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.


Ham Radio Classes – Coming Soon


The Hampden County Radio Association will be holding an Amateur Radio Technician Class along with General and Extra Study Groups at the Holyoke Hospital Auxiliary Conference Center (auditorium), 575 Beech Street, Holyoke, Mass. This classes and study groups are open to everyone of all ages and affiliations.

There will be three different meeting dates:
Class #1 – Monday, January 13, 2014 7:00 – 8:30 PM
Class #2 – Monday, January 20, 2014 7:00 – 8:30 PM
Class #3 – Saturday, January 25, 2014 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM

VE Exam – Saturday, January 25, 2014 at approximately 3:00 PM

Attendance is NOT taken. If you can’t make the Monday evening dates, just come on Saturday. These condensed meetings are presented with the assumption that individuals will study and take practice tests on their own outside of class time. Our goal is to provide experienced ham radio operators (elmers) to be used as resources when going over the questions and answers that may be on the test.

There is no charge for the class/study group, but the purchase of the ARRL License Manual ($29) is strongly suggested. Internet links to other resources will be provided. ARRL License Manuals can be ordered for delivery at the first class by contacting John, kx1x@arrl.net.
The cost to take the test is $15 per attempt.

The license, after passing the test, costs $0 and can be renewed for $0 every 10 years. Two forms of ID are required, including one picture identification.

Questions? Email John/Kx1x, kx1x@arrl.net

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HCRA Meeting Location - Holyoke Hospital

HCRA Invades Agawam

T minus 4 days and counting.

Agawam residents should be on the look out for Amateur Radio operators.

They look like normal people, dress like normal people, but have a language all their own.

Some speak in code (CW), Some in Digital ( RTTY, PSK), Even the words they use(CQ, 59 WMA, 73).

Here is what we know about their movements for this weekend they call Field Day.

Starting with a healthy Breakfast at 8:00AM Friday Morning at Partners restaurant   485 Springfield St.


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Then its off to School street park to do the setup.
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As set up continues through out the day we will be breaking for lunch and dinner which will be left to the hired volunteer help on what they want to do.

(Note: VE session is the 28th)
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Some will stay and guard their precious aluminum that they have freshly planted and some will even stay overnight.

On Saturday morning they get going again with some coffee and other foods from the locals.  They will continue on the setup, do any last minute repairs, and do the testing.

If all is well at 2:00PM Saturday the festivities commence.  For the next 24 hours all that the residence of Agawam will hear is the hum of generators and people calling CQ or -.-. –.- Field day this is W1NY.

At 2:00 PM on Sunday all goes quiet.  Peace starts returning back to this little town as the Hams of HCRA disassemble the great flowers and return them to their collapsed state.

As things are put away neatly in the Storage trailer, people are saying goodby for the summer months  and will see every one again in the fall.

73 and Good Night









Help needed for Technician Class on April 27th

Hey folks,

John/Kx1x and I are looking for help with a one-day Technician class to be held on April 27th, 2013. This was a small class planned as a ‘one-day’ intense session for a handful of students, but it has morphed into a twelve student extravaganza!

Yep, the class consists of a dozen ‘highly motivated’ and prepared students and our goal is a 100% pass rate – hopefully we can accomplish our goal. Or need is for a few more instructors to help with reviewing the material, answer questions from the students that need clarification and guide some interactive, on line exams. We’re also looking for anyone desiring to help with the test session immediately following the class.

You need not commit a whole day, if you can give the students an hour of your time it will be a great benefit. Think about it, would YOU want to listen to either John or me for six hours? See, we don’t need your help, the students do!

Class starts at 9:00 AM and the VE session is planned for 3:00 PM. Class location is at the Senior Center in West Brookfield, MA

If you have a few hours to help a dozen folks get their ham ticket please contact either John or I at our email addresses or on the HCRA facebook page. Let’s show how HCRA can make a difference in our fine hobby!


John/Kx1x & Jim/KK1W

From the Shack – February 2013

Next Meeting February 1st
Foxhunting presentation and ‘Build a Beam’ Workshop

Meeting number two of the year is another ‘double header’ thanks to the efforts of Jeff/NT1K and Rich/N1KXR. Read on and see what we have in store for you this February. We will be running two concurrent activities Friday night. At the front of the auditorium will be a presentation of foxhunting and at the rear a “Build-a-Beam” workshop.

Local foxhunters Lou/N1LZD and Rob/KA1RBH – with state of the art for 1993 hunters!

“Everyone foxhunting in the area in the early 1990’s can remember the dreading Rob & Lou’s
dedicated foxhunt vehicle. Sporting GPS, Flux gate compass, Doppler DF gear, on board computer and custom programming it was a formidable opponent (but not infallible)

Foxhunting, what’s it all about? Whether you’ve thought about foxhunting, been on a foxhunt in the past or are interested in participating in future hunts this meeting is for you. We’re gathering up historical data, will present a brief ‘how-to’ that should entice you to try foxhunting this spring and we’ll talk about what foxhunting might look like in the future. If you have anything you’d like us to share from the past or suggestions for future hunts we’re all ears for that too. This should be a fun presentation that will remind us the diversity our hobby provides and take our mind off the freezing cold weather for a few hours or so. Remember, spring is just around the corner.

3EL Beam

Build your own 2m Yagi antenna! In the back of the room Jeff and Rich will be holding a ‘Build a Beam’ workshop. Their students will assemble a pre-cut, three element “tape measure” yagi for 2 meters, solder on the coax and give it a try. The little Yagi is good for portable operations, SOTA and of course – foxhunting. More details about the workshop can be found here. There’s still room for a few more students. If you are interested contact Jeff right away so you don’t miss out. After the beams are built everyone can watch as the happy builders give them a test run.

Show & Tell next month
How’s your project coming along?

HCRA’s March meeting wouldn’t be the same without Show & Tell. This is when YOU, the HCRA builder, get an opportunity to show off what you’ve been working on over the last twelve months. It’s fun for the builders and the audience alike. You never know what type of project will show up. Over the years we’ve seen everything from stop light controllers to Van DeGraaff generators, novice transmitters to remote antenna switches, QRP rigs to kilowatt amps. Wonder what you will see this year? The only way I know of is to show up March 1st for the fun!

Jon KA1TDQ's homebrew 30 meter transmitter. WB1DBY photograph

This year Matt/W1MSW and Frandy/N1FJ will be running the show. I’ll bet we see some different twists, don’t you? Curious, look for Matt’s Show & Tell article in February’s Zero Beat (and don’t forget to keep working on your project!)

HCRA Zero Beat Archives

15 additional years added!

Click the image and go back in time to February 1978!

Thanks to John/AC1T and Jeff/NT1K we now have an additional fifteen years of Zero Beats added to the archives. John spent many hours scanning his collection and forwarding them to Jeff for inclusion in the archives. Issues have been added from 1976 to 1990. It’s interesting to see a snapshot of what both HCRA and ham radio was like 25 to 30 years ago. Some things have changed a lot, others… You’ll have to see for yourself – just click here and take a ride in the HCRA TARDIS!
Special request. Please take a look at the archive list. If you have, or know of someone who has other issues please get in contact Jeff so they can be added to the archive. We can accept them as a .pdf or can scan and return to you. We know there are folks out there with additional issues, here’s a chance to get them preserved and easily accessible for everyone’s enjoyment.

Amateur Radio License Classes
Four new hams & two upgrades – fantastic!

Over the last three weeks the HCRA Instructor Team held classes for all three levels of amateur licenses at the HMC Auditorium. We had seven Technician, three General and three Extra class students. The final class and test session was held on January 26th

Let’s extend a hearty ‘welcome aboard’ to the following newly minted Amateur Radio Operators:

Technician Class
Cindy Forbes
Tom Isham
Doug McLean

General Class
Eric LaCombe

Upgrade to General
Ralph Gedney/KB1LEW/AG

Upgrade to Extra
Diane Shippee/KB1KST/AE

Thanks to all the instructors that participated; Frandy/N1FJ, Ed/KB1NWH, Jim/KK1W, Steve/N1SR, Rich/N1KXR and of course John/Kx1x for taking the helm and getting it done. Thanks also to our hosts at HMC for allowing us the use of their fine facility. Of course the real fun is seeing the happy faces of the newly licensed or upgraded hams!

Spots from the cluster:

Silent Auction Results: January’s silent auction was a success. Thanks to the many donations folks went home with bargains and HCRA added approximately $400 to our treasury. We’re still thinking of how we can bring back the ‘old style’ auction and welcome any suggestions.

KX3 Raffle drawing is March 2nd. There are still two HCRA meetings and one MTARA meeting offering opportunities to purchase a ticket. Your absolute last chance will be at the MTARA Hamfest on March 2nd. Visit the HCRA table, say hello, join or renew your membership AND get a ticket – how cool is that? The drawing will be held at the hamfest at noon. Who knows, you could go home with a brand spanking new KX3 worth $1000 and be on the air that afternoon!

Notes from the ARRL Cabinet Meeting of January 5th Dave/AA1YW and I attend the NE Division meeting, here’s a few highlights:
There’ could be a new LF band coming soon on 135.7 to 137.8 kHz according to the FCC. Also the ARRL has filed a petition for a low frequency band on 472 to 479 kHz. Follow the links for more details.
The 1900 to 2000 kHz segment of 160 meters could be made ‘Primary’ for ham operators. We’ve been secondary on this segment because it was formally used by the LORAN radio location system. The last LORAN broadcast from the system was from Caribou, ME, September 21st, 2010.
The ARRL National Convention will be held in Hartford on July 20, 21 and 22 in 2014. Hartford was picked for the 2014 location to offer an opportunity to the participants in WRTC2014 a chance to unwind and meet other US hams.

‘73 and see you at the meeting,