Ham Bootcamp Deemed “A Great Success”

October 2020 QST Cover Ham Radio Bootcamp

Ham Bootcamp Fall 2020 was a great success, according to Nashua Area Radio Society President Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC. Ham Bootcamp is held twice a year by the Nashua Area Radio Society in conjunction with their  Ham Radio Licensing Program.

Kemmerer reports that 269 people registered for the daylong event with over 200 logged into the Zoom session for most of the day. Some highlights included live contacts on the HF bands, lots of videos, and “some great questions and answers during the session.” 

“We conducted an online survey of all of the folks who participated, and the feedback is overwhelmingly positive,” he adds.

Ham Bootcamp was truly a national event. A breakdown by geographic region shows the percentage of attendees per region:

  • MA/NH:  29%
  • Northeast: 18%
  • Southeast: 15%
  • West: 15%
  • Midwest: 13%
  • Southwest: 8%
  • Hawaii/Alaska/Canada: 2%

AB1OC reports that over half of the “Bootcampers” had General Class or higher licenses. “It was also great to see the approximately ten percent of registrants who did not yet have a license.”

Most of those who attended Ham Bootcamp learned about it from the recent article in QST, reports Kemmerer. “The article plus the great work that the ARRL did in follow-up through their website accounted for some 60 percent of our participants. Ham Nation was next (10 percent) followed by various web properties and social media sites. Word of mouth referrals were also strong in total, accounting for 19% of registrants.”

The Nashua Area Radio Society is experiencing a flood of license class registrations and memberships in their organization in the aftermath of the Bootcamp event.

“A big THANK YOU to the HamXposition team for helping us to promote Ham Bootcamp,” says Kemmerer. “We are planning another online Bootcamp in the spring after our license classes are completed.”

Eastern Massachusetts ARES Does Virtual Meet & Greet with Massachusetts VOAD Via Zoom, November 3, 2020

EMA ARES logoFrom ema.arrl.org:

On Tuesday Morning, 11/3/20, Eastern Massachusetts ARES Section Emergency Coordinator, KD1CY-Rob Macedo, did a virtual Meet & Greet with Massachusetts VOAD to explain ARES role and how ARES can support Non-Governmental Organizations. The 30 minute meeting was well received by the VOAD leadership that participated. ARES has been a member within the VOAD organization since 2012.

VOAD stands for Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster. The ARRL has a national level Memorandum of Understanding with VOAD and encourages section ARES programs to work with state VOADs. Examples of organizations that are part of VOAD include ARES traditional partners such as the American Red Cross, Salvation Army as well as Team Rubicon, various church groups that support disaster relief for individuals and families and many other organizations.

“We got to explain ARES role and what we can provide to Non-Government Organizations in both auxiliary communications, additional resources supporting communications and situational awareness information when normal communications means are up as well as what we can provide to them when other forms of communication fails. We also encouraged VOAD to look at ways we can help their organization based on their communications and technical needs after giving them some understanding of what we traditionally provide and explained to them all the MOUs ARES through the ARRL has with various organizations within VOAD and National VOAD” Macedo said.

Macedo reported that the members on the call understood how Amateur Radio plays a role and is often in the background performing important tasks that help their teams and other agencies. They were impressed with the presentation and look forward to future engagement both with Eastern Massachusetts ARES and Western Massachusetts ARES. “They asked for the Western Massachusetts ARES Section Emergency Coordinator contact info which we provided to them along with a short presentation that we reviewed on the call and we look forward to a continued and stronger relationship with Massachusetts VOAD and the member agencies within VOAD going forward,” Macedo said.

Newport County (RI) Radio Club Kicks off “Get On The Air Challenge” Beginning January 1, 2021

Newport Co. RC logoThe Newport County Radio Club has created a innovative “Get On The Air Challenge” operating event beginning January 1, 2021.

From the NCRC website:

“Your club is offering a challenge to all members to get on the air on the high frequency bands. The Challenge will start Jan 1, 2021 and is open to all members. Its primary goal is to encourage newer members and members who have not been on the air regularly to get on the air on the HF bands in SSB/phone mode. A General or Extra license is required.

A certificate will be awarded to anyone making 25 contacts during the challenge. We will also post the QSO counts on the club website. We ask for an email message from participants at the end of each month with a count of the number of HF SSB QSO’s made during that month. One does not need to submit a log.

Help is available for anyone needing assistance with an antenna, an HF radio, with understanding how to make HF contacts, logging software or any other radio issue. The Challenge is intended to be a learning exercise and club veterans are very willing to help participants.

GOTA-C communications will be via email to gota@w1sye.org.  Please send a message indicating your interest in the Challenge. We do not want to bug members who are not interested with unnecessary email messages.


1. Send us a message that you are all in for the challenge.

2. Send us a message if you have a question or if would like assistance getting ready.

3. Starting Jan 1, 2021, record your SSB/Phone QSO’s on any HF band. Digital modes, FT4 or 8, and CW do not count. Maximum power is 100 watts.

4. At the end of January, February, and March send an email message with the count of your QSO’s.

At the end of March we will evaluate the challenge, continue it, or modify it depending feedback and experience.

In the coming weeks we will be posting tips on how to easily find a QSO opportunity on the HF bands. For example, how to use the following: Parks-on-the-Air spots, DX Summit web site, Winter Field Day, SSB contests, and more.

Eastern Massachusetts ARES Simulated Emergency Test (SET) – Saturday 11/14/20 1000 AM-1200 PM

The Eastern MA Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES) will conduct a Simulated Emergency Test on November 14, 2020 from 10 AM to 12 Noon (setup to start at 9 AM where needed) to test its capability in establishing communications with stations inside and outside of the section. Operation “Fall Fury” will attempt to build upon the lessons learned from past operational exercises. This SET is being done in coordination with a Red Cross national exercise also being held on Saturday 11/14/20.

The exercise scenario involves a fictional Category 1 hurricane which strikes MA/CT/RI as a hybrid coastal storm, battering Cape Cod and the Islands with winds ranging from 90-100 MPH. Eventually, hundreds of thousands of people in Eastern Massachusetts are left without power as the rain rapidly changes to heavy, wet snow.

“This exercise guideline is deliberately broad and generic in nature. ARES groups are free to adapt this scenario and conduct their exercise as needed for their group,” writes District Emergency Coordinator Frank O’Laughlin, WQ1O.

“This is also a great opportunity for new Amateur Radio Operators, whether they are involved in ARES or not, to check into nets, provide simulated information and exercise traffic, or just check in and learn how nets work and what ARES can do during an actual event. This includes the National Weather Service SKYWARN component of ARES” writes Rob Macedo, KD1CY, Eastern Massachusetts ARES Section Emergency Coordinator.

With the ongoing COVID-19 situation in MA, it will be unlikely that groups will be able to operate at EOCs and other municipal locations. Therefore any activation of shelters will be simulated by role play. It is likely that most of the operations involved in this exercise will utilize home stations.

Some exercise objectives include:
• Simulate the activation of shelters in your area
• Simulate the activation of EOC stations in your area
• Establish and conduct a tactical net on simplex 2m FM/ repeater for your group
• Simulate contact with any Town EOC RACES stations
• Establish contact with other ARES districts where possible
• Establish an HF 75 meter voice net for all of MA (and potentially other areas)
• Pass an NTS type message on 2 meters VHF and/or 440 MHz
• Pass a SKYWARN and/or tactical message on voice 2 meters and on the HF net
• Optional components of the exercise to pass information digitally via Winlink and NBEMS (Narrow Band Emergency Messaging System)

For full details, see the “Eastern MA Simulated Emergency Test 2020 Scenario and Guidelines” document at https://ema.arrl.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/EasternMA-ARES-SET-11-14-20.pdf.

Cape Ann ARA (MA) Seismograph Detected Today’s Earthquake

From ema.arrl.org:

Amateurs throughout southern New England were startled by a sudden earthquake that struck the southeastern portion of Massachusetts on Sunday, November 8.  The United States Geological Survey reported a magnitude 3.6 earthquake occurred in the vicinity of New Bedford, Massachusetts. The quake began at 14:10:06 UTC (9:10:06 AM EST). Its epicenter was located 11 kilometers south of Bliss Corner, Massachusetts (41.507°N 70.938°W) at a depth of 10 kilometers.

Eastern MA Section Emergency Coordinator Rob Macedo, KD1CY said, “It was right near my house. I felt shaking to my house that was violent and something I have never experienced before. Unknown on damage reports.” 

“It was more like a loud, deep noise. I’ve heard it before when we’ve had other earthquakes,” wrote Sudbury amateur Marc Stern, WA1R.

The Netquakes seismograph at the Cape Ann Amateur Radio Association recorded the earthquake at the club shack at 6 Stanwood Street in Gloucester.  According to  CAARA’s Stan Stone, W4HIX, “CAARA is the only [site] still running a NetQuakes seismometer in New England—they had problems with the AC power supplies and suggested everyone turn their system off until a replacement could be found. Obviously that never happened. We decided to take the risk and it has been running at CAARA for many years now.”


image of seismometer at Cape Ann ARA club station

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Fox Deployed, Norwich, CT, November 7, 2020

Chuck Newman, NA1CN writes:

Greetings fellow fox hunters. Release the hounds!  This fox is running in the Norwich, CT area!  

Raise it on 146.550 with a TX/RX CTCSS of 118.8 as often as desired.  It was last seen within 500 feet of safe public parking, and an eyeball QSO is sufficient.

Happy hunting,

K1USN Radio Club Veterans Day On Air Event, November 11, 2020

K1USN QSL card
From ema.arrl.org:
Wednesday, November 11, 2020, is Veterans Day and once again the K1USN Radio Club (Braintree, MA) plans to be on the air to honor those who have served our country.
As you might expect during these difficult times, we are looking for an alternative way to get K1USN on the air.
We have decided to announce a 31-hour operating event beginning at 0000 UTC Nov 11th and running through 0500 UTC Nov 12th. The format will consist of two hour shifts and you can use the K1USN call from your home QTH. We will have two hour operating slots available on CW, SSB as well as FT8. Depending on the amount of interest you may need to specify a particular band to operate.
Marty – N1VH is now creating a signup document which we hope to be able to post on the K1USN web page. We will need someone to step forward to offer to handle scheduling for us. They would be the contact person for anyone wishing to operate any shift. Operators would contact you via e-mail and/or text to verify the open shifts.
BTW, the reason for making this a 31-hour operating event is to give us as much opportunity to work DX stations as well as W/VE stations. Our Veterans Day observance on November 11 coincides with Armistice and Remembrance Day in many other countries.  
Ordinarily we have a very good turnout at K1USN for Veterans day and enjoy the operating as well the free Starbucks coffee. This year you will have to supply your own coffee at home!
The current list of operators is:
K1VUT – Dave
WA1MAD – Mike
K1RV – Pi
N1DC – Rick
Due to the uniqueness of the current situation it would great if many of you decided to give it a try operating as K1USN. Although we often generate some pretty busy pileups when operating at the K1USN club station, you can set the pace from the comfort of your home station.  –K1USN Happenings, November 6, 2020

MA Ham Radio License Plate Update

MA ham operator sample license plateFrom ema.arrl.org:

Phil Temples, K9HI, received the following email on November 5, 2020 from Phyllis Burke, a supervisor employed by the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles in response to his question about the status of his ham radio license plate order:

“The RMV has out in a fix (sic) for these plates and will hopefully be done with in the next month or two.  We will contact you when it is completed and order the plate.  I apologize for the inconvenience.” 

-Phyllis Burke <phyllis.burke@state.ma.us>.

[See: Massachusetts Department of Motor Vehicles is Not Processing Ham Operator Plate Applications]


Algonquin ARC Battery Challenge Begins December 1, 2020

6v latern battery photoThere is QRP, even “QRPp.” Aficionados get on the air, battery and spare battery in hand and see how many contacts—or how much DX—they can log. But have you ever considered how many QSOs are actually held in a single battery pack?

A few years back, a member (W1XP) of another club, the Nashoba Valley ARC up in the Pepperell­/Groton area decided that finding out would make a good club activity. Thus, the Lantern Battery Challenge (LBC). Participants were issued a 12V stack of off­-the-­shelf 6V lantern batteries. (You know the ones—they’re about two inches square and four or so inches high.)

Each participant was charged with making as many contacts as possible within four months, or until the battery was discharged beyond the point of usefulness. By the way, at the participant’s option the battery only had to power the transmitter portion of whatever station equipment was used. Well, with virtual meetings, things are pretty quiet in these here parts. I was thinking, maybe an LBC of or own would liven things up. Under the Vice President’s sponsorship, Algonquin (MA) Amateur Radio Club‘s LBC will commence at 0000Z on 1 December 2020 and conclude at 2400Z on 31 March 2021. You can join at any time during the “contest” period. Participation is voluntary, with only one stipulation: you get your own battery stack and you let me know that you’re playing in the game. OK, that’s two stipulations. And I’d like to know what you did and how successful you were. Is that another stipulation? I’ll work up some rules for the effort and post them on AARCList. Maybe we’ll have a party when our LBC is over.

-Skip, K1NKR, AARC QRZ, November 2020

US Coast Guard Special Events Operation N1A, November 6-8, 2020

Chuck Motes, K1DFS, writes:

I will be operating an amateur radio HF “Special Event” station between the hours of 1400Z and 2300Z (minimum) on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, November 6 – 8, 2020.

Operating frequencies will be near:  14.265 MHz Upper Side band and/or 7.265 MHz.  Lower Side band. 

The special event station call sign will be N1A.  (November One Alpha)  in Commemoration of the USCG Auxiliary 81st Anniversary. All stations (amateur) are encouraged to participate and contact special events stations during this period on HF and VHF frequencies.

Special QSL cards will be available.  Contacting stations should send QSO information (a QSL would be nice!) and an SASE that will accept a QSL card in return from this or any special events station to the station or stations contacted.  QST magazine (and the ARRL webpage) contains contact and mailing info.

Special Event Station N1A contact info:

Charles I. Motes, Jr., N1A
22 Woodside Lane
Plainville, CT 06062-1225

Please send this info and note to as many contacts as you can.  An “all hands” message from up the chain would be nice (hint, hint).


Chuck Motes/NF013CT, USCG AUX, 013-09-06