N1DCH: Intro to Radio Hotspots, Minuteman Repeater Association, May 15, 2019

The Minuteman Repeater Association will feature Dave Hornbaker, N1DCH, who will present on “Introduction to Hotspots” at itsMMRA logo annual meeting on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 at 7 PM.

The presentation will cover different hot spot options with emphasis on MMDVM based hotspots and Pi-Star. 

The meeting will be held at New England Sci-Tech, Inc., 16 Tech Circle, Natick, MA. Directions


Dan’s Tech Night: TRL-SDR and Miscellany, Ayer, May 9, 2019

Dan Pedtke, KW2T, writes:

Hello past TechNighters,

It’s TechNight week again.  TechNight is this Thursday, May 9th, 2019, Grady Research Building in Ayer.  We’re going to talk about the RTL-SDR dongle (again, was a previous tech night, but now there’s a new one), and some other miscellaneous stuff, and the TechNight Radio.  The other stuff might include interesting things I bought at NEARFest last weekend.

See DansTechNight.com for details and directions.  A newer schematic and the PCB layout are posted for the TechNight Radio.

One of the issues with me talking about the Dongle is that it’s all about software, and I’m running LINUX and I think most others are running Windows, so I’ll try to get a couple things running in Windows as well, and bring both laptops.  Been kinda busy with work this week so I’m not so prepared, but so what, we’ll have fun anyway, and the cookies and coffee will be good.

Hope to see you there.

Faster, More Contest-Friendly FT4 Digital Protocol to Debut in a Week

From ARRL Web:

A new, speedier, more contest-friendly digital mode is just days away in beta version. WSJT-X Developers say serious work on the new FT4 protocol began shortly after the FT8 Roundup held last December 1-2. The goal was a mode that could compete with RTTY contesting in terms of contact rates, while preserving many of the benefits of FT8. [More]

Dan’s Tech Night, April 11, 2019

This month’s “Dan’s Tech Night” will be moderated by Bob Jackson, KE1JH. The presentation will be “show and tell” format so bring in your projects, thoughts, or stories to share with the group. Bob may also have a significant topic to talk about as well.

Dan’s Tech Night is Thursday, April 11th at 7 PM at the Grady Research Building, 323 Main St, Ayer. And as always, everyone is welcome.

See: www.DansTechNight.com for details and directions.

Hope to see you there. 

Northeastern University Wireless Club Hackathon, April 6-7, 2019

The Northeastern University Wireless Club (W1KBN) is holding its 4th annual Hackathon on Saturday, April 6 from 12 noon until Sunday, April 7 at 3 PM in 424/425 Hayden Hall on the Northeastern campus.  The theme will be post-apocalyptic, and the Hackathon will have prize categories for both hardware and software oriented projects. 

To register, go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/wireless-club-spring-2019-hackathon-tickets-58854136306

Dan’s Tech Night, Ayer, March 14, 2019

Dan Pedtke, KW2T, writes:

TechNight is Thursday, March 14, 2019 at 7 PM, at the Grady Research building in Ayer. See www.DansTechNight.com for details and directions.

This week we are back to the Tech Night Radio project.  I now have most of the schematic done and getting ready for the proto board layout.  We’ll go over some of the schematic, then I want to talk about one of the most useful and cheap electronic parts there is, the XOR logic gate.  I’ll show how it can be used as a buffer, inverter, schmitt trigger, level translator, polarity control, frequency doubler, phase detector, relay driver, and maybe other things I think of.  And it’s 8 cents!  I will also bring in the latest electronic mouse trap and show you what’s inside.  There is very high voltage…

Hope to see you there.

W1DYJ to Present FT8 Talk at Minuteman Repeater Association, March 20, 2019

MMRA logoThe Minuteman Repeater Association will feature Larry Banks, W1DYJ, who will present “FT8: Not a Prefix, a Powerful New Mode” on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 at 7:00 PM. The meeting location is the Microsoft Technology Center, 5 Wayside Rd, Burlington, MA 01803.  (Directions)

“FT8 showed up on the ham horizon in August 2017, and has since become the ‘hot new mode.’ Larry will discuss its history and how to set up your station. He will also introduce a supporting application called JTAlert and highlight some reporting web sites. He will end with his personal experience using FT8 to chase DX.”


“Andy’s Ham Radio Linux” Distribution Version 22 Now Available

Andy Stewart, KB1OIQ, writes:

I’ve just released a new version of “Andy’s Ham Radio Linux” for 64-bit  computers.  Version 22 is based on the Ubuntu 18.04 repositories and contains many new and updated programs.  The previous version had over 10,400 downloads in 14 months!  Thank you for your support!

For more information:  https://sourceforge.net/projects/kb1oiq-andysham/

Please pass this information to your Linux and ham radio friends.

W1DAN Featured on Ham Nation Podcast

Wellesley ARS logoBruce MacKinnon, KC1FSZ, writes on the Wellesley ARS list:

If you don’t normally listen, be sure to check out yesterday’s edition of the Ham Nation podcast.  Our very own [Dan Brown,] W1DAN is mentioned (around 1:10) in connection with the upcoming AM Rally and the installation of a monster AM station at W1AW HQ. Way to go Dan!


MIT Radio Society, EE and Computer Science Department Hosting Radio Technology Lectures

MIT Radio Society QSL/logoFrom www.ARRL.org:

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Radio Society (W1MX) and the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) are hosting a series of public lectures on “everything radio,” presented by academics and industry professionals. The series begins on Tuesday, January 8, at 5:30 PM ET in Building 3, Room 270.

Each self-contained talk will address a different facet of radio, ranging from modulation, propagation, and Amateur Radio, to radar, radio astronomy, space-based applications, and cellular and 5G technology.  [Full story]

China and Russia band together on controversial ionospheric heating experiments

orbiting satelliteThe South China Morning Post carried this story, “China and Russia band together on controversial heating experiments to modify the atmosphere” December 17, 2018, describing  the continuing military “race to control the ionosphere.” The experiments are similar to the US program’s super-power High-Frequency Active Auroral Research Program ( HAARP) transmitters in Gakona, Alaska.


Joe Reisert, W1JR, Wins Third Place in the 2018 QST Antenna Design Competition

Joe Reisert, W1JR

Congratulations to Joe Reisert, W1JR, on winning third place for his design of “The3/8-Wavelength Vertical for 20 Meters, a Hidden Gem”. Steve Ford WB8IMY described the “requirements for the 2018 QST Antenna Design Competition included an antenna for one or more bands between 2200 meters and 10 meters that could fit within a 30×50-foot area and be no taller than 30 feet above ground at any point.” 

A former resident of Chelmsford, Joe lives in Amherst, NH. He is a regular presenter at Boxboro. The full story is found at <http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter?issue=2018-12-06#toc02>

Harvard Wireless Club Announces CubeSat Collaboration

photo of satellite in spaceThe Harvard Wireless Club is working with another Harvard student organization, Students for the Exploration and Development of Space, to develop a CubeSat for launch.

“We’re excited to announce a collaboration with [the Harvard chapter of ] SEDS to develop the communications systems for a Cubesat they plan on launching in June,” writes HWC President Benjamin, K7JS.

“To get ready in time, we’re going to be having a special meeting next Thursday, October 17 at 8 PM at 6 Linden just for the members of the club interested in developing the satellite comms systems. This is going to be an awesome project and I can’t wait to work on it.”

Lee invites those interested in working on the project to contact  him.

“Chip” Cohen, W1YW, To Receive RCA’s Lee de Forest Award

Belmont inventor and entrepreneur Nathan “Chip” Cohen, W1YW, of fractal antenna and cloaking technology fame, will receive the Radio Club of America’s Lee de Forest Award for “significant contributions to the advancement of radio communications.” The award’s namesake, de Forest, is credited with inventing the Audion vacuum tube as an amplifier in radio circuits. De Forest also popularized the word “radio” in the US, in favor of the European term “wireless.”  [Details]

W1PJE Presents at 37th Annual ARRL and TAPR Digital Communications Conference

Dr. Phil Erickson, W1PJE, was the invited banquet speaker at this year’s annual ARRL and TAPR Digital Communications Conference held on September 14-16, 2018, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. 

Erickson is an assistant director and head of MIT’s Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences group at Haystack Observatory.  He holds B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering and space plasma physics from Cornell and is a member of the American Geophysical Union and the International Radio Science Union. Dr. Erickson is an Extra class ham and member of TAPR, ARRL, RSGB, Nashoba Valley Amateur Radio Club and the HamSCI initiative. He is the lead principal investigator of a National Science Foundation-sponsored UHF Megawatt class ionospheric radar at MIT Haystack and has authored or co-authored over 75 articles about the ionospheric and magnetospheric phenomena and radio physics.

W1PJE’s talk was entitled, “Towards A 21st Century Understanding of Earth’s Upper Atmosphere: The Value of Radio Based Amateur-Scientist Partnerships.” 

ARRL Headquarters Gets On AM!

On July 14, 2018, Eastern MA Technical Coordinator Dan Brown, W1DAN, traveled to ARRL Headquarters along with Tim, Smith, WA1HLR, and Steve Cloutier, WA1QIX, to help get the lab station, W1INF, on AM… in a big way!

The ARRL Headquarters lab is in possession of a tube-based Gates BC1T AM broadcast transmitter from the late 1950s. On loan from the Vintage Radio and Communications Museum of Connecticut, this transmitter was designed to make 1 kilowatt on the AM broadcast band, and was not meant for ham use. Product review engineer Bob Alison, WB1GCM, and lab manager Ed Hare, W1RFI, greeted us at a closed ARRL. We got a very quick tour, and went to work. Tim installed a transmit/receive (T/R) relay inside the transmitter, which he had previously modified for 160- as well as 80 meters. The power was also reduced to FCC limits. Steve installed his software modulation monitor and I installed two audio limiters as well as an audio distribution amplifier.

After a tasty lunch provided by Ed, all work was done by mid-afternoon. Bob was making contacts with other hams on the AM mode on 75 meters.

The W1INF lab station also includes a Flex 5000 transceiver, and a K7DYY Super Senior. The station will be on the air for AM events and contests, as well as occasional lunch break contacts by the staff.

The lab’s test gear is truly state of the art. It also holds the museum exhibit that once was in the lobby of headquarters. Ed runs the lab, and Bob does the product reports you see in QST. The lab staff also includes RFI engineer Mike Gruber, W1MG, and senior lab engineer Zach Lau, W1VT.

Dan, W1DAN

ARRL Technical Coordinator
Eastern Massachusetts Section



W1VIV Article Featured in CQ Magazine

June, 2018 CQ Magazine table of contents pageAn article by Sumner Weisman, W1VIV, of Framingham, appears in the June, 2018 CQ Magazine entitled, “Wireless Ham Radio for the Hearing Impaired.”

“I am pretty hard of hearing, where one ear is completely gone and the other is about half gone,” writes Sumner. “I use a hearing aid in my ‘good’ ear.  I like to do a few contests each year, and the earphones blasting into my hearing aid really abused my hearing.”

Sumner’s article tells how to use Bluetooth to stream the audio from your ham transceiver directly into your hearing aid, for very clear and pleasurable radio reception.