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

From the Shack – October 2012

At my ‘summer shack’!

What’s that ‘funny noise’ on 14.085 MHz?

If you’re tuning around the bands and come across some signals that sound like “beedley, beedley, beedley” you may have stumbled across a radio teletype transmission. Not exactly sure what that “beedley” sound is? Here’s what it sounds like – rtty (hint, click rtty)

Usually abbreviated RTTY, it is one of many digital modes that include PSK31, WSPR and others. RTTY has been around for many years and has seen an uptick in activity lately. No longer do you have to drag home a 100 pound teletype machine, listen to the clatter of the type or smell the warm machine oil (although you still can if you want to). Modern amateur operators use a computer to do all the heavy lifting nowadays.

Sound interesting? Want to learn more? Then come to our October meeting and guess what, you will! Our guest speaker is Tom/W1TO and he will be talking to us about RTTY and RTTY contesting. You will learn what is necessary to setup and operate RTTY (hint – not much!) and how to play in your first RTTY contest (another hint, it is fun and additcive!) Best of all you’re guaranteed to leave the meeting more informed than when you arrived!

Want to see RTTY in action, here’s a short sample video to whet your appetite to try something new:

Have you subscribed to our new website yet?

HCRA’s new website is getting better everyday. New content, new links, new events – it’s the place to go to feel amateur radio’s pulse in the Pioneer Valley. Wouldn’t it be nice to know about new content or events on the website without having to constantly check the website (although that’s OK if you want to). Well you can do that, just by subscribing.

The next time you’re on the site, scroll to the bottom of the main (home) page. In the center of the page is a, you guessed it, a ‘Subscribe’ button. Simply enter your email address, press the button and you’re done. You’ll receive a confirmation email and you’re all set. Now the website will let YOU know when a new article or event is added. Stay up to date without having to work at it – how cool is that?

HCRAs website is secure, your email is never revealed or used for any other purpose. It is not necessary to subscribe to view the site or leave comments – the only purpose is to keep YOU informed of all our activities. We have over 100 subscribers on our facebook page, wouldn’t it be nice to exceed that on our webpage?

KX3 Raffle – Have you purchased your Ticket Yet?

Tickets are selling fast, don’t miss your chance to win a fantastic HF transceiver for a tiny donation of $10. Only 250 tickets will be sold, so chances are high, even if you only purchase one ticket! The faster they sell, the sooner we can hold the drawing. We’ve pre-ordered the rig from Elecraft. The wait period is pretty short with Elecraft and I’m sure we will have the rig in time for the drawing.

Why would you want to win this beautiful radio? After all, it’s only QRP, right? All I can say is, after owning one for a few months now, is it really does everything a large radio will, but at less than two pounds! All band/mode, DSP, great filtering, dual VFO’s, auto-notch, CW decode, built in PSK and RTTY and more – who wouldn’t want one?

Tickets will be on sale at the October meeting, purchase one or two and good luck. If you don’t win remember your donation has gone to a good cause! Read more about the raffle here.

Renewal Time is here!

Rich/N1KXR is asking for your help. He’s in charge of increasing HCRA’s membership, and the only way that can happen is if everyone that was a member last year renews their membership AND we add new members. New members are coming is so it is up to you, our former members, to fill out your application and bring it to the October meeting. Can’t make the meeting? Use our handy application form and mail it in to the PO box. We have worked hard over the past ten years to control our costs, provide quality events for our members and NOT raise dues. By becoming a member you will help keep dues low and fun high! Bring your completed application to the October meeting and see Rich/N1KXR or Dave/N1MFL so we can get you ‘back in the fold’.

Still not convinced? OK, here’s some incentive. If you join or renew your HCRA membership by the close of the October 5th meeting you could be the winner of a TYT TH-F5 dual band HT with rechargeable batteries, desk and mobile charger. Getting the bulk of our memberships early in the season allows us plan the year ahead. Help us out by renewing early and we might help you out with a new HT. Fair enough?

HCRA/MTARA Holiday Party – December 10th, 2012

Last year’s party was an unbridled success and we wondered, “what can we do to make it even better in 2012?). It is hard to improve on the location or the food, hmmmm. What if BOTH of the amateur radio clubs in the valley joined forces and held the party together? Wouldn’t that be fun? That’s exactly what we’re doing! Both clubs sat down and worked together to create a super get together for 2012.

Same great location!
Same scrumptious buffet!
Bigger and better raffle/door prizes!
Same $15 price tag!
MORE friends to eat, drink and be merry with!

Tickets go on sale at both clubs starting in October. See Rich/N1KXR at any HCRA meeting or Diane/KB1KST at any MTARA meeting and by mail to either club’s PO box.

Another example of both clubs, working together, to the benefit of all area amateurs.

Notes from the cluster:

The HCRA October meeting featuring Tom Homewood/W1TO will also be a Yankee Clipper Contest Club (YCCC) regional meeting. If you’re interested in contesting you can join YCCC at the HCRA meeting. It’s fun, painless and not too expensive. Learn more about it by clicking YCCC!

The Silent Auction returns at our October meeting. We will have a beautiful set of chrome Bencher paddles available and a few other items. Items for the auction will be displayed on a table along with a ‘bid sheet’. Enter your bid and if you’re the highest bidder at the end of the night pay Dave/AA1YW and go home with your new toy!

Don’t forget we’re meeting at our new location! Starting September 2012  meetings will be at the Auxiliary Conference Center at the Holyoke Medical Center. Many of you have been here before, it’s where the Western Mass VE Team has given examinations for close to a decade. We have all the details of the hall and how to get there on our website. Simply click this link!


New KX3 Raffle – starts at the September 7th meeting!


We were one of the first clubs in the world to give away an Elecraft KX3 – and we’re doing it again! Tickets will be available starting September 7th during our kick-off meeting at the Holyoke Medical Center. A $10 donation puts you in the running. Only 250 tickets will be available and the drawing will be held March 1st, 2013.

Mark your calendars now for September 7th. You don’t want to miss our very first meeting at the new location. We’ve other surprises scheduled for the meeting too – stay tuned!

KX3 from PEI

Yesterday I has the chance to set up the KX3 while vacationing on Prince Edward Island. Unfortunately the weather was not great but I managed to get an end fed wirestrung between two small pines and down to the deck. I heard a few summits but they couldn’t hear the little KX3 on the EFW.

Much better luck was to be had in the evening. There was a QRP contest starting at 0100z, the Run For The Bacon (RFTB). Dialing down the KX3 to 5 watts I managed eight contacts, one a far as Germany! I took a break in the middle of the test and even managed to check into the reddit net on 75 meters.

Off to do some bike riding and tourist stuff today, probably get back on 40cw later this evening.

Don’t forget about the club meeting on the 7th, hope to see you there.


Dueling KX3’s on Dry Hill

Here’s Frandy/N1FJ making a CW contact with a KX3 on Dry Hill – W1/CR-003 on August 15th, 2012.

Yep, dueling KX3’s? No, not really. We brought them both along but only used one at a time. Actually Frandy is using mine at the moment, his is the one further to the left on our ‘rock solid’ operating table. All in all we made 21 QSO’s, on 40, 20 and 15 meter CW.

The outing was a shakedown cruise for our KX3’s and a test of a new segmented dipole. The dipole is for 20 and 40 meters. At the end of the 20 meter segment you there is a connection you can leave open for 20 meters or complete the connection for 40 meters. It’s actually a three band antenna; when configured for 40 meters it will also tune on 15 meters (third harmonic). The antenna is purposely built very light to minimize the weight supported by the kite pole we use to hold up the center. It was configured as an inverted ‘V’.

The KX3’s worked very well, both of them sporting our ‘Palm Paddle’ modification. The transceiver is easy to use, the tuner is fast and we worked the world (well, from CA to Germany) with our 12 watts. Coming from an 817 the KX3 has more power, built in ATU, built in keyer, superb filtering, NR and a much easier to use display and menu system. The FT-817 chalks up some high points with better audio output and more durable packaging. But as Frandy says, “that KX3 is a keeper!).

KX3 #1124 (mine) should be QRV from a few summits in NS soon – stay tuned!