NEAR-Fest and the Road Ahead

NEAR-Fest logoMike Crestohl, W1RC, writes:

Dear Friends of NEAR-Fest:

Now that NEAR-Fest XXVII and XXVIII have been cancelled there are some important issues with which we must deal.

First,  this is going to be a major hit on our treasury because, notwithstanding the reason we are being canceled, we have contracts that need to be honored.  2019, as you may remember, was plagued with wet weather for both May and October.  Attendance was down and so are our cash reserves.  Consequently, the hard facts are that we need to raise some new capital starting this Fall if NEAR-Fest is to survive.  

In order to do this beginning soon we will be selling advance admission tickets for NEAR-Fest XXIX ($10.00) and inside parking passes ($10.00) either at Ham Radio Outlet in Salem NH and Ross Hochstrasser’s Clock Shop, 40 Walnut Street, Whitman MA as well as by mail to Michael Crestohl, W1RC, 316 Atlantic Avenue, Marblehead MA 01945 with a check or money order and a SASE. 

The exciting thing about the advance tickets are that all purchasers of advance tickets will be entered in a special prize drawing for either a Xiegu G90 HF SDR Transceiver (value $425.00) or a Yaesu FT-891 HF Mobile Transceiver (value $559.00).  Winner does NOT have to be present to win.  

We are going to offer a special “VIP Pass” to NEAR-Fest for those who really want to see us through this difficult and trying time.  It will be good for the person to whom it was issued for life, allow that person and the occupants of their vehicle (up to four people) and the vehicle to enter at 8:00 AM on Friday morning.  Cost of this VIP Pass is $250.00 and is available by mail only.

Additionally, the cost of admission at the Fairgrounds will be increased to $15.00.  This added $5.00 is to help alleviate the cost of not having NEAR-Fest XXVII but advance ticket buyers will be able to save this $5.00 per ticket surcharge.   I cannot tell you at this time if this $5.00 surcharge will be permanent.  Once we are financially comfortable again we will decide whether or not to restore the cost to $10.00. 

In the event that the May 2021 event cannot be held any tickets or passes purchased will be valid and honored at the next NEAR-Fest so no one will lose.

We are asking our association and clubs if they can help us sell advance tickets to their members.  The procedure will be simple and straightforward.  Clubs would determine how many tickets and parking passes their members want, collect the money, send the list with this information along with a check payable to NEAR-Fest to us.  We would take care of making sure that the prize draw stubs are properly filled in and put in the prize barrel for the drawing in July.  After that takes place we would ensure they are kept safe so they can be put in the prize barrel at NEAR-Fest in May.   The tickets would be sent to the club for distribution to the members.  Members should be informed that they are buying admission tickets for our fall event.  They are not buying a raffle ticket.  However there is no limit on the number of tickets anyone may purchase.  Drawing will take place at NEAR-Fest XXIX in May 2021. 

Secondly, clubs who have already applied for the 2020 Association and Club Early Entry passes will not have to reapply again in January 2021.  

With your help we will survive this horrific nightmare.


Mister Mike

MIT Swapfest Cancelled for Remainder of 2020

Flea at MIT signFrom

As MIT has announced that only seniors will be back on-campus with heavy restrictions in place, we have determined that we won’t be able to hold Swapfest without excessive risk for the rest of the calendar year. Swapfest will (tentatively) pick back up on April 18 of next year, and anyone who submitted preregistration should have either recently received an email or will shortly receive postal mail returning their payment.

Northeast HamXposition 2020 Cancelled

Bob DeMattia, K1IW, Northeast HamXposition 2020 Chairman writes:

Large indoor gatherings such as our convention are currently prohibited by Massachusetts state law. This is highly unlikely to change by November.  Unfortunately, we will not be able to hold a physical convention this year.

However, we do plan some virtual activities, all free.  We are currently working on the details for these and will keep you posted as they develop:

We plan to the operate the W1A special event station over the weekend of October 31st – November 1st. To avoid a conflict with the November Sweepstakes, we moved this to one week earlier. W1A will be operated from the operator’s home stations.  Dennis, W1UE, is coordinating the schedule.  If you would like to be a W1A operator, please contact W1UE by email at  For those who would like to work W1A, we will be posting the operating schedule once it is ready.  Note that this will give regular attendees the unique opportunity to work W1A (something which would have been more difficult for many to do operating portable from a hotel room).

We will also be hosting a Saturday evening virtual banquet on November 7th, featuring a guest speaker. There will be no charge for this event.  Order your favorite take-out or delivery, pull up a chair to your screen and join your friends for an interesting presentation.  After the talk, virtual break-out rooms will be available for you to converse with your “table”.

The Nashua Area Radio Club will be running an online version of the “Ham Boot Camp”. This is a multisession program for hams young and old to learn about the various activities they can do with their license.  Details to follow.

From the entire HamXposition committee,  we wish you good health, be safe, and we look forward to seeing everyone in person at our 2021 convention on July 23-24-25, 2021.

Bob – K1IW
Chairman, HamXposition 2020


Southeastern MA ARA In-Person VE Session, August 1, 2020

Southeastern MA ARA logoMembers of the Southeastern MA Amateur Radio Association (SEMARA) Volunteer Exam team will hold an in-person ARRL-sponsored Volunteer Exam session on August 1, 2020 at their club house at 54 Donald Street, Dartmouth, MA.

According to VE team leader Fred Bacon, N1TF,  “Masks are required and social Distancing is practiced. So far I have two signed up for the Technician exam. We do limit the number of candidates to six in the building at one time but have not reached the limit yet.”

For further information, visit, email exams [at] semara [dot] org or call 508-748-0047.


Interim Field-Day-@Home Update

Eastern Mass Section summary from ARRL Contest Branch logs-received as of 7/19

Deadline for FD logs is as usual one month, so 7/28. Clubs can check for members’ logs via Contest Branch Logs Received.

As of today, there are 150+ FD logs citing EMA as the section, with 19 clubs with 2+ entries (total 117 stations),  plus a handful of  single club home stations and representing clubs spanning multiple sections, and a couple dozen 28 claiming no club affiliation. Compared to 39 station logs in 2019, this is a very successful COVID-19 Field Day @Home for EMA.

Status (as of 7/19)
140 Complete
17 Pending documents

count Club
28 (blank)
1 3730 GROUP
6 Algonquin Amateur Radio Club
5+1 Barnstable Amateur Radio Club; Barnstable ARC
6 Billerica Amateur Radio Society
2 Blackstone Valley ARC
3 Boston ARC
3+1 Cape Ann ARA, Cape Ann Amateur Radio Association (W1GLO)
1 Charlotte Amateur Radio Society, Inc.
8+1 Framingham Amateur Radio Association, 1 Framingham ARA
4 K1USN Radio Club
1 Long Island CW Club
1 Montachusett ARA
6 Nashoba Valley Amateur Radio Club
2 Nashua Area Radio Society
2 Providence RA
1 QRP Amateur Radio Club International
1 Quannapowitt Radio Association – W1EKT
1 Ski Country ARC
1 Southborough Rod & Gun ARC
1 Southeastern Massachusetts Amateur Radio Association (SEMARA)
3 The Whitman Amateur Radio Club
4 “W1HP”
5 Waltham ARA
7+1 Whitman Amateur Radio Club, Whitman ARC
1 Yankee Clipper Contest Club

Stations needing to adjust Club spelling by 7/28 to roll up cleanly –
AK1MD Complete Wellesley ARS 1D EMA
K1UR Complete Framingham ARA 1D EMA
N1STV Complete Whitman ARC 1D EMA
W4RIG Complete Cape Ann Amateur Radio Association (W1GLO) 1D EMA
W1LEM Pending documents Barnstable ARC 1D EMA

(That’s remarkably good conformity in spelling. I’m guessing the fullcaps vs lowercase is a result of using different logging software ?? )

count Class/Category
1 3A
5 1B1
5 1B1B
1 1B2B
106 1D
5 2D
1 3D
31 1E
1 4E

The proportion of 1E, 1B stations on emergency or battery power at home is gratifying, keeping the spirit of Field Day alive.

EMA Stations with Transmitters > 1 (while safely social distancing,  we hope) –
K1IR 3D Billerica Amateur Radio Society
K1WMC 2D Blackstone Valley ARC
N1EM 3A Algonquin Amateur Radio Club
W1FM 2D Yankee Clipper Contest Club
W1SRG 2D Southborough Rod & Gun ARC

Kudos to Ron WA1QZK who forwarded his 4E social distancing plan that included hand-sanitizer station at cellar exterior door and dispersed operating desks.

2020 Head of the Charles Regatta Cancelled

This premiere rowing event, attracting competitors from all over the world, relies upon Amateur Radio communications for coordination and medical support of both land and boat-based services along the beautiful Charles River.


“Organizers of the Head of the Charles Regatta, a two-day [October 17-18, 2020] annual event drawing thousands of rowers from around the world, announced the cancellation of the 2020 event Wednesday, citing the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“’As you know, our top priority has always been holding a regatta that is safe, competitive and fun,’ Head of the Charles executive director Fred Schoch wrote in a Facebook post announcing the cancellation. ‘While we are deeply disappointed that health and safety conditions throughout the world prohibit us from doing that this year, our team is hard at work developing a global remote event to be held this October.’”  [Full story]

2020 Baystate Marathon Cancelled

Terry Stader, KA8SCP, writes on the PART of Westford mailing list:

From the Lowell OEM folks:

After speaking with the Lowell Cultural Affairs Special Events office they confirmed that these events have been cancelled for this year. I just wanted to  send a courtesy update everyone involved each year.

Hopefully we will resume in 2021:

  • Asian Water Festival (August)
  • Kinetics Race (September)
  • Bay State Marathon (October)
  • River Regatta (October)

Falmouth Amateur Radio Association Resumes In-Person VE testing

Falmouth Amateur Radio AssociationThe Falmouth Amateur Radio Association has announced that its Volunteer Examination team has resumed in-person test sessions.

According to the Falmouth ARA website: “Lee Thomas, NQ1L, FARA’s [VE team coordinator] has arranged for the use of a facility that allows for proper social distancing.   Examinations are now available on the second Saturday of the month by reservation only.  Contact Lee Thomas at NQ1L38 at to schedule an examination.”

NEAR-Fest XXVIII October 16 & 17, 2020 Is Cancelled

NEAR-Fest logoMichael Crestohl, W1RC, writes:

You may have already know that the Deerfield Fair Association voted reluctantly but overwhelmingly to cancel the 2020 Fair at a special meeting on Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020. Ben, KB1NZN, and I are members.  We were at the meeting and voted for cancellation.  We both totally agree with the decision of the Deerfield Fair Association membership who voted 105 to 5 in favor of cancelling the Fair.   There was not one good reason put forth during the discussion in favor of holding thenFair this year.

Especially in these unprecedented times our first responsibility must be to the health and well-being of our volunteer staff, exhibitors, attendees, fairgrounds staff and the local area residents who graciously welcome us twice a year to their community.  We cannot betray this trust.

Furthermore there is no possible way we can realistically maintain the six foot “social distancing” separation especially in the flea market, commercial buildings, forums and VE examination rooms.  This is required whenever possible by the NH Governor’s Special Covid-19 Task Force.

Consequently, as a result, we have no option but to cancel NEAR-Fest XXVIII.   

However the good news is that NEAR-Fest XXIX is already scheduled for Friday, April 30th and Saturday, May 1st, 2021 and NEAR-Fest XXX for October 12th and 13th, 2021.

The clubs and organizations who sent in their application for early entry privileges in 2020 need not reapply.  Your passes will be issued next year and valid for both 2021 hamfests.

We will be selling advance tickets starting in the Fall.  For advance ticket buyers the cost of admission will remain at $10.00 per person.   However starting next Spring the price of admission at the gate will be $15.00. Inside parking and camping fees will remain the same.  I will send you additional information about advance ticket sales shortly.

Please disseminate this information to your members.  Since it is coming from me it is official.


Michael Crestohl, aka “MisterMike”, W1RC
Benevolent Dictator,
New England Amateur Radio Festival, Inc.

Field Day Listings on

Bill Ricker, N1VUX, writes:

I have created a non-place Site for FD@Home cumulative scoring in the FD Directory  (geographic coordinates in Boston Harbor but not on an island; county=mixed, same as “Nowhere”; it will get the Harbor forecast, oops).

It currently shows these clubs:
Middlesex/Zola and MITLL are listed because they’re tied to the club they went with last year; i maybe should break those links. :-/
WARS and K1USN seemed to be discussing, but i don’t feel we had them confirmed.
Sites I’m still carrying as MAYBE operational in the field
ClubKey   SiteKey
NARC      1B9    
AARC      8MA4    
Crow      8MA4    
WARS      NeedWMPk
PilAWA    SwanFD  
  • Only AARC/Crow have been heard from discussing lately.
  • CAARA website says FD is still on, but No COVID-19 precautions noted, so suspected stale.
    (FB has no posts since October!) Lists
  • NSRA says NO FD. Do they have FD@Home plans?
  • K1USN having Zoom meeting 6/23 to discuss FD. presume FD@home. Site closed per website.
  • Sturdy FD@Home confirmed from minutes; 
    minutes also reports Will N1DPY/SK (Cancer) May 2d or 3d
    Nice new website!
  • Whitman – FD not on Calendar. Common scoring in minutes, so confirmed.
  • WARS – Wellesley had an eMeeting to discuss FD last week. Decision?
  • Pilgrim AWA – i presume they don’t have their site, but are they doing FD@Home or ??
  • NARC could use their locked airport bunker, i suppose, so IDK, maybe, don’t care.
Sites carried as CONFIRMED and not FD@Home
ClubKey       SiteKey        Locator  Highlight          
NEARC         4thCliff       true     non-public 2020    
BEMA          BEMALake       true     kc1kwc            
NVARC         PepperellOrch  true     reduced            
ng0at         ema            true     CT club on cape    
SEMARA        wa1bxy         false    3D/3E              
QRA           wa1qzk         true     2020 3E            
MiddletonEMA  wa1qzk         false    2020 3E            
n1wm          wma            true     NoBARC Windsor MA  
w1ddd         wma            true     BlackstoneVARC@NA1Q
Total: 9   
  • NEARC @ Fourth Cliff – campground is CLOSED but caretaker in residence so they’re rolling.
  • Braintree EMA put a pin on the map recently, so they’re on at their alternate control point on the lake.
  • NG0AT, N1WM, W1DDD are non-mapping entries, to reconcile HQ Locator count.
  • Ron’s QRA/M’ton EMA 3E home op we got emails on, and is on HQ Locator.
  • NVARC has pin on HQ Locator. They spoke about having a small setup in Orchard plus FD@Home ? Are both still on?
  • MARC/Zola – their mailing list discusses the audio recordings of their eMeeting but not minutes. And one or more silent keys.


K1USN Radio Club On-line Meeting, June 23, 2020

“Pi” Pugh, K1RV, writes on the K1USN RC mailing list:
Our discussion topic on Tuesday, June 23rd @ 7:30 PM will be 2020 ARRL Field Day plans.
We want to hear from you to learn what you expect to do for the 2020 ARRL Field Day. Obviously there are extenuating circumstances this year due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.
The recent K1USN Zoom session presentation by Bruce – K1BG about his past one person Field Day operation may have given you some ideas on how you might operate.
Do you plan to get on the air during the weekend of June 27 – 28 for Field Day 2020? If so, what class to you intend to operate? What modes will you operate? Will you use computer logging/ If so, which software?
Let’s have a lively discussion so that perhaps you might give others some ideas about what direction to choose. I suspect that I may choose to operate 1D class from my home station using N1MM+ logging software using K1RV.
I am also considering the possibility of using my KX3 on battery power into a Buddipole Vertical using N1MM+ logging software from my back patio for a few hours during the day as K1USN.
Here is the ARRL Field Day rules page –

New England Sci-Tech To Begin Phased Reopening

New England Sci Tech logoNew England Sci-Tech [in Natick] will begin a phased reopening in compliance with state and CDC guidelines. Beginning Tuesday, June 16, parts of the facility, including the radio rooms, will be open by appointment only. There will be limits on numbers of people in the facility at one time. Strict hand washing rules and use of masks will be in effect. Hand sanitizer dispensers will be prominently located. Certain in-house workshops will be offered, but many of the online workshops will continue.

STARS and other club meetings will continue on Zoom until further notice. Field Day will be held at the facility, but on-site participation will be by limited appointments only so that group sizes remain within guidelines. -NE Sci-Tech Bulletin

K1USN Radio Club Meets June 9, 2020

“Pi” Pugh, K1RV, writes on the K1USN mailing list:

We are pleased to announce that, Rick, N1DC, will be giving us a presentation [June 9, 2020 at 7:30 PM] about his recent (pre-Covid!) IOTA visit to Hutchinson Island, Florida. I’m sure that this will prove interesting especially for any of you considering some sort of portable operation later this month during ARRL Field Day on the weekend of June 27-28.  

[For Zoom conference details, email “Pi” Pugh, K1RV, at pi.k1rv -at- gmail -dot- com.]

SEMARA Meets Online, June 4, 2020

Southeastern MA ARA logoMarcel Dumont, W1MLD, writes on the SEMARA mailing list:

Hi Everyone,

Well, it looks like we [the Southeastern MA ARA] are going to have another ZOOM meeting for the month of June. If anyone is interested in attending the meeting, please forward to me your email address. This is the only way I can make sure that your address is correct. We must have a minimum of ten members present to conduct a meeting. This type of meeting will assure that you will not get the Corona virus from the club. Please respond to the following address.   or

Thanks for your cooperation.

Marcel,  W1MLD

Bristol County Repeater Association Meets Online, June 1, 2020

Margaret Gaffney, KA1BZE, writes on the BCRA mailing list:

This month we will meet on Skype. With Skype we will be able to run the meeting for longer than 40 minutes. As usual the meeting will be held tomorrow June 1 at 7:00 PM.

Use the following link: [email mmgaffney -at- comcast -dot- net for meeting information.]

Note: one of the items to be discussed is field day from home.

Social Distancing Exam Sessions Demonstrate Pent-Up Demand for Testing

ARRL VEC logo/bannerFrom ARRL Web:

A recent in-person “social-distancing” amateur radio exam session in Indiana and a “drive-in” session in California are representative of those that are relieving some of the pent-up demand for testing. As the COVID-19 pandemic lumbers on, in-person exam sessions have begun to resume across the US and elsewhere in the world.

“With in-person sessions starting up again around the country, we are hearing the same story from volunteer examiner (VE) teams everywhere,” said ARRL Volunteer Examiner Coordinator (VEC) Maria Somma, AB1FM. “Large numbers of candidates who have been waiting to test are contacting teams and are thankful for the opportunity to sit for an exam. So far, we’ve heard mostly positive results; candidates are very prepared as they’ve had extra time to study. VE teams and candidates are following CDC and state guidelines for social distancing.” [Full story]

Temporary Rule Waivers Announced for 2020 ARRL Field Day

From ARRL Web:

With one month to go before 2020 ARRL Field Day, June 27 – 28, the ARRL Programs and Services Committee (PSC) has adopted two temporary rule waivers for the event:

1)      For Field Day 2020 only, Class D stations may work all other Field Day stations, including other Class D stations, for points.

Field Day rule 4.6 defines Class D stations as “Home stations,” including stations operating from permanent or licensed station locations using commercial power. Class D stations ordinarily may only count contacts made with Class A, B, C, E, and F Field Day stations, but the temporary rule waiver for 2020 allows Class D stations to count contacts with other Class D stations for QSO credit.

2)      In addition, for 2020 only, an aggregate club score will be published, which will be the sum of all individual entries indicating a specific club (similar to the aggregate score totals used in ARRL affiliated club competitions).

Ordinarily, club names are only published in the results for Class A and Class F entries, but the temporary rule waiver for 2020 allows participants from any Class to optionally include a single club name with their submitted results following Field Day.

For example, if Podunk Hollow Radio Club members Becky, W1BXY, and Hiram, W1AW, both participate in 2020 Field Day — Hiram from his Class D home station, and Becky from her Class C mobile station — both can include the radio club’s name when reporting their individual results. The published results listing will include individual scores for Hiram and Becky, plus a combined score for all entries identified as Podunk Hollow Radio Club.

The temporary rule waivers were adopted by the PSC on May 27, 2020.

ARRL Field Day is one of the biggest events on the amateur radio calendar, with over 36,000 participants in 2019, including entries from 3,113 radio clubs and emergency operations centers. In most years, Field Day is also the largest annual demonstration of ham radio, because many radio clubs organize their participation in public places such as parks and schools.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many radio clubs have made decisions to cancel their group participation in ARRL Field Day this year due to public health recommendations and/or requirements, or to significantly modify their participation for safe social distancing practices. The temporary rule waivers allow greater flexibility in recognizing the value of individual and club participation regardless of entry class.

ARRL is contacting logging program developers about the temporary rule waivers so developers can release updated versions of their software prior to Field Day weekend. Participants are reminded that the preferred method of submitting entries after Field Day is via the web applet. The ARRL Field Day rules include instructions for submitting entries after the event. Entries must be submitted or postmarked by Tuesday, July 28, 2020.

The ARRL Field Day web page includes a series of articles with ideas and advice for adapting participation this year.