Without volunteers, Field Day at School street park will not be possible. So please check out the Field Day page for more information.

Hope to see you there!

– Jeff (NT1K
HCRA At-Large


New catagories for teh ARRL 10 meter and 160 meter contest.

This December’s ARRL 160 Meter and 10 Meter Contests complete the addition of new Single-Op Unlimited categories. All three power sub-categories: High Power, Low Power, and QRP are available. This means stations using spotting information will no longer be assigned to the Multioperator category. It also means there are quite a number of new records that will be set in December! Will your score be one of them?

(Snipped from the ARRL news letter)

Homeland Security’s 2014 National Emergency Communications Plan Incorporates Amateur Radio

The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Emergency Communications (DHS-OEC) has released the first updated National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP) since the original publication in 2008. According to the Department, the DHS-OEC developed the NECP in cooperation with more than 150 public and private sector emergency communications officials.

Of interest to Amateur Radio Operators, is that in this 2014 updated NECP, the DHS has incorporated Amateur Radio in its mix of media that could support and sustain communications in a disaster or emergency. The publication is titled the “2014 National Emergency Communications Plan“, and a PDF of this plan may be obtained by clicking here.

DX Bulletin 39

DX Bulletin 39 ARLD039
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT September 25, 2014
To all radio amateurs

ARLD039 DX news

This week’s bulletin was made possible with information provided by HA3JB, ZL4PW, the OPDX Bulletin, 425 DX News, The Daily DX, DXNL, Contest Corral from QST and the ARRL Contest Calendar and WA7BNM web sites. Thanks to all.

VIET NAM, 3W. Bruce is QRV as 3W3B from Da Nang on the HF bands using CW and RTTY. This includes an entry in the CQ World Wide RTTY DX contest. QSL via E21EIC.

BHUTAN, A5. Operators Pekka, OH2YY and Pekka, OH1TV are QRV as A52O from Paro until October 2. Activity is on the HF bands with two stations using CW and SSB. QSL via OH2YY.

CHINA, BY. Operators Zhang, BA3AX, Wang, BA3CE and Lu, BD3AEO will be QRV as BA3AX/2, BA3CE/2 and BD3AEO/2, respectively, from Juhua Island, IOTA AS-151, from October 2 to 5. Activity will be on 20 to 10 meters. QSL via BA3AX.

NAURU, C2. Stan, LZ1GC will be QRV as C21GC from September 28 to October 14. Activity will be on the HF bands using CW, SSB and RTTY. QSL to home call.

ANDORRA, C3. Members of the Unio de Radioaficionats Andorrans will be QRV as C37NL in the CQ World Wide RTTY DX contest. QSL via C37URA.

BAHAMAS, C6. Phil, G3SWH will be QRV as C6AYS from New Providence Island, IOTA NA-001, from September 30 to October 10. QSL to home call.

SOUTH COOK ISLANDS, E5. Operators Mathias, DJ2HD and Gerd, DJ5IW will be QRV as E51HDJ and E51XIW, respectively, from Rarotonga, IOTA OC-013, from September 30 to October 6. Activity will be holiday style on the HF bands using CW, SSB and RTTY. QSL to home calls.

CANARY ISLANDS, EA8. Members of the Union de Radioaficionados Espanoles plan to be QRV as EF8U in the CQ World Wide RTTY DX contest. QSL via operators’ instructions.

JERSEY, GJ. Kazu, M0CFW is QRV as MJ5Z and plans to be active in the CQ World Wide RTTY DX contest as a Single Op/All Band/Low Power entry. Before and after the contest he is active as MJ0CFW. QSL both calls to home call.

LUXEMBOURG, LX. Operator LX7I will be QRV in the CQ World Wide RTTY DX contest as a Multi Op entry. QSL via LX2A.

ARUBA, P4. Al, W6HGF is QRV as P4/W6HGF until October 1. He plans to be active as P40HF in the CQ World Wide RTTY DX contest.
Otherwise, he’ll be active as P4/W6HGF. QSL both calls to home call.

SABA, ST. EUSTATIUS, PJ5. David, OK6DJ, Petr, OK1FCJ and Pavel, OK1FPS are QRV as PJ5/home calls from Sint Eustatius, IOTA NA-145, until October 3. Activity is on 160 to 10 meters using CW, SSB, RTTY and other digital modes with up to three stations active. This includes an entry in the CQ World Wide RTTY DX contest. QSL via operators’ instructions.

INDONESIA, YB. Members of the Orari Daerah Jawa Tengah Contesting Team will be QRV as YE2C in the CQ World Wide RTTY DX contest as a Multi/Single entry. QSL via operators’ instructions. In addition, Gab, HA3JB is QRV as YB9/HA3JB as part of the International Police Association Expedition until October 7. Activity is on the HF bands using CW, SSB and RTTY. This includes an entry in the CQ World Wide RTTY DX contest. QSL to home call.

VANUATU, YJ. Members of the Quake Contesters will be QRV as YJ0X from October 3 to 15. Activity will be on the HF bands, including 6 meters, with two stations using CW, SSB and RTTY. This includes an entry in the upcoming Oceania DX contest. QSL via ZL3PAH.

ALBANIA, ZA. R.C. Nikola Tesla club members Igor, Z32ID, Mome, Z32ZM, Oz, Z35T and Venco, Z36W will be QRV as ZA/Z35T in the CQ World Wide RTTY DX contest. Outside the contest they are active on the newer bands. QSL via operators’ instructions.

SPECIAL EVENT STATIONS. W1AW Centennial Stations W1AW/5 in New Mexico and W1AW/7 in Idaho are QRV until 2359z on September 30. In addition, W1AW/KL7 in Alaska, W1AW/6 in California and W1AW/3 in the District of Columbia will be QRV starting at 0000z on October 1.
They will be active until 2359z on October 7.

THIS WEEKEND ON THE RADIO. The CQ Worldwide RTTY DX Contest, NCCC RTTY Sprint Ladder, NCCC Sprint, AGCW VHF/UHF CW Contest, Texas QSO Party, UBA ON 6-Meter Contest and the Peanut Power QRP Sprint are all on tap for this upcoming weekend. The 222 MHz Fall Sprint is scheduled for September 30. The CWops Mini-CWT Test is scheduled for October 1. Please see September QST, page 81, and the ARRL and WA7BNM contest web sites for details.

(Copied from an E-Mail sent by the ARRL)

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.”

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


Helpful DXlabs Tip #2156.572

Want to play in the ARRl Centennial QSO Party and work the W1AW/? stations? Every week they are in two different states. It’s easy using SpotCollettor.

Simply program one of the eight SQL buttons to do the hard work for you. Never done it before, here’s an example using the “SQL 1” button:

1. Hold down the <CNTL> key, then left click the button labeled SQL 1 in the SpotCollector screen.
2. A new window will open called SpotCollector SQL Filter
3. On line 1, in the ‘Caption’ field type W1AW (or whatever you want the button to say that makes sense to you).
4. In the “SQL” Field enter, Callsign LIKE’W1AW/?’ (The ? after the slash means you will get ANY listing of W1AW/x. Tonight /3 and /0 are listed.
5. Close the SpotCollector SQL Filter Window

Now in the SpotCollector main window click the new W1AW button you created. Yahoo, if you’ve done it right you will be rewarded with a listing of all W1AW/x stations SpotCollector has heard. That’s the easy part, now go work them!

Be careful, those are single quotes -‘- before the W in W1AW and after the question mark, not double quotes -“-. If you make a mistake don’t fret, simply go back to the SQL window and fix your expression. Want to try some other ones, click on the ‘Help’ button in SpotCollector. When the help screen opens scroll down and click on the  “Filtering with SQL Expressions” link. Dave has given us a lot of examples to try.

While you’re doing this take a moment to marvel at the power of DXlabs Suite, the fact that it’s available to everyone for free and the tremendous support the author Dave/AA6YQ provides. If you like it, drop him a note of thanks or even better post a positive review on eHam.

Haven’t tried DXlabs? Here ya go, download it and have fun:


Only 48more states to go….


ARRL 10 Meter Contest This Weekend!

Hello Fellow HCRA Members,

This is a reminder that the 10 meter contest is this weekend and we will again be participating not only as individuals, but also as a club. The band has had some great openings over the last couple months, so there is some potential to see quite a bit of activity during the contest.

A couple of things to remember:

  • For HCRA to get credit for your score, you must have “Hampden County Radio Association” spelled out in the “CLUB” field in the cabrillio file you submit to ARRL after the contest (ex. CLUB: Hampden County Radio Association)
  • If you use ANY assistance (ie Cluster Network, Facebook, QRZ.com, Telephone, etc), you need to change your operating category to Multi-Single instead of Single-Op.
  • Work on setting up logging NOW and not 10 minutes before the contest.
  • READ THE RULES!!!  It can seem daunting, but they’re not too complicated, just detailed.  Knowing what to expect makes all the difference in the world.
  • If you don’t understand something, let us know and we’ll do our best to explain and help get you going.
  • DD gift cards will be awarded to anyone who scores over 100K.
  • HAVE FUN!  Don’t get hung up on the equipment that you have compared to what others are using or how everyone else is doing.  Just focus on your own operating and try to do better than the year before or if you’ve never operated in the contest, set a baseline to try to beat next year.  We do this because it’s fun!

When the contest is over, please send me your claimed score and QSO breakdown so we can update the HCRA page. Below are few useful links for more information. Again, don’t hesitate to ask questions if there is something you don’t understand. Also, if you need a place to operate or want to try HF for the first time, let us know and we might be able to find a station where you can guest op.

General Rules for all ARRL Contests:

10 meter contest rules in addition to the general rules:

Contest basics for those new to contesting:

A deeper look into contesting: