The Boston Marathon And Amateur Radio: A Winning Combination

N1XKB and KD1CY at NCSOver 250 Amateurs participated in Amateur Radio communications for the 113th running of the Boston Marathon. The 2009 Boston Marathon had over 26,000 official runners with over 500,000 spectators along the 26-mile route. Amateur Radio Operators assisted at the start line, course and finish line with 2-3 Amateurs staffed at each water and first aid station along the route with additional Amateur Operators at the start and finish.

“This is the largest public service event in terms of number of Amateur Radio Operators required for a one day event and we can always use more” said Marathon Amateur Radio Communications (MARC) Course Coordinator, Steve Schwarm-W3EVE. “We are glad that the weather is cool and the number of ambulance requests for this year were lower than past years where we had higher temperatures and more medical issues” Schwarm said.

“The medical tents at the finish line were near capacity by 3 PM Monday as reported in a situation report by Western Massachusetts ARES Section Emergency Coordinator, John Ruggerio-N2YHK, who is assisting in operations at the finish line. Hams are providing communications, status and logistical issue updates between the tents to our finish line net control as needed” said MARC Finish line coordinator Paul Topolski-W1SEX.

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) was active with operations at the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Framingham Massachusetts. The operations room acted as the Unified Command Center or UCC for the operation as has been the case in the past. RACES Amateur Radio Operators staffed the communications room within the SEOC with one Amateur Radio Operator, Eastern Massachusetts ARRL Section Manager, Mike Neilsen-W1MPN, staffing the Unified Command Center to feed status reports on any issues along the marathon route into the operations room and to feed issues from the UCC to the operations room.

“This is the first time we’ve had an Amateur Radio Operator in the operations room of the UCC. We have been coordinating with the Boston Marathon Net Control and the finish line communications in Boston to provide updates into our station and to our Amateur Radio Operator in the UCC” said Tom Kinahan-N1CPE, Massachusetts State RACES Radio Officer.

The net control center is at a location with line of sight to the Boston area and to the entire 26-mile route in case simplex communication is required. Over a dozen repeaters are utilized to provide overlapping coverage to the marathon route. Karen Brothers-K1KEB has coordinated the Net Control with assistance from her husband Dennis Brothers-N1DB. Bob Phinney-K5TEC, Bob DeMattia-K1IW and Kevin Paetzold-K1KWP assisted with the technical aspects of the net control setup. The Clay Center Amateur Radio Club, Minuteman Repeater Association, Framingham Amateur Radio Association, and many other clubs in the New England area support marathon operations.

With so many Amateurs displaced along the marathon route, Eastern Massachusetts ARES Section Emergency Coordinator, Rob Macedo-KD1CY, placed Eastern Massachusetts ARES on stand-by in case something goes wrong along the marathon route or another major incident occurred coincident with the marathon. “This is standard operating procedure for ‘Marathon Monday’. We want our people to maintain a heightened state of awareness during the event” Macedo said. Macedo was stationed at the net control center providing liaison between the net control center and the State Emergency Operations Center and finish line, provided status reports to the SEOC and assisted with any logistical issues as they occurred.

Shown above: N1XKB and KD1CY at BAA Marathon Net Control, W1M in Brookline, MA

Massachusetts QRP Convention

MassCon logoThe first Massachusetts QRP Convention (MassCon) will be held March 12-13, 2010 in the Westford Regency Inn Conference Center in Westford, Massachusetts. The event is made possible by a generous contribution from Buddipole Antennas, and the Police Amateur Radio Team of Westford, Massachusetts, host of the event, and also a major contributor.

Presentations from leading figures in the QRP world will be made in a comfortable, modern classroom setting from 8 AM through 5 PM on Saturday (March 13). Speakers expected to present include Allison Parent (KB1GMX), Dave Siegrist (NT1U), Bruce Beford (N1RX), Michael Rainey (AA1TJ), John Sexton (KO1H), and QRP Hall of Fame members George Heron (N2APB), Joe Everhart (N2CX), and Dave Benson (K1SWL). Attendees will receive a conference proceedings, CD, and other gifts at registration.

In addition to the Saturday seminar, a Friday evening gathering will be held on March 12, 2010 for attendees to meet the speakers, browse through vendor offerings, and do a little show-and-tell of their own. Vendors tables will continue to be available through Saturday evening.

Finally, a banquet will be held at the conclusion of the conference in the Westford Regency Inn. Steve Galchutt (WG0AT) will keynote the event showing movies and talking about operating portable QRP and hiking the peaks of Colorado with his pack goats Rooster and Peanut. Ticketing for the banquet is separate from the conference and attendees are invited to bring their friends and family to the event.

Registration for the conference is $25 in advance, $35 at the door. Seating will be limited. Details about how to register, obtain hotel reservations at the conference rate, and banquet reservations will be published on the conference web site later this summer.

Further information for the event may be found on the event web site archive:

902 MHz Band, Equipment Presentation at PAWA

If you are interested in exploring the 902 MHz band and equipment, don’t miss the upcoming presentation on the topic by John Frye, N1OTY at the next Pilgrim Amateur Wireless Assocation meeting on April 17 at 7PM. PAWA meets in the Stone Conference Room at the Morton Hospital on Washington Street in Taunton.

Frye has also presented on the subject at recent meetings of the Minuteman Repeater Association and the Boston Amateur Radio Club.

Volunteers Needed For Good Friday Walk, Hingham MA

Harold “Pi” Pugh, K1RV writes on the K1USN reflector:

Anne, WB1ARU is looking for an additional 1-3 ham operators for a Good Friday Walk. The Good Friday Walk is held on a 20-mile course in Hingham to raise money for Sharing Inc. She could use from 1 to 3 more operators in the morning and/or early afternoon for shifts of 3 to 4 hours.

“A two meter hand-held or mobile radio is needed; we use the Weymouth repeater. We have not had much in the way of problems over the years, most of the communication is routine and infrequent. It’s a great bunch of people dedicated to a good cause.”

If anyone would like more information, they can contact Anne at enoaru at

Kuss Middle School Ham Radio Class Needs A Volunteer

teach logoRoland Daignault, N1JOY writes on the BCRA-club reflector:

I received a message from Joe Cote, KB1LJG who is the instructor at Kuss Middle School in Fall River, MA]. Joe will be out the last seven weeks of school due to shoulder surgery and is looking for a volunteer to pick up the ham radio class for that time. There will be a substitute instructor, but they will not have the ham radio background. The ham radio class is part of the regular Kuss curriculum, and the classes will be 3 days a week on Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday. Wednesday is from 12:30-2:00 PM, Thursday from 2:00-3:30 and Friday from 7:40 AM -9:00 AM. Wednesday April 29th would be the first class and it will end Friday June 12th.

Anybody interested? Maybe a couple of people could split the duties?

Joe can be contacted directly at: joecotekms at


Eastern MA Amateurs QRV For Maritime Radio Day

This year’s Maritime Radio Day on-air operation will occur on April 11-12, 2009 and several Eastern MA amateurs who are former maritime radio operators will be QRV. According to Robert “Whitey” Doherty, K1VV, it’s an excellent way to collect rare and unusual QSL cards.

The event runs from April 11 at 1200 UTC until April 12 at 1200 UTC. This an all CW special event. Former maritime radio operators will be calling “CQ MRD”. The exchange will be the operator’s name and their last ship call sign; for example, “Op Bob last ship NEGX NEGX”. The ship and shore operators will adjust their CW speed for the slower CW operators.



Ham Class At Harvard Wireless Club, 3/31

Harvard Wireless Club logoClayton Nall, NF1R writes on HWC-List:

Chip Coldwell [W1CMC] has graciously agreed to teach a four-week licensing course for a couple of undergrads Tuesdays at 7 pm, starting March 31.

We would love to have more people in the class (of all ages, but especially undergrads). If you know anyone who’s expressed interest in ham radio, we’d love to get them into the class. Feel free to put them in touch with me or Chip (





Cape Ann ARA Hosts North Shore/Cape Ann Emergency Preparedness Coalition

Cape Ann Emergency Preparedness Coalition meeting at CAARA, 2/26/09 On Thursday, February 26, 2009 the Cape Ann Amateur Radio Association held an open house for the North Shore/Cape Ann Emergency Prepardness Coalition. This coalition includes 15 Local Boards of Health and other health departments, including the American Red Cross and FEMA.

CAARA President Curtis Wright, AA3JE led a presentation which included how North Shore ARES responded during last December’s ice storm, as well as what Amateur Radio is and how it can be utilized  during a health care emergency. Afterward, a Morse code demonstration was conducted by Rick Maybury, WZ1B.

At the conclusion of the presentations, several health care professionals in attendance signed up for the Tech License In A Day course led by Stanley Stone, W4HIX.

–Thanks, CAARA News, April 2009

Whitman ARC To Demonstrate Ham Radio At Youth Fair

Whitman ARC logoThe Whitman Amateur Radio Club will host an amateur radio table and demonstration at a youth fair at the Masonic Temple, 1170 Hancock Street in Quincy, MA on April 28, 2009 from 10AM until 3PM.

The display, requested by Pete Carlson, N1POO will feature Whitman ARC members explaining amateur radio to those individuals attending the fair. “We hope to put the young adults on the air using the Whitman repeater.”

Whitman ARC members are asked to monitor the repeater and answer the children when the control operators put them on the air for a contact.

Whitman ARC member Bill Hayden, N1FRE is coordinating the event. Anyone interested in helping out should contact N1FRE at wf.hayden at verizon dot net. Set up begins at 9AM.

–Thanks, Whitman ARC Spectrum, March 2009

W1AA Minot’s Ledge Lighthouse Operation on 3/21/09

W1AA/Minot's LedgeK1VV and K1WCC plan to activate Minot’s Ledge Lighthouse USA 502 in Scituate, MA as W1AA on Saturday, March 21, 2009 from 7:30 AM EDT (1130 UTC) until about 2:00 PM EDT (1800 UTC).

“Whitey” Doherty, K1VV notes that he and Henry will begin operations on 75 meters around 3996 kHz plus/minus 5 kHz. “We will go to 40 phone around 7234 when 75 runs dry. We’ll be on 14270 plus/minus later in the morning. If we experience QRM, we’ll QSY above 14310. And if band conditions allow, we will also try 18150 +-.”

K1VV says that they will be QRV on CW at approximately on the half hour, on 7035, 10116, 14035, and 18080 kHz, plus or minus QRM.

DX QSLs can be sent via the Bureau. Stateside cards should be sent to W1AA with a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the address. Whitey reminds everyone that postal rates for first class envelopes climbs to $0.44 on May 11, 2009.

K1VV adds, “Minot’s Ledge will be our 69th lighthouse activation.”

Belmont CERT Members Receive SKYWARN Training

KD1CY presenting SKYWARN training to Belmont CERT members, 1 of 2Members of the Belmont Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) received training on how to recognize severe, violent, and unusual weather conditions. Rob Macedo, KD1CY, a 14-year veteran of the National Weather Service SKYWARN program presented to the attendees at Belmont High School on March 12.

Similar SKYWARN severe weather training will be held next month at the Dexter and Southfield Schools in Brookline.

KD1CY presenting SKYWARN training to Belmont CERT members, 2 of 2

Shown (right): CERT attendees; (left): Rob Macedo, KD1CY. Photos © 2009 Bill Ricker, N1VUX, reprinted with permission

Follow A 1000-foot Tower Climb via UHF on March 15, 2009

large towerRich Zack, K1RJZ writes on FraminghamARA-L:

Sunday night between 9PM and 1AM (or later), Kurt Jackson, W1OBQ will be climbing the WCVB microwave tower behind You-do-it electronics to the 1000ft level.  No elevator, just climb the hard it way.

If you want to listen in and have a scanner, he will be operating on the 450.4125 MHz which is normally the WCVB chopper freq repeater.

Climb #1 on Sunday will be to fix a bad copper control line and take up microwave gear to be installed on the next climb.  The microwave gear will be in backpacks.

Climb #2 is tba as two TV and one FM station again need to go dark for RF safety reasons. The will be to install the gear that went up in climb #1.

Boston ARC Assists In BAA 5K Race

Boston ARC logoBob Salow, WA1IDA writes:

For many years, on the day before the Boston Marathon, there was an informal run on the streets of Boston.  That all changed last year when Boston was awarded the US Olympic Women’s Marathon Trials.  The Boston Amateur Radio Club responded with communication support for the 26.2 mile event run in Boston and Cambridge.

This year, to keep the date and advance the running sport, the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) will hold a sanctioned 5K (3.1 miles) race followed by a series of 1 mile races for the state’s best high school runners.  All races will start near and finish at the Boston Marathon Finish line.

We have been asked to provide ham communications for these events.  The date is Sunday, 19 April, with hams assembling at 0700 near the Boston Public Library (more details later).  All events are expected to be over by 1100.

Note that there will be no interference with preparations for the Boston Marathon the next day.  If you can assist or have any questions, contact me at or 508.650.9440.

Thanks, Boston ARC, The SPARC, March 2009

Call For Volunteers–Walk For Hunger, May 3, 2009

Project Bread logoEric Horwitz, KA1NCF writes:

Greetings! This is for Boston, MA area hams. It is that time again… Public Service season is here. We are now looking for help for this year’s Project Bread Walk for Hunger on Sunday, May 3, 2009.

This will be the 41st running of the event. We need people to provide communications support for the Project Bread Staff and volunteers along the 20 mile walk in Boston, MA.

If you are interested in helping out this year, go to to log in and fill out the signup form.

If you have questions please send an email to:

Eric – KA1NCF
Walk For Hunger 2009
Amateur Radio Communications Coordinator