Thanks to the efforts of John Balboni (AC1T), we now have issues of Zero Beat from 1991 through 1998 and some of 1999 and 2001. You can take a stroll down memory lane or see what HCRA was doing during the 90′s.
Next Meeting March 1st - Our annual Show & Tell night!
It is March Madness again at HCRA with our annual Show & Tell event. I’ve heard a lot of members are putting the finishing touches on their projects and expect we will see a grand assortment of ham radio, or not so ham radio, contraptions that will strike fear in your hearts when they reach for the on/off switch!
All kidding aside Show & Tell brings out the best of our member’s creative juices. The spectrum of projects is wide and has touched most areas of amateur radio and beyond over the years. Matt/W1MSW and Frandy/N1FJ have conjured up neat prizes for tonight along with refreshments and maybe a few other things too? Only way to find out is to be there!
There’s still time for YOU to wrap up your project and get it to this Friday’s meeting. But finish reading this month’s Zero Beat first, OK?
The drawing will be held March 2nd at the MTARA Hamfest. Tickets are almost gone, if you haven’t purchased yours yet there’s only two opportunities left; tonight’s HCRA meeting or at the hamfest the following day. Be sure to 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 around noon. Who knows, you could go home with a brand spanking new KX3 worth $1000 and get on the air that afternoon!
Foxhunting Coming Soon? - Are you ready for some warm weather fun?
February’s Foxhunting/Build-a-Beam meeting was very successful. Fifteen folks went home with a three element beam and we have a dozen people on a potential fox hunting list. There was a lot of interest in the presentation, including building an Arduino controlled Doppler system. (I wonder if one will show up at Show & Tell) The question remains, “where do we go from here?”
First: We will have the sign-up sheet at tonight’s meeting. If you either missed February’s meeting or were too busy to sign up here’s another opportunity to put your name on the list.
Second: I’m hoping a few people will ‘raise their hands’ to spearhead the first few foxhunts. A perfect combination would be an experienced hunter and a novice. They could get their heads together, plan an opening hunt or hunts and really get the ball rolling. Once started, and with the enthusiasm shown at the last meeting I’ll bet it will roll merrily along gaining momentum every month. Please, see if YOU can find an hour or two in a month to help get this started.
Third: HCRA resources such as our Facebook page, Zero Beat, the website and the HCRA mailing list are open and available for use in promoting and coordinating foxhunting. There may be other ways we can help as well, but first we need some folks to step forward, put a little ‘sweat equity’ into the project and create fun for our entire community.
Let’s talk after tonight’s meeting and see what we can come up with, OK?
HCRA Zero Beat Archives - W200NY – what was that?
Don’t know, check out the March 1988 issue of Zero Beat in the archives. You never know what you’ll come across in our long and varied history. We’re still looking to ‘fill the gaps’ in our Zero Beat collection so I’ll repeat last month’s request.
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.
Spots from the cluster:
Paypal – Jeff is working toward a PayPal interface on our website. Our expectations are soon members wishing to join, renew or donate from the convenience of their couch will be able to click ‘send’. The question rose at the February meeting (thanks Norm), “will we still be able to send a check” and the answer is “yes”. Nothing is changing except we are adding an additional method of payment; we’re not taking anything away with the change.
Meeting Refreshments – It is apparent our members enjoy having coffee and sweets at the meetings. The rub is nobody seems to feel it should be ‘their job’ to procure them! What’s up with that? Counting family members our club membership is over one hundred people! As I’ve mentioned in the past do you really think all club duties should fall on the nine board members? I don’t believe it should, that’s why I’m tossing out this request once again.
We are looking for one or two folks to pick up coffee & donuts for the meeting. Do you feel you, maybe with a friend, could spend fifteen to thirty minutes and benefits all the folks attending the meeting? If so please see me at the end of the meeting. I’ll fill you in on how easy it is to put smiles on the faces of forty or so people.
Mark your calendars now for a fun weekend of ham radio, New England style. During this weekend YOU become the DX with stations from all over the US looking to work you for fun, glory and the chance to win a lobster dinner.
HCRA sponsors a beautiful plaque for this contest. How do you win it? Easy, it’s given to the highest single operator score submitted from HampdenCounty. Sometimes it doesn’t take many QSO’s to win, it all depends on who is QRV in HampdenCounty for the contest. The contest starts at 4:00 PM Saturday afternoon and after taking a break between 1AM and 9AM Sunday morning goes on to end at 8PM Sunday evening. Usually both our club calls (W1NY and WB1Z) are active in the contest. If you would like to operate under either one get your request in now!
‘73 and don’t forget to pick up your winning KX3 ticket at the meeting,
Did you know YOU can increase the value of HCRA to all its members? How can you do this you may ask? The answer is simple. Sharing of knowledge, especially local knowledge, is how we all learn and expand our appreciation of amateur radio.
If you’ve done something, built something, installed some software, raised an antenna, took photographs of a local event, bought a new rig, attended a hamfest, made a great DX contact or solved a sticky interference problem wouldn’t it be nice if you could share that with the members? Well you can, and very easily too. Why not take a few moments to gather the information, put it in an email and send if off to Frandy/N1FJ along with any photos. Format is not important, Frandy has the skills to make a great article out of it. Besides publishing in Zero Beat or on the website you’ll become an additional source of knowledge for our members.
It’s one thing to read an article in QST but if you have a question are you going to meet the author at the next meeting? Probably not, but there’s a good chance you’ll be able to talk to the ham that organized the foxhunt or built an automatic rotor controller, in person, at one of our meetings.
Let’s do what hams do best, talk about what we’ve done and share information with your fellow hams. If just one or two members a month sent something to Frandy imagine how thick Zero Beat will in a few months!
If you’ve read this far I hope I’ve piqued your interest. We all become better hams when we start sharing our hard earned information with the local community.
If you’re planning on going – and you haven’t bought your ticket yet – you’re almost out of time. Don’t miss out on a chance to spend a fun evening with your ham friends from both MTARA and HCRA this holiday season. It isn’t possible for us to sell tickets at the door because we need to provide the restaurant with a head count a week prior to the party. If you still want to go here’s what you need to do.
Contact either me or Marty/W1MJB and let of us know you will be attending. We will add your name to the list and make sure there’s food for you when you get there! You can contact us via the links on the website or call me directly at 413.237.4666. At this point in time there isn’t any other way. We don’t want anyone to miss out so get it done now!
DON’T SEND CHECKS TO THE PO BOX! It is too late for that and it may not be checked in time for the party. Call us instead and we will make it happen for you. More info on the party by clicking here!
ONE MORE REMINDER…
There is no regular club meeting in December. This was mentioned in last month’s ‘from the shack’ but it bears repeating. Instead of the meeting we’re having our gala Holiday Party event – that’s a good trade off I think? If you show up the first Friday of December and we’re not there don’t say you weren’t warned!
Are you ready for an ARRL 10 Meter Contest Challenge?
Earlier this month we posted the 2012 challenge goal of 100K points. Make or exceed the goal and you will receive a Dunkin’ Donuts gift card for your efforts. Why are we doing this? Because we want YOU to be on the air (QRV) and having fun while we can still enjoy the Cycle 24 peak. Ten meters has been open a lot over the last few weeks and we all have our fingers crossed it will be hopping on December 10th. You can find more information about how to operate, the 2012 rules, the 2012 challenge and past scores simply by clicking the hot links.
The 10 meter contest is a great way to introduce new or inexperienced operators into HF operating and/or contesting. It offers both voice or CW so new ops can try a different modes if they so desire. Adding to the fun is all our individual scores count as a club score – how cool is that? In order to get new folks on the air we’re looking for folks willing to open their home station to visiting (guest) operators. Please comment below if you have time and station resources to help someone get excited about HF! It need not be for the entire contest. Even if you only host for a few hours Saturday or Sunday afternoon think what that means to someone that hasn’t had the opportunity to play radio on HF, or may not even have an HF station. Those few hours of your time could make a huge difference in someone’s amateur radio excitement for years to come.
Putting my station where my mouth is I will be opening my station for guest ops throughout the contest. If you would like to spend some time on the air using our club call WB1Z from my shack drop me a note so I can get you on the schedule. The station is competitive with an Icom Pro-2, amp and beam antenna. Come on over, I guarantee you’ll have some fun and kick some contest butt at the same time! And if the band isn’t open we can do what all good hams do – shoot the bull, find something else to play with or break and still have fun.
Notes from the cluster:
Cycle 24 is still working! I just finished up a weekend of contesting in the CQWW-CW event this past weekend. The bands were hopping. 10 meters was open quite a bit, and early in the morning. 15 meters was just amazing! I ran QRP (5 watts) and worked 99 countries over the weekend. Lots of DX including Japan, Micronesia, Guam, Asiatic Russia and more, all with only 5 watts! Like everything else, Cycle 24 will soon start a downturn. Don’t miss your chance to have fun on the HF bands. Get on the air and operate. Whether in a contest, a rag chew, casual DX’ing it makes no difference. It’s all good and if you miss it another eleven years will have to pass to get back to where we are today. Don’t be an ‘armchair amateur’, get in front of the rig and have fun!
Field Day Planning has begun. It is in your hands! If you have some thoughts about what we should (or shouldn’t) do for FD now is your chance to speak up. For years now our FD has been one of HCRA’s ‘Big Events’ and attracts more members than anything except perhaps the Holiday Party. If you’ve been attending you know why. If you haven’t been attending we want to know why. What would excite YOUenough to participate? Have ideas, that’s great – just be prepared to back them up with some ‘sweat equity’ to make it happen
Wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday season – 73…
Yep, November is our last meeting this year. December brings the joint HCRA/MTARA Holiday Party, which replaces the regular meeting. We have an interesting presentation for you this month, a presentation focusing on portable operations, including SOTA, battery technology, field deployable antenna ideas for HF, and an opportunity to see a KX3 setup and operating. A little something for everyone that will leave you with some ideas you can employ in the future.
HF Bands on FIRE lately!
Cycle 24 has been exciting the last few weeks. Ten meters has been open worldwide, sometimes just after daybreak. Combined with the start of the new contest season and you’ve got a recipe for fun! Not interested in contesting? That’s OK, the bands still work for ragchewing, DX, digital and more. Don’t be one of those folks that is ‘negative on everything’ except what they like. Every facet of amateur radio encompasses all aspects of the hobby. You can’t do well in contest, work DX or chat with your buddies on 75m if you don’t have a good antenna, can’t set up an emergency operation without portable power – you get the idea. As soon as you close your mind to a mode of operation, types of antennas, contesting, etc. you lose the opportunity to learn more about our hobby. Stay open minded and embrace the activities of others instead of coloring them with your own preferences.
Cycle 24 peak revised!
Although our current solar cycle is not one for the record books NASA has revised the predicted peak to May 2013. Earlier predictions had the peak occurring in either 2011 or 2012. This is certainly good news for amateur operators everywhere. Read more about NASA’s forecasts here.
Notes from the cluster:
Tickets for the HCRA/MTARA joint Holiday Party are selling fast. Pick up yours at November’s MTARA or HCRA meetings or by mail to either club. December 10th is your date for fun at the Steaming Tender in Palmer, MA.
Our annual November auction has been cancelled this year. If you hear someone mentioning attending please inform them of the change.
ARRL 10 Meter contest this December. This year should be an exciting one, especially based on recent 10 meter band openings. Look for more information from W1MSW about this fun event elsewhere in this edition of Zero Beat.
KX3 Raffle prize is in our hands! When we hold this year’s drawing we will have the radio ready and waiting for you. Ed will have this excellent prize on display and we plan on having a KX3 on display and operating at tonight’s meeting!
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!
Frandy/N1FJ and I will be heading to the high peaks of the Adirondacks to activate a few mountains for SOTA. We will activate Whiteface Mountain Monday afternoon then meet up with Dennis/WA2USA Monday evening. The three of us will attempt summits on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning before returning to our respective homes.
Dennis, one of the US’s top chasers, is also an activator and very knowledgeable of the area, We’re looking forward to him lending expertise to the ‘Jerks’ and keep us from becoming an item on the 11 PM news! It will be a pleasure to meet Dennis in person for an eyeball QSO after all the contacts we’ve made over the air.
Tomorrow, Monday the 10th Dennis will be activating Cascade Mountain, W2/GA-010 and Frandy and I will be activating Whiteface Mountian, W2/GA-003. Check SOTAwatch for the specific times/frequencies.
We’ll be taking some pictures and will get them up on the website soon. Most likely when we return. Internet connectivity is pretty spotty in the ‘dacks!
So, if you have a moment check the spots and give us a shout if you’re by a rig.