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.

Nashoba Valley ARC Members Participate in HamSCI Experiment During Field Day

Photo of WX1P at the Nashoba Valley ARC Field Day 2018
Bob Reif, W1XP, sends a test transmission to the CASSIOPE satellite. 

The Nashoba Valley ARC participated in a Ham Radio Science Citizen Investigation (HamSci) experiment with the Canadian CAScade, Smallsat and Ionospheric Polar Explorer (CASSIOPE) spacecraft over Field Day weekend.

Courtesy the HamSci web site:

 “’We’re really happy with our results this year’ remarked Dr. Gareth Perry, a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Calgary, CASSIOPE’s home institution. ‘The Radio Receiver Instrument (RRI) recorded plenty of chatter between Field Day participants, especially during our passes over the eastern and central United States on the evening of the 23rd’.

“Members of the Ham Radio Science Citizen Investigation (HamSCI) group coordinated with the Nashoba Valley Amateur Radio Club (NVARC, N1NC) and the Hoosier DX And Contest Club (N9NS) and the Indianapolis Radio Club to ‘direct traffic’ – asking their members to stick to pre-selected frequencies during the passes, and to record their transmitting logs.” 

The Ham Radio Science Citizen Investigation project is a platform for the publicity and promotion of projects that:

  • Advance scientific research and understanding through amateur radio activities
  • Encourage the development of new technologies to support this research
  • Provide educational opportunities for the amateur community and the general public


ARRL Represented at IEEE Symposium in Boston

VE2JBP/W1 operating N1P at IEEE AP-S Symposium in Boston
Robert Paknys, VE2JBP/W1 checks out 20m SSB from special event station N1P at the 2018 IEEE AP-S Symposium in Boston, Massachusetts


ARRL was on hand in Boston July 8 – 13 for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Antenna and Propagation Society (AP-S) Symposium, held jointly held with the US National Committee of the International Union of Radio Science (URSI). The ARRL exhibit included an Amateur Radio special event demonstration station, N1P, and more than a dozen volunteers staffed the ARRL exhibit.

“We had a very attractive booth in a great location,” said ARRL Eastern Massachusetts Assistant Section Manager Phil Temples, K9HI. “Engineers and scientists in the fields of antennas and propagation who attended from all over the world stopped by the ARRL table to see and learn about Amateur Radio.”

Temples said ARRL Headquarters provided supplies for the booth as well as display copies of publications, “which doubled as door prizes for drawings,” he added. Complementing volunteers from the ARRL Eastern Massachusetts Section were radio amateurs attending the conference who donated their time between talks and seminars to assist with the booth and greet fellow attendees.

“It was clear to me that our presence at the symposium meant a great deal to the IEEE AP-S/URSI leadership,” Temples said. “It’s difficult to have a ‘live’ Amateur Radio station in an exhibit area of a major hotel, so we were indeed fortunate to have access to one of the premiere contesting stations in New England through a remote internet HF setup, courtesy of Yankee Clipper Contest Club member Greg Cronin, W1KM.” Temples said YCCC president Dennis Egan, W1UE, supplied an Elecraft K3 to use on site.

In addition, ARRL Volunteer Examiners conducted separate Amateur Radio licensing exam sessions over two days at the conference thanks to the efforts of the Eastern Massachusetts Amateur Radio Group and Lou Harris, N1UEC. More than a dozen attendees took advantage.

“The IEEE AP-S/URSI hams who will organize next year’s event hope to secure the call sign N4P and recruit local volunteers when the symposium moves to Atlanta, Georgia, in 2019,” Temples said. He expressed gratitude to Dave Michelson, VA7DM, an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of British Columbia and who chaired the IEEE’s AP-S/URSI Joint Meetings Committee, for his help in coordinating the Amateur Radio display. “Thanks also go to San Diego Section Manager Dave Kaltenborn, N8KBC, and Michelle Thompson, W5NYV, who advised us following the 2017 ham radio effort.”


[Additional photos can be viewed on the Eastern MA ARRL Facebook page, at: https://www.facebook.com/EasternMaARRL/]


New England Wolf Pack Fusion Net, June 29, 2018

Brian, WO1VES writes:
This is a reminder that tonight at 8:00 PM I will once again be hosting the New England Wolf Pack Fusion Net.  This is a Yaesu System Fusion net open to all ham radio operators.  There are multiple ways to connect:
Direct to the Stoneham repeater: 147.075 with your Fusion radio
Through a Wires-X connected repeater or node: Connect to Wolf-Den, room 28941
Through your hotspot: Connect to the YSF reflector US Wolf Den
Through Echolink: No Fusion Radio?  Connect to WO1VES/R on Echolink
Through your DMR radio into your hotspot. SharkRF Openspot and MMDVM based devices can link DMR radios to YSF reflectors.  Just connect to US Wolf Den.
Work is still underway to full time link the Gloucester 443.700 Fusion repeater, but it is still not ready yet. I will also be adding an FCS reflector to the link.  I also encourage any other New England area Fusion repeaters to link in for the net.
Thanks everyone!
Brian – WO1VES

How to Clean After Corroded Batteries

pix of corroded batteriesJerry Woodworth, N1DD writes on the YCCC mailing list:

I forgot to remove batteries from a measuring instrument. AA Panasonic batteries cracked and some kind of fluid came out. On visual the damage does not appear to be fatal. However there is considerable white residue left. Any hints on what will remove the residue?

Greg Zenger, N2GZ replies:

Flush with de-ionized water and then dry with alcohol.

I avoid vinegar (acetic acid) as it can do more damage than good. Sure it neutralizes the alkali, but diluting it with water is just as effective at reducing the alkalinity and doesn’t leave an acid residue.   If there is a lot of leaked battery electrolyte  you can wipe it up with a cotton swab and then neutralize with vinegar before putting it in the trash, but don’t put the vinegar on your electronics.

De-ionized water readily dissolves the contamination and washes it away, the process can be sped up by scrubbing with a cotton swab. You can get de-ionized water at the grocery store in gallon jugs.

I prefer methanol for use on electronics, but isopropyl (rubbing alcohol) is commonly available and will work just fine. Look for a high percentage for best results. Medical isopropyl is often only 70-90%. 99% or greater is what you want. A gallon can of it from the hardware store is generally the cheapest way to get it. Water content in the alcohol slows down the evaporation time and can get left behind in little crevices like under chips or in through vias.

Flushing with pure alcohol washes away residual water and then quickly evaporates leaving nothing behind.

You may need to use a dental pick or some emery cloth to remove any corrosion that has increased the contact resistance of the battery terminals. 

New England Wolf Pack Fusion Net

Brian Gudzevich, WO1VES writes on the NSRA mailing list:
This is for all the Fusion radio owners out there, as well as some DMR and Echolink users.  I am starting a new monthly Fusion net on the last Friday of every month at 8:00 PM Eastern Time.  The first net will be this Friday, April 27th.  It will be based on the main repeater of the Wolf Pack Repeater System, the 147.075 WA1RHN repeater in Stoneham, Mass.
The net will be called the New England Wolf Pack Fusion Net.  This will be a New England centric net, and will cover topics of interest to operators living in the region.  I’m also going to offer a question and answer portion to help operators get the most out of their Fusion radios.
The following radios made by Yaesu are Fusion capable: FTM-100, FTM-400, FT-1D, FT-1XD, FT-2D, FT-70, FTM-3200, FTM-3207, FTM-7250, FT-991, and FT-991A.  If you have one of these models, you can get into the net through any of the links.  You can also access with a DMR radio and a SharkRF OpenSpot.
The net will take place on the Wolf Pack Network, which in addition to the main repeater in Stoneham, offers links through Wires-X, YSF Reflectors, and Echolink.  Here are the current linking options:
1) If you have a Fusion radio and you are within range of the 147.075 repeater, you can come in direct to the net.  There is nothing special needed to access the repeater.
2) With a Fusion radio, and access to another linked Fusion repeater, or a Fusion node working with the Yaesu HRI-200.  You can connect with Wires-X to room 28941, called Wolf-Den.
3) A Fusion radio and a hotspot, such as a SharkRF OpenSpot, DV4Mini, ZUMSpot, etc.  These can connect to YSF Reflectors..  In there, you will find a reflector called “US WolfDen”.  This is full time connected to the Stoneham Repeater, and will be connected for the net.
4) DMR Radio operators with a SharkRF OpenSpot can connect to the YSF Reflector “US WolfDen”.  If you need help setting that up, let me know.
5) If you don’t have a Fusion radio yet, but wish to check out the net, Echolink is available.  Just look for “WO1VES/R” node 813502.  There is currently a limit of 4 connections.
If you know anyone in New England with a Fusion repeater or Node, please encourage them to link in for the net.  The more users from New England, the better.  Any repeaters that I can confirm will be connected for the net, I will list on the Wolf Pack website at www.wo1ves.com.

National Grid Talk at Dan’s Tech Night, April 12, 2018

high voltage transmission linesDan Pedtke, KW2T writes:

Looks like we’re on this month with the two engineers from National Grid.  They have verified they will be coming this week.  So we’ll learn some interesting things about the local power grid, and be able to ask questions about it.  I mentioned five topics to them as examples:

  • The local large transmission lines – what are they used for, power to/from where, voltage, etc.
  • The Sandy Pond inverter station – not a National Grid asset, but maybe some basic facts
  • Working on live transmission lines – what’s it like to have 13KV in your hands
  • What is the effect of all the solar installations in the area?
  • How to deal with RF Interference issues.

If you’ve ever wondered how the power gets to your house, here’s your chance to find out this Thursday, April 12, at the Grady Research Building in Ayer at  7:00 PM.

See  www.DansTechNight.com for details and directions.

Hope to see you there.

“Bootleg” CubeSats Earns FCC’s Ire

Cubesat pixFrom Slate.com: “In January a Silicon Valley–based commercial space startup named Swarm Technologies launched four experimental satellites into orbit aboard an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle rocket… There’s just one problem: It appears Swarm launched the SpaceBEEs without an experimental authorization from the Federal Communications Commission, something that should have been acquired before launching.”

[Full story]

80-Meter Amateur Radio Direction Finding Activity in Westford

PART of Westford logoAndy Stewart, KB1OIQ writes on the PART of Westford list:

I have built an 80m fox transmitter and plan to deploy it once spring arrives.  I also have two ARDF receivers for 80m. Very preliminary testing shows that the fox can be heard on 3.5805 MHz at least 3/4 mile away on slightly hilly terrain. This fox transmitter consists of an Arduino, which I programmed for this project, and a Cricket 80a (an 80m QRP CW transceiver).  It runs off of a 9.6V NiMH rechargeable battery.

More detailed information and the Arduino source code, can be found at https://sourceforge.net/projects/kb1oiq-ham-radio-projects/files/80m_ardf

You have time to get your 80m fox receivers before spring arrives. Consider the R3500D from China, or the RigExpert FoxRex 3500, or build your own!


Have a lot of fun, and 73.

W1YW to Receive 2018 Hamvention Technical Achievement Award

photo of Chip Cohen, W1YW
Chip Cohen, W1YW

Chip Cohen, W1YW, of Belmont, Massachusetts, has been named to receive the Hamvention 2018 Technical Achievement Award. Licensed for 52 years and bitten by the antenna bug, Cohen became a radio astronomer and astrophysicist, working at Arecibo, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), the Very Large Array (VLA), and others. While a professor at Boston University, Cohen connected fractal geometry with antennas, pioneering a paradigm shift in the design of fractal antennas and what they make possible. An inventor with 41 US patents, Cohen is known for inventing the invisibility cloak using fractal antenna techniques.

Starting 30 years ago with simple flea market treasures, W1YW bootstrapped fractal antennas with modest gear and employed ham radio to report on the success of his new technology. He started Fractal Antenna Systems, Inc. with WA1ZWT (SK) in 1995, and is presently its CEO.

Cohen is a DXCC Top of the Honor Roll DXer and a strong advocate for technical “innovation culture” through Amateur Radio. He is a Life Member of ARRL and a Fellow of the Radio Club of America, where he served as Vice President and presently as a Director.

–ARRL News

PART of Westford Kit Building Session, March 10, 2018

PART of Westford logoPART of Westford is holding a kit building session on Saturday, March 10, 2018, according to PART club president Andy Stewart, KB1OIQ.

“The club has chosen the Cricket80A QRP CW transceiver for the 80 meter band,” Stewart says. “I’m looking for a building chairman, two to three Elmers to help and encourage kit builders, a technical person to spend a few minutes explaining the circuit theory, and people who want to build the kit!”

Interested parties should contact KB1OIQ at kb1oiq@arrl.net.

More information about the Cricket80A kit can be found at http://4sqrp.com/cricket.php.

K1YOW Wins QST Cover Plaque Award

(L-R): QST Cover Plaque Award recipient Joe Dzekevich, K1YOW; ARRL New England Division Vice Director Mike Raisbeck, K1TWF.
(L-R): QST Cover Plaque Award recipient Joe Dzekevich, K1YOW; ARRL New England Division Vice Director Mike Raisbeck, K1TWF. –photo courtesy K1TW

Nashoba Valley ARC member Joe Dzekevich, K1YOW was presented with ARRL’s Cover Plaque Award for his December, 2017 QST article entitled “Upper Level Lows and 6-Meter Sporadic E.” ARRL New England Vice Director Mike Raisbeck, K1TWF, presented the award to K1YOW at the February 15, 2018 NVARC meeting in Pepperell.

The QST Cover Plaque Award is given to the author or authors of the most popular article in each issue and is determined by a vote of ARRL members on the QST Cover Plaque Poll web page.


Zola Center Kit Building Workshop, Feb. 17

Members of the Zola Center ARC are participating in a kit-building workshop on February 17, 2018 at the Irving K. Zola Center for Persons with Disabilities in Newton Highlands.

According to Zola Center ARC’s Bob Druk, WA1UIY, “the group will build continuity testers as a club project. At the December meeting we held a soldering workshop where we they learned the basic fundamentals of soldering. At the end of the session each participant was able to successfully solder the ends of wires together.” Many of the current Zola members are either legally or totally blind.

WA1UIY adds: “The continuity tester project is the next step in their progression. Their goal is to build an AM/FM radio from an Elenco kit which they hope to start by April.”

Additional volunteers are sought to assist in this project.

Dan Brown, W1DAN, Eastern Massachusetts Technical Coordinator and president of the Wellesley Amateur Radio Society will conduct this week’s session.

NASA Chooses Six Local Student Projects

Clay Center ARC logoBob Phinney, K5TEC writes in the Clay Center ARC mailing list:

Six student projects were chosen by NASA to fly in a rocket or high-altitude balloon this summer. As part of the activities offered by the Clay Center Amateur Radio Club (CC-ARC) at Dexter Southfield School, students designed projects for the NASA “Cubes in SpaceTM” program, the only program in the world to provide students (ages 11-18) with a free opportunity to design experiments to be launched into space on a NASA rocket or balloon.

Lead members include Julie KC1GMW, Morgan KC1GRZ, Nathan KB1RD, Hardy KC1ESU, Raif KC1GRX, Jason KC1GBV, Conrad KC1GBW, Rishi KC1BKX, and Sean K3FAY. Thanks to adult supervisors Christy KC1GAF, Bruce N9JBT, John AB1ZV, Ted KB1NTJ, Marlene Schwarz, and Dan Sage.