Massachusetts Department of Motor Vehicles is Not Processing Ham Operator Plate Applications

From EMA ARRL Section News, September 30, 2020:

For almost a year now, the Massachusetts Department of Motor Vehicles has been unable to process new “Ham Operator” special plate applications. According to one Western Massachusetts amateur who spoke to a DMV employee, “[…] the person I talked to informed me that this issue has been referred to the software company/vendor. No estimate has been placed on a resolution. She refused to tell me how many applications are being held up. I asked if there was anyone I could refer this to, she declined and said there was no one to escalate it to.”

At the request of Western MA Section Manager Ray Lajoie, KB1LRL, MA State Government Liaison Hank McCarl, W4RIG, contacted MA State Senator Bruce Tarr’s office to inquire. A legislative spokesperson from that office informed Hank that all special series and vanity license plates that have specific letter-number requests are currently impacted. However, plates for which numbers are sequentially assigned; e.g., 0001 through 9999, are being processed.

How many other amateurs in Massachusetts have been affected by this snafu at the DMV? Please write and let us know at <k1tw@arrl.org>

K1NDF: “Radio Propagation” at Framingham ARA Online Meeting, October 1, 2020

Framingham ARA logoTopic: Framingham Amateur Radio Association Oct.1 Zoom Meeting

Sumner Weisman, W1VIV, is inviting you to a scheduled Framingham Amateur Radio Association Zoom meeting.

Our speaker this Thursday evening will be Neal Lipson, K1NDF, of Framingham, an extremely active ham who has been blind since birth. He will speak on the subject of Radio Propagation, and on what an excellent location we live in for getting out.  During the talk, I will screen share pictures of Neal with his various radios, as well as his tower and antennas.

Special Request:  Your name will appear under your picture on Zoom.  Please change it so that it provides your name and call letters.  Just right click on your name, and you will be able to change it.  Thank you.

Time: Oct 1, 2020 07:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

If you are not on the Internet, you can join by phone. 

[For conference information, email Sumner Weisman, W1VIV, at w1viv.radio -at- gmail -dot- com]

Wellesley ARS Parks On The Air Activation, K-2427, September 26, 2020

Dan Brown W1DAN, writes:

[Wellesley Amateur Radio Society members] Steve Ciavarini, NQ1F, along with Rob Jaczko, WA1UMU, and Leandra Mac Lennan, AF1R, operated  Parks On The Air as K-2427 on Saturday September 26, 2020 at Cochituate State Park in Natick, MA.

After guidance from park rangers, Leandra set up her VHF Moxon beam antenna for 2m and a 20m Hamstick vertical; Rob set up his new Wolf River vertical with twelve 40-foot radials that Steve made, and Steve set up his home brew 6m beam he presented to WARS last week. Started operating around 3:30PM.

All in all, Rob and Leandra made around 60 contacts on 40M, 20M, and 2M, and one contact on 6M, which was absolutely dead.

The gang said it was good fun. Leandra wanted to do a POTA sometime, and when Rob invited she jumped at the chance. Leandra brought her Yaesu FT991 40AH battery, mini masts for the Hamstick and 2-meter Moxon antenna. Rob brought his Icom 7300, 20AH battery, and a Wolf River Coils antenna (https://www.wolfrivercoils.com). However there was a set of 50-foot radials with this antenna, which were all tangled up like a ball of twine. This took a frustrating hour to untangle, but once set up, the antenna was excellent on 40M.

Steve’s new 6-meter beam seemed to work, but the band was pretty dead as he found only one station in Manchester NH. The new beam was found to be directional–a good sign. In the meantime, Leandra worked Bill, N1WEN on 146.52.

On 20M, AF1R found another POTA station in CO, Rob said that that station later told them they were the strongest POTA station with the Wolf River antenna. Rob had a lot of success on 40M SSB with the antenna, which was stronger than the Hamstick.

Each station needs ten contacts to be “activated.” Leandra had nine with the hamstick, so she moved to the Wolf River antenna. Spotted on POTA website, then worked stations during a pileup that lasted for a half hour. During the last 30 minutes, Rob and Steve were taking gear down, as Leandra used the Wolf antenna, made 30 more contacts in 30 minutes. Leandra made about 40-50 contacts, while Rob made 32.

Rangers stopped by and said it was time to shut down as the park closes at 7 PM, so they ended operations about 6:30 PM.

Leandra noted they learned how to cooperate in making contacts more efficiently and that spotters on the POTA website helped.

This is a test run for a bigger WARS club COVID-safe event planned for this fall. Cochituate State Park closes on Columbus Day October 12 (https://www.mass.gov/locations/cochituate-state-park), so maybe we can do Callahan State Park in Framingham.

Photos courtesy Steve, NQ1F

Historic DX Test Tonight: WNJC, 1360 kHz, Washington Township, NJ, FT-8 Weak Signal Mode, September 26, 2020

WNJC logoFrom Boston Area DXers mailing list:
 
Duke Hamann of WNJC has announced another weekly DX Test of WNJC 1360, including a historic first-ever test of the FT-8 mode during a medium-wave broadcast test.
 
Reception reports can be sent to Duke at: kc2dux@duxpond.com
 
The test will be in two parts:
 
WNJC DX TEST PART ONE 0000 EDT-0100 EDT (0400-0500 UTC)
 
The test begin late tonight starting at midnight on the East Coast of the United States. Late Saturday/Early Sunday, 9/27 at 0000 EDT (0400 UTC) and initially air the same Morse code IDs, jingles, sweep tones, telephone off-hook sounders and other test material. This time, however, WNJC will use a backup antenna tower that has never been used before. It is located on a site the station has leased for 30 years. The land owners have refused to renew the lease as they want to develop the land, so the station will lose this tower site in 6 months. Power will be 1250 watts and the antenna pattern will be non-directional.
 
This should provide a good opportunity for the test to be received in Europe.
 
WNJC DX TEST PART TWO 0100 EDT-0200 EDT (0500-0600 UTC)
 
The second part of the test is really exciting.
 
Duke Hamann will be testing for a second hour using the amateur radio mode FT-8, developed by Joe Taylor, K1JT, a Nobel Prize winning astrophysicist.
 
FT-8 is a “sound card mode” where you simply input audio from your receiver into your computer’s sound card, then use software to process that audio digging out weak signals in the noise. How well does it work? Using the software and the audio from your receiver, you can decode signals that are as much as -24db below the noise.
 
This means if you’re on the West Coast, and ordinarily you think you would have no chance of hearing the WNJC Test, tonight you may be able to put a new station in your logbook. In fact, worldwide reception may be possible using the FT-8 mode.
 
Chief Engineer Duke Harman explains:
 
“It will be a one-way transmission every 15 seconds for 1 hour calling “CQ WNJC FM29.″ I am going to try to do it Sunday at [0100-0200 EDT] 0500-0600 UTC. The audio frequency will vary between 200 Hz and 4000 Hz in 200 Hz increments over a five minute period then repeat.
 
(200, 400, 600, 800, 1000 Hz, etc.) All you would need to do is tune your radio to 1360 in AM mode, connect to your computer and receive. Looking forward to doing this unique test!
 
HOW TO RECEIVE FT-8
 
There are a ton of resources on the Internet for hams who want to get started in FT-8. It’s one of the most popular ways for hams to communicate. Whatever you read, simply substitute the word “receiver” for transceiver. Ignore anything about transmitting, calling CQ, etc. We won’t be transmitting—just listening.
 
An audio cable to run from your receiver’s headphone or line out jack to your computer is helpful. But for many folks make FT8 work fine using a microphone placed near the speaker of their radio. Portable radios may work great too. No fancy SDR or communications receiver needed.
 
Best bet is to set it up now and test it during the day on the ham bands. The most popular frequencies for FT8 (so you can test your ability to receive) are: 14.071 mHz (20 Meters) USB
 
Search for YouTube videos. Tons of help on the web. But don’t wait, test our your receiver and computer today in order to be ready tonight for this historic test.
 
 
73,
 
Les Rayburn, N1LF
121 Mayfair Park
Maylene, AL 35114
EM63nf

K1TH: “CQWW J3A YCCC Contest Operation” at K1USN Radio Club, September 29, 2020

From K1USN Radio Club Happenings, September 25, 2020:
 
Mark your calendar for our next K1USN Zoom session this upcoming Tuesday, Sept 29th @ 7:30 PM.
 
This session will feature a presentation by Tom – K1TH from Plymouth. Tom will be talking about his experience as a participant in the 2000 CQWW contest as part of the YCCC (Yankee Clipper Contest Club) J3A Team in Grenada.
 
If you have already been receiving K1USN Zoom invitations, you will receive one this Sunday for the Tuesday session. We ask that you do not share the invitation details with others, but instead tell anyone who is interested in attending to send an e-mail request to me ( k1rv@arrl.net ) and I will add them to the K1USN Zoom list.
 
 

MASSACHUSETTS TRAFFIC REPORT FOR AUGUST 2020

Greetings to all. I hope you had a great summer in spite of all the pandemic restrictions. Now that we are getting into fall perhaps there is time to consider some why’s and wherefores of handling message traffic on voice nets.

We have some very good training programs on the nets but I would also like to call attention to the Methods and Practices Guidelines (MPG) available on the arrl.org website (http://www.arrl.org/files/file/NTS_MPG2014.pdf) with link also on the ema.arrl.org website (https://ema.arrl.org/national-traffic-system/nts-resources/) under NTS Resources. This is not meant to be a training manual but rather a resource document covering various topics regarding message handling. It is not a set of rules but rather guidelines based on best practices, derived from many years of experience during a wide variety of propagation and band conditions particularly on HF. It is what has been found to help get messages through accurately and efficiently even in the worst of conditions. It was compiled by some of the most experienced traffic handlers. While those who handle messages on a VHF voice net may not experience such conditions it is good to practice in the event you may some day be called upon to pass traffic when there is atmospheric and man-made interference which often exist on the HF bands.

I call your attention especially to Chapter 2 on ‘Sending Messages on Voice’. This chapter is 58 pages long, but it is certainly not necessary to know it all before participating. As you participate however and get more practice you can apply more and more of these “tricks of the trade” and become an expert traffic handler, feeling a real sense of accomplishment when you successfully relay a message during particularly difficult band conditions.

I think the folks in our section are doing a fantastic job handling messages. I am proud of you all. We can however all (including your STM) work on learning more and improving our skills. Thanks to all you great folks for your support.  Below is the August traffic report.

73, Marcia KW1U

MASSACHUSETTS STM REPORTS 2020 Aug-20    
               
NET SESSIONS  QTC QNI QTR NM FREQ Net Time
               
WMTN C1 24 1 277 175 N1YCW 146.91 1300 Daily
WMTN C2 25 6 270 239 KD2JKV 146.91 1700 Daily
MARI 31 134 165 555 KW1U 3565 KHz 1900 Daily
EM2MN 31 121 351 884 KC1HHO 145.23 2000 Daily
CM2MN 18 5 66 114 KK1X 146.97 2100 Daily
HHTN 18 33 281 489 W1HAI MMRA Rptrs 2200 Su,M,W,F
CITN 17 7 100 200 AC7RB 147.375 1930 Tu,Th,F, Sa
MARIPN 13 21 74 170 N1LAH 3978 KHz 1700 Tu,Th,Sa
WARPSN 5 10 84 NA N1IQI 147.225 0830 Su
WMEN/HF 4 0 83 80 N1CPE 3944 KHz 0830 Su
WMEN/VHF 4 0 62 53 N1PUA 146.91 0900 Su
  190 338 1813 2906      
               
SAR ORG REC SENT DEL TOTAL BPL BPL = 500+ points
               
N1IQI 0 58 471 4 533 X  
KW1U 0 267 237 0 504 X  
N1TF 0 42 53 11 106    
W1RVY 1 66 25 0 92    
KC1HHO 0 45 17 4 66    
WA1LPM 0 20 44 0 64    
KC1KVY 0 23 34 4 61    
N1LAH 0 22 22 1 45    
KE1ML 0 12 24 2 38    
NV1N 0 7 21 1 29    
KD2JKV 0 14 14 0 28    
WA1VAB 0 9 10 5 24    
W1TCD 0 8 9 4 21    
KC1MSN 0 7 7 6 20    
W1JWM 0 9 6 4 19    
W1PLK 0 8 8 3 19    
AJ1DM 1 4 1 4 10    
KC1NBI 0 3 3 1 7    
AB1ZS 0 1 3 0 4    
               
PSHR  (Min 70 Points) 1 2 3 4 5 6 TOTAL
               
KW1U 40 40 30 0 0 20 130
N1TF 40 40 30 5 0 0 115
N1IQI 40 40 10 10 0 10 110
KD2JKV 40 40 30 0 0 0 110
W1RVY 40 40 30 0 0 0 110
N1LAH 40 40 20 0 0 0 100
KE1ML 40 36 10 0 0 10 96
KC1HHO 31 40 20 0 0 0 91
KC1KVY 40 40 10 0 0 0 90
WA1LPM 38 40 10 0 0 0 88
NV1N 34 29 10 0 0 0 73
               
DRS RCV FWD TOTAL        
               
KW1U 799 714 1513        
N1IQI 58 471 529        
W1RVY 1 6 7        
W1JWM 2 3 5        

KD1D Fox is on the Loose Again, September 25, 2020

Alan Hicks, KD1D, writes on the NEMass Fox Hunters List at 3:36 PM on September 25, 2020:

The Fox attempted to go out last week, but was seized by a fever* and went home.

Newly energized, the Fox is on the air as of 1445 EDT on Friday September 25, 2020.  I expect to bring him home again on Monday morning 9/28. 

CLUES:
– The Fox’s new den is on Westford Conservation Trust Land. (Check them out – they have great maps!)

– The initials of the site remind me of what broke Ralphie’s glasses in “A Christmas Story.”

– One of the parking areas bears the surname of  the lead guitarist for a band  whose first name is the same as a “luxury” model Cadillac  (1976-1996) and whose  last name is a computer famous for not being a PC.

– The same parking area also bears the name of a famous residence  in the UK and the trail is located between two  local residences, numbered 15 and 17.

– An alternate parking area is at 180° + the part of the candle that you light (and from which light emanates) + a symmetrical round 2 dimensional shape.

– You should be able to hear the signal from Rt. 225

Send me a private email to kd1d@arrl.net for additional hints.
Happy hunting and 73 de KD1D

*(The fever was caused by the point of the security eye screw puncturing the insulation on the power cord from the battery to the SqwalkBox module.  Considerable magic smoke was emitted from the power circuit, but the transmitter survived.  The screw now has a blunt end and the power cord has a 1/2 amp fuse.)

Phil Temples, K9HI, Appointed as New England Division Vice Director

photo of Phil Temples, K9HI09/24/2020

ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, has appointed Phil Temples, K9HI, of Watertown, Massachusetts, as New England Division Vice Director. He succeeds Mike Raisbeck, K1TWF, who was elected earlier this year as ARRL First Vice President. President Roderick made the appointment after consulting with New England Director Fred Hopengarten, K1VR, and the region’s Section Managers.

“I want to thank all of those who forwarded their recommendations to Director Hopengarten,” Temples said. “Mike Raisbeck left some big shoes to fill. I look forward to working with Fred, and to advise and assist him with various tasks and board committee assignments. One task I’m especially eager to tackle is launching a New England Division website.”

An ARRL Life Member, Temples has been licensed for 50 years, initially as WN9EAY in Indiana. He has written articles for QST and contributed articles for the ARRL website. He also recently co-authored a chapter in the Amateur Radio Public Service Handbook.

Temples served three terms as Eastern Massachusetts Section Manager and now is an Assistant SM and an Assistant New England Division Director. He’s also held ARRL field appointments as Affiliated Club Coordinator and Public Information Officer and currently serves as program chair for the ARRL New England Division Convention.

Temples has been active in MARS, the National Traffic System, and as an Emergency Coordinator, and he enjoys CW. He holds a degree in electrical engineering from Purdue University.

Temples has actively promoted instruction and licensing and is a Volunteer Examiner under the ARRL, W5YI, and Greater Los Angeles ARG Volunteer Examiner Coordinators. He’s currently involved with New England Amateur Radio, Inc. in administering remote exam sessions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Temples is employed at Boston College as a computer systems administrator.

From  the ARRL website

Tom K1TW
ARRL Section Manager
Eastern Massachusetts

NE1PL QRV from USS Massachusetts, September 19, 2020

NE1PL QSL cardRick Emord, KB1TEE, wites:

The [Uncommon Service to Naval Radio] Group, NE1PL, will be operating today on the USS Massachusetts–two HF stations and one 2-meter station on the Massasoit Amateur Radio Association’s  repeater, 147.180, PL 67, from 1000-1600. Come on the air and give us a shout.

[Located in Battleship Cove in Fall River, the USS Massachusetts (BB-59), known as “Big Mamie” to her crew members during World War II, was a battleship of the second South Dakota class. She was the seventh ship of the United States Navy to be named in honor of the sixth state, and one of two ships of her class (along with her sister Alabama) to be donated for use as a museum ship. Massachusetts has the distinction of having fired the US Navy’s first and last 16-inch (406 mm) shells of the war. -ed.]

Bill Burden, WB1BRE, Silent Key

Bill Burden, WB1BREPast New England Division Director Bill Burden, WB1BRE, of Strafford, Vermont, died on July 29. An ARRL Life Member, he was 84. Burden served as ARRL New England Division Director from 1992 to 1996. Prior to that, he was New England Division Vice Director (1991 – 1992) and New Hampshire Section Manager (1985 – 1991). He served as the emergency management director for the Town of Strafford. A graduate of Lowell Tech with a degree in electrical engineering, Burden worked for Lockheed-Sanders, retiring in 1991. -ARRL Letter, September 17, 2020

HamXposition / New England ARES Academy Schedule

(Updated October 1, 2020)

 

The first-ever New England Division ARES Academy, originally scheduled for the Division Convention in November, will instead be held over a period of several weeks in October via Zoom. There are five Basic Track classes for those just getting started, and more advanced classes and workshops for those who already have the basics. One-hour classes will be held on weeknights from 7:30 to 8:30, and two-hour workshop sessions will be held Saturday mornings from 9:00 to 11:00.

A big benefit of the on-line schedule is the opportunity to take every single class and workshop instead of having to pick and choose. Weeknight class participants will be able to ask questions and interact with the instructor via chat. The two-hour Saturday workshops are designed to be even more interactive. Academy Instructors are all recognized experts in their subject area.

The NE-ARES Academy is an outgrowth of the successful NH-ARES Academy program that ran at the NH State Fire Academy for eight years. The program’s goal is to offer both basic and advanced skills training based in ARRL ARES training standards.

We plan to continue this program at the Convention once the pandemic is over, in hopes that building a standardized base of training across New England will enhance our ability to provide better local emergency communications, and an effective ARESMAT (ARES Mutual Assistance Team) response across the region, and beyond.

NE ARES Academy Schedule(All classes will be conducted online using Zoom) 

Academy coordinator Dave Colter, WA1ZCN, was the original editor and principal author of ARRL’s Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course series in the early 2000s, and creator of the original NH-ARES Academy. He is currently ASEC-Training for NH-ARES.

 

New England Wireless & Steam Museum Yankee Steam-up Special Events Operation

Massie Wireless Station "PJ"
Massie Wireless Station “PJ”

A special events operation from the New England Wireless and Steam Museum’s Yankee Steam-up will take place on October 3, 2020 from 1300-2000Z.  Look for N1EPJ on the following frequencies: 3.558, 14.058, 7.25, 14.258. QSL to: Massie Wireless Club, N1EPJ, PO Box 883, East Greenwich, RI 02818.

From the N1EPJ QRZ page:

The station was built in Point Judith, Rhode Island, in 1907 and is the oldest surviving working wireless station in the world. It is now part of the New England Wireless and Steam Museum.

The Massie Wireless Station provided communications to steamboats that traveled between New York City and New England cities. In 1983 the wireless station was moved to the New England Wireless and Steam Museum at 1300 Frenchtown Road in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, to avoid demolition. The wireless station was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2001.

The Massie Wireless Station is in the process of being re-activated with its new callsign, N1EPJ. The new callsign itself is significant as the station’s original callsign was “PJ” (Point Judith), which became the station’s nickname.

From www.newsm.org:

Yankee Steam-Up 2020 will be held on Saturday, October 3, 2020. Due to Covid-19 concerns, Steam-Up will be exclusively on our YouTube channel this year. We’d prefer to see you all in person, but we do hope this allows enthusiasts from all over the world access our wonderful collection for the first time.

We’ll be posting new videos leading up to October 3rd. Watch below or visit the museum’s YouTube channel. Please like and share with your friends. Check back often for more information or send us a message letting us know what you’d most like to see. Contact us.

 

Nashua Area Radio Society’s “Ham Bootcamp” at the Virtual Northeast HamXposition, November 7, 2020

[As a part of the Northeast HamXposition‘s virtual activities (Saturday evening banquet and New England ARES Academy), the Nashua Area Radio Society is offering “Ham Bootcamp” online this year.]

 

From the Nashua Area Radio Society website:

Ham Bootcamp includes a series of demonstrations and tutorials designed to help newly licensed Technician, General, and Extra class license holders get on the air and use their amateur radio license. It is also a great opportunity for prospective hams who are interested in seeing what the hobby has to offer.

Our Bootcamp activities are provided online via a series of sessions geared towards Technicians and prospective Hams and General class licenses and higher Hams. Bootcamp participants will find all of this material interesting and fun no matter what their focus or license level.

We are continuing to provide our Bootcamp program during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are providing Ham Bootcamp in an online format using Zoom. Our online Ham Bootcamp program is available to all licensed and prospective Hams in North America. Please contact us to sign up for our next online Ham Bootcamp via email to membership@n1fd.org.

Repeaters and VHF/UHF Session Activities

  • Putting together a Station for Repeaters – How to pick an HT or  Mobile Radio and an Antenna
  • Radio Programming Tutorial
  • Getting started with EchoLink
  • Making Contacts and Joining a Repeater Net
  • Getting Started with Amateur Radio Satellites
  • Getting started with Fox Hunting

HF Session Activities

  • Putting together an HF Station for SSB, CW, and Digital
  • Picking and putting up an HF Antenna, Feedline, and Ground
  • Operating on the HF bands using SSB Voice
  • Software and setup for Logging Contacts via your computer
  • Getting started with WSJT-X and FT8 Digital
  • Finding DX and QSL’ing – Getting them in the log and confirmed

… and more!

Virtual Ham Radio Shopping Trip

  • Join us for a guided tour of all of the gear and goodies that are available to build or expand your station.
  • Ask questions and get answers from NARS experts on what gear might be best for your situation.
  • We provide the Virtual Shopping Trip via a follow-on Zoom session shortly after Bootcamp. Information on how to join us for this event will be shared at our next Bootcamp session.

Articles About Ham Bootcamp

Are you interested in learning more about our Ham Bootcamp program? We’ve written quite a few articles about Bootcamp here on our Blog. You can read them via this link. Also, check out the article about a recent Ham Bootcamp at the New England HamXposition.

Ham Bootcamp has also been featured in the October 2020 edition of QST Magazine. You can view the article here.

Sign Up for Ham Bootcamp

Don’t miss this twice a year opportunity to learn more about Amateur Radio, improve your station, expand your skills, and get on the air.

Our Fall 2020 Ham Bootcamp session will be held online via Zoom on Saturday, November 7th from 10 am – 6 pm Eastern Time.

See you at Ham Bootcamp! You can contact us to sign up for our next Ham Bootcamp via email to membership@n1fd.org.

Support Ham Bootcamp

The Nashua Area Radio Society provides many training and skills development activities for new Hams and Young People. We also have many programs to enable folks young and old alike to join the Amateur Radio service. Please consider supporting our programs and our work by making a donation via the GoFundMe campaign which follows.