Ham Help Needed For WGBH Open House

Boston ARC logoBob Salow, WA1IDA writes on 9/30/07:

I just got the information on the WGBH Open House, and hams are needed.

It’s very late (in our terms), but the WGBH staff has been overwhelmed by the move into their new grand facilities on Market Street in Brighton and then planning the Open House. After months of inquiry, I finally have firm enough info to put together a plan for ham deployment.

For this year, at least, WGBH will hold an Open House instead of the Ice Cream FunFest. SATURDAY, 13 OCTOBER, and SUNDAY, 14 OCTOBER. We will be needed on both days from 0800 to about 1500. 5-7K visitors are expected both days. For over 20 years the Boston Amateur Radio Club has responded to their request for communications to assist and protect the visitors at WGBH.

Because the new facility has very limited parking, two solutions have been arranged. Shuttle buses will run from near three T stations and from two remote parking lots all day. Hams will be located at each site and at the WGBH building to relay visitor congestion and parking problems. You may go directly to your assigned location.

Unlike past support, it will be necessary to use a repeater to cover the territory – probably on 2 meters. Helpful is an antenna better than the “rubber duck” that came with your radio, as well as battery capacity to last the day. Depending on available hams, shift coverage may be arranged.

Time is short and your help is needed on one or both days. For those who have not done much ham public service, this is an excellent opportunity to get familiar without much effort. Please contact me as quickly as possible. Assignments and more details to follow. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

Bob Salow, WA1IDA

Cape Cod ARES Exercise: Operation Cyclone, Sept. 29

Cape Cod ARES logoCape Cod ARES will be holding an exercise called Operation Cyclone on Saturday September 29th, 2007 from 10 AM-Noon. The exercise simulates a Category-3 hurricane affecting Cape Cod and the Islands and is an “advanced” exercise testing out the skills of Cape Cod ARES with three field station setups along with EOCs and several regional hospitals staffed for support. [Details]

MMRA Changes Repeater Antenna To Help Protect PAVE PAWS

MMRA logoThe antenna of the Minuteman Repeater Association‘s Stoneham UHF repeater will soon be replaced, according to MMRA President Bob DeMattia, K1IW.

“The new antenna will provide a -30 db null toward the PAVE PAWS radar in Bourne, versus a current antenna gain of +5dB.”

[See ARRL Continues to Deal with DOD Over PAVE PAWS Sites and other related stories.]

DeMattia says the new antenna will provide a directional pattern with a major lobe directed at 345 degrees magnetic “creating a line through Woburn, Wilmington, Tewksbury, and Pelham, NH.” Stations in the major lobe could see a signal gain of 10 dB.

K1IW writes, “The 3dB beamwidth is 60 degrees, so stations along the lines of Burlington, Carlisle, Westford and Reading, Andover, Haverhill will see 7 dB improvement. Once outside this wedge, signal strength drops off quickly. On the direct side of the antenna, signal is -20 dB. There are no appreciable minor lobes.

DeMattia says that signal reports are welcome.

NEAR-Fest Proceeds To Fund Christa McAuliffe Planetarium Amateur Station

NEAR-Fest logoNEAR-Fest organizers have announced that proceeds from the NEAR-Fest at the Deerfield, New Hampshire fairgrounds on October 10-11, 2007 will go to funding a fully operational amateur station at the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium in Concord, New Hampshire.

According to NEAR-Fest General Chairman Mike Crestohl, W1RC, “the planetarium staff are very excited at the prospect of having a radio station they can exhibit and operate, and with which they can communicate directly with the International Space Station and other NASA facilities.”

The Planetarium is currently building a new addition and have already pledged a permanent location for this purpose. Additionally, a local area radio club has offered to represent NEAR-Fest and assist Planetarium staff members become licensed and proficient in the use of the equipment. Crestohl says that a presentation to Planetarium officials will be made at the prize drawing ceremony at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 13th.

“NEAR-Fest I in May was an unqualified success, beyond our wildest dreams,” writes W1RC. “We promise you NEAR-Fest II is going to be bigger and even better — if that’s possible.”

New attractions include a number of technical symposia and workshops, such as the R-390 Workshop moderated by George Rancourt, K1ANX, a fascinating lecture on the WW-II German ENGIMA machine and its derivatives presented by Professor Tom Perera, W1TP and “DXing 101” hosted by Neil Kaltman, K6SMF.

Tickets are $10.00 for Friday and Saturday. Admission is reduced to $5.00 at 6:00 AM Saturday. The entry fee for vehicles entering the flea market is $10.00 with the exception of campers, RVs and trailers who pay a $20.00 charge which includes all hookup charges. Advance tickets are available and those holding them will be admitted first. Furthermore, there will be two special door prizes drawn exclusively for advance ticket holders.

See the NEAR-Fest Web site at www.near-fest.com for details on how to purchase advance tickets and passes by mail, or send to W1RC at his callbook address.

PART To Conduct Annual “Pumpkin Patrol”

The Police Amateur Radio Team of Westford will conduct its annual “Pumpkin Patrol” on Wednesday, October 31, 2007. Participants will patrol various neighborhoods of Westford during and after “treat or treat” time, and radio any unusual activity to the police. PART conducts this activity with the cooperation of the Westford Police Department.

“This is an activity that PART has been doing since its inception back in the late 1970’s,” writes PART President Art “Bo” Budinger, WA1QYM.

“It is mainly a mobile operation but indeed we can use people with handi-talkies and people to help out at the police station,” Bo adds. “We don’t have a coordinator for this event yet, but when we do I will let you all know and you can volunteer directly to that person.”

–Thanks, PART Particles, Vol. 12 Number 7

Whitman ARC, Massasoit ARA Team Up For D.W. Field Park Triathlon

2007 D.W. Field Park TriathlonMembers from the Whitman Amateur Radio Club and the Massasoit Amateur Radio Association joined forces on September 23, 2007 to provide communications and coordination for the third annual D. W. Field Park Triathlon in Brockton.

The race started with a 14.5 mile bicycle race followed by a 1.7 mile canoe and kayak race on Waldo Lake, and then a 10k (6.2 mile) road race. Teams consisted of 1-3 persons who cycled, canoed/kayaked, and ran. Forty seven bicycle teams and about 100 people participated. Proceeds from the Triathlon benefit the Brockton Neighborhood Health Center.

Hams were positioned around the race track; they reported on race progress. They also watched and reported to Net Control about any participants experiencing problems. A battery-operated, solar-powered 2-meter “Go Kit” supplied by N1XTB was kept on display in the registration area.

Shown here (L-R): K1REL, W1GMF, W1JOE, KB1CYV, N1LCY, N1FY, N1VTI, KB1MTW, N1XTB, NI1X. Photo courtesy N1XTB

–Thanks, NI1X

KB1PAL/Venture Crew 47 Ready With Exciting Events

BSA Venture logoVenture Crew 47 (KB1PAL) is looking forward to another exciting year. A full calendar of events ranging from first aid classes to hands on operating is in store. In September the Crew will be providing communications support for the Aquila District Camporee at Camp Carpenter in Manchester New Hampshire. This event is a great opportunity to give the scouts hands on experience and to expose new faces to Amateur Radio.

The Crew will also be participating in the Jamboree on the Air (JOTA), a world-wide on air gathering of scouts. JOTA will take place on October 20th. We will be assisting with communications for a Railroading Merit Badge excursion that weekend as well. Other events scheduled for this year include: First Aid Training, Leadership Training, a mountain trip, and participation in the District’s Klondike Derby, Venturing Weekend, and the Spring Camporee.

Venture Crew 47 is a co-ed crew and is part of the Boy Scouts of America’s Yankee Clipper Council, in Northeastern Massachusetts. We are sponsored by the North Shore Radio Association in Peabody. As always the Crew is looking for more members. If you, or someone you know, is between the ages of 14 and 20, has completed the eighth grade, and is interested in joining the Crew or has any questions about what we do, please contact us by sending an email to crew47@nsradio.org. The Venturing program is a great way for young men and women to get involved in our hobby…e-mail us to sign up today!

–Thanks, KB1OHZ and KB1KQW

BARC ARES Participates in Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) Exercise

Hello to all….

Boston Amateur Radio Club (BARC) members who are also a part of Eastern Massachusetts ARES participated in an exercise on the Strategic National Stockpile which is a stockpile of medications in the event of a bioterror or pandemic flu type of incident. Below is a write-up from BARC Club member and Metro Boston ARES DEC, Blake Haskell-K1BTH on that exercise:

On Sunday September 23, 2007 members of the Boston Amateur Radio Club participated in a joint Boston Public Health Commission and US Postal Service test of medicine delivery. The exercise, which teamed USPS mail carriers and Boston Police Department Officers to insure security, delivered over 20,000 sample boxes of medicines. It is the City’s goal to provide medical services to residents as quickly as possible in the event of an emergency.

BARC members participating included Blake T. Haskell, K1BTH, who also serves as EMa ARES Metro Boston DEC; Jim Clogher, N1ICN; Mark Duff, KB1EKN; Eric Falkof, K1NUN; and Paul Olivieri, N1ZKR. The USPS Emergency Operating Center was staffed along with the Boston Police Department Unified Command Center and the areas around the West Roxbury and South End Post Offices. Communications were facilitated by the W1KRU repeater system operated by the Boston EMS Amateur Radio Group. There were no problems with communications and all amateur radio operations were carried out on UHF frequencies.

Other agencies participating included the Massachusetts State Police, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, US Postal Inspectors and various other city, state and federal agencies.

The exercise was deemed a success and was completed ahead of time. Some operational difficulties were identified and are already being addressed by BARC and the City of Boston. It is expected that other joint operations will be planned and BARC looks forward to working with our emergency management partners again.

Respectfully Submitted,

Robert Macedo (KD1CY)
ARES SKYWARN Coordinator
Eastern Massachusetts ARES Section Emergency Coordinator
Pager #: (508) 354-3142
Home Phone #: (508) 994-1875 (After 6 PM)
Home/Data #: (508) 997-4503 (After 6 PM)
Work Phone #: 1-800-445-2588 Ext.: 72929 (8 AM-5 PM)
Email Address: rmacedo@rcn.com
1 1

“This Group ‘Hams’ It Up”

“TAUNTON — Amateur radio isn’t just a unique high-tech hobby to chat with other individuals in near or faraway lands, but in times of crisis it can be seen as a call of duty.”

The online edition of the Enterprise carried a story focusing on Taunton Area Communications Group members’ work in emergency preparedness but also about the Amateur Radio hobby in general in a September 26, 2007 story entitled “This Group ‘Hams’ It Up”. 

[Full story]

“ARRL Continues to Deal with DOD Over PAVE PAWS Sites”

PAVE PAWS installation
The ARRL participated in a teleconference call on Wednesday, September 19, with the Department of Defense (DoD) regarding Amateur Radio repeaters interfering with the Air Force’s PAVE Paws radar system.

According to ARRL Regulatory Branch Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND, “The DoD acknowledges that it has seen changes at some repeater sites, but not all of them.” He said the DoD has revisited the Massachusetts repeaters, located near Otis Air Force Base on Cape Cod, to “remeasure the numbers. Some Massachusetts repeater owners have volunteered to completely turn off their systems and some others have made changes, but more is needed at both PAVE Paws radar sites.”

The DoD, Henderson continued, has identified additional sources of interference in Massachusetts. “This was not really unexpected and is part of what has become an ongoing project. The ARRL will begin working with these repeater owners as soon as the DoD provides us with specific information,” he said.
In California, where more than 100 repeaters are being scrutinized by the DoD, Henderson said the majority of repeaters have not been mitigated: “The Air Force has not had a chance to revisit Beale Air Force Base for new measurements, but it will be happening soon.”

Reports have circulated that a number of California repeater owners have decided to take no further action about mitigating the interference unless they receive official notice from the Federal Communications Commission. “If these reports are true,” Henderson said, “it is unfortunate. The FCC has stayed abreast of the discussions between the League and the DoD, and they are prepared to act appropriately if they are contacted by the DoD.”

He continued: “The DoD has indicated they are willing to allow the ARRL to continue its attempts to mitigate the interference; however, they have expressed a sense of urgency that this must come to a conclusion. Those waiting for FCC action may find it coming sooner rather than later.”

–The ARRL Letter Vol. 26, No. 38 September 21, 2007

See also:
eHam.com: FCC/DOD Says Power Down: UHF Repeaters in Calif. Reduced to 5 Watts
Cape Cod Times: “Ham radio users face military interference”
Barnstable ARC 443.500 Repeater Off The Air
ARRL Submits Plan to Mitigate Repeater Interference to Military Radars
ARRL Aiding Effort to Mitigate Repeater Interference to Military Radars

Ham Assistance For Hospital EOCs Explored

hospital emergency room signSteve Telsey, N1BDA writes on PART-L:

Have you been interested in emergency communications but been put off by elaborate go-kits, working in rain and snow, and eating MREs? Would you prefer to work in a controlled environment where food was available and a minimal “kit” was required?

Several hospitals are looking for small groups (4-6) of hams to provide auxiliary communications in their EOCs. Yes, hospitals are putting together EOCs and adding communications like satellite phones and statewide medical network radios. However, they may need to contact other hospitals or MEMA. And they may need reports from people in the field about possible incoming patients.

Initial discussions are underway with hospitals. We are looking to establish pilot programs with a small number of hospitals. Interested parties should contact me rather than hospital personnel. One requirement the hospitals have is that the volunteers be committed to supporting the hospital and not have primary responsibilities to RACES, ARES, town emergency management, and the like. They can certainly work with other groups, but must be willing to support the hospital when needed. Another is that the hams participate in initial hospital training on basic procedures, undergo a background check (probably CORI), and take part in periodic drills.

Does working at a community hospital during disasters appeal to you? If so, please let me know at n1bda@arrl.net. I’d like to hold a meeting in mid-October or thereabouts to go into more details and answer questions you may have.


Steve, N1BDA

MARA, WARC Consider Casino’s “EmComm Impact”

pair of diceThe Massasoit Amateur Radio Association and the Whitman Amateur Radio Club in Bridgewater and Whitman, respectively, are looking at the possible impact on emergency communications needs and disaster assistance requirements should a casino be build in Middleborough, according to Eastern MA South Shore District Emergency Coordinator and MARA President Carl Aveni, N1FY. “We are in the discussion phase of what possible scenarios could occur and what Amateur Radio emergency communication requirements may be needed.”

On July 28, 2007, Middleborough residents approved by a 2-to-1 margin a deal to bring the state’s first casino to this mostly rural town south of Boston.

–Thanks, MARA News, September, 2007

QRA Proposes Homebrew Construction Class

Quannapowitt Radio Association logoThe Quannapowitt Radio Assocation is proposing a class for members interested in constructing electronic equipment.

If enough interest is warranted, Mike Rioux, W1USN will put together a home brew class to identify electronic components and simple electronic circuits. The class might also construct a small electronic project suitable for use in the ham shack. Rioux says the type of project and its cost will be determined by the class participants.

W1USN envisions the class meeting once a week or more, depending on the type of project selected. If you are interested in participating, contact W1USN at mike@rioux.org.

–Thanks, QRA News, September 2007

Whitman Amateurs Attend World Scout Jamboree

World Scout JamboreeAmateurs from the Whitman Amateur Radio Club recently attended the 21st World Scout Jamboree in Hylands Park, Chelmsford, England. Paul Moss, KB1MTW and Mike Supple, KB1OEP spent ten days visiting London and Paris with Whitman Troop 22. While in England, they spent one day visiting the Jamboree and special events station GB100J. The station commemorated the 100-year anniversary of scouting which started in 1907 in England.

“Echolink was down at the site due to lack of Internet access, start-up problems. [We] did get to do a two-meter simplex connection with the group at the station and an Echolink QSO through the base station connection to a local club repeater link,” reports KB1MTW. Paul also spoke to a father and son who are involved in scouting.

Approximately 40,000 scouts from 200 countries participated in the Jamboree. A contact was made between scouts at GB100J and Clay Anderson, KD5PLA on-board the International Space Station. Another contact was made via Echolink with Whitman ARC member Don Burke, KB1LXH in Taunton.

Shown here: Scott Supple and Koby Ward of Whitman trading patches.

–Thanks, Whitman ARC Spectrum, September, 2007

PRA To Operate K1W For National Wildlife Refuge Week, Oct. 7-13, 2007

Pentucket Radio Assocation logoThe Pentucket Radio Association will celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week from the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge with a special event operation as K1W.

The group will operate on or near the following frequencies: 21.130 14.265 7.240 3.880 MHz.

The group encourages all interested parties to come out and visit the great outdoors. “October is a wonderful time of year to get out and visit your local Refuge. The weather is great, animals are active (bring binoculars) and the scenery can be spectacular! What a perfect opportunity to combine our love for the outdoors and amateur radio.” For additional on where to go in your area, visit http://www.fws.gov/refuges.

To receive a special commemorative QSL for this event, along with a refuge brochure, please send an SASE to:

Larry Caruso, K1LGC
77 Whittier Road
Haverhill, MA 01830

“Operating Schedule: On Sunday, October 7th, from 1500-2000Z we will be operating from Refuge Headquarters, located at 6 Plum Island Turnpike, Newburyport, MA

“We will be on the air at various other times during the week as our schedules allow. Check the club’s announcement page for updates.”

[See also: Pentucket Radio Association To Operate in NWR Event]

Concord Technician Class Begins Oct. 16

Concord-Carlisle Adult Learning and Education logo

A Technician licensing course will be offered in October by the Concord-Carlisle Adult and Community Education program in conjunction with the Colonial Wireless Association. The course will meet each Tuesday and Thursday night from October 16 – October 25 at the Concord-Carlisle Regional High School L-Building in Concord. The fee is $20. At this time, the course still has openings.

For more information and to enroll, please visit http://www.ace.colonial.net/Default.html, then “Browse” for “Communications and Speech” courses, then select “Concord Ham Radio Class”.

A Half Marathon, But A Whole Load of Fun

Boston ARC logoBob Salow, WA1IDA writes:

The ham public service events are winding down for this year, so soon you can relax (except for the “real” disasters). Here we are at the Seventh Annual BAA Half Marathon. For the past six years this event received huge acclaim in the athlete’s world – largely because of the skills and experience of the organizers and support staff (we are definitely a part of that). The Half is run almost entirely in Boston (2% in Brookline), with more than 5000 local, national and international athletes expected. Proceeds benefit the Jimmy Fund.

Our ham radio team has been asked again to support communications for this event doing our usual medical, water and administrative tasks. We definitely need your help – and more hams. Time is short.

The Half Marathon will be held on SUNDAY, 7 OCTOBER 2007. Time and other details are below. The course is along the length of the “Emerald Necklace” (as beautiful as you can get in Boston). The out-and-back route starts and finishes at Clemente Park in the Fenway. It follows the Riverway, Jamaicaway, and Arborway to the Franklin Park Zoo for a turnaround and return on almost the same route.

The weather is likely to be cool and the 13.1-mile course should not be a strain on the athletes. Water and medical stations are spaced appropriately. We also have assignments at several hazardous points. Our duties on the course will be to support these locations, but we also serve as observers of the runners, spectators and local residents (some of their streets are to be closed). Most stations serve both outbound and inbound runners. At Clemente Field, we have a number of fixed and roving medical assignments.

If you are assigned to a station on the course, and you wish to drive, you may go directly to the assigned location. I hope to have a ham course Traveler who will deliver your identity (long sleeve) shirt. If you are willing to drive directly to your station on the course, I will send you a Vehicle Permit (as an email attachment in MS Word) for you to print out. Those assigned to course stations must be on site at 0700 so the Traveler can meet you briefly and move on. The Traveler will call your station as he approaches. Be ready and go to the Traveler’s car or bus for the ID shirt and any last minute information.

If you do not plan to drive to an assigned course station, you must arrive at Clemente Field at 0600. A parking lot for volunteers only will be located about three blocks away from Clemente. You will receive an ID shirt and any last minute information. Before the race begins there will be transportation from Clemente to the course station assignments.

Hams assigned to posts at Clemente Field must be present at 0700 for a briefing and the amenities. Keep in mind that parking in the Fenway area is limited, so allow a few minutes to use the volunteer parking lot. Although the area is T accessible from several directions, the T may not be running at that hour – see www.mbta.com). Parking (at that hour) will also be available at the Landmark Center (formerly the Sears store) on Park Drive at Brookline Ave, but there is a charge for the Landmark parking.

The entire event should be over before 1130, and all roads will be progressively opened. This schedule is what is known now. Better details later.

Because the entire course is compact, very few repeaters need be used. Our present plan is to use both 2-meters and 70-cm, both bands with CTCSS.

WE NEED YOU TO VOLUNTEER. As in the past, we are committed to reliable, professional performance, and the requirements below lead to this goal. Please note them and sign up quickly. Our duties at this event are straight forward and are well suited for hams who have little experience at public service. Each ham must have his or her own radio and accessories – no sharing of equipment can be permitted during the event. Each ham must be self sufficient for the entire period, as we cannot assure partnered assignments.

1. For the duration of this event you are considered a member of the Boston Amateur Radio Club (BARC) and a BAA volunteer. BARC carries a liability insurance policy.

2. To assist in identification and security, you must wear a badge with your name and call sign. Your volunteer credential will be a special long-sleeve shirt provided at the beginning of the day and your bright orange “Emergency Communications” cap (available for $5.00 – let me know if you need one).

3. Our communications support is provided only by licensed Amateur Radio operators, Technician class or above. Be sure to have a good photocopy of your valid license and a call sign badge with you.

4. Because of the terrain and expected radio traffic congestion, you should have a full size antenna (that is, better than a minimal “rubber duck”) and a battery supply sufficient to run at your maximum power if necessary. While you will mostly listen and rarely transmit, the best guide is for 10 hours of battery capability. The ambient noise level may be high, so an inexpensive headset (not just an ear plug) is strongly recommended.

5. To present ourselves as professional and proficient, you must be neatly dressed. The bright orange “Emergency Communications” cap is essential for identification. Local residents and the media will be watching.

6. Expect the media. If you are interviewed, state that you are a ham radio operator, and give only a very brief statement about what your assignment is. Then refer the interviewer to our public relations staff (call Net Control for direction). Please do not offer prolonged descriptions of the joys of ham radio.

More hams are needed. Please spread the word in your local club and to your on-the-air friends! Anyone interested should contact me directly ASAP. We also need you to understand that although we must call for more hams now, final staffing needs may not match the number of ham volunteers. Therefore, a very small possibility exists that we still may not be able to give everyone an assignment.

As the event date gets closer, instead of formal briefings, those who volunteer will receive an email with the assignment, a detailed description of the assignment site and other information.

If you can give this event your help, please contact me as soon as possible. We also need to know if your radio has 2-meters with CTCSS and if you have the 70-cm band. If you have any questions about participation, do not hesitate to contact me.

When you reply, please include the following information:
Your best email address for last minute information.
Can you open an MS Word email attachment?
Are you available to drive, and, if assigned on the course (not assured), would you drive there directly?
Your shirt size.

If you have already informed me that you are available, please reply to this message anyway.

Bob Salow, WA1IDA
508.650.9440 (H)
617.650.0062 (Cell)

© 2007 WA1IDA – S/070904