contributed by Nancy Austin, KC1NEK, Newport County (RI) Radio Club
How short is short???
Last century, the HF bands from 10 meters to 200 meters were considered “shortwave radio.”Paul Fredette, K1YBE, is on a mission to pitch the Super High Frequency (SHF) microwave ham bands (3 cm to 33 cm) as this century’s new “shortwave radio”, ripe for experimentation.So, how short is the new short? A football fan offered the comparison that 10 meters is roughly 10 yards, or the length of the first down line on a football field. And for comparison, 3 cm is roughly 1 inch, or the width of the white stripe on a football. To get a sense of relative antenna size, I just looked out the window at my HF antenna zigzagging for 100+ feet across my backyard, and compared that to the microwave antennas pictured above for scale, showing inches on a ruler. The new short is a different magnitude of short, with opportunities and new challenges for the ham to tackle.
To promote STEM learning and workforce development opportunities around this shift, Rhode Island’s Paul, K1YBE, is enthusiastically promoting the notion of an Amateur Radio Training Experiment Network (ARTEN) that uses mesh networking educational projects to make this accessible to a broad audience. The “new” shortwave bands from 3 cm/10 GHz to 30 cm/1 GHz can be a catalyst as we reach out to invite in a new generation of hams. ARRL-affiliated club microwave experiments underway include the Newport County Radio Club’s pilot mesh networking project placing carbon dioxide sensors in a local farm, with the collected data set available to schools. Examples of welcome community outreach include holding our radio hands-on building/experimenting workshops at a local maker-space, FabNewport, during their after-school programming. Kids stop by our table, curious and full of questions. In this way, STEM learning is not bolted on but part of the ongoing mentoring and experiential learning that defines the ham community and helps home-grown innovators flourish.
The ARRL mission includes encouraging “radio experimentation and, through its members, advances radio technology and education.” As Wikipedia reminds us: “Throughout its history, amateur radio enthusiasts have made significant contributions to science, engineering, industry, and social services. Research by amateur radio operators has founded new industries, built economies, empowered nations, and saved lives in times of emergency.” More than a century ago, the pivotal Radio Act of 1912 assigned licensed amateurs to the shortwaves under 200 meters. In 2023 it’s remarkable to look back and forge ahead in the frontier of microwave “shortwave” bands open to hams, from 3 centimeters to 33 centimeters. What’s possible?
On Thursday evening, February 2, the Granite State Amateur Radio Association participated in an inaugural event at Milford High School called Milford Applied Technology CTE. Samantha Belcourt-Director, Jennifer DiMaria-Career Development Specialist, and Frank Xydias-engineering and STEM educator, hosted the event. U.S. Congress representative Ann Kuster participated in the opening remarks.
Approximately fifteen exhibitors, mostly local high-tech companies, community colleges, and universities, had exhibits and handouts. Also, tours of the facility were provided, including the precision machining shop, 3-D printing, and construction technology areas. Good food was offered by Windows on West Street, a student-operated restaurant that serves as a real-life course for students serving meals to the greater community two days a week.
The GSARA table included an operating Icom IC-7300 HF station in a “go box” with an outdoor CrankIR portable vertical antenna and various hand-held VHF radios. Numerous hand-outs were provided by ARRL (Steve Goodgame, K5ATA, Education and Learning Manager), including Why Should You Give Amateur Radio a Try? and What Amateur Radio Can Do for Your School and Students. Students, parents, and teachers learned about our hobby and how it can initiate a passion for exciting, well-paying technical careers. GSARA provided other material.
Support for the club effort was provided by: Bill, W1WRA; Bill, KE1G; Eric, N1JUR; John, K1XF; Mike, W1EAA; Ryan, W1SNH; and Tom, AC1J.
A number of radio clubs throughout New England are gearing up for the annual Winter Field Day event this weekend.
Winter Field Day is sponsored by the Winter Field Day Association. Complete rules can be found on the WFD website, at Winter Field Day. According to ARRL, “Combining this with ARRL’s yearlong event, Volunteers On the Air, is a great way to make contacts that count for both activities and get new operators on the air. … Like the ARRL Field Day, bonus points are earned in several ways, including for using non-commercial power sources, operating from remote locations, making satellite contacts, and more.”
The Granite State Amateur Radio Association is QRV for Winter Field Day. They will operate as “3 Oscar” under the call sign N1QC at their summer field day site, “Mike’s Barn,” 972 Back Mountain Road, Goffstown, New Hampshire. Setup begins around 10:30 AM on Saturday morning. According to Eric Pfeifer, N1JUR, “One brave soul and station will operate for the full 24 hours.”
New England Sci-Tech will participate in Winter Field Day from 2 to 9 PM on Saturday at 16 Tech Circle in Natick, Massachusetts. “We will stay warm and take a points loss but still have fun! Non-licensed adults and children can get on the air with one of our control operators.”
New England Sci-Tech will also hold a number of other activities in conjunction with WFD: maker activities from 4 to 6 PM for children of members and visitors, and hands-on activities led by volunteers. “Make a meteorite necklace, make 3-D paper art, make an electronics gadget, make a laser-cut art project, make a woodworking project, and more.” Also planned are thirty-minute planetarium shows at 5 and 7 PM, a pot luck dinner from 6 to 8 PM, and a ham radio “movie marathon” from 7 to 9 PM.
The Twin State Radio Club will operate in Winter Field Day on Blackwater Road in Canaan, New Hampshire. “In past years, we’ve put heat in the comm trailer, hung a 40-meter dipole, and put the mini-beam up on the tower trailer, which gives us the most popular contest bands,” according to TSRC’s Dave Colter, WA1ZCN. “We’ll likely run two stations on generator power. Setup begins at 8am this Saturday, and the event starts at 2pm and runs for 24 hours. If you want to try HF operating and don’t have the means at home (or the license,) this will be a good opportunity. Operating privileges will be those of the control operator present.” Talk-in will be on the 145.33 repeater.
The Hampden County Radio Association (HCRA) and Franklin County Amateur Radio Club (FCARC) will mount its first Winter Field Day operation on Sunday from 9 AM until 2 PM using the call sign W1NY. The group will be set up at 1500 West Street, Amherst, MA. “Indoor restrooms are available, and food (from Atkins Farm) is a mile down the street and offers many delicious foods and treats. You are also welcome to bring something to share or for yourself.” The group plans to operate from the upper parking lot. “Look for antennas and call signs on cars and hams. We shouldn’t be hard to find.” For details, contact W1BCC Brad Councilman (FCARC president) at email@example.com or Larry Krainson (HCRA president) at W1AST@arrl.net.
Members of the Boston Amateur Radio Club are QRV for Winter Field Day and will camp out and operate from one of the Ponkapoag Adirondack Mountain Club cabins in the Blue Hills south of Boston. “This will be a blast!” writes BARC’s Mindy Hull, KM1NDY. “It is imperative that you arrange this with me if you plan on going.”
The Merrimack Valley Amateur Radio Association (call sign N1MVA) was formed in August 2022 by eight NH ARES members. ARES is a program, not an entity that could own equipment or fundraise. Our goal is to establish the MVARA as an organization that may own equipment and fundraise to support the emergency communication mission. The MVARA is a registered NH nonprofit corporation and a federal 501(c)3 charitable organization, and is registered with Amazon Smile. The MVARA has been accepted as an ARRL affiliated club. Current membership is 22 with 91% being ARRL members.
Our current focus is collaborating with the New England Digital Emergency Communications Network to interconnect DMR sites with microwave radio links. The microwave links backup internet connections when the internet is disrupted, thereby making the DMR system more resilient for routine and emergency communication. Presence on the towers also extends our microwave network. The first installation is a link between the Crotched Mt DMR site, which lost internet when the provider discontinued service to the area, and the South Uncanoonuc DMR site which has a pre-existing 5GHz link to the internet at the Bow, NH DMR site. DMR traffic flow can be evaluated from the repeater to the new Part 97 AREDN 5GHz link, then to the pre-existing Part 15 Ubiquiti link, and finally to the internet. The link has been operational since early October with only one occasionally recurring issue that can be corrected remotely. Its cause remains to be identified, part of our learning curve.
The main activity planned for next year is writing a proposal to ARDC for funding to expand the microwave backbone among DMR repeater sites within the context of the New England Division mesh network project. The backbone and network services would provide opportunities for other licensed operators who may wish to use the microwave network for various amateur radio purposes.
There is a possibility of developing a STEM module about microwave IP networking. Lessons could be introduced with familiar microwave radios – cell phones and computer wifi – followed by modern battery technology, microwave and IP basics, and culminated by setting up a local microwave connection. Portable battery-powered microwave node kits – designed under Part 15 compliance for unlicensed use in school classrooms or Part 97 compliance for amateur radio use – are easily assembled with off-the-shelf components and deployed for demonstration and instruction. Kits can also be used as portable nodes for emergency and event communications.
Components for a portable microwave network node kit are shown in the table and photo. Total cost is about $500 plus shipping, including a Windows Mini PC. The Mini PC can be used to control an HF or a VHF radio remotely over the network for NBEMS, Winlink and popular weak signal modes. A Raspberry Pi could be substituted for the Mini PC if there is no need for Windows software, decreasing cost proportionally.
Carl Achin, WA1ZCQ, writes on the NEQRP mailing list:
This Meeting & Lunch is always on the Saturday BEFORE Thanksgiving, ANNUALLY. Hope YOU can make it.
Date: Saturday, November 19th, 2022
Time: 10AM for early-birds (~11AM is OK too) till the last person drops, usually around 2PM+
Place: Golden Corral – 655 South Willow Street, Manchester, NH
Please bring something for “Show-‘N-Tell” and show and talk about it with others.
Meet-‘N-Greet (Social-Hour plus Show-‘N-Tell)) – 10AM through 11AM+
Club updates and info – 11:15 through 11:30AM
Buffet Meal from 11:30 through 1:30PM
More socializing till approximately 2PM+
*** COME JOIN US FOR THIS ANNUAL GATHERING. ***
* P.S. – Christmas Party Gathering coming-up on the SECOND FRIDAY in DECEMBER (9th). More on that later.
The Barnstable Amateur Radio Club on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, received a commemorative plaque from the ARRL board of directors for sixty-five years of ARRL club affiliation at its November 7 meeting. BARC President Norm Caitlin, WA1NLG, accepted the plaque and certificate from Division Director Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC.
BARC has conducted licensing classes and its members serve as volunteer examiners. They have also provided communications support for a number of public service events, including the Cape Cod Marathon, Falmouth Road Race, MS and Alzheimer’s walks, SKYWARN nets, ARES exercises and JOTA events.
Congratulations to the Barnstable Amateur Radio Club on this momentous achievement.
Fall has gone by very quickly for me. I have been busy with ARRL Board work, New England Division projects, attending Ham Fests, Mentoring and Licensing work, and a 6m Antenna Project. I am pleased to report good progress on all fronts. Here’s more about what I’ve been up to.
BIG E Space Chat
New England school students made live radio contact with an astronaut on the International Space Station from The BIG E on September 27th. You can view a video of the contact below. This and other videos made by folks who attend Space Chat were viewed more than 3,000 times by people worldwide.
We received quite a bit of television and newspaper coverage for our contact as well. Here’s an example of some of the TV coverage that aired on New England stations –
In addition to inspiring the young people who participated in Space Chat, we were able to help to make the public aware of the value that Amateur Radio brings to young people. I want to thank the many folks here in New England and the great people at the BIG E for making this project possible.
Mike Walters, W8ZY, and I worked with a team to select and award the first round of grants as part of the ARRL Foundation Club Grant program. We received a total of 128 grant applications totaling over $1.7M! We awarded a total of $270K to 24 Radio Clubs in the United States.
ARRL Club Grant Program at a glance:
Clubs do not need to be ARRL-affiliated clubs to submit proposals
Looking to fund projects that create significant impact beyond the applying club: transformative impact on Amateur Radio; create public awareness and support for Amateur Radio; educational and training impact.
Examples of projects include, but are not limited to: get-on-the-air projects; ham training and skills development through mentoring; STEM and STEAM learning through Amateur Radio; station resources for use by the ham community; emergency communications and public service projects that emphasize training; club revitalization projects.
The second round of grants will be awarded early in 2023.
Board Projects and Meetings
National Traffic System 2.0 Project
I’m also leading a subcommittee within the Emergency Communications and Field Service Committee that is working on a plan to create the next generation of the National Traffic System (NTS). We are in the process of holding a series of briefings for Traffic Handlers across all ARRL divisions on the NTS 2.0 project. The briefings will be completed in December. We have signed up a total of 35 volunteers to help us work through the details of implementing the NTS 2.0 program. We are planning a kickoff meeting for the volunteers and I expect that the Implementation Teams will begin their work by the end of this year.
The ARRL has initiated a routine Traffic Origination program as part of NTS 2.0. The first messages were sent in October to all Section Managers, STMs, Directors, Vice Directors, the ARRL CEO, President, and first and second Vice Presidents.
The purpose of this program is to provide information about our work on the NTS 2.0 program as it rolls out and to measure the performance of the National Traffic System.
ARRL Club Development Webinar Series
Mike Walters, W8ZY, Steve Goodgame, K5ATA, and I are working on a program to create a series of webinars for clubs to help them develop skills and solve problems. This webinar series will kick off in 2023 and will feature presentations by ARRL members on the following topics.
Please get in touch with Mike Walters at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in helping us to produce content for the new Club Webinar Series.
Additional Board Committee Work
My work as chair of an Administration and Finance Subcommittee that is looking at ways to grow ARRL membership and increase active participation in Amateur Radio is nearly complete. The subcommittee will be sharing our final recommendations with the Administration and Finance Committee later this year and with the ARRL Board in January.
Finally, I have been serving as one of the ARRL Board members on the newly formed Investment Management Committee. The Investment Management Committee provides oversight of ARRL’s external investment manager and advises ARRL’s Administration and Finance Committee and the Board of Directors on investment policies and portfolio management. We have been working on procedures and processes that govern our oversight work with our outside investment manager.
Assistant Director Teams
Our Division Assistant Directors have all held several meetings with their working groups this quarter. In addition, the Spectrum Protection team has received a generous grant from ARDC to equip RFI Teams in each New England Section with direction-finding radios and antennas to enable them to assist Hams across New England in resolving interference problems. Our Assistant Directors and their working group areas follow –
Cory Golob, KU1U – Assistant Director, Emergency Communications and Public Service Activities
Rob Leiden, K1UI – Assistant Director, Spectrum Protection and Use
Anita Kemmerer, AB1QB – Assistant Director, Mentoring and Ham Development
Dan Norman, N0HF – Assistant Director, Youth Outreach and STEM Learning
Each team has projects underway that will benefit hams across New England. This newsletter features articles about what our Assistant Directors are doing.
Communications, Club Meetings, and Hamfests
We continued with our work to improve communications this quarter. There are three parts to our activities in this area:
Quarterly Division Cabinet Meetings with Club Presidents, Section Managers, Field Staff Members, and other leaders
Triannual (every 4 months) Division Town Hall Meetings with all ARRL Members in New England
Frequent attendance at Club Meetings (at least 6 times a quarter for each New England Division leadership team member)
We held our third Town Hall Meeting on October 19th. We provided an update on ARRL and New England Division activities and answered questions from the folks who attended. You can see what was discussed, including a recording of the event, here. We are planning to hold our next Town Hall Meeting in February 2023.
We held an ARRL Forum at Fall NEAR-Fest in Deerfield, NH, where we updated folks on ARRL and New England Division projects and answered questions. We joined Peter Stohrer K1PJS at NEAR-Fest to talk with folks and answer questions.
Our next Cabinet Meeting is scheduled for Saturday, December 17th. We are inviting members of the HQ Staff to these meetings so that they can share information on what they are doing and receive feedback directly from division leaders.
Here’s a summary of the many events and communications activities that we’ve participated in and hosted this year –
The New Division Team has been attending club meetings to stay in touch with what clubs are doing and to hear feedback and concerns from folks. We each try to attend at least six club meetings every quarter. If you’d like one of us to visit your club’s meeting, don’t hesitate to contact me at email@example.com.
AB1OC Amateur Radio Activities
I’ve been working on an upgrade to the 6m antenna system at our QTH. The project consists of adding a total of 12 new 6m antennas along with tower-mounted preamplifiers. We are putting up three fixed stacks of 3-element Loop Fed Array (LFA) yagis and a new 7-element LFA yagi on our main tower. The project is just being completed, and I have been making Meteor Scatter contacts on 6m with the new antennas. You can read more about the project here.
I hope to see you soon at a Hamfest, Club Meeting, Town Hall Meeting, Cabinet Meeting, or some other event in the near future. All the Best, and 73,
The Newport County (RI) Radio Club was a strong presence at Saturday’s wildly successful Scouting Jamboree Adventure public day at historic Fort Adams (1799) in Newport, Rhode Island. Over 3000 Scouts attended this post-covid New England regional Jamboree weekend.
One of the day’s highlights was a dramatic Coast Guard helicopter to water rescue drill watched with rapt attention by the cross-generation crowds on a perfect day.
The large and active Newport (RI) County Radio Club set up multiple hands-on stations across the west side of Fort Adams facing Narragansett Bay, and NCRC volunteers spoke all day with hundreds of Scouts and adults eager to learn more about making satellite contacts, GMRS, CW, HF, and well-received demos on the principles of radio communication.
A special shout out in this post to the 5th grade Cub Scouts who rallied around NCRC Scouting Jamboree lead, John Vecoli, KC1KOO, shown below with Cub Scouts from packs across RI, including East Greenwich and Richmond. Nearby, 5th grade Cub Scouts Valerie and Ingrid from Newport’s small but vibrant coed pack were excited to hear about becoming a licensed radio operator from NCRC new hams Nolan Byrne, K1PRU, and Pat Strong, K2PRU, from Prudence Island who loved mentoring the girls on their own new radios. The future looked bright today!
Contributed by Nancy Austin, KC1NEK, NCRC (RI) club president
The Merrimack Valley Amateur Radio Association (MVARA) had its first meeting this evening having achieved several milestones in its effort to build on recent successes in providing mesh network back-up for NEDECN DMR repeaters. The club plans to expand its network of interconnected hospitals and repeater sites and it is now positioned to apply for grant funding. In addition, the club’s ARRL affiliation makes it possible to obtain ARRL support, available to all affiliated clubs.
With the focus on mesh expansion in New Hampshire and grant funding recently secured in Maine and Rhode Island, the expansion of interconnected amateur communications networks throughout New England is making visible progress.
The MVARA Officers and Directors are:
President – Jay Taft K1EHZ
Vice President – John Yurcak K9AEN
Secretary – Steve Nelson WA1EYF
Membership Secretary – Paul Blais KC1KMM
Treasurer – Ken Geddes N1KWG
Bill Barber NE1B
Steve Davidson NA1T
Jack Duffy NF1L
Ed Leduc KA1IJN
If you or your club wants to start a mesh network in New England, contact Rob, K1UI at firstname.lastname@example.org, and he’ll put you in touch with those folks who can help.
On September 25, [the Greater Bridgeport Amateur Radio Club] is hosting its annual picnic at Putnam Memorial Park in Bethel, CT. Putnam Memorial Park is a state park so along with conducting our business meeting, we’ll be activating park K-1707. Members, family, and friends are invited.
We will have radios setup for the activation. If you would like to bring yours, you are welcome to. Activating a park is a lot of fun and a great learning opportunity. Those who are unlicensed and wish to operate will have an opportunity to get on the air!
While there are picnic tables, it would be a good idea to bring a chair.
We’ll provide sandwiches from a local deli. Snacks, and water will be provided.
Activation: Noon until we wrap up
153 Putnam Park Road
Bethel, CT 06801
Coming from the Fairfield area and Route 15.
Take exit 44 and head north on route 58 (Black Rock Turnpike)
Continue on 58 North for about 12.5 miles and the entrance will be on the right just past the pond.
Putnam Memorial Park is split by route 58 and the signs will lead you to the west side of the park (visitors center and museam), simply continue north for another quarter mile and you’ll see the pond on the right. Attached is a map and entrance photos.
We’ll listen to simplex – 146.52 as it is unlikely you’ll be able to hit our repeater while en route.