The SPARC

Volume X, Number 8; August 1998
Newsletter of the Boston Amateur Radio Club
A Special Service Club of the ARRL

August Meeting
This month's general meeting will be held at the Boston Back Bay Salvation Army Building, at 7:30 PM, Thursday August 20.


BARC Field Day 1998 Results

         80      40      20      15      10       6       2     Sat     Total
 
Digital   0       0       0       0       0       0       1      21      22
CW        1     161      27       2       0       0       0       0     191
Phone    25      29      40      24       2     131      50       0     301
        ---     ---     ---     ---     ---     ---     ---     ---     ---
         26     190      67      26       2     131      51      21     514
 
 
Points:
        Phone contacts (2 points each)                  602
        Digital contacts (4 points each)                 88
        CW contacts (4 points each)                     764
Bonus Points:
        100% Emergency power                            300
        PR - We were announced by Bruce Schwoegler      100
        Public location                                 100
        PR table                                        100
        NTS message to SM                               100
        Satellite QSO                                   100
        Natural (solar) power - 5 QSOs                  100
        W1AW message                                    100
Total:                                                 ----
                                                       2454
 
Category: 3A    Section: EMA    Call: W1BOS
Power: under 150W - 2X multiplier

Note: Many contacts had to be discarded due to improper logging. Please review the article on logging in the July SPARC for more info. How did we get logs spanning 3 days for a 24-hour contest?


Hams Needed For Jimmy Fund Marathon Walk

To benefit the Jimmy Fund, a walk along the 26-mile Marathon route will be held again this year on Sunday, 27 September. The event is sponsored by the Dana Farber Cancer Institute to support cancer research for children, and the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) produces it.

The BAA has once again asked BARC to coordinate the emergency and administrative communications along the route of the Jimmy Fund Marathon Walk. Some of the technical operations are tested here for the Boston Marathon, increasing the value of the participating hams.

The event is smaller than the "real" Marathon, and is an excellent opportunity to gain public service experience with less stress. Working directly for the BAA, we have been requested to staff 13 to 15 Walker Support stations. All these stations provide water, food and rest. Many of the stations will have Red Cross First Aid services. The Finish Medical areas and the supervisory functions will also be covered.

Our ham operation is expected to be on 2 meters and 70 cm, with approximately 20 to 25 hams needed. Your help is valuable. If you are available for this important public service event (even if you have not participated before), please call Bob Salow, WA1IDA, at 508.650.9440 from 0900 to 2300 or send email to erc@world.std.com as soon as possible.


All You Can Eat And Public Service, Too

Here's a ham public service event where the reward might be better than the job. WGBH, the public TV channels 2 and 44, and FM radio, will its annual FunFest on both Saturday, 12 Sept. and Sunday, 13 Sept. at and around the station on Western Avenue in Allston.

As in past years, thousands of people are expected. We have been asked to provide communications for the safety and management of the crowd and their vehicles. It's a compact area, so 2-meter simplex HTs can be used. About 12 to 14 hams are needed each day.

Although such a good cause (and good publicity for us) doesn't need it, here's the good part: all volunteers get to eat all the ice cream you can consume (urp!).

If you can help either or both days (from 1100 to 1600), get more information by calling Mike Kass, N1YER, at 781.891.1682, or Bob Salow, WA1IDA, at 508.650.9440.


Ham Awareness Day

Saturday, September 19 is Ham Awareness Day, during which, we attempt to bring Amateur Radio to the attention of the general public (favorably!) This year, BARC will have an information table at the Boston Back Bay Salvation Army, Columbus Street side from 10am to 4pm. Members should find manning the table a lot of fun, and don't forget your radio!

Contact Dick KA1TUZ for more details.


Mike Kass N1YER Is New BARC Executive Committee Member

President Ed Hennessy N1PBA has just named Mike Kass, N1YER, the newest member of BARC's Executive Committee. Mike has helped BARC greatly in some legal matters, including reactivating our 501C3 non-profit standing. He can be reached at: mkass@rmv.state.ma.us


What Are We Doing Wrong?
Mike, N1IST

Lately, I have noticed that BARC is losing both members and long-held events (public service and informational) to other clubs in the area.

My question to all of you is, why???

What is it that BARC is doing wrong? Are we doing something wrong?

Not doing enough? Doing too much of one thing?

Please let us know how we can make BARC a better club - we need your input. Please bring any comments to either the business meeting, the general meeting, or contact either myself (n1ist@netcom.com , 617 738 8652) or Ed (president@barc.eli.com , 617 391 8257), or even mail us a note at BARC, Box 15585, Boston MA 02215-0011.

73,
/mike


ARRL Proposes Simplified Amateur License Structure

The ARRL Board has agreed to propose a simplified Amateur Radio licensing structure with four classes. Lengthy discussion and debate during the Board's meeting July 16-18 led to majority support for a plan for four written examination elements to establish amateurs' operational and technical qualifications instead of the present five, and two Morse code examination elements instead of the present three.

Under the plan adopted by the Board, the entry level to Amateur Radio would be known as Class D and would convey the privileges of the present Technician license. The written examination would be at the same level of difficulty as that of the present Technician examination, but consistent with the privileges of the license. All amateurs now licensed as Technicians would become Class D.

The next step would be known as Class C and would convey the privileges of the present General license, but with phone subbands expanded by 50 kHz on 75 and 15 meters and by 25 kHz on 40 meters. Class C would be the entry level to high frequency (HF) operating privileges. To upgrade from Class D to Class C, an amateur would pass a written examination on the operational and technical qualifications required for HF operation and a 5 word per minute Morse code examination. All amateurs now licensed as General, Technician Plus, and Novice would become Class C. The expansion of the telephony sub-bands would result from "refarming" of the Novice CW bands that are no longer required for their original purpose.

The third step would be known as Class B and would convey the privileges of the present Advanced license, but with phone subands expanded by 50 kHz on 75 and 15 meters and by 25 kHz on 40 meters. To upgrade from Class C to Class B, an amateur would pass a more advanced written examination similar in difficulty to the present Element 4A and a 12 word per minute Morse code examination. All amateurs now licensed as Advanced would become Class B.

The final step would be known as Class A and would convey the full privileges of the present Amateur Extra Class, with telephony sub-bands expanded by 50 kHz on 75 and 15 meters and by 25 kHz on 40 meters. To upgrade from Class B to Class A, an amateur would be required to pass the most difficult written examination in the sequence. Consistent with the practice in many other countries, no additional Morse code examination would be required beyond 12 words per minute. All amateurs presently licensed as Amateur Extra Class would become Class A.

In their discussions, Board members emphasized that the objective is to rationalize and simplify the amateur licensing structure without reducing the requirements for any class of license. Where reductions in Morse code requirements are proposed, there would be a corresponding increase in written examination standards. On the other hand, Board members were adamant that simplifying the structure should not come at the expense of privileges already earned by amateurs. Therefore, present Novice and Technician Plus licensees, having earned entry-level HF operating privileges, would be granted the new entry-level HF license.

Adoption of the simplification plan marks the culmination of 30 months of work by the Board, during which time the input of literally thousands of ARRL members and other amateurs and prospective amateurs was considered. The Board debated a wide variety of options including both smaller and larger numbers of license classes, higher and lower qualification levels, and different privileges. Nine of the 15 Directors voted in favor of the plan, with six opposed. Following the meeting ARRL President Rod Stafford, W6ROD, observed, "The debate was at times contentious and the result was not unanimous. Some Board members preferred greater simplification; others were uncomfortable with some of the changes being proposed. However, every Board member, without exception, left the meeting knowing that each of his or her colleagues did what they believe is best for the future of Amateur Radio."

Members are urged to contact their ARRL directors to comment on this proposal. E-mail addresses are on page 10 of any issue of QST. Members also may comment on the proposal via the ARRLWeb site, http://www.arrl.org or via e-mail at restrux@arrl.org.

ARRL Bulletin 52 ARLB052
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT July 20, 1998


ARNS Judges The SPARC Excellent

BARC received the following certificate from the Amateur Radio News Service as part of the ARNS's 1997 newsletter contest:

Amateur Radio News Service Annual Publication Award for the Advancement of Amateur Radio Journalism

The SPARC, Edited by Paul Vance Carter, N1TMF, having been judged excellent is hereby awarded this testimonial in official recognition of the excellence of its performance and outstanding contribution of Amateur Radio journalism during 1997.

Dated: Sunday July 12, 1998

1997 Judges:

Lee Knirko W9MOL
President, A.R.N.S

Howard Miller N9RUI
Vice President - Publications, A.N.R.S.

Special credit for the SPARC's excellence goes to our 1997 writers:

Mike Ardai N1IST, Arthur Ashley N1NHZ, Ed Burg N1VSJ, Dick Doherty KA1TUZ, Scott Ehrlich WY1Z, John Garrett WN9T, Jim Hatherley WA1TBY, Ed Hennessy N1PBA, Paul Katz N1LRT, Tom Kinahan N1CPE, Terry Koen N1IWF, Jim Marrs N1PXY, Tom McGee KA1TOX, Glenn Meader KA1LKM, Larry Ober W1MW, Bill Ricker N1VUX, Bob Salow WA1IDA, Bill Sullivan N1TDF, Phil Temples K9HI.

Of course, the SPARC would be nothing without the work of Bob Salow WA1IDA and Bob Cassell N1ENS for their hard and excellent work in producing and distributing the SPARC every month.

It is all of you who have made the SPARC excellent. Give yourselves a hand!

Paul Carter N1TMF


DF/Interference Tracking Help Needed

I just a call from Larry Sears of Hexagram. These guys are installing some sort of remote-reading water meters for the Boston Water and Sewer Association, and have asked for our help in tracking down some interference problems.

They are operating on 452.8875 MHz, and are picking up some sort of "beep beep" interference. They are currently testing in the Brighton area, and seem to be picking it up around Brighton High.

They have asked for our help in tracking down this signal. If you can do so, or know someone who can, please either contact me at n1ist@netcom.com or Larry Sears at (800) 969 1057

Thanks and 73.
Mike N1IST


MEMA Public Safety Fair

Saturday, September 26, 1998 9a.m. - 2p.m. State headquarters Rte. 9, Framingham, MA

Free admission - free parking, entertainment & information for the whole family! See the latest technology in Public safety.

Attention local emergency managers! Display your equipment! Bring your emergency vehicles, antique fire trucks, D.A.R.E. car, motorcycles etc....!

Call 508-697-3600 for more information.


Once Again - The Postal Plot

If you live in a community that had only one ZIP Code, and after the change your community still has only one ZIP Code, skip this article and enjoy the rest of the SPARC. But, if the Postal Plot added more ZIP Code(s) to your community, do this NOW: Notify Bob Salow, the Keeper of the Database at 508.650.9440 or erc@world.std.com.

Please do this promptly since incorrect ZIP Codes will soon delay your mail and cost the club significant expense in forwarding notices. The USPS has told the local residents (that's you) their new numbers (including all nine digits), but have made it difficult for small mailers like BARC to determine these changes. We depend on you, the afflicted, to help yourself get your mail more quickly and to help BARC save money.


Eastern Mass Web Page Is Alive

After months (years?) of rigor mortis, the ARRL Eastern Massachusetts Section now has a revived web page. You will find news and data of interest to clubs, local hams and hams everywhere. There are links to the web pages of many clubs and to all kinds of technical information.

It is continually being updated with the latest news and connections. Of course, if you would like to have something linked or added, or have a suggestion, just send a message to the webmaster by clicking on the EMA-ARRL button.

You will find the ARRL Eastern Massachusetts Section web page at www.qsl.net/ema-arrl. The web page has been resurrected by, and will be maintained by, BARC member Elaine, N1GTB.


Editor's Notes
Make `em really work for their tickets!

In the ongoing debate over whether to liberalize or eliminate CW testing for HF privileges, opponents often say that doing so will make it too easy for hams to get on HF. People these days expect something for nothing, and making a HF license somewhat hard to get will help keep the riff-raff out, they say.

Plausible, but if we want to make a HF ticket hard to get, why stop at high speed CW? The written test is still pretty easy. What about testing for knowledge of electromagnetic theory through Maxwell's equations and solutions to the wave equation? After all, radio pioneers knew this material, as do most professionals these days.

Surely, knowing how a radio works as opposed to just taking one out of the box and turning it on separates the real hams from the "CB'ers." Let's test for knowledge of the internals of a modern synthesized rig at both the block and component levels.

Building our own radios is as much ham tradition as CW is. Giving the license applicant a box of parts and a soldering iron and seeing if he can design and assemble a working QRP transceiver isn't too much to ask.

All hams should get up close and personal to antennas, right? So it's reasonable to insist that someone can design, say, a 3-element yagi using either a computer modeling program, or pencil and paper before they get their ticket.

We can't have people not working for their HF privileges, so all hams when renewing their licenses should pass these tests.

Too much, you say? A little silly? Forcing all hams to master skills that don't interest them and they won't use? A lot of people feel the same way about high speed CW testing, yet the skills listed above are legitimately as much a part of radio as CW is.

An alternative is to test on the common knowledge and skills that all hams should have as a foundation for growing into the parts of the hobby that interest them. I think that the ARRL's recent proposal for license restructuring is a right move in this direction.

Let's face it, the hobby needs more HF operators. The insatiable demand for portable communications will continue to be fed with more spectrum, and our mostly unused UHF/SHF allocations are prime targets. HF and low-band VHF demand will most likely decrease, insuring that most of our future spectrum will be there. HF is our future, and we need reasonable and efficient ways of getting plenty of our people there. The League's proposals can be improved, but something like them will move Amateur Radio successfully into the 21st century.

I'm grateful to all that sent contributions and suggestions for improvement - keep those cards and letters coming in. I can be reached by email at pvc@tiac.net , snail mail at 11 Commonwealth Court Apt#15, Brighton, MA 02135, and most if not all BARC club nets and general meetings.


Ham Gear For Sale

Yaesu FT-900 with the following accessories: FIF-232C CAT controller, Bencher YA-1 Low-Pass Filter, CW filter

Yaesu FT-50RD dual-band HT: Standard NiCAD pack, AA pack, Comet SMA503 tri-band SMA antenna

Non Radio Gear: Astron RS35M Power Supply with Voltage and Current Meters

Items can be sold in part or as a package. All manuals included. Best offer. Items are in Boston, MA area.

Scott Ehrlich WY1Z sehrlich@shore.net

Are you a BARC member and you have a treasure you must turn to cash? SPARC will run your (non-business) ad for free. Of course, a 10% donation will be cheerfully accepted. Just send your ad to Editor Paul Carter, N1TMF.


August General Meeting

This month's general meeting will be held at the Boston Back Bay Salvation Army Building, at 7:30 PM, Thursday August 20.

BARC General meetings are held at the Boston Back Bay Salvation Army Building, corner of Berkeley St. and Columbus Ave. near Copley Square, in the third floor auditorium.

Parking is available; the entrance to the parking lot is from Columbus Ave. (across the street from the firehouse). It is also T accessible, the nearest T stations are Back Bay on the Orange and Purple lines (exit the rear of the station by the busway and walk down Columbus) and Copley or Arlington on the Green line (use the Berkeley Street exit).


Got A Question?

You have a question - technical, operating, equipment, club activities, ham radio, computer, whatever. You asked on the air. You asked at a club meeting. You asked your friends (maybe even your enemies). No useful answers. Next step? The Reader's Forum in the SPARC. This space will be devoted to your questions, problems and grief relief. If we can't get you quick internal solutions, there are 300 other readers who can take a crack at it. Contact the Editor by e-mail, snail-mail, phone, or in his face. You'll be glad you did.

By the way, if you have something to sell or you're looking for a special part or equipment, The SPARC is the place to let the ham community know about it. These notices are free for members.


With the FCC "vanity" call sign program under way, it's possible to have a number of changes in our ranks. If you have upgraded and/or changed your call sign, please promptly notify the Keeper of the Database, Bob Salow, WA1IDA, by phone at 508.650.9440 or by e-mail at: erc@world.std.com


I See the Future
Events Ahead

23 AugNoBARC Flea (Adams)
28-30 AugARRL NE Div Convention (Boxboro)
12-13 SeptWGBH Ice Cream Festival
13 SepSEMARA Flea (S Dartmouth)
19 SepHam Awareness Day
19 SepRIFMRS Flea (Forestdale RI)
20 SepMIT Flea
26 SepMEMA Public Safety Fair
27 SepJimmy Fund Marathon Walk
27 Sep Framingham ARA Flea
9-10 OctHoss Traders Flea (Rochester NH)
18 Oct MIT Flea
24 Oct NE Antique RC Flea (Nashua NH)
7 NovIRS Flea (Londonderry NH)
21 NovWARA/1200RC Auction (Newton)

As you might expect, there are many more events (public service, hamfests, flea markets, etc.) taking place - some only peripheral to ham radio. For information on these, covering New England and some of New York, the "Ham - Electronic Flea Market" and the "PSLIST" lists tell the story. They are posted by e-mail to barc-list and on PBBSs regularly. If needed, contact any club member who has access to these.


Eastern Mass Public Safety Net

The EMA Public Safety Net will be held every Tuesday at 2100hrs on 145.230 The net is a forum type net for Public Safety subjects. All Amateurs are welcome.

Any input for the net should be sent to net managers: KA1TTG Bob Ankenbauer (Somerville Ma PD) at ka1ttg@juno.com or on packet to N1GJO Tom Mc Laughlin (Newton FD) at N1GJO@KA1TUZ.FN42JH.MA.USA.NA

73 Dick
rcdoherty@juno.com
KA1TUZ@KA1TUZ.FN42JH.MA.USA.NA


Several Hundred Boston Area Hams Could Be Reading Your Ad Right Now

Commercial advertising in the newsletter provides important services to our members. Besides bringing income to defray the newsletter production costs, you can learn about and patronize those who support us.

We limit the ads to electronics related businesses and to professional ads from members. Advertisers can display a business card size (3.5 x 2 inches) space for $10.00 per month or $48.00 for the same ad for six consecutive months. If camera ready copy is not provided, there may be an additional charge.

However, you play a part. Your effort as a member is needed to present the advantages to advertisers. Businesses and professionals can reach our circulation of over 300 in Greater Boston. Show your copy of this newsletter to businesses that should be looking for our kind of readers. For more information, contact Paul Carter at pvc@tiac.net, or Treasurer Jim Clogher via the club PO box.


Future Meeting Dates
(Third Thursdays at 7:30 pm)
Future Exam Dates
(Second Mondays at 7:00 pm)

  • 15 September 1998
  • 13 October 1998
  • 19 November 1998
  • 17 December 1998
  • 21 January 1999
  • 12 September 1998
  • 5 October 1998 (Note date)
  • 9 November 1998
  • 14 December 1998
  • 11 January 1999
  • 9 February 1999
Meetings are at the Salvation Army,
Berkeley and Columbus, Boston
Exams are at the Pierce school,
50 School Street, Brookline
Free parking and T access available at both locations


Catch Us On The Internet!

The Boston Amateur Radio Club has a web page at http://www.barc.org/barc. Here you can find some of the latest BARC news, sample exams, maps to our meetings and VE sessions, links to other radio clubs, and a club roster (only names, callsigns, and e-mail addresses are on-line). If you have any suggestions, please let me know at n1ist@netcom.com.

Now on our web page are the club articles: www.barc.org/barc/articles.html and bylaws: www.barc.org/barc/bylaws.html. We also run an FTP site at ftp.barc.org under pub/hamradio. We've got a mirror of the ARRL infoserver, BARC documents, ham radio software, and a huge mods archive. The FTP site is maintained by Cheyenne Greatorex, n1qzs@magrathea.com. Contact him if you have any comments.

We also run a club e-mail list. To subscribe, send a message to majordomo@majordomo.netcom.com with the body (the subject is ignored)

subscribe barc-list

The welcome message will list the other lists that we have over at Netcom. (Yes, I know it isn't on the radio. It is, however, an additional resource for getting in touch with other hams around the world...)

73,
/mike
n1ist@netcom.com


BARC VE Session

The Boston Amateur Radio Club holds its monthly VE session on the second Monday of each month. The next session will be on Monday, August 10th. It will be held at the Pierce School at 50 School Street in Brookline, Room 110 next to the cafeteria. The session begins at 7 pm. There is a free parking garage at the circular driveway. If driving, enter School Street from the Washington street side (opposite 394 Washington). Check this this map for more info.

For those traveling via public transportation, take the 'D' branch of the Green Line to the Brookline Village stop and walk down Harvard street to School Street, or take the 66 bus and get off at School Street. Talkin on 145.23.

We give all exams (Novice thru Extra, CW and written), and you don't need to pre- register. Please bring the following with you:

FCC Form 610 will be provided.

For further information, contact Bob Wondolowski N1KDA Tel: (508) 865 5822 or wondobob@juno.com


The BARC Business Meeting

Read the August Business Meeting minutes.

The Boston Amateur Radio Club holds its monthly business meeting on the first Wednesday of each month. The next one will be on Wednesday, August 5th. They are held in the food court of the Lechmere Galleria Mall in Cambridge. We meet at 6:30pm in the lower level, down by the windows facing the lagoon.

This is where the real business of BARC is conducted. If you have any suggestions, questions, or comments, this is where to bring them. Everyone is welcome (and encouraged) to join us at this meeting.


Net Volunteers Needed

The Eastern Massachusetts 2M Traffic Net , the Heavy Hitters' Traffic Net, and the BARC Club Net are always in need of volunteers to act as Net Control Station. This is excellent practice for emergency communications, and also an opportunity to sharpen your operating skills among a friendly group of people. For further information please contact Mike Ardai N1IST.

Here's the preable for the BARC Net.


Here's a listing of Eastern Mass. Nets.


BARC Officers and Staff
PresidentEd Hennessy N1PBA (617) 391 8257
ehenness@natick-amed02.army.mil  n1pba@ka1tuz
Vice PresidentDick Doherty KA1TUZ (617) 969 4880
rcdoherty@juno.com   ka1tuz@ka1tuz
SecretaryMichael Ardai N1IST (617) 738 8652
n1ist@netcom.com   n1ist@k1ugm
TreasurerJim Clogher N1ICN n1icn@ka1tuz
VE (Exam) TeamBob Wondolowski N1KDA (508) 865 5822
wondobob@juno.com
MembershipArthur Ashley N1NHZ (617) 661 2988
 Patricia Allen KE1GD barcmember@aol.com
Public ServicesBob Salow WA1IDA (508) 650 9440
erc@world.std.com   wa1ida@wa1phy
Newsletter EditorPaul Carter N1TMF (617) 232 6982
pvc@tiac.net
The fine print
The Boston Amateur Radio Club is a non-commercial association of persons interested in the Amateur Radio Service. The Club is organized for the promoting of interest in Amateur Radio communication and education; for the establishment of emergency communications in the event of disasters or other emergencies; for the advancement of the radio art and the public welfare; for the representation of the radio amateur in legislative and regulatory matters, and for the maintenance of collegiality and a high standard of conduct.

The Club is open to all persons interested in Amateur Radio without regard to race, color, religion, creed, national origin, gender, disability, or sexual preference. Our General and Executive meeting locations are handicap accessible. Other meeting and activity locations may be handicap accessible by arrangement.

The club is an ARRL-affiliated Special Service Club, and is a member of the Council of Eastern Massachusetts Amateur Radio Clubs (CEMARC) and the New England Spectrum Management Council (NESMC). The Club is a participant in Partnerships Advancing Technical Hobbies Which Attract Youth to Science (PATHWAYS). The Club is also an assoiciate member of the Courage Handi-Hams system.

The SPARC is published monthly by the Boston Amateur Radio Club. The design and content are Copyright 1997, all rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted to reprint or distribute by electronic or other means any material herein, provided this publication and the issue date are credited. Such permission is limited to use for non-commercial purposes for the benefit of the Amateur Radio community. Permission for other purposes must be obtained in writing.