NEAR-Fest XXXII, Deerfield NH, October 14-15, 2022

NEAR-Fest logoThe NEAR-Fest is an international event run by and for all radio hobbyists and enthusiasts, including “hams”, short-wave listeners, scanner buffs, vintage/antique radio fans, etc. NEAR-Fest is held twice annually, spring and fall, rain or shine, at the Deerfield Fairgrounds, Deerfield NH beginning on Friday at 0900 and ending Saturday at 1500 hours.

Admission is $15. Persons under 18 and over 80 are admitted free of charge upon presentation of government-issued ID. Inside parking is available for $10 and includes a “reasonable amount of flea market selling space” for PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS selling their own personal property. Commercial vendors must register and pay applicable fees. If you are wondering if you are a “commercial vendor” you probably are. One complimentary inside commercial space is available for clubs, estates and other “non-profit organizations” on an “as available” basis.

Overnight camping, trailer and RV hookups are available. Three food vendors provide meals and snacks at reasonable prices. The Deerfield Community Church ladies serve up a breakfast that has to be consumed to be believed. Angelino’s offers hamburgers, steak, sausage submarines and other great “fair food” specialties and Patty’s Polish Kitchen menu features wonderful “Mitteleuropa” cuisine. No one goes hungry at NEAR-Fest. We are extremely proud of the high quality of food that these vendors offer our guests while they are at the ‘Fester.

NEAR-Fest typically attracts attendees from the six New England states, NY, NJ, PA, MD and other states as well as from Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in Canada. Some attendees travel great distances; one gentleman from Los Angeles has attended fifteen events and in 2010 one radio amateur traveled from Greece to join us for the fun.

The program of activities and events at NEAR-Fest is extensive; a huge outdoor electronic flea market, three buildings full of commercial vendors, forums, technical seminars and symposia, demonstrations, exhibits, displays, licensing examinations, special events radio stations, a “jam session”, good food, fellowship, fun and general mishegoss. NEAR-Fest is the largest event of its kind in the Northeast and has once been described as the “Woodstock of Amateur Radio.”

All of NEAR-Fest’s staff members are volunteers. Since NEAR-Fest is a 501(c)(3) Public Charity, any funds remaining after expenses are used for benevolent projects. NEAR-Fest directs some of its resources to attracting newcomers to our hobby with a special emphasis toward young people. To that end NEAR-Fest has gifted an amateur radio station capable of communicating through satellites orbiting the Earth as a gift to the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord NH and brokered a partnership with the Contoocook Valley Radio Club (CVRC) to operate and maintain the station on a regular schedule.

In addition we have also funded several university and technical school scholarships and supported various charitable organizations such as the Shriners Hospitals and Boston Burns Unit.

We also help to preserve our radio frequency spectrum allocations and have initiated a program providing for fund-matching grants to expand and enhance the amateur radio digital repeaters and networks throughout New England. We look forward to seeing you at NEAR-Fest.

Michael Crestohl, W1RC/VE2XL
(aka “Mister Mike”)
and the entire NEAR-Fest team

BIG E Space Chat is a “Go” on September 27, 2022

ARRL logoFred Kemmerer, AB1OC, writes on the ARRL New England Division members list:

Hundreds of The Big E attendees and spectators will be able to watch students make a live contact with an astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS) from The Big E Arena on Tuesday, September 27, 2022. Hams who bring an official copy of their FCC license on the day of The Big E Space Chat will receive free admission for themselves and up to 3 members of their family and friends (see Instructions for Free Admission below).

NASA Astronaut Bob Hines, KI5RQT, will contact the students via a radio link provided by amateur radio ground station ON4ISS in Belgium. The contact is organized through Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS). Around a dozen New England young people have been selected to participate in The BIG E Space Chat.

Please plan to arrive in time for the pre-contact program, which begins at 1:20 pm ET on Tuesday and will feature a series of videos about space, NASA, ARISS, going to Mars, and more. Pre-contact program speakers will include:

•       Gene Cassidy, CEO of the Eastern States Exposition
•       David Minster, NA2AA, ARRL CEO
•       Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC, ARRL Director – New England Division
•       Bob Phinney, K5TEC, President, New England Sci-Tech

Instructions for Free Admission

Parking and walking to The BIG E arena will take a little time, so be sure to get there early. The arena will hold well over 1,000 people. The BIG E is helping publicize the event and is arranging for TV coverage for the program and the contact. Help us get the word out!

The Big E free admission for amateur radio operators and up to three guests (maximum 4 people) is good on Space Chat Day (Tuesday, Sept. 27) only.

•       You must present an official copy of your FCC license to the Gate Captain at The Big E pedestrian gates 1A, 1B, 4, 5, 7, or 9A to receive free admission on Space Chat Day.
•       Visit for instructions on downloading a copy of your FCC license to print and bring with you.
•       Parking is not included.
•       The Big E is at 1305 Memorial Ave, West Springfield, Massachusetts.

If you’re attending The Big E, visit the amateur radio booth (#103) inside Door 6 of the Better Living Center for more information. Be sure to spread the word to your friends and fellow radio club members!

You can download and print The Big E Brochure and a Fairgrounds Map. Both are available at

Can’t come to The BIG E on Space Chat Day? 

 A live video stream of the contact will be carried on the New England Sci-Tech YouTube channel at

For up to date information about Space Chat @ The BIG E, please visit

ARRL New England Division
Director: Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC

Quaboag Valley ARC Grant Will Develop Adult Ed Amateur Radio Classes

ARRL Foundation logoThe Quaboag Valley Amateur Radio Club grant by the ARRL Foundation, which was awarded to the club in August, was designed to attract two very different groups to the amateur radio hobby and to club membership in local amateur radio clubs.

The first group addressed in the proposal was the adult population that may have had an interest in radio in the past but never had the opportunity to get licensed.  This group now can afford to get entry level equipment but needs help getting started.  They are the people with the intellectual curiosity and drive to enroll in adult education programs.  The program was designed to utilize existing evening school education programs to offer licensing courses at their facilities.  The grant received is helping to support the evening division Technician licensing course at Baypath Vocational Technical School in Charlton, Massachusetts.  The grant is paying for training materials and a free handheld transceiver upon successful completion of the Technician license exam. The course is currently running with 18 students. 

The second group will be for students at another vocational technical school; however it will be focused on tech school students whose training in various technical fields stimulated them to take advantage of a free program offered at their school that would lead to an Amateur Radio Technicians License.  This course is being planned for April, 2023.   The course, training materials and a pre-programmed handheld transceiver, to be awarded upon passing the Technician license exam at no cost to the student, will help to make the program affordable for interested students.

The program is being managed by Mert Kenniston, KC1KVA, and supported by Dennis Clowes, KC1LNL and Peter Baldracchi, KB1QGY, who are assisting in presentation of several of the instruction modules along with other club volunteers as “expert witnesses” for discussions.  Further development of this model to attract new hams to our clubs and our hobby is expected to be an ongoing topic at future QVARC meetings. 

“Adventures Celebrating Silent Keys with New Keys”

This weekend the Newport County (RI) Radio Club gathered to begin a new annual tradition celebrating Silent Keys. The inaugural Pete Lawson Outdoor Adventure (PLOA) was a huge success on a beautiful New England fall day at Fort Getty, Jamestown, RI.

The event included a catered picnic lunch, Islands on the Air (IOTA) activation, 4-station Fox Hunt, and CW Key Kit build station. It was funded in part by the sale of Pete’s radio gear and friend donations. This meaningful fun event included recognizing Pete Lawson, W1LAB, with a commemorative brick at the ARRL headquarters and gifting Pete’s widow with a decorative copy of that ARRL tribute marker. A highlight after lunch was seeing all ages gather to build the CW Key kits designed by Willy Maclean, W1LY. Sharing the love of radio across the generations.

Newport Co. RC Pete Lawson Outdoor Adventure
The Newport County Radio Club held its first Pete Lawson Outdoor Adventure at Fort Getty in Jamestown, RI on September 18, 2022 in honor of Silent Key W1LAB. The event included a catered picnic lunch, Islands on the Air (IOTA) activation run by John Mill, K1JSM, 4-station Fox Hunt put together by Jim Sammons, KA1ZOU, and CW Key Kit build station by Willy Maclean, W1LY.


Inspiring new keys: CW key kits crafted for the event by Willy Maclean, W1LY.

Two BIG E Volunteers Needed for September 20, 2022

Larry Krainson, W1AST, writes on the Project Big E mailing list:

Through a scheduling error, the Big E booth is in need of at least 2 more people for the first session tomorrow/Tuesday, Sept 20th for 9:30 am through 4:00 pm.

IF you are available for all or even part of that time slot, please email Larry, W1AST immediately at

Thank you!

New Section Managers Workshop—One SM’s Impressions

Phil Duggan, N1EP
Phil Duggan, N1EP, Maine Section Manager

By Phil Duggan, N1EP

I joined 21 other new section managers from around the country in Connecticut September 17-18 to participate in the New Section Manager Workshop. This was the first in-person SM workshop that the ARRL has conducted since the pandemic began.

Mike Walter’s, W8ZY, ARRL Field Services Manager, Steve Ewald, WV1X, Field Organization Team Supervisor, and many other ARRL staff did an amazing job organizing and running the event, which included many presentations aimed at assisting section managers to effectively lead their sections, as well as a tour of ARRL headquarters in Newington. We not only visited the main admin building with tours by Josh Johnson, KE5MHV, Director of Emergency Management, Steve Goodgame, K5ATA, Education and Learning Department Manager, and others explaining the various departments and services, but also included a tour of the famous Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Station W1AW and many of us had the opportunity to operate as W1AW.

I really enjoyed calling CQ as W1AW on 40 meters. It was an instant pileup! A few hams told me that they had been waiting for years to work the League’s famous call sign, and I had a qso with a ham in my home state of Maine.

The lessons I learned during this workshop are excellent and I plan to put many of them to use in Maine. One thing that shocked me was the fact that Connecticut, the home state of ARRL, does not currently have a section manager. Hopefully someone from one of the many clubs in that state will step up and fill that role soon, so that the New England Division team can be complete.

I would be remiss if I didn’t give a special shoutout to Steve Ewald, who has been an invaluable resource for me and many other section managers. He gets things done. He was recently recognized for 40 years as a staff member at ARRL HQ. Thank you Steve!

New England Division Receives ARDC RFI Equipment Grant

ARDC has approved a request for RFI hunting equipment for each of the seven sections in the New England Division.  The funds should be received in the next few weeks and orders placed for the equipment soon after.  Included is both an antenna set and an HF/VHF/UHF transceiver with a spectrum scope.  Distribution to each section will accompany training on the equipment.  In addition, some high-end equipment will remain in the custody of the Division for sharing when needed in addition to any the ARRL Lab will provide on loan.  Any questions can be directed to Rob, k1UI, Assistant New England Director, Spectrum Protection and Use.

Chowdercon 2022, September 17, 2022, Portsmouth, NH

Carl Achin, WA1ZCQ, writes on the NEQRP mailing list:

The 3rd Saturday in September has been traditionally reserved for decades for our Annual Celebration of the end-of-Summer / beginning-of-Fall known as “Chowdercon” in the Low-Power Radio Community here in New England.

Why is it called Chowdercon?

Here’s the skinny on the Event, name, and the time of year. 

Years ago, back in the mid to late 1980s (circa 1987) a small group of Amateur Radio field operators got together on Four Tree Island at the end of summer just to have, lunch, talk, and, operate on an Island surrounded by SALTWATER. (Being on saltwater enhances RF propagation tremendously!) Four Tree Island is a beautiful location in the heart of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and was an easy place for all to get to, no matter where they lived in New England. The gathering had just a few people through the years. 

In the summer of 2006, it was decided to give this gathering a name. It was always a crisp fall-feeling day on-or-around this time of year, and in the New England seacoast tradition, it was decided to partake in some hot clam chowder at the Main Gazebo on Four Tree Island while gathering and operating. That was the KICK-OFF to the event and it was dubbed, “Chowdercon.” Yes, the clam chowder was replaced years later with Lunch at “Geno’s Sandwich Shop,” just a five minute walk from the Island. It sure made things easier and Geno’s had lobster rolls too! Yummy!!! 🙂 Also, a farewell banquet supper was added at the famous “Warren’s Lobster House” after our time on the island. And in later years we added a BREAKFAST gathering before the arrival on the Island at “The Golden Egg.” 

Okay, last year our breakfast place shutdown due to the Coronavirus and lack of business, so the breakfast was scrubbed. This year, Geno’s is closed for the weekend for a short vacation, so, we don’t have a lunch location (that is until next year). 🙂 To keep the TRADITION going strong, and to have EVEN MORE TIME on Four Tree Island, this year (2022) will be a breakfast/lunch “brown-bag” event. Please bring whatever you’d like for the times you are on the Island. The STARTING TIME will be 8AM to begin gathering on Four Tree. I’ll be bringing a few, egg, cheese, bacon, English-muffin breakfast sandwiches and some orange juice and coffee from Demoulas Market Basket which we go by on our way to the Island. Also will pickup a sub sandwich and a drink while at the supermarket for a lunch treat. YOU can do what ever you’d like, perhaps making something at home for a nutritional meal while on the Island, or, connecting up with me at 7 AM (on 146.52 direct) and shopping with me at Demoulas Supermarket. It’s just a few miles from the Island.

The setup of stations will be as usual, and there are lots of rooftop-covered-picnic-tables on the Island for your operating spot and socializing/eating/discussions. If you don’t have a Field-Op Station with Jack-pole and wire antenna, NO PROBLEM, many of us will have stations setup and YOU can watch and even operate if so desired.

At around 4PM we break-down stations, antennas, and pack-up to depart, BUT before that is the Annual QRP vs. QRPp “TUG-OF-WAR” which is a fun tradition on the Island. Don’t worry, we are all getting older, and this is not a KILLER SPORTS GAME. It’s a fun time for pictures and creating wonderful memories. Go over some of the past pictures of the Chowdercon Experience at the following URL:

AND, if a full day on the Island isn’t enough for YOU, we have a FANTASTIC Farewell Banquet at Warren’s Lobster House just a 5 minute drive away from Four Tree. It’s a meal you’ll remember for a lifetime. Warren’s menu is extensive and they have a HUGE Salad Bar which adds to the Farewell Banquet experience. With all the fraternal camaraderie of the event, I’m sure you’ll want to put Chowdercon on your ANNUAL things-to-do Calendar Schedule EVERY YEAR on the Equinox weekend (3rd SATURDAY in September).

Come join-in on the, fun, excitement, learning, and memory-making gathering known as CHOWDERCON. You won’t regret it.

ALSO, QRP Afield (CQAF) is in-progress while we are on Four Tree Island. It’s fun to do some CW QSO’s in this long-running on-air NEQRP Sprint/Contest.

*** Chowdercon 2022 ***
PLACE: Portsmouth, NH – Four Tree Island
TIME: KICKING OFF AT 8AM THROUGH 4:30PM, and then heading over to WARREN’S for our annual Farewell Banquet Supper (4:45PM through 6:30PM+)
* COMMUNICATIONS: The National Simplex Frequency (146.52 direct), bring a fully charged H/T for close-in directions and other get-together comms.

Directions from YOUR QTH:
*(NOTE: Enter your starting point in the “A” window.)


*** P.S. – This is a FAMILY ORIENTED EVENT, so, bring the family, kids, and, grab a picnic table on the Island for your very own central hangout point. REMEMBER, Four Tree Island IS AN ISLAND SURROUNDED BY SALTWATER, SO, IT GETS COOL AND THERE IS ALWAYS A BREEZE. BRING A WINDBREAKER AND SOME WARM LAYERS! Also, if you have any games, horseshoes, darts, bean-bag toss, kites, or other family activities, bring them along. It’s always fun to fly kites, etcetera while on the Island. Got several QRP kits, small Field-Op rigs??? BRING THEM ALONG AND SHOW OTHERS (i.e. – SHOW-‘N-TELL). Let’s make sure that,
*** “The Excitement Is Building …” ***

Nutmeg Hamfest & Connecticut State Convention, October 9, 2022

Nutmeg Hamfest pageThe Nutmeg Hamfest is Back!
October 9th, 2022.

Great New Location:

Best Western Hotel
201 Washington Ave (US Route 5)
North Haven, CT 06473

In addition to our forums (see our Web Site) we’ll have several all-day demos for your enjoyment.

CT ARES Region 4 will bring their fully-equipped communications trailer, and welcome you to take a look inside.

POTA gurus Dave, NZ1J, and Shawn, KC1NQE, will have a station set up and look forward to answering your questions and offering tips ‘n’ tricks.

James AB1DQ will display his famous cigar-box construction products and offer some ideas for your own projects.

We’re proud to once again host the ARRL Connecticut Section Convention, too.

Don’t miss Southern New England’s Biggest and Best Hamfest.

Attention Vendors: We still have a few inside tables available. Plenty of room for tailgating, too.

All the details are on our website.

ARRL Foundation Grants $270,000 to Amateur Radio Clubs

ARRL Foundation logo

From ARRL Club News:

The new ARRL Foundation Club Grant Program, funded by a generous grant from Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC), has awarded $270,000 to radio clubs that participated in the first round of applications.

The Club Grant Program, introduced earlier this year, includes $500,000 to be awarded to radio clubs with projects that will have the most impact on amateur radio, the community, and the future of radio technology. The grants will fund transformative projects that encourage the growth of active amateur radio operators and training opportunities, education programs for student groups and schools, and club revitalization. A second round of applications to award the program’s remaining funding opened on September 7, 2022. The deadline for submitting an application is November 4th at 7PM Eastern time.

Twenty-four clubs were notified on Monday, August 29, that they are receiving grants. The ARRL Foundation received 128 applications in the first round, with requests totaling $1.74 million. The selection committee noted that it was difficult work deciding from many high-quality grant proposals, considering the finite available funds. Radio clubs that did not receive grants in the first round may revise and resubmit applications in the second round.

The ARRL Foundation, established in 1973 by ARRL The National Association for Amateur Radio®, administers the Club Grant Program. ARRL has long recognized that it is in the best interest of amateur radio to encourage and support amateur radio clubs. Clubs historically have recruited, licensed, and trained new radio amateurs and have provided the community setting for them to continue their education and training.

The new Club Grant Program will help clubs more easily provide and expand their important services. More information about the program can be found on the ARRL Foundation website, at

The following clubs, in no particular order, were awarded grants:

Club Name Town State
Heritage High School Amateur Radio Club Brentwood CA
Newport County Radio Club Newport RI
Bristol County Repeater Association Tiverton RI
Holmesburg Amateur Radio Club Philadelphia PA
Quaboag Valley Amateur Radio Club Warren MA
Amateur Radio Club at Kansas State University Manhattan KS
Meriden Amateur Radio Club Wallingford CT
Anchorage Amateur Radio Club Anchorage AK
Andrew Johnson Amateur Radio Club Greeneville TN
Cape Ann Amateur Radio Association Gloucester MA
Yavapai Amateur Radio Club Prescott AZ
Cave City High School Amateur Radio Club Cave City AR
Fauquier County 4-H Ham Radio Club Warrenton VA
All Things Amateur Radio Association Carroll OH
Forsyth Amateur Radio Club Inc Winston Salem NC
Sunset Empire Amateur Radio Club Astoria OR
Barnstable Amateur Radio Club South Dennis MA
Orange County Amateur Radio Club Cornwall NY
Daleville Area Amateur Radio Service Daleville AL
Lake Washington Ham Club Kirkland WA
Radio Association of Western New York West Seneca NY
Prairie Dog Amateur Radio Club Childress TX
West Chester Amateur Radio Association West Chester OH
Gloucester County Amateur Radio Club Pitman NJ