Tech-In-A-Day Course & VE Session, Gardner MA, January-February, 2021

Western MA iconWestern Massachusetts Section Manager Ray LaJoie, KB1LRL, writes:

Calling all VEs and Teachers:

The Western Mass. section needs your help! As you know Covid has squashed most of the classes and testing sessions this year. I have been informed by Ken Burstall, WB8PKK, that the Masonic Hall in Gardner has a new air filtration system and is allowing us the use of their dining hall to host a Tech-in-a-day course and an open and walk-in VE session. We need volunteer teachers and VEs to assist in conducting the testing and teachings. There are also 25 Boafeng radios preprogrammed for those that have passed.

This will be in compliance with the guidelines of the Board of Health and testing materials will be sterilized using UV-C process and heat-sealed bags. Ken has provided the materials for sterilization and has provided the means to get this off the ground.

Session dates are open and can be either a Saturday or Sunday in January or February. We need to know who can participate to do what and when in order to secure the date to advertise. Please contact Ken at This invitation will also be open to our EMA neighbors as well.

Thank you, Ken, for your generous effort and donation. Please pass this along to anyone interested. And please let’s not let this opportunity pass by.

FCC Proposes to Reinstate Fees for Amateur Radio Licensees—Talking Points

FCC sealAmateur radio licensees would pay a $50 fee for each amateur radio license application if the FCC adopts rules it proposed [this past August]. Included in the FCC’s fee proposal are applications for new licenses, renewal and upgrades to existing licenses, and vanity call sign requests. Excluded are applications for administrative updates, such as changes of address, and annual regulatory fees.

The FCC proposal is contained in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in MD Docket 20-270, which was adopted to implement portions of the “Repack Airwaves Yielding Better Access for Users of Modern Services Act” of 2018 — the so-called “Ray Baum’s Act.”  

“The fees Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was published in the October 15, 2020 Federal Register ( The deadline for comments is November 16, 2020, and the Reply comment deadline is November 30, 2020.  As you discuss this [with your fellow amateurs,] or write articles for your newsletters, you might find the following suggestions helpful.” -David R. Siddall, K3ZJ   [Full story]

Greater Bridgeport (CT) ARC Parks On The Air, Light House On The Air Activations

Junie H Cassone, N1DUC, writes:

The Greater Bridgeport Amateur Radio Club (GBARC) hosted its first Parks On The Air (POTA) activation on August 23rd, 2020.  We operated from Putnam Memorial State Park (K-1707) in Redding, CT with the special event call sign of W1B.  This event was organized by our member, Shawn Takatsu, AC1KC, and sparked an interest in many of our members to go out and activate not only parks, but to participate in Light Houses On The Air (LHOTA) and Summits On The Air (SOTA).   We used Xiegu G-90’s with lead acid batteries, and made contacts on 20m and 40m.

I began to activate various parks around Connecticut shortly after my first POTA activation with GBARC.  I hunted stations from home to form a better understanding of POTA before I went out on my first activation.   I tested my portable equipment, and when ready began activating parks.  My portable station consists of a Xiegu G-90, Buddipole™ antenna, and talent cell battery.  I test my SWR with an MFJ-259D Antenna Analyzer.  My first park activation was from Sleeping Giant State Park(K-1717) on September 9, 2020.  I was also able to participate in a SOTA Activation from Mt. Carmel  that day as well.  It was a very exciting and very busy day.

After GBARC’s POTA event, I decided to organize a LHOTA event for the club.  We operated from Fayerweather Island Light House (USA-059) in Bridgeport, CT on September 26, 2020 with the special event call sign of W1B. This was another test of our club members equipment and team work skills.  We activated the lighthouse on 2m, 20m, and 40m making contacts as far as Spain and Italy.  We had the use of two G-90 and two IC-7300 radios for HF.  Overall it was a wonderful experience for our club member and potential hams.

I have a passion for animals and an affinity for ducks.  Thus my call sign N1DUC “Number 1 Duck.”  Mochi, my support animal, and sometimes his sister Marvel will travel with me to park activations. Mochi likes a good “QuackSO” every now and then.  My ducks, mainly Mochi, will sit next to me while I’m operating. I am in the process of building a portable duck coop so my entire flock may be able to travel with me to the various parks (with park permission).  I intend to create an amateur radio operating platform from the trailer coop and name it the “The Quack Shack.” As for operational goals I would like to activate all Connecticut parks at least once and in the distant future I would like to activate at least one park in every state.

YCCC Hosts “SSB Contesting for CQWW,” October 15, 2020

YCCC logoThe Yankee Clipper Contest Club will hold an online Zoom membership meeting on Thursday, October 15, 2020. The topic is, “SSB Contesting for CQWW.”  The November meeting will address CW Contesting for CQWW.  The meeting will last less than two hours. Zoom login information will be circulated before the meeting, and again on the day of the meeting on the club mailing list.

The YCCC was founded in April 1977 and now boasts over 300 members located from New York City to Maine, Cape Cod to Upstate NY. YCCC members have excelled in all areas of amateur radio contesting, DXing, technical design, and public service. Local meetings and “Contest Universities” are also held around the club territory as organized by the club’s Area Managers. You must attend a meeting to join the club.

Sci-Tech ARS, Wellesley ARS Members Participate in Summits On The Air Event from Mt. Wachusett, October 10, 2020


Members of the Sci-Tech Amateur Radio Society and the Wellesley Amateur Radio Society activated Wachusett Mountain in Princeton, Massachusetts for Summits On The Air on Saturday, October 10, 2020.

Fourteen STARS and WARS members and friends hiked or drove up the mountain. They logged more than 48 QSOs on 20 meters and several more on 2 meters making contacts from California to France to the base of Wachusett Mountain. The group plans to get the two clubs outdoors and operating once a month.


STARS, WARS members posed atop Wachusett Mountain for Summits On The Air

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Sale of Amateur Radio AMPRnet TCP/IP Addresses Raised $108 million

Amateur Radio Digital Communications logoFrom Southgate Amateur Radio News:

The President of Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) has announced they received $108 million from Amazon for 4 million amateur radio TCP/IP addresses

Since its allocation to Amateur Radio in the mid-1980’s, Internet network 44 (, known as the AMPRNet™, has been used by amateur radio operators to conduct scientific research and to experiment with digital communications over radio with a goal of advancing the state of the art of Amateur Radio networking, and to educate amateur radio operators in these techniques.

Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) is a non-profit California corporation formed to further these goals.

In mid-2019 a block ( of approximately four million AMPRNet™ IP addresses, out of the 16 million available, was sold to Amazon by ARDC but it is only now that the sale price has been released. Amazon paid $27 for each IPv4 address. [Full story]

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Scouting’s Jamboree on the Air Set for October 16-18, 2020

Jamboree On The Air 2020 logoJamboree on the Air (JOTA) and Jamboree on the Internet (JOTI) will be held this year on October 16, 17, and 18. Register online as an individual or as a group.

Jamboree on the Air is the largest Scouting event in the world. In a typical year, more than 1 million Scouts participate in JOTA, with over 11,000 stations operated by 20,000+ young radio amateurs from 150+ countries around the world.

JOTA details are available on the K2BSA website. The website menu will direct users to additional supporting information. K2BSA’s Jim Wilson, K5ND, says many locations are already offering virtual radio merit badge classes “and no doubt will be using similar approaches for Jamboree on the Air.” 

Maine Amateur Radio Foundation Promoting New Ham Radio License Plate

Maine special series license plateMaine Amateur Radio Foundation, Inc. is sponsoring a new ham radio vehicle registration plate. According to MARF, “purchasing this plate is an exciting way to show your enthusiasm for ham radio and to support it throughout the state of Maine.

“With the funds raised through the sale of this new specialty plate, the Foundation will be working with you and others like you to train new hams, provide the necessary equipment for community activity and emergency communications support and assist in the maintenance of our repeater infrastructure,” writes MARF President Gary L. Gilman, N1ZNJ.

MARF set an original target date of fall 2020, but due to COVID-19 has moved back the date to the fall of 2021. “[MARF] will be working very hard to collect the necessary two thousand applications for the new registration plate to be issued. With your help, we will succeed in doing so.”

The initial application fee for the registration is $30, five dollars of which are to cover the administrative cost of processing the license plate application. The thirty dollar fee is non-refundable. If MARF fails to reach the necessary two thousand applications, all application fees will be treated as a donation to the Foundation, and the money will be used to fund successful grant applicants within Maine.

According to MARF, the State of Maine requires four thousand active registrations per year to maintain a specialty plate. They encourage all Maine amateurs to order a set for each vehicle that is registered. 

For more information, see:

Fortieth Anniversary of the MS Prinsedam Rescue at Sea

N1EA QSL cardFrom
David J. Ring, Jr., N1EA, writes on Facebook on October 4, 2020:
The hand of God watched over them and a miracle happened, 40 years ago tonight.
I was woken up by auto alarm bells from the SOS of the burning luxury liner MS PRINSENDAM / PJTA as my ship was sailing southward from Valdez, Alaska on Prince William Sound. When the burning ship lost main and emergency generators, their radio officer told me to take over and I sent out three additional DDD SOS DDD (MAYDAY RELAY) calls.
The FCC in Washington reported over 350 ship logs were received. According to RCA San Francisco / KPH senior operator Hansen who copied my handling of the SOS in Morse, he’d been there for 35 years and never heard a finer job of communications. All 535 passengers and crew were rescued safely from lifeboats without even one death. The rescue was greatly helped by the international cooperation involved: the United States Coast Guard, United States Air Force who supplied two rescue swimmers (at that time USCG didn’t have that speciality), Canadian Armed Forces who supplied massive long range helicopters able to fly 300 miles out to sea, and engage in hours of rescue work by lifting survivors out of lifeboats one at a time and dropping them on: my ship, the SOHIO INTREPID, USCG cutters Mellon, Woodrush and Boutwell, United States Merchant Marine and foreign Merchant Navies, including the men and women on Ocean Station PAPA / 4YP manned by Canadian Coast Guard. US Air Force also sent a flight surgeon physician.
Because the distress was handled on long range 500 kHz radiotelegraphy, communication with Rescue Coordination Center Juneau, Alaska was instantaneous. Sitting at RCC was a USCG radioman who tuned in 500 kHz and copied the Morse, beating the interoffice teleprinter circuits by five minutes. The City of Sitka, Alaska sent two paramedics. Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System on Governor’s Island, New York City sent SURPICS telling us what ships were in the area. Such beautiful cooperation! Morse XXX and SOS recordings, radio logbooks from WILLIAMSBURGH and EXXON NEW ORLEANS / WNDM whose Radio Officer, Richard Singer provided his excellent assistance as did Radio Officer, Carl Williams on SOHIO INTREPID. Hundreds of people were involved in what has been called “The Greatest Air-Sea Rescue in history.
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