Field Day is now history. For many, it was the culmination of weeks of hard work and planning. For others, 24 hours of all-out contesting, or a last-minute decision to drop in to the local club’s site to socialize with old friends and to make new acquaintances. And for many non-hams, this last full weekend in June was their first opportunity to taste the allure and wonder of Amateur Radio.
On June 23-24, 2012, I and other members of the Eastern Massachusetts ARRL Section and ARES staff traveled throughout Eastern Massachusetts to visit with many of the radio clubs participating in the annual radio event.
Although I was unable to fit in all of the participating area radio clubs over the course of the weekend, I was privileged to visit personally with eleven. I wanted to share some observations and thoughts about the weeekend.
Genesis Amateur Radio Society, Plymouth
I began my travels with a visit to the folks at the Genesis ARS at the Plymouth Airport. Although I arrived at mid-morning, already twenty or so individuals were already hard at work with setup. Their club president and vice president were gracious to interrupt their activities for a few minutes to chat with me about Field Day and GARS’ activities.
Their efforts involved a number of scouts, and featured several homemade publicity displays (see photos) including one describing the ARRL, spearheaded by Judy, KB1SRO. I was most impressed! I was also pleased to hear that GARS offered a VE testing session during Field Day.
Barnstable ARC/Explorer Post 73 ARC, Yarmouthport
When I arrived at Camp Greeough in Yarmouthport, the folks at BARC/Explorer Post 73 ARC were also heavily involved in setting up. BARC members Rob, Mark, Tam and the rest of the gang had an elaborate 3A+GOTA operation housed underneath a large, open-air shelter. They specifically advertised for scouts and members of the general public to come and visit.
They all paused briefly as I took a group photo, holding Gov. Patrick’s official Amateur Radio Week proclamation, then it was back to work.
Falmouth ARA, Falmouth
After a lunch break, I pulled into the Barnstable County Fairgrounds, the site of the Falmouth Amateur Radio Association’s Field Day site in Falmouth. Then entrance was well marked with excellent signage. FARA typically sports one of the largest and best-organized operations in the section and this year was no exception. This 2A operation also included a satellite station as well as two separate 1B operations being conducted from nearby Airstream trailers. All told, I counted six separate towers. The unique layout grouped together all operating positions in a “central hub.”
FARA president K1MGH introduced me to one of their special visitors, Jim McGuinness, the elementary school teacher who is working with FARA for the upcoming ARISS school contact from Falmouth Elementary School in October.
Pilgrim Amateur Wireless Assocation/Taunton Area Radio Group/South Coast MA Amateur Radio Group, Swansea
I’m told the combined Pilgrim AWA/Taunton ACG/South Coast MA ARG 2F operation garnered some great publicity, with television coverage from Channel 6 in Providence as well as the New Bedford Standard Ties and the Herald News. A great-looking bucket truck/tri-bander beam dominated the scene, and a friendly crew welcomed hams and non-hams alike.
All too soon, however, it was time to head down the road to the next site.
Bristol County Repeater Association/Fall River ARC, Freetown
Roland, Dave, and the rest are certainly practiced in deploying the famous HamCow quickly, along with its antennas and gear, thanks to practice from numerous past Field Day and Martha’s Vineyard operations. The seasoned crew had four different operating positions on the air and buzzing with contacts.
Sturdy Memorial Hospital ARC, N. Attleboro
I arrived at the Sturdy Memorial Hospital ARC site in North Attleboro just as a storm was ominously threatening to hit. As luck would have it, the rains held off and only a few sprinkles could be felt.
The W1SMH crew were camped in the pleasant, wooded (and high) location at Veterans Park. They sported some nice wire antennas and towers with beams. They also employed a GOTA station that was being put to good use. I took a photo of their excellent club banner.
The crew also posed for a group photo for me, holding the Governor’s proclamation.
Wellesley Amateur Radio Society, Needham
After a dinner stop, I pulled into the center of Needham and dusk, catching the crew from the Wellesley Amateur Radio Society as they were breaking off operations for the evening. Dan, Barb, and the rest of the crew were kind enough to stop and chat for a few minutes and recap their day.
Their site is situated at the Town’s gazebo situated next to the high school. W1DAN explained to me that the majority of their contacts were made via solar power. However, the group also featured a “vintage” station consisting of a Heathkit DX-60 that operated under commercial power.
Clay Center ARC/Waltham ARA, Brookline
I began my Sunday visits by traveling to the Dexter School in nearby Brookline, site of the Clay Center ARC/Waltham ARA’s 3A operation. Excellent signage and directions were posted for visitors to follow.
Their Field Day featured a cool 3-element wire antenna for 40 meters, designed and built by one of the students. It was refreshing to see the younger ops dominating the event.
ARRL PIO KA1MOM had put together an impressive PR table with literature. The school’s science and technology director, K5TEC, told me that he had conducted tours for at least ten families and their children.
MIT Radio Society/Harvard Wireless Club, Cambridge
The 2A operation featured a GOTA station under a large tent. Although a skeleton crew was present Sunday morning when I arrived, the two clubs kept the station staffed all night long. The group had, in fact, weathered heavy downpours the previous evening.
North Shore Radio Association, Danvers
The various stations (including a GOTA) were busy making QSOs but I had a chance to chat with several of the folks who were “off duty” including Al, W1DUW. The group always puts on a great meal for its partipants. Safety is also very much a priority at their Field Day event.
Cape Ann Amateur Radio Association, Gloucester
The group survived some nasty weather visited upon them by Murphy, as well as bad electrical noise from a nearby power line. But on a brighter note, CAARA was also visited by the Mayor of Gloucester, as well as Sen. Bruce Tarr (N1UIU).
I’d like to leave you with a few final thoughts–thoughts I expressed in a Field Day report ten years ago but which are no less relevant today.
As a group, hams can be very innovative and flexible. When equipment breaks or last-minute plans change, we take it in stride. We are adaptable.
We like to stick to plans and strategies that have worked in the past, but we’re not afraid to try new methods, either.
We’re quick to set aside the “contest” aspect of Field Day to give a helping hand to hold a rope, to hammer in a ground rod, or spend a few minutes explaining ham radio to a visitor.
We come to Field Day to be with one another. We’re sociable. We want to achieve and to accomplish.
We’re patriotic. We realize that when we invest our time and energies in this weekend event, we are making our communities and our nation a safer place to live. But above all, we genuinely respect each other, and we enjoy one another’s company. We share a mutual interest in a hobby and service known as Amateur Radio. And as a result of our efforts, the world is a little better off than it was before.
Mark Pride, K1RX writes:
Hello from the WRTC 2014 organizing committee!
Thanks too all of you who have stepped forward and volunteered to help with the WRTC testing effort we’re planning for this July (trial run). And for those that yet to sign up, please review the following with your fellow club members and contact me if you can volunteer for this July (or beyond).
We’re interested to making sure that the sites we have approval to use will work as well as we hope they will (and are not too good or too bad), and we need to work through the process of setting up and taking down stations using the configuration we are planning to use in 2014.
There are three parts of the process:
Station set-up Operating Station tear-down
Full details on WRTC 2014 can be found at: http://www.wrtc2014.org/
The set-up process is currently estimated to take 5-6 hours, and would take place on Thursday or Friday. A team of at least four people will be needed for each location.
Each site runs independently, with a 1kw generator, tent, table, etc. We have successfully tested a tilt-over Rohn 25 tower with tri-bander and 40/80m dipoles. All of this should fit in a pick-up truck and weighs roughly 350 pounds.
The tower/antennas use the falling-derrick method to get them up – no climbing needed (nor wanted).
Once installed, we will need someone to spend the night to monitor the equipment until the contest starts (Saturday morning at 8am).
The contest runs from 8am Saturday until 8am Sunday. We would like to see the station active for the full time period if possible. For 2012 we are only envisioning one station and one operator but if you want to be ambitious and plan for two, go for it. You will need a triplexer if there are two stations using the tribander.
During the contest we will be monitoring all stations .
Two demonstration events are planned leading up to the July, 2012 trial run.
1. May 4 and 5, 2012 at the NEARfest event in Deerfield, NH
2. At the QTH of Mark, K1RX in Kensington, NH on June 2 (directions and RSVP can be found at the YCCC.org web site)
I am inviting participation from ALL New England based amateur radio clubs to join us at the NEARfest or at my place on June 2 to get first hand training and experience with every aspect of the tower and antenna assembly and operation.
Note also that the towers, generators, antennas will be offered to clubs that help in this significant undertaking at a considerable discount. More details to follow on this opportunity to help the local clubs in New England.
Licensed General, Advanced, and Extra class operators needed to operate at the Chatham Marconi Maritime Center, Chatham MA
Sign up for operating times in blocks of 2 hours, you can sign up for more than one block. As of January 11, 2012 we need:
CW operators 24 hours/day between April 12 at 8 AM April -15 at 4 PM
Voice operators at night Thu-Sat April 12-evening of April 14
Voice operators daytime on Saturday and Sunday April 14/15
PSK 24 hrs day April 12 8 am-April 15 at 4 PM
email Barbara Dougan, N1NS/KM1CC trustee, firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
Cell or home phone number:
Please indicate whether you want to operate CW, Phone, or Digital-PSK along with your preferred operating times.
Tony Brock-Fisher, K1KP writes on the YCCC reflector:
The Yankee Clipper Contest Club will host a Contest University and Local Meeting on Monday, November 21 from 6:30-10pm. The location is:
Marlborough Fire Headquarters
215 Maple Street (Route 85)
Marlborough, MA 01752
enter from the side door (signs will be posted)
map at: http://www.marlborough-ma.gov/Gen/MarlboroughMA_WebDocmnts/firedept_directions
‘professors’ K1DG, K1IR, and K1XM will lecture on tips, tricks and techniques to improve your contest score:
- Maximizing score with limited station
- Maximizing score with limited operating time
- Specific strategies for your entry class (SO, Assisted, MS, M2, MM)
- Propagation – what’s expected this year
- Operating tips for running, S&P, DO’s and DON’Ts
- Sleep strategy
This will also serve as a local meeting, so new members can join YCCC.
If you are interested in attending, please send an email to me at president[at]yccc.org
There will probably be a gathering for dinner at a nearby restaurant before hand; details to be announced.
Thanks to Eric, KV1J, SE Mass Area Manager for setting this up!
The Marconi Cape Cod Radio Club invites interested amateurs to operate the KM1CC station on January 17-18, 2011 during the anniversary of Marconi’s first trans-Atlantic transmission from the USA to Europe.
The station is located at the Coast Guard Station on Coast Guard Beach in Eastham. Planned hours of operation are 8:00 AM until 4:00 PM on both dates. If there is interest, the station may also be operational the evening of January 17.
According to station trustee Barbara Dougan, N1NS, two HF stations will be set up — one for CW, the other for phone. Operations will be conducted on 17, 20, 40, 75 and 80 meters.
“There is a need for phone operators anytime of the day, and CW operators late afternoon and the evening of Monday, January 17,” she adds.
For full details, see http://ema.arrl.org/local/km1cc_2011_announcement.pdf.
Tickets are now on sale for the Massachusetts QRP Convention to be held at the Westford Regency Hotel and Conference Center in Westford, Massachusetts March 12-13, 2010. Conference admission is $25 per person which includes access to the Friday night meet-and-greet and the Saturday conference event. Ten speakers are scheduled to appear including three members of the QRP ARCI Hall of Fame and Joeseph H. Taylor, Jr., Professor in the Department of Physics at Princeton University and winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics (1993).
A post conference banquet will be held Saturday evening featuring Steve Galchutt, WG0AT, the “goat hiker” and his adventures climbing Colorado’s various 14,000 foot peaks with his faithful pack-goat companions Rooster and Peanut. Admission to the banquet is $40 per person.
Tickets can be purchased on-line at
http://www.masscon.org/ [https://web.archive.org/web/20170210153035/http://www.masscon.org/index.html] with PayPal or any major credit card.
Kevin Paetzold, K1KWP writes:
– The fox will be a stationary ham radio operator in a vehicle transmitting on 146.19 MHz PL 146.2. This is the input frequency of the MMRA Weston repeater (146.79 PL 146.2).
– The fox will be located within 10 miles of the Weston repeater which is at North 42deg 22.8′ West 071deg 19.2.
– The signal from the fox must be strong enough so the fox can be understood on the repeater output.
– The fox will transmit for at least 30 seconds of every five minutes during the fox hunt. The fox hunt begins at
10:00AM and ends when either there are no more hunters who have not found the fox or noon.
– The fox must continue to transmit on the hunt frequency throughout the hunt. However, hunters are prohibited from
transmitting once they have located the fox.
– The fox must not be on private property. In order to be found the fox must not require driving on private roads.
– Cooperation among the hunters is encouraged. Sharing initial direction bearings and signal strength
observations is necessary to allow some localization (for example the town where the fox in located) so that finding
the fox within the time limits is more likely.
– Home stations are also encouraged to participate and share their readings. As the hunt progresses, information
sharing is less valuable.
– Information is generally shared via the 2M repeater used for the hunt (in this case 146.79 MHz PL 146.2). Many
hunters use 70-cm to talk and to hear what others are saying as their 2-Meter radio may be dedicated to RDF on
the repeater input frequency.
The MMRA 70cm HUB1 repeater in Marlboro will be linked to during the hunt. Hunters therefore may transmit on either
2-meters or on 70-cm to join in the conversation. HUB1 repeater output is 449.925 PL 88.5 and the input is
444.925 PL 88.5.
As the hunters approach the fox conversations often shifts to 446.0 MHz FM simplex.
– We plan to have lunch at a restaurant near the fox location after the hunt. Lunch location will be a
consensus decision of those hunters who have found the fox.
– Ham radio operators who do not have equipment or who would like to gain experience from riding with an experienced
fox hunter are invited to ride along.
It is expected that each hunter will start from separate locations (as determined by the hunter).
Contact email@example.com (Kevin) and firstname.lastname@example.org (Bob) to coordinate ride alongs if needed. Those hunters who have room and are willing to accommodate riders are also asked contact K1KWP and N1BE.
This information is also posted at: http://www.mmra.org/foxhunts.
On April 25, 2009 the Cape Cod National Seashore will have a full day of special old and new “communication” activities and programs to celebrate both International Marconi Day and National Junior Ranger Day. The event is free. A free shuttle bus will run between the sites in Eastham from 9:30 AM- 2 PM.
In celebration of International Marconi Day, the Marconi Cape Cod Radio Club, KM1CC, will operate from the Coast Guard Station, Eastham from 9 AM-4 PM. This is a global event, radio operators from around the world will make contact with KM1CC to honor the birthday of the “Wizard of Wireless,” Guglielmo Marconi, on his birth date, April 25, 1874. Morse code or continuous wave (CW), and voice operations will be used.
KM1CC Operating Plan for International Marconi Day, April 25, 2009 UTC
CW and Phone on the following bands (General and Extra Class allocations):
17M 18.160 SSB 18.080 CW 40M 7.130-7.260 SSB 7.035 CW
20M 14.260 SSB 14.035 CW 80M 3.660-3.860 SSB 3.535 CW
From 10 AM-1 PM, to expand the celebration of communication history on Cape Cod beyond Marconi, additional park sites in Eastham and the Marconi Station Site, Wellfleet that relate to communication history will be open. Eastham sites include: Nauset Lighthouse, Three Sisters Lighthouses, and the French Cable Hut at Nauset Light Beach. Kids can participate in a variety of activities at each site as part of a Kids’ Signal Jam: Talking and Texting with Wires and Without.” Activities will include: keys to practice sending Morse Code messages, walkie-talkies, rescue with signals, lighthouse flashing activities, signal flags, and testing wired equipment related to the early French Cable that sent telegraph messages from the Eastham and Orleans area to France for 80 years, 1879-1959.
At 2 PM at the Salt Pond Visitor Center, NASA space educator Rick Varner will revisit the recent space communications advances and offer speculation on visions for the future. Recently, NASA announced successful tests of software and satellite hardware that could essentially create an interplanetary internet. Such a communication network will open the gateway to the development of more complex missions and reliable communications for astronauts living and working upon the surface of the moon.
K1WCC, K2LP, KB1GSO and the KM1CC Marconi Cape Cod Radio Club will operate special event station W1P on November 28, 2008 commemorating the sinking of the Steamship Portland.
November 27, 1898 was New England’s “Night to Remember”, the day on which almost 200 souls lost their lives aboard the steamship Portland when she foundered off Cape Cod during the great gale which bears her name. She has often been called “New England’s Titanic” for the magnitude her loss had on local communities, especially her namesake city.
According to Henry Brown, K1WCC, “Since 2005, hams from the Marconi Cape Cod Radio Club have commemorated the day with a Special Event Station set up overlooking Cape Cod Bay. This year, on Friday, November 28th, Highland Light in Truro will be the location of the commemoration of the 110th anniversary of the tragedy. Two HF stations (CW and SSB) will be in operation from 9 AM local time to about 4 PM at the lighthouse, and tours will be conducted of the museum and lighthouse. Special Event callsign is W1P, with QSLs to K1WCC. We will also be activating Highland Light, USA-110, for those who collect lighthouse numbers.”
Operations are expected on the following frequencies:
CW: 7.030, 14.030 and 18.070
SSB 7.260, 14.260, 18.160
Adds Brown, “Combine a visit to the beautiful Outer Cape with a lighthouse tour and possibly some guest operating. Bring your portable HF rig and work us from the parking lot or beach.”
Tom Charbonneau, NZ1X writes on the QRA mailing list:
The next [Quannapowitt Radio Assocation] fox hunt will be held Thursday night, March 27, starting at 7:00 PM from the Senior Center in Reading. Alex Svirsky, N1PRW, will be in place as the fox at that time using his new foxbox transmitting on 146.565 MHz. We will talk with the fox as necessary on the 145.290 repeater in North Andover. This should be more enjoyable than previous hunts because the foxbox will automatically transmit periodically (and fairly frequently), and we won’t have to keep making requests for the fox to start yapping so we can get a fix on him.
Hope to see you there,
Barbara Dougan, KB1GSO writes:
International Marconi Day starts on Saturday, April 26, 0000 UTC this year. That means KM1CC will start operating Friday night April 25 at 20:00 EDST and go thru early evening on Sat. April 26. You can always operate longer on April 26/27 if you want. It will be at the Coast Guard Station, Eastham.
Let me know if you want me to save you a bunk bed so you can spend Friday and/or Sat night. Operating on 80 meters is fun early in the morning! I am planning to provide a “Marconi Pasta Feast” on Saturday night.
Our operation will be open to the public from 9 am-4 pm, so we will need to take turns acting as amateur radio ambassadors to all ages.
Let me know if you have other ideas and if you will participate.
Barbara Dougan, KB1GSO/KM1CC trustee
Cape Cod National Seashore
99 Marconi Site Road
Wellfleet, MA 02667
Phone: 508-255-3421 x 16
Fax : 508-240-3291
–Thanks, Falmouth ARA web site
The Cape Ann Amateur Radio Association will hold a 24-hour “winter” Field Day exercise beginning at noon, January 26, 2008, according to CAARA’s Briggs Longbothum, AB2NJ.
“CAARA will exercise and demonstrate our capability to deploy and communicate under emergency conditions using portable/battery power. This event is similar to the ARRL’s well-known Field Day event held every June but will be conducted in January inside our club house but using non-permanent equipment and off-grid power,” says Briggs. “All are invited and welcomed to stop by and visit, operate, or enjoy a snack and some camaraderie at the clubhouse.”
AB2NJ says that this is the second annual winter Field Day, and the first time they’ve operated it in conjunction with the Society for the Preservation of Amateur Radio’s [archive.org link] Winter Field Day.
—CAARA News, January 2008
According to WARC President Paul Burbine N1VTI, “There were twenty-six Whitman ARC members and five area hams who helped set up and operate three HF base stations, one Echolink station and two 2-meter base stations, along with portable antennas at the recreation of the 17th century Pilgrim Settlement and Wampanoag Indian Homesite.”
“The weather was great but – with the temperature in the low 30s – the gloves were on.”
The Whitman Times carried an excellent article on the event: Thanksgiving transmitted all around the world.[See also: Plimoth Plantation Special Event, 11/24-11/25/07]