PART of Westford Repeater Antenna Improvements

PART of Westford logoTerry Stader, KA8SCP, writes on the PART-L mailing list:

Last week, I sent this message out to our D-STAR users…. I am forwarding it since it contains some information that may be helpful.

The latest information is that new antennas are up and the new hardline is installed. There is a tentative switch over to the new water tower scheduled for next week. As soon as I know what day this is to occur, I will send a message out.

There will be some downtime where all three repeaters will be offline to conduct maintenance. All three repeaters have been on the air without any down time since December of 2018. That is over 11,500 hours EACH. We expect that the switch will be seamless, but please be aware that during the changeover, the repeaters may be up one minute and then down the next. If we encounter any issue with the changeover, we will revert to the previous configuration.

From: Terry M. Stader – KA8SCP
Sent: Thursday, April 02, 2020 9:45 AM
Subject: Re: [wb1gof-dstar] antenna Change

Change is coming… so let me expand on what is existing now and what is happening soon.

Today, the VHF analog VHF 146.955 and D-STAR UHF 442.450 antennas are sited on the top of the older Town of Westford Prospect Hill water tower built in 1918. The D-STAR VHF 145.330 repeater antenna is located on top of the communications building at the base of that water tower, 90 feet below to other two antennas located on the top of the water tower, hence, the difference in signal levels.



A new, bigger water tower was built adjacent to the old tower. The old water tower is scheduled to be torn down in the future.

Three NEW commercial grade replacement antennas were ordered and are waiting for the new coax lines to run, then the new antenna to be placed (all 3 of them) on top of the new water tower tank on a pedestal that has already been built. When the antennas and hardline runs have been tested and we have been advised they are ours, I will go to the site and start making the switch to the new antennas.

The latest word I have was just this week… the hardline/coax installation was to be started this week. I was asked about the new antennas, so hopefully they are being transported to the site/installer.

The new water tower is considerably larger than the old water tower. It is about the same height as the old tower, exact dimensions are not yet known. The new tower is about 80-100 feet away from the old tower. That does mean that the hardline/coax runs to the new antennas are longer. The antennas are the same antenna models we have had previously. Because there is a little shift to the north in physical location, we expect pretty much the same coverage on the 955 analog and the 442.450 D-STAR repeaters. We do expect a significant change in coverage of the VHF D-STAR 145.330 repeater. 

This is all the information I have at the moment. I will advise of any significant deviation from what was outlined above when known.

Thanks all for your support to our WB1GOF repeaters.


Terry M Stader KA8SCP
WB1GOF Repeaters/D-STAR Admin

KC1LOM: “History of Titanic’s Radio” at New England Sci-Tech ARS (Online), April 14, 2020

Mark Rudd, KC1LOM
Mark Rudd, left, with Wayne Hanson, who will show an antique spark transmitter during the program. Presentation will cover Titanic’s “Marconi Radio” and related radio broadcast history.

Bob Phinney, K5TEC, writes:

“The STARS Radio Lecture Series is 7 pm on the 2nd Tuesday of each month. 
4/14/20: Mark A. Rudd KC1LOM: HISTORY OF TITANIC’S RADIO (and Related Broadcast Theory)
Guest Speaker:
Mark A. Rudd, KC1LOM,  is a retired Electrical Engineer and enjoys being a Technology Instructor for young and old students alike. Relevant to ham radio clubs, Mr. Rudd served as a radar engineer or “Lab Rad” at the USAF Rome Laboratory between 1985 to 1995.
After retiring as a Federal Engineer, Mr. Rudd always wanted to teach. So Mark served as a Sci&Tech Instructor at the King’s Co-Op since 2008, plus has been the Computer Tutor at the Tiverton Senior Center, both in Rhode Island.
To join the STARS Meeting at 7:00 pm just link your computer to Password: (email for password), or phone in: +1 929 205 6099, Meeting ID: 231 170 127, Password: (email for password).

HamSCI 2020 Workshop Retools as a Virtual Event

Phil Erickson, W1PJE, of Haystack Observatory in Massachusetts will speak on “Amateur digital mode based remote sensing: FT8 use as a radar signal of opportunity for ionospheric characterization.”
From ARRL Web:

03/17/2020 – Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the March 20 – 21 HamSCI Workhop will go on, moving to an all-digital webinar workshop. Registration and participation will be free and open to all, organizer and University of Scranton  professor Nathaniel Frissell, W2NAF, said over the weekend. A tentative agenda has been posted. Participants may register online. The workshop will be presented using the Zoom webinar platform. Those planning to take part should visit the Zoom website, create a free account, and download the client software. Frissell encouraged participants to set up a Zoom account, so they can get familiar with the system.The theme of the 2020 workshop is “The Auroral Connection — How does the aurora affect amateur radio, and what can we learn about the aurora from radio techniques?” Oral presentations will be as originally scheduled and in the same format, as if they were being delivered at the in-person workshop. Instructions for the electronic poster session are now posted, Frissell said.

“There are some really good things that are coming out of this switch to an e-workshop format,” Frissell continued. “I think the best thing is that it will enable greater participation, especially from people who wanted to come but were unable to before.”

Frissell said Zoom has the necessary tools to run the workshop in a way that will allow large participation while still keeping things manageable. The system will allow up to 100 panelists to share video and audio, and at least 1,000 people to watch and actively participating by asking questions through a text chat system, he explained. Moderators will monitor the text chat system and relay questions to the presenters.

Frissell has had to scramble since the decision was made to call off the in-person event. “It’s taken us a few days to get this lined up, as Scranton’s IT department has just upgraded their contract with Zoom over the past couple days to enable this workshop and other events on campus,” he said.

The HamSCI workshop will include addresses by guest speakers, poster presentations, and demonstrations of instrumentation and software relevant to the theme. The workshop will serve as a team meeting for the HamSCI Personal Space Weather Station projectthat’s funded by National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to Frissell. The project seeks to harness the power of a network of radio amateurs to better understand and measure the effects of weather in the upper levels of Earth’s atmosphere.

Workshop speakers include Elizabeth MacDonald, the NASA researcher who founded and leads the Aurorasaurus citizen science project. James LaBelle, a professor of physics and astronomy at Dartmouth University and auroral radio physicist, will discuss radio signatures of the aurora. Phil Erickson, W1PJE, of Haystack Observatory in Massachusetts will speak on “Amateur digital mode based remote sensing: FT8 use as a radar signal of opportunity for ionospheric characterization.” David Hallidy, K2DH, a retired microwave engineer and well-known for his work in auroral mode propagation, will discuss his practical experiences of using the aurora for radio communication.

Contester and DX Engineering CEO Tim Duffy, K3LR, who was to be the banquet speaker, will talk on the topic, “Let’s Push the Exploration of the Ionosphere to the Next Level.”   


CANCELLED: Dan’s Tech Night, March 12, 2020

Dan Pedtke, KW2T, writes:

Next Meeting IS CANCELLED. No March 12, 2020 meeting, due to coronavirus.

Sorry, our building hosts have suggested that we cancel our meeting for this month due to this unusual situation with this spreading virus. As I originally suggested, you should stay home out of fear of COVID-19.

TechNight is held every 2nd Thursday of the month, from 7-10 PM, at the Grady Research Building in Ayer, MA. It is open to anyone with an interest in radio or electronics, from age 6 to 100. Though it is directed mainly at the Ham Radio enthusiast, it also covers general electronics and computers. Amongst the marvels of radio technology like antennas, impedance matching, and software radio, we will discuss things like the Raspberry Pi, Arduino, ARM Cortex and the like, and even a little about LINUX and PC applications that work with radios. Meetings also include a period where anyone can ask questions about anything, or repair and test stuff people bring in. On occasion, the meeting will involve building a kit of some sort, that the participants have agreed to buy as a group. See the Topics page for more details.

You-Do-It Arduino Day 2020, Needham, March 21

You-Do-It Electronics is sponsoring Arduino Day 2020 on March 21, 2020 from 11 AM-4 PM at its store at 40 Franklin Street, off Route 128 Exit 19B, in Needham. 

“Join us in celebrating Arduino Day a world wide birthday celebration of all things arduino. Here at “You-do-it” Electronics Center we want to bring people together to share their experiences and learn more about the open-source platform. Various exhibitors will share their knowledge and resources of arduino- what it is and what you can do. We will also have product related specials, raffles and more! If you were ever wondering what this open-platform micro controller is or network with like minded individuals, you don’t want to miss this event
“If you have an arduino project you would like to showcase or are a STEAM related organization interested in being an exhibitor at our event email to reserve a table.”

Nashoba Valley ARC “Tech Morning” Participants Engage in Interesting and Varying Discussions

Stan Pozerski, KD1LE, writes in the February, 2020 issue of The Signal:

“Tech Morning continues to meet every week at 10:15 AM, Mondays at the Pepperell Community Center.

“From week to week we engage in widely (and wildly) varying, ad hoc, discussions on topics of current interest. At times we have a major common project focus, as we had for many months with the Arduino Antenna Analyzer. Mostly though, we just ragchew on our radio interests and issues of the week.

“In a recent session we discussed a kit Peter, N1ZRG, found for building a nixie tube digital clock for those with a big time hankering to solder. It is made up of only discreet resistor-transistor and diode logic! Over 1,200 through-hole parts, with no IC’s.

“Another discussion we recently had was on propagation issues that are impacting our morning 40m CW nets. Since we are in relatively close proximity to each other (max ~17 miles), NVIS propagation is expected to be a determining factor in signal quality. As it is, George, KB1HFT, in North Chelmsford is barely heard by Peter, N1ZRG, in Pepperell, even though George is pumping 50 watts into a resonant Inverted V. George reports that on the same antenna his 1 watt 40 M WSPR signal has been heard in Antarctica by DP0GVN. Hmmm. No NVIS? We set out to investigate.”

KB1REQ: “Amateur Radio Mobile Vehicle Installation” at New England Sci-Tech ARS, February 11, 2020

Jeremy Breef-Pilz, KB1REQ

Are you curious how to install your amateur radio into your motor vehicle? Join Sci-Tech Amateur Radio Society for its 2nd Tuesday Lecture Series at 7 PM. Radio guru Jeremy Breef-Pilz, KB1REQ, will be showing us how to perform a mobile installation.

Sci-Tech Amateur Radio Society
16 Tech Circle, Natick MA 01760
About Jeremy (abstracted from
Jeremy is an electrical engineer who’s been into amateur radio since 2008 and two-way radio for longer. He studied Electrical and Computer Engineering at Northeastern University in Boston, and is currently employed by Motorola Solutions.
Jeremy is abundantly active in radio, including contesting, HF digital modes, and supporting and improving repeaters in particular those with P25 and DMR. Jeremy participates in public service events and SKYWARN.

Antennas 101 with Kiersten Kerby-Patel, January 24, 2020

Have you ever wondered what an antenna actually does? Why all those big pokey things on top of many tall buildings look the way they do? How we’ve engineered the ability to radiate electromagnetic waves across continents and oceans? If so, join us this Friday to hear about:

Antennas for Amateur Radio: Everything is a Dipole

(except when it’s a loop)

Friday, January 24th at 5:00 PM at MIT in room 4-270

Kiersten Kerby-Patel, University of Massachusetts at Boston

Hosted by the MIT Radio Society

Part of the IAP Radio Lecture Series <>

DINNER (Pizza) will be provided

KE1JH: “Infinity, Q, and Transmission Lines, a Physicist’s View” at Dan’s Tech Night, January 9, 2020

Dan Pedtke, KW2T, writes:

TechNight is this Thursday, January 9, 2020, at the usual time and place: 7 PM, Grady Research building [in Ayer].  See the website for info and directions.

Our guest speaker will be physicist Bob Jackson, KE1JH.  Bob’s talk is “Infinity, Q, and Transmission Lines, a Physicist’s View.” This will be about energy flowing in a transmission line, and characteristic impedance, among other things.

I will not be here for the meeting, I’ll be at the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas.

MIT Radio Society W1MX Announces January Lecture Series on “Everything Radio”

MIT Radio Society QSL/logoFrom the ARRL Web, 01/02/20:

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Radio Society (W1MX) and the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science are hosting a lecture series in January that may answer some of your questions about such topics as radar techniques, interferometry, imaging, and radio astronomy, to antenna design and modern chip-scale RF devices. No prior experience with radio is necessary, and all are welcome.

All lectures will take place in the Green Building — MIT’s tallest academic building. Sessions will be live streamed and archived for later viewing.

The lectures kick off on January 10 with “The Next Generation of Weather Radar.” Other topics include “Lightning Interferometry” (January 13); “Radio Noises from the Sky” (January 15); “EDGES: Measuring the Early Universe” (January 22); “Antennas” (January 24), and “Chip-Scale THz Circuits and Sensors” (January 29). Lectures begin at 5 PM ET and conclude at 7 PM.

The club’s Daniel Sheen, KC1EPN, noted that the rooftop W1XM facilities in the Green Building are scheduled for removal as part of a renovation project. A capital campaign is under way to establish a new facility with improved capabilities for academic research and recreational activity.

WA3ITR: “High-Altitude Ballooning” at New England Sci-Tech, January 14, 2020

Charlie Bures is leading a new program called “Your Project in Space” for teens. Sign up soon.

From the Sci-Tech ARS Newsletter, January 1, 2020:

Charlie Burs, WA3ITR, will talk about high-altitude ballooning (HAB) and his HAB project at New England Sci-Tech. Any teens who are members of STARS or NEST can participate for free.
Charlie says “The goals are to get young people involved in an HAB project, which has Amateur radio (an APRS tracker device) with STEM learning. They will learn about project planning, platform testing, launching, tracking, and recovery of the balloon and its payload, and flight data analysis. The platform will carry up to 3 GoPro cameras, a commercial GPS tracker, and the APRS tracker. A 20-foot tether connects the platform to the HAB balloon, which is filled with helium or hydrogen, and is about 8 feet in diameter at launch. The platform will weigh less than four pounds.”
As the balloon ascends, the APRS tracker will provide location info, pressure, temperature, altitude and a few more items in its telemetry. At around 90,000 feet after a two- to three-hour ascent, the balloon will have expanded to over 30 feet in diameter when it explodes and the package starts its return to earth by parachute so the team can recover the data.

Sci-Tech ARS: Burlington 447.025 Repeater Off The Air

From the Sci-Tech Amateur Radio Society newsletter, January 1, 2020:
Special announcement: The Burlington repeater has been taken down for repair and will not be replaced until springtime. This gives us some time to decide if there is a better location for it.
We need all licensed STARS members to participate in a radio coverage survey to see where the Natick and Milton repeaters can/can’t reach, and then please suggest possible repeater locations to fill in any bad spots. Send signal reports to
Please get on the air more often, too! We need to use these repeaters or lose our frequencies. Suggested best times would be during commuter traffic – 6-8 AM and 5-7 PM weekdays. We also need help running the Net on Tuesdays at 8 PM – any volunteers?
Natick UHF: 446.325 PL 146.2 at New England Sci-Tech (linked)
Milton UHF: 449.125 PL 146.2 at Blue Hill Science Center (linked)
Milton VHF: 146.985 PL 88.5 at Blue Hill Science Center (linked)
Burlington UHF: 447.025 PL 146.2 at the Lahey Hospital (off air)

“Space Weather Operational Resources and Needs of the Amateur Radio Community” at 100th Annual AMS Meeting in Boston, January 12-16, 2020

The American Meteorological Society’s 100th Annual Meeting will be held in the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in Boston’s Seaport District from January 12-16, 2020. It will feature many informative talks and presentations. Among those is  an invited presentation by the Ham Radio Science Citizen Investigation (HamSCI) entitled, “Space Weather Operational Resources and Needs of the Amateur Radio Community” on Tuesday, January 14 from 11:45 AM- 12:00 PM.

The authors include: 

Nathaniel A. Frissell
Univ. of Scranton
Scranton, PA, USA

Philip J. Erickson, W1PJE
MIT Haystack Observatory
Westford, MA, USA

Ethan S. Miller
Johns Hopkins Univ. Applied Physics Lab
Laurel, PA, USA

William Liles
HamSCI Community
Scranton, PA, USA

H. Ward Silver, N0AX
HamSCI Community
Scranton, PA, USA

R. Carl Luetzelschwab
HamSCI Community
Scranton, PA, USA

Tamitha Skov
Aerospace Corporation
El Segundo, CA, USA

The presentation abstract follows:

The amateur (ham) radio community is a global community of over 3 million people who use and build radio equipment for communications, experimentation, and science. By definition, amateur radio is a volunteer service, with the operators required to hold government-issued licenses that are typically earned by passing knowledge tests covering radio regulations and practices, radio theory, and electromagnetic theory. In the United States, there are about 750,000 licensed hams, ranging in age from very young to very old, and ranging in experience from neophyte to people with advanced degrees in radio engineering and science. Amateur radio operators are licensed to transmit on bands spread across the radio frequency (RF) spectrum, from very low frequency (VLF) up to hundreds of gigahertz. The purpose of these communications range from mission-critical emergency and public service communications to social contacts to highly competitive contests and achievement award programs. Many of these communications rely on trans-ionospheric paths, and therefore are heavily influenced by conditions in near-Earth space, or space weather.

“Amateurs today obtain space weather and propagation prediction information from sources such as the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC),, the Voice of America Coverage Analysis Program (VOACAP), amateur radio propagation columnists (ARRL, RSGB, and CQ Magazine), and (Dr. Tamitha Skov). In order to predict success for their communications efforts, hams often use parameters such as smoothed sunspot number, 10.7 cm wavelength solar flux proxy, and the planetary Kp and Ap indices as inputs to predict radio propagation performance. Traditionally, these predictions focus on the driving influence of space conditions and the sun’s output. However, frontier research in the space sciences community has revealed that for improved predictive success, much more information needs to be provided on neutral atmosphere dynamics from the lower atmosphere and its coupled effects on the ionosphere, and predictions need to be available at higher temporal and spatial resolution. Lower atmospheric influences include atmospheric gravity waves that can couple to traveling ionospheric disturbances that can dramatically alter radio propagation paths. Tropospheric phenomena such as temperature inversions and wind shear also affect VHF and UHF propagation. To be most useful, the ham community needs operational products that provide real time nowcasts and multi-day forecasts which predict how space weather through the whole atmosphere affects radio wave propagation on global scale and at all operational wavelengths.
“To help with this effort, hams can provide data with unique spatial and temporal coverage back to the research and forecast community. The amateur radio community has already started this process with the creation of multiple global-scale, real-time propagation reporting systems such as the Weak Signal Propagation Reporting Network (WSPRNet), PSKReporter, and the Reverse Beacon Network (RBN). Studies by the Ham radio Science Citizen Investigation (HamSCI) have shown that data from these systems, if applied correctly, can effectively be used to study ionospheric space weather events. Experienced amateurs keep detailed records of verified point-to-point contacts and have extensive experience operating under a wide variety of geophysical conditions and locations, both of which can provide unique insights when shared with the professional research community. In this presentation, we will describe efforts led by the HamSCI collective to provide this research community feedback through active HamSCI community email lists and annual HamSCI workshops. We will also describe strategies with good initial success at amateur-professional collaboration, including a HamSCI-led amateur radio community – professional research community partnership to create a network of HamSCI Personal Space Weather Stations (PSWS), which will allow citizen scientists to make science-grade space weather observations from their own backyards.”

NOAA/NASA Panel Concurs that Solar Cycle 25 will Peak in July 2025

From ARRL Web:

The NOAA/NASA-co-chaired international Solar Cycle Prediction Panel has released its latest forecast for to forecast Solar Cycle 25. The panel’s consensus calls for a peak in July 2025 (±8 months), with a smoothed sunspot number of 115. The panel agreed that Cycle 25 will be of average intensity and similar to Cycle 24. The panel additionally concurred that the solar minimum between Cycles 24 and 25 will occur in April 2020 (±6 months). If the solar minimum prediction is correct, this would make Solar Cycle 24 the seventh longest on record at 11.4 years. In its preliminary forecast released last April, the scientists on the panel forecast that Solar Cycle 25 would likely be weak, much like the current Cycle 24. [Full story]

K1IR Promotes Tower Safety Month on “Ham Nation” Broadcast

Jim  Idelson,  K1IR,  was  featured  in  the first of three episodes  on the Ham  Nation video blog  as a part of “Tower Safety Month.” 

The Sudbury native has created a nationwide initiative called the Zero Falls Alliance to promote safe tower practices and “a vision of an always-safe amateur radio where every ham fully understands the potential risks – and has the knowledge and tools to keep those risks at bay.”

The first in the series aired on December 4, 2019. The second is scheduled to be shown on December 11.

Dan’s Tech Night: Transistors, December 12, 2019

Dan Pedtke, KW2T, writes:

TechNight is this Thursday, Dec 12, 2019, at the usual time and place: 7 PM, Grady Research building [in Ayer].  See the website for info and directions.

This month I had a request to talk about the various types of transistor amplifiers:  Common Emitter, Common  Base, Emitter Follower, Cascode, Darlington, etc.  This came up due to the TNRadio using a variety of these, mainly for educational purposes, and from last months SPICE circuit simulation touching on some of these.

I’ll go over about 10 different transistor amplifier arrangements and talk about how they work and their characteristics, and where they are used.  We might use SPICE to measure some of the characteristics.

We’ll also have a short presentation by Jim Wilber about the Pepperell CERT program he is involved with, getting ham radio to be involved with local FEMA authorities.  He has gone through the certification program along with a couple other NVARC members.

Should be a good meeting.  Hope to see you there, and that the weather cooperates.

Wellesley ARS/New England Sci-Tech Collaboration: High Altitude Balloon Project

Charlie Bures, WA3ITR, writes in the Wellesley ARS “The Sparkgap” November, 2019 newsletter:

As part of the new collaboration between WARS (Wellesley Amateur Radio Society) and NEST (New England Sci-Tech in Natick), Charlie has proposed a NEST High Altitude Balloon (HAB) project.

What are the goals?

NEST mission is to help youth with STEM projects. As you recall, Charlie has previously done balloon launches with Natick HS and now, he is leading this new effort for NEST.

The goals are to get young people involved in a project, which has Amateur radio (an APRS tracker device) with STEM learning. They will learn about project planning, platform testing, launching, tracking, and recovery of the balloon and its payload, and flight data analysis. The platform will carry up to 3 GoPro cameras, a commercial GPS tracker, and the APRS tracker. A 20-foot tether connects the platform to the HAB balloon, which is filled with helium or hydrogen, and is about 8 feet in diameter at launch. The platform will weigh less than 4 pounds.

As the balloon ascends, the APRS tracker will provide location info, pressure, temperature, altitude and a few more items in its telemetry. At around 90,000 feet after a 2-3 hour ascent, the balloon will have expanded to over 30 feet in diameter when it explodes and the package starts its return to earth.

The parachute will deploy and the downward trip will take 30-45 minutes. Hopefully it will not land on a roof, pond, or the Mass Pike!! It needs to be recovered to collect the photos from the cameras. The STEM team will write a report on the whole project.

Proposed Budget

Here is a breakdown of the expected cost of an HAB. The kit is obtained from High Altitude Science ( who has perfected the items for a youth team, supervised by adults (if you can call Charlie an adult!)

1. HAB kit – $ 750
2. Extra balloon $ 30
3. Helium or Hydrogen $ 150
4. 3 GoPro like cameras $ 150
5. APRS tracker $ 250
6. Batteries $ 25
TOTAL: $ 1355 (approximate)

Of course, subsequent flights can be done more cheaply if the platform is recovered successfully. Then, you just need a new balloon and more helium!


The project flyer is being designed and advertising to students will begin in late November through the end of the year. To give you a feeling of the project, here is a rough schedule as to the project activities:

1. November – Create flyer and start advertising
2. December – Sign up and order kit
3. January – start meetings, which are 2x/month at NEST
4. Late Feb/March – start assembly of the kit
5. March/April – flight planning and launch prep
6. May – tethered test prior to launch to ensure all systems are go
7. Late may – launch (likely from central or western MA)
8. June – data analysis and write report

The idea is not only to learn and have fun, but also to analyze the results and decide how the next flight should be done. For instance, radiation devices could be used or, perhaps, amateur live streaming of the flight and balloon burst could be added to future flights.

How you can help

I’d like to ask for your support in two ways. First, if there is anyone who would like to be involved in the meetings to learn, build, and assemble this platform, please let me know what you’d like to do. Second, I’d be grateful for any private donations of any amount or any general support of WARS. I know there are lots of worthy causes for your charity contributions, and I hope you can see the value of this STEM project for youth learning about ham radio and be able to offer some support – THANK YOU!

New England Sci-Tech, Blue Hill Meteorological Observatory Collaboration Underway

Bob Phinney, K5TEC, writes in the New England Sci-Tech Amateur Radio Society (STARS) newsletter:

The NESciTech (NEST) collaboration with Blue Hill Meteorological Observatory and Science Center (BHO) is now fully underway. A crew of eight volunteers arrived on November 9, 2019 at Blue Hill to install the antennas and repeaters for the new Blue Hill radio club that the BHO science center is starting with the help of Bob and Rusty at NESciTech.

Thank you Ted for doing much of the tower work, Bob D. for doing most of the repeater configurations and antenna setup, Jeremy for high quality cable connector terminations, and everyone for all your help running coax, hauling equipment, and supporting Blue Hill’s educational mission and STEM collaboration.

The Blue Hill repeaters will link back to the STARS repeater at NEST in Natick, so talking on one opens all of them. Burlington is by itself for now. Repeaters are open to use by all hams, and shared by Blue Hill Science Center and STARS. Please send any propagation reports to

Photo, left to right: Bob DeMattia, K1IW; Ted Reimann, W1OG; Jeremy Breef-Pilz, KB1REQ; Alex Dills, KB1SSN; Bruce Pigott, KC1US (kneeling), science center director Don McCasland, Eoghan Bacon, K2VUD; and Bob Phinney, K5TEC. Photographer, not in photo, Rusty Moore, K1FVK.

PART of Westford Kit Building with DrDuino

PART of Westford logoAndy Stewart, KB1OIQ, writes in the PART of Westford PARTicles newsletter, November, 2019:

The PART kit building team is Andy, KB1OIQ; Steve, W1KBE; and Allison, KB1GMX. We recently received a very generous donation from an anonymous member of ten (10) DrDuino kits. You may remember reading about this kit in a recent issue of QST.

The PART kit building activity got started in KB1OIQ’s basement classroom on November 7th, 2019. There were five (5) kit builders: George, K1IG; Rakesh, KC1HTB; Niece, KA1ULN; Rich, AB1HD; and Scott, KB1WMH. The first session was spent soldering together the kit. The next two sessions will be Arduino programming lessons taught by Andy (KB1OIQ). The attendees will learn how to program switches, LEDs, potentiometers, a speaker, an ultrasonic distance measuring device, and those very colorful (and BRIGHT) LED strips. If there is time, we may also make a simple CW practice oscillator and a binary counter displayed on the LEDs.

There will be a future kit building activity using the four (4) remaining DrDuino kits (I built one). Additionally, this training will be a great prerequisite for the DDS VFO kit that we’ll unleash during a future session.

All things considered; the first session went really well. I’m really looking forward to the next two sessions!