RFI Training at NEAR-Fest, April 29, 2023

From Maine ARRL Facebook page:

Rob Leiden K1UI, the New England Division ARRL Assistant Director for Spectrum Protection and RFI, leads Radio Frequency Interference Team Training at Near-Fest in Deerfield. [ARRL Maine Section Manager Phil Duggan] N1EP picked up Maine’s RFI equipment and Toolkit, including IC-705 and some handy RFI-sniffing antennas. The New England Division is leading the nation in helping hams who may be experiencing annoying RFI.
Maine training and policy, planning will follow in the coming weeks.

 K1UI RFI Training at NEAR-Fest April 28-29, 2023

“Ham radio operators air a grievance: Leave our hobby alone”

Phil Duggan, N1EP, in ham shackFrom The Maine Monitor, April 29, 2023:

“Controversial soaring edifices along the Downeast coast seem to be all the rage, most notably the proposed Flagpole of Freedom Park in Columbia Falls, which garnered national attention and prompted a temporary building moratorium.

“But neighboring Jonesboro shouldn’t be overshadowed. Although much less imposing than the proposed 1,461-foot flagpole, a ham radio antenna array, with the highest antenna stretching 200 feet, was constructed last year atop Jonesboro’s picturesque blueberry barrens off Route 1.”

[Full story]

“International Marconi Day: National Parks Director Makes QSO”

IMC Day photo of National Parks Service Director SamsFrom The ARRL Letter, April 27, 2023:

International Marconi Day celebrates the accomplishments of radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi on the Saturday closest to his birthday each year. Stations around the world activate a special operating event to celebrate.

National Parks Service Director Charles ” Chuck” Sams, III (left) operates as KM1CC from the South Wellfleet Historic Site at Cape Cod National Seashore. Marconi Cape Cod Radio Club Trustee Barbara Dougan, N1NS, (right). (Marconi Cape Cod Radio Club KM1CC, photo)

On January 18, 1903, the first public two-way wireless communication occurred between the United States and Europe. A message from President Theodore Roosevelt was sent to King Edward VII from the South Wellfleet site. The site is preserved within the Cape Cod National Seashore in Massachusetts. [full story]

Newport County Radio Club: “One Year of Digital VE Sessions”

Contributed by Nancy Austin, KC1NEK, NCRC

NCRC Digital VE Session
NCRC Digital VE Session Lead Mike Seil, AA1XQ (standing left) April 22, 2023


The Newport County (RI) Radio Club offered its first digital VE session a little over a year ago on March 12, 2022. That session was held outside in a parking lot because of the lingering pandemic, and relied on inexpensive Android tablets (with a cramped keypad) connected via a hotspot. It was the team’s first official use of ExamTools and despite multiple practice runs, there remained learning curves.

Fast forward to our most recent VE session given last Saturday April 22, 2023. It was a successful milestone for lessons learned around people, processes and tools implementing digital exams. In particular, the NCRC benefited from a roughly $2000 ARRL Foundation Club Grant that allowed us to now offer applicants easy to use Wi-Fi enabled 64GB/ 10.2″ iPads with folder-style covers, and the option to use stylus pens. The main benefits include much more reliable Wi-Fi connectivity, a large screen, and well-designed consumer user interface. With the “best tool” problem solved, another concern was upskilling VE examiners on the ExamTools.org platform and software. This took time. Over this year, the digital VE session lead, Mike Seil, AA1XQ, has successfully recruited and trained a team of prepared VE examiners who are able to confidently address whatever issues come up.

The timing was right for this all to come together since our data suggests the second quarter is the busiest period for testing VE Session applicants. Indeed, our April session was busy, with more planning to sit for the Technician or an upgrade in June before Field Day. If it turns out that the number of applicants outnumbers our suite of iPads, we hold two sessions back to back.

Bob Beatty, WB4SON (right) wrote the grant
Bob Beatty, WB4SON (right) wrote the grant

Our club owes many thanks to Bob Beatty, WB4SON, for totally revising his Technician class content to reflect the new pool of questions; all applicants who sat for the new Technician exam this April were well-prepared and passed. (A number of hams shared that they had decided to try the General exam in April before the test content changes by June.)

What other things help any VE Session go well? In our experience, it is important to be mindful of the need for all test takers to have quiet maintained throughout their VE session. We now have one VE stationed outside the building to both greet and debrief applicants. Folks appreciated being welcomed before the exam and also having their enthusiastic post exam questions answered. Meanwhile, the remaining test takers in the hall could continue to concentrate without distraction. These test takers might include those who choose to sit for all three exams and thus potentially be there for an hour plus. It includes determined folks who want to take the exam again, or those who just need lots of peace and quiet to give the exam their best.

Clubs considering the change to digital VE sessions might plan for a one year process. Getting the volunteer people, processes and tools in place to see this through took teamwork, leadership, and commitment. Many thanks to Bob Beatty, WB4SON, for stepping up to write the ARRL Foundation Club Grant as the Newport County Radio Club embarked on this digital transformation. Our successful ARRL grant allowed us to buy the right tools for the job.

Offering a well-run digital VE session is a transformational opportunity and providing the best user experience for your applicants will matter.

NCRC VE examiners who upskilled on the ExamTools platform
NCRC VE examiners who upskilled on the ExamTools platform




Massachusetts K2H “13 Colonies” Special Events, July 1-7, 2023, Sign Up By June 1

2022 13 Colonies K2H QSL card
2022 13 Colonies K2H QSL card

Larry Krainson, W1AST, writes:

It’s 13 Colonies time again and that means Massachusetts K2H is looking for ham that would like to activate.
The special event runs 7 days from July 1 through July 7.
Team K2H is looking for ops. Last year we made over 21,300 QSOs during those 7 days. We are hoping to exceed that this year. Would you like to be part of Team K2H?
If yes, then go here and fill in the form:
Larry, W1AST will be in touch with you.
Would you like to know more? You can go here to learn about 13 Colonies: http://13colonies.us or contact Larry, W1AST at W1AST@arrl.net.
The last day to sign up is June 1, 2023.

Barnstable Club (BARC) Builds Amateur Radio Station for Scouts at Camp Greenough

The ARRL Club Grant to BARC of $25,000 has enabled corporate and private donations of an additional $100,000 towards creating a platform for amateur radio in scouting.  Jamboree-on-the-Air events, licensing and merit badge classes and Field Days will make excellent use of the new facility.  Eversource, Xfinity, Mid-Cape Home Centers, Shepley Lumber and other Cape businesses, have donated utility poles for antenna supports, fiber-optic cabling for wiring up the entire camp for internet connectivity and building materials for the station itself.  Station equipment will be remotely operable allowing it to be used for training performed in a new camp Welcome and Education Center being constructed adjacent to the station.

The idea for the grant was originally conceived by BARC member Steve Boyson, N1VLG, a former BARC president and member of the local Scouting council.  Steve also helped source many of the donations received and continues to help using his extensive contacts in the community.

Good progress is being made on station construction.  The off center fed dipole antenna, to be placed on the already-erected utility poles with halyards, has been ordered.  All the old wiring in the station has been removed. Three of the four walls have been constructed and the materials to build the station interior have been acquired and staged inside the station.

New entrances and security features for the station and the other building spaces are being designed to allow secure outside entrance to the station.  Two operating positions are planned with both HF and VHF/UHF capabilities including satellite communication.

The current project plan calls for the station to be completed by the end of this year.

Categories All

W1AW/1 Massachusetts Volunteers On The Air a Great Success!

VOTA logoLarry Krainson, W1AST, writes:

The Massachusetts W1AW/1 Volunteers On The Air event was held from April 12th through April 18th. Team VOTA MA consisted of 15 hams contributing to a total of 9449 QSOs. It was a team effort and everyone contributed!

I would like to thank the following hams for their part in the MA Spring VOTA effort. They made it a success:

    • AB1UT
    • AF1R
    • AG1C
    • K1NZ
    • K1UR
    • KJØD (operating remotely thru K1TTT)
    • KX1X
    • N1FTP
    • N1MGO
    • N1SOH
    • W1AST
    • W1FJ
    • W1FM
    • WA1OEZ
    • WA3SWJ

There were plenty of pileups in all the modes including FTx, CW and SSB right up to the last minute of operation.

W1AW/1 Massachusetts VOTA will activate again the first week of November. If your transmitter is in MA and you would like to join the team, contact Larry, W1AST at W1AST@arrl.net.

Nashua ARC Ham Bootcamp Online, May 13, 2023

NARS Ham BootcampFrom the ARRL Letter, April 20, 2023:

The Nashua Area Radio Society’s spring 2023 online Ham Bootcamp will be held on Saturday, May 13, from 10 AM to 6 PM Eastern Time. Access to the session will be provided via Zoom.

Ham Bootcamp includes a series of demonstrations and tutorials designed to help newly licensed Technician-, General-, and Extra-class license holders get on the air. Ham Bootcamp is also a great opportunity for hams who are interested in seeing what the hobby has to offer.

The online Ham Bootcamp program is available to all licensed and prospective amateur radio operators. You can register for the next Ham Bootcamp session here. For additional information, contact Anita Kemmerer, AB1QB, of the Nashua Area Radio Society at ab1qb@arrl.net.

The Nashua Area Radio Society is an ARRL Affiliated Club.

Hidden Fox, Enfield CT Vicinity, April 20, 2023

Rod Bungard, N1RUU, writes on the ctfoxhunter list on April 20, 2023 at 4:28 PM:

After a long winter break, Fox #5 PL 123.0 is out in the wild. The fox is running 1.5 watts into a 18-inch antenna and is on 146.550 MHz (PL 123.0).

To activate, key your transmitter, ID and then send a DTMF “1.” If the FoxBox can hear you and you can hear it, you will hear its very distinctive sound. It will transmit for 30 seconds, ID and then go back to sleep. You can make it transmit as often as necessary to find it.

Once someone has been able to bring it up and hear it, please report that information to the other fox hunters. Feel free to reply to the group. Do not reveal its location, just a location (and direction if possible) from which you are able to hear it. This then becomes a starting point for the other fox hunters to use.

You do not actually have to touch the box to claim finding it. If you hunt the Fox please log to this group even if you don’t find it.

Located in the Enfield area.