Meriden (CT) ARC Fox Hunters Brave the Cold

parking lot fox hunt, Meriden (CT) ARCDave Tipping, NZ1J, posts on the Meriden (CT) ARC Facebook page:
Fox hunt on March 6, 2021–due to the pandemic, this parking lot was deserted. This resulted in very little multi-path and a strong transmitted signal. Again, all the regular hunters braved the wind and the cold. For more than a month now, no one has been willing to take off their winter gloves long enough to get a photo. With the warmer weather we should expect a return to some actual photos from the fox hunts.

ARRL SSB DX Contest, March 6-7, 2021

ARRL International DX Contest logoContest Objective: 

To encourage W/VE stations to expand knowledge of DX propagation on the HF and MF bands, improve operating skills, and improve station capability by creating a competition in which DX stations may only contact W/VE stations. One contest period is CW-only and one is Phone-only.  Use only the 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, and 10 meter bands.

W/VE amateurs: Work as many DX stations in as many DXCC entities as possible.

DX stations: Work as many W/VE stations in as many of the 48 contiguous states and provinces as possible.

Date: Phone: First full weekend in March (March 6-7, 2021).

Contest Period: Begins 0000 UTC Saturday and runs through 2359 UTC Sunday.

2021 Multoperator Accommodations:

ARRL has issued temporary accommodations for multioperator stations competing in the 2021 International ARRL DX Contest (CW and phone). Individual team members may operate from their home stations in conjunction with the multi-op station. The home stations must be within a radius of 100 kilometers (62 miles) of the multiop station, and must be within the same DXCC entity, US State, or Canadian province.  For more information, visit the link below.

Contest rules are now maintained as a single downloadable document (see “Full Contest Rules” below).

For contest information contact or (860) 594-0232

RAC World Amateur Radio Day Special On-Air Event, April 18, 2021

RAC World Amateur Radio Day colorful flyerEvery year on April 18, radio amateurs worldwide take to the airwaves in celebration of Amateur Radio and to commemorate the formation of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) on April 18, 1925.

Radio Amateurs of Canada is once again holding a “Get on the Air on World Amateur Radio Day” special event in which we encourage as many Amateurs as possible to get on the air and contact as many RAC stations as possible.

  • RAC official stations will operate across Canada from 0000Z to 2359Z on April 18. The RAC official station call signs are VA2RAC, VA3RAC, VE1RAC, VE4RAC, VE5RAC, VE6RAC, VE7RAC, VE8RAC, VE9RAC, VO1RAC, VO2RAC, VY0RAC, VY1RAC and VY2RAC.
  • Those contacting one or more of these stations will be eligible for a special commemorative certificate noting their participation in RAC’s Get on the Air on World Amateur Radio Day Event.
  • Participants simply need to complete one or more contacts, on any band and mode, with RAC official stations to earn their certificates.
  • No logs need to be submitted; simply check back on the RAC website when instructed and enter your call sign to download your certificate.

Note: From 0000z to 0500z and again from 1200z to 1800z, VA3RAC will be active in the Ontario QSO Party and will be sending the contest exchange. Stations contacting VA3RAC during those time periods are encouraged to send their contest exchange in return (state/province/country or Ontario county).

Thank you for your continuing support and understanding during this time of crisis. As with many of our Amateur Radio activities, overcoming challenges is a great way to learn. Please take care of yourself and your loved ones, stay safe and have fun while celebrating World Amateur Radio Day.

For more information on World Amateur Radio Day and the RAC “Get on the Air on World Amateur Radio Day”  special event please visit:

Glenn MacDonell, VE3XRA
President, Radio Amateurs of Canada

-via K1USN Happenings, 3/5/21

2021 National Weather Service Boston Virtual SKYWARN Training Sessions Announced

SKYWARN logoDue to COVID-19 concerns, SKYWARN Training classes will again be held virtually in 2021. SKYWARN Training sessions will occur on three weeknights and two weekends in April and May. The weeknight sessions will be taught by NWS forecasters and the weekend sessions taught by Amateur Radio operators.

[Full story]

MARS Volunteers Recognized with Gold-Level President’s Volunteer Service Award

President's Volunteer Service Award logofrom

A Taunton, MA amateur is among  twelve US Army Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS) volunteers being honored with gold-level recognition for the President’s Volunteer Service Award for 2020.

Bob Mims, WA1OEZ, the former Director for Region One (New England) along with eleven other award recipients will receive a letter signed by the President of the United States, a certificate of achievement, and a presidential volunteer service lapel pin. Volunteer awards are based on the certifying organization’s recommendation and the number of documented volunteer hours for the year.

[Full story]

AA1WH Embarks On High Altitude Balloon Project

photo of high altitude balloon launchHampden County Radio Association member Marcel Lapierre, AA1WH, of Chicoppe, MA has embarked on an ambitious High Altitude Balloon project. His balloon will be equipped with an APRS/WSPR tracking device, solar panels and antennas. He hopes that it will eventually cross the Atlantic.

“In addition to 2-meter APRS and 20-meter WSPR transmitters, it carries full size dipole antennas of thin bronze wire (think guitar strings) and is capable of being heard in excess of 200 miles by APRS and 5000 miles on WSPR,” says Marcel. “All from just a few milliwatts of power and well under one ounce in weight.”

AA1WH is no stranger to WSPR and other digital modes. “My digital station is my old Yaesu FT 897D which is connected to an end-fed half wave 10- thru 40 meter multiband antenna set up in an inverted L. At maximum height, it is about 33 feet above ground level. With this modest station, I have worked the world on digital modes and tracked pico balloons more than 5000 miles away.”

Marcel intends to test his equipment thoroughly before launching it. “I have two 36-inch party balloons [to test with] … all I need to add is some hydrogen and we will be flying.”

Marcel intends to make his own solar panels for the larger thirteen foot balloon. “I just received 100 polycrystalline solar cells. These are .75 inches by 2 inches and less than 1/100 inch thick. They are made on extremely thin glass and are fragile.” Marcel admits that the project will challenge his soldering skills given his cataracts and arthritic hands.  “This is where I hope to partner with the high school hams at Pathfinder Regional and get those young hands and eyes to assemble the transmitter.”

Marcel will conduct a shakedown run in the next few months before selecting a final launch date. “I’m looking [later in the spring] when days are getting longer so we get at least six hours of reports daily. Also, I will watch the weather here and over Europe and Africa and try to choose a launch window with a minimum chance of encountering bad weather,” he says.  

AA1WH says that it’s not unheard of to achieve a circumnavigation with this setup “but chances are against it. “My goal is to get across the Atlantic and well into Europe or Africa. A bonus would be to make it all the way to Asia.”

Marcel can be contacted at  –Courtesy, HCRA Zero Beat, February 2021