Researcher and Past Arecibo Observatory Director Gordon Pettengill, W1OUN, SK

photo of Gordon Pettengill, W1OUNFrom the ARRL Letter, May 27, 2021:

Renowned physicist, astronomer, and past Arecibo Observatory Director Gordon Pettengill, W1OUN, of Concord, Massachusetts, died on May 8. An ARRL member, he was 95.

“He was instrumental [as Arecibo Observatory Director] in getting some ‘telescope time’ at that facility for hams to do EME (moonbounce) on 432 MHz, giving a lot of hams with modest stations a shot at making a QSO via moon reflection,” said Chip Taylor, W1AIM. “He was the first person to use that big dish to do radar mapping of the surface of Venus, Mercury, Mars, and various asteroids and comets. And he was a mentor to many of us interested in microwave communication.”

A World War II combat veteran, Pettengill completed his bachelor’s degree at MIT after the war, then received a doctorate in high-energy physics at the University of California-Berkeley. His career in radio astronomy took off when he joined MIT Lincoln Laboratory, using the Millstone Radar in Westford, Massachusetts, for astronomical observations.

In 1963, he moved to the newly opened Arecibo Observatory. He was named its director in 1968. In 1977, he was Principal Investigator of the radar aboard the Pioneer Venus Orbiter that created the first near-global topographic map of any planet, and in the 1990s he was the Principal Investigator of the Magellan mission to Venus.

Pettengill was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1979, and served as Director of MIT’s Center for Space Research from 1984 until 1989. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1980 and spent his sabbatical at the University of Sydney, Australia. He retired in 1995. He was active on the air until recently.

KU2Y: “CubeSat Simulator” at New England Sci-Tech ARS Meeting Online, May 25, 2021

New England Sci Tech logoNew England Sci-Tech Amateur Radio Society Online Meeting: Tuesday, May 25, 2021 at 7:00 pm: “CubeSatSim: The AMSAT CubeSat Simulator” by Dr. Alan Johnston, KU2Y.

Dr. Johnston, AMSAT VP Educational Relations, will introduce the AMSAT CubeSat Simulator, a low cost functional model of a CubeSat satellite suitable for the classroom or demos. The CubeSatSim is based around a Raspberry Pi Zero W processor, a 3D printed frame, and has rechargeable batteries, solar panels, and transmits housekeeping telemetry on the 70cm ham band. It can emulate satellites that send APRS telemetry, or a Fox-1 CubeSat sending Data Under Voice or BPSK telemetry. In addition, it can send SSTV images. The talk will be interactive, with a live web SDR which can be accessed over the Internet using a phone or computer to listen and decode the signals. For more information on the CubeSatSim, including how to borrow it for your event or classroom visit, see
[For Zoom conference information, email Bob Phinney, K5TEC, at bobphinney -at- nescitech -dot- org or call 508-720-4179.]

ARRL Foundation Announces 2021 Scholarship Winners; Many Are From New England

[Congratulations to Eastern MA scholarship recipients: Catherine Hong, KC1MFU, Cambridge; Julie Knappik, KB1YTT, Raynham; and Martin (“Marty”) S. Sullaway, NN1C, of Waban.]

The ARRL Foundation has announced the recipients of its 2021 scholarship awards. A number of those recipients are from New England:

The Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) Scholarships, $10,000

  • Catherine Hong, KC1MFU, of Cambridge, Massachusetts 
  • Julie Knappik, KB1YTT, of Raynham, Massachusetts 

The Byron Blanchard, N1EKV, Memorial Scholarship, $500 

  • Allison K. Maurice, KH2AK, of Portsmouth, New Hampshire 

The FEMARA Scholarship, $2,000 each 

  • Michael A. Cullen, K6MAC, of Newport, Rhode Island
  • Samuel E. Gerhard, KC1NWR, of North Providence, Rhode Island
  • Sarah J. Hull, W1SJH, of Hancock, New Hampshire
  • Simon S. Page, KC1FJD, of York, Maine 

The New England Amateur Radio Festival (NEAR-Fest) Scholarship, $1,500 

  • Jacob A. Gionfriddo, KC1LYP, of Newington, Connecticut 

The Yankee Clipper Contest Club, Inc. Youth Scholarship, $2,000 

  • Martin S. Sullaway, NN1C, of Waban, Massachusetts 


There were 122 awards this year, totaling $564,250.  The full list of scholarship recipients can be found the ARRL website.

“Connecting With Strangers Over Ham Radio Cleared My Family’s Static”

SU1CR QSL Card imageBoston Globe reporter Gabriella Gage writes this nice human interest story in the May 22, 2012 issue of The Boston Globe:

“On a rainy October night during the pandemic, my husband, David, searches for a faint voice in the distance. He doesn’t know who’s calling, but he knows he wants to speak to them. David adjusts the tuning knob on the decades-old transceiver ever so slightly, as if cracking a safe. Outside, a homemade antenna bobs in the wind. On his computer, pulsating lines tell him the voice is one of hundreds calling out on this busy night. The voice gets clearer: ‘CQ,’ the magic letters he’s been awaiting — the amateur radio operators’ invitation for a response — followed by a call sign. David jumps on his mic, repeating the stranger’s call sign and adds: “This is KB1TOY, Kilo-Bravo-1-Tango-Oscar-Yankee. You’re light but I can hear you!”  [Full story]



KD1D Fox is Deployed in Westford, May 21, 2021

Alan Hicks, KD1D, writes on NEMassFoxHunters list on May 21, 2021 at 9:10 AM: 

I placed the KD1D Fox out this morning. As usual, it transmits a 30 second message every 60 seconds on 146.565 MHz FM.

It is located in Westford Conservation land named after an aquatic mammal once highly prized for making men’s hats.

The Fox can be heard along Concord Rd somewhere between the 99 Restaurant and the railroad crossing at Forge Village. A good place to take a bearing might be near the Robinson School or the old cemetery at the corner of Concord Rd and Country Rd (Interesting, but useless fact – Country Rd used to be called Cemetery Rd, but that tended to “spook” the real estate folks, so it was changed.)

Happy Hunting and 73 de KD1D

Bristol County Repeater Association Fox Hunt, Fall River Vicinity, May 22, 2021

Bristol Co. RA club bannerFrom

The next BCRA Fox Hunt has been scheduled on Saturday, May 22, 2021.

Communications with “Fox Control” can all be done over the BCRA repeater, including checking in when you have found the fox. You may also speak with us in the control vehicle using physical distancing, if you wish.

Check-ins will begin at 9:45 am on the BCRA repeater, 145.150 MHz PL 123. Chat and help on the repeater also.

The Fox will activate at 10:00 am on 146.565 MHz FM with a 5 watt signal and will transmit 1 minute of tone followed by Morse Code ID and 4 minutes of silence. The hunt will last until 2:00 pm or until all checked in participants have found the transmitter, whichever comes first.

The Fox will be located within a 10 mile radius of the intersection of President Avenue (Rt. 6) and North Main Street in Fall River. ( Latitude 41.7159 Longitude -71.1510 )

The Fox (in my vehicle, a blue/grey Jeep Commander marked BCRA) will be in a public place and will be manned at all times. When you have found the fox your time and order of arrival will be recorded and a personalized certificate will be emailed to each participant.

Participants are encouraged to work in teams, and are asked to drive carefully and observe all applicable guidelines, both from the FCC and the state & local governments. Since participants are receiving only (except for radio check-ins) an amateur radio license is not required.

Email questions to Skip at or text to 774-644-3469. After the hunt, your comments, impressions, and suggestions will be welcome!

Join us and have some good amateur radio fun!

Call for Speakers, Northeast HamXposition @ Marlborough MA, September 10-12, 2021


Don’t just attend the 2021 Northeast HamXposition @ Marlborough MA—BE A PART OF IT! The HamXposition Committee seeks fresh and exciting presentations for this year’s ARRL New England Division Convention, September 10-12, 2021 . We’re looking for talks of both a technical and non-technical nature. As a HamXposition speaker, you will have the opportunity to share your subject and knowledge with Amateur Radio operators from around New England, surrounding states, and Canada.

In addition to forums and workshops throughout the day Saturday and Sunday, we will feature Friday/Saturday evening entertainment.

If you represent a regional club or organization (e.g. YCCC, NEQRP, WRONE, MARS, etc.) we can help facilitate open forums or closed meetings by providing you a meeting space.

Groups who wish to set up information tables should get your requests in early. While the tables are offered without charge, we ask for some volunteer time in return to assist us with ticket sales and other logistics during the convention.

To register as a speaker or presenter, please go to or, email or call us if you have additional questions. 

We look forward to meeting all of you at the convention.


Phil Temples, K9HI
Program Chair
HamXposition @ Marlborough

KB1MGI Fox Active in Chelmsford, May 16, 2021

John Salmi, KB1MGI, writes on NEMassFoxHunters list on May 16, 2021 at 1:37 PM:
I placed my UHF 432.300 MHz Fox transmitter at the George B B Wright Reservation at 120 Parker Road, Chelmsford. See attached Map pdf.
To activate the 432.300 MHz transmitter press DTMF tone 2 for two seconds. The fox will transmit a steady tone and CW ID for 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off for 15 minutes. then you need to press the DTMF tone 2 again to reactivate.
It should last a few days, but that depends on the amount of activations.
John, KB1MGI

KD1LE Fox is Operating in Westford, May 14, 2021

Stan Pozerski, KD1LE, writes on NEMassFoxHunters list on May 14, 2021, 10:27 AM: 


The fox is out as of 9:30 this morning. It is on the regular 146.565 MHz frequency transmitting every five minutes. Sending an * within five seconds of the end of transmission will halve the cycle time if you’re in range.

It was a beautiful morning for a walk, the trees and lilacs are in bloom and the turtles are sun bathing. But if you were thinking about a picnic lunch you are a few years too late. Since everyone found the intersection of Gould Road and Westford Road [in Westford, MA] last time it’s not a bad place to start.

Stan KD1LE

WB6NOA Featured Speaker at the Algonquin ARC Meeting Online, May 13, 2021

Gordon West, WB6NOAGordon West, WB6NOA, will will be the guest speaker at the May 13, 2021 Algonquin Amateur Radio Club meeting at 7:30 PM online via Zoom.  Other club business topics include election results, updates on May’s Hazmat Day and 2021 school watch, and discussion of hardware upgrades on the club K3.  

Gordon West has been teaching radio and electronics for more than 40 years. His fun approach to the material helps make learning a pleasure and easy to recall for testing. He is a convention speaker, DXer, teacher and author. WB6NOA has received the Hamvention,“Man of the year for 2006″ and also, “Instructor of the Year” by the ARRL. He is a Fellow of the Radio Club of America.

[For Zoom conference information, email Mike Powell, W1KU, at <>.]



“Saving the MIT Radome”

Green Bldg rooftop MIT campusPerched atop the MIT Cecil and Ida Green Building (Building 54), MIT’s tallest academic building, a large, golf ball-like structure protrudes from the roof, holding its own in the iconic MIT campus skyline. This radar dome — or “radome” for short — is a fiberglass shell that encases a large parabolic dish, shielding it from the elements while allowing radio waves to penetrate. First installed in 1966, it was used initially to pioneer weather radar research. As the years passed and technology evolved, the radome eventually fell out of use for this purpose and was subsequently slated for removal as MIT began a major renovation and capital improvement project for the building. That’s when the student-led MIT Radio Society, who had found creative new uses for the radome, sprang into action to save it — and succeeded. [Full story]

KC1JUO: “Software Defined Radio” at Minuteman Repeater Association Meeting, May 19, 2021

MMRA logoHam Radio and Software Defined Radio – An Overview, Some History, and a Demonstration
Charles Miller KC1JUO

May 19, 2021 at 7:30 PM

Location: ZOOM — Members: login to the Minuteman Repeater Association webpage for the link; Non-members: send an email to


Charles will share a bit about how he sees Ham Radio and Software Defined Radio as not only being connected but also fundamentally similar and complementary.  He will present an overview which is essentially his journey and perspectives of the topic.  The hope is to share why he finally got licensed, why he thinks the hobby is so fantastic, talk about a few radio frequency bands and describe how they are being used.  Charles will wrap up the talk with a demonstration of using software and hardware to compose and view frequency bands discussed.

Charles has been licensed since 2017 with the call sign KC1JUO.  During his many decades of tinkering, he has built and broken much.  He is a Gordon Engineering Fellow with a Computer Science degree from Boston University and a Master of Information Systems from Northeastern University.   His current career focus is on Cyber Systems Engineering, receiving his CISSP certification in 2019.  Having spent most of his career as a Technical Consultant prior to 2005, he joined Raytheon in 2005.  Raytheon has a long history of Ham Radio relevant technology:  Percy L. Spencer (W1GBE) was a critical part of Raytheon’s history and has been an inspiration for Charles for both Ham Radio and the exploration of Software Defined Radio.

Topsfield Repeater Refurbished and QRV

Warren Rothberg, W4WR/1 (ex-WB1HBB) writes:

The Pocahontas Radio Club (an informal group of old and new friends) and the owners and trustees (N1HSY and N1HOW) are pleased to announce that the Topsfield MA repeater (147.285 PL 100.0) has been completely rebuilt with a new tower, new antenna, new hardline, new weatherproof repeater enclosure and refurbished or replaced electronics. The “Pokeys” hold a ragchew net 7 days a week at 0830 EDT and all are welcome to join in at any time to make new friends and renew old acquaintances. Special thanks to Doug, N1LHP, and his many friends for their tireless work.

[Warren is a former Section Manager of New Hampshire, and a former New England Division Vice Director.]

N1DM: “FT8 and FT4 Digital Modes” at Zola Center ARC, May 15, 2021

Our feature presentation [on May 15, 2021 at 11 AM] will be from Dom Mallozzi, N1DM. He will present FT8 and FT4 as digital modes. Dom has been a ham for 48 years starting out in RI as WN1RFT.  He is currently active on CW during some contests and still likes to build equipment and is active on DMR, FT4, FT8 and satellites. Also, he is the radio consultant for Natick Police and Fire Departments for the past 30 years.

He retired in 2019 from Raytheon as a Principal Electrical Engineer specializing in the design and maintenance of test equipment. He worked at Raytheon plants in Waltham, Andover, Sudbury, and Marlboro over his 38 years with Raytheon.

After our feature presentation we will socialize and enjoy a virtual Spring lunch together.

[Contact Frank Ventura, N1FMV,  at frank -at- littlebreezes -dot- com for Zoom conference details.]

W1DAN: “FCC RF Exposure Rules and Compliance” at Sci-Tech ARS Meeting, May 11, 2021

New England Sci Tech logoJoin the Sci-Tech Amateur Radio Society on Tuesday, May 11, 2021 at 7:30 PM for a presentation on “FCC RF Exposure Rules and Compliance” by Dan Brown, W1DAN.
Updated FCC Radio Frequency Exposure Rules went into effect on May 3, 2021. Dan will explain what this means. After May 3 of this year, any new station, including SOTA, POTA, and Field Day stations, or any existing station modified in a way that’s likely to change its radio frequency emission profile — such as different antenna or placement or greater power — will need to conduct an evaluation by the date of activation or change.

Born and raised in New Orleans, W1DAN caught the shortwave bug in the early 1970s as he discovered listening to shortwave broadcast stations, but soon discovered ham radio. Dan obtained his license in 1978 and got on the air on CW with a Heath Apache and Hallicrafters SX-101A – and modified them. Since that time he has enjoyed not only the vintage gear and the AM mode, but modern Software Defined Radios with DSP, Class E RF amplification as well as digital modes such as PSK-31. While he does not claim to know everything about radio he is happy to assist fellow hams with technical questions, promote STEM education and citizen science. W1DAN is also the president of the Wellesley Amateur radio Society, works as a broadcast engineer in Boston and lives in Natick, MA.

[For Zoom conference information, email Bob Phinney, K5TEC, at bobphinney -at- nescitech -dot- org or call 508-720-4179.]

K9LA: “Solar Cycle 25, Space Weather, and Practical High Band HF Antennas” at Nashoba Valley ARC Meeting, May 20, 2021

Nashoba Valley ARC logoPhil Erickson, W1PJE, writes on the NVARC mailing list:

We’re pleased to announce that the May [20, 2021 Nashoba Valley Amateur Radio Club] meeting will feature Carl Luetzelschwab, K9LA, speaking on the topic “Cycle 25 Update and Understanding Space Weather”.  NVARC is very fortunate to have K9LA, who is in demand nationally and is a regular at Dayton Hamvention’s forum talks.  He also made presentations in 2021 both at K3LR’s Virtual Contest University and 4Z1UG’s QSO Today Virtual Expo.

Summary: Carl K9LA will discuss the predictions for and the progress of Solar Cycle 25, including what to expect in terms of propagation throughout 2021 and as Cycle 25 ascends. He will also review simple antennas for 15m, 12m and 10m as Cycle 25 ramps up. He will then briefly review websites with space weather data and how to tie this important data to HF propagation conditions. Finally, he will highlight real-time propagation websites that allow us to assess what’s happening right now.

Biography: Carl Luetzelschwab K9LA started his radio career as a short wave listener in the late 1950s. He received his Novice license (WN9AVT) in October 1961, and selected K9LA in 1977. Carl is a graduate of Purdue University and was an RF design engineer until his retirement in 2013. Carl enjoys propagation, DXing (he’s at the Top of the Honor Roll), contesting (he was NCJ Editor from 2002-2007), experimenting with antennas and restoring/using vintage equipment.

He and his wife Vicky AE9YL enjoy traveling, which has included DXpeditions to Syria (YK9A in 2001), to Market Reef (OJ0/AE9YL and OJ0/K9LA in 2002) and numerous trips to ZF (Vicky is ZF2YL and Carl is ZF2LA). Carl is currently the ARRL Central Division Vice Director. He has received the Bill Orr W6SAI Technical Writing Award, the YASME Foundation Excellence Award and the Indiana Radio Club Council Technical Excellence Award.

[W1PJE: Carl maintains an extensive website at with selected articles and presentations about propagation and solar topics, grouped into categories – Monthly Feature, Timely Topics, Basic Concepts, Tutorials, General, 160m, HF, VHF and Contesting.  It’s well worth your time.]


Phil W1PJE