Here it is, mid-October already! But even though it's October, the Hurricane season doesn't officially end until November 30. After that, we all know that winter brings severe weather. The point? Keep your emergency response kit ready to go. Hurricanes in November are rare, but strong fall storms and snow are definitely possible. Check those batteries, make sure all of the winter items like blanket, gloves, hat, are ready to go should we be asked to help out with communications in the months ahead.
The BARC Holiday Dinner arrangements have been set. The dinner will be at the same place as last year-Ruggieri's Happy Haddock in Medford. The dinner will be on Wednesday, December 16, instead of Thursday. The folks who reserved Thursday have had that date since last January.
BARC is helping the City of Newton set up an Emergency Response Team among interested hams in the city. A meeting will be held in November, and all hams in Newton will be invited to attend. Thanks to KA1TUZ and WA1IDA for setting that up.
I've invited the two ARRL New England Division Vice Directors to say a few words about the position at the October General Meeting. Remember that the third Thursday is the week after the Business Meeting this month.
And there have been a lot of changes happening at the FCC. They've chosen a new Chairwoman. The biggest change for hams will be the new amateur licensing proposal by the FCC. The ARRL has also written one. Details on both proposals and instructions on how to file are on the ARRL web page at www.arrl.org. Responses to the FCC petition are due by December 1st. This is our chance to tell the FCC how we would like the new structure to be. You may file electronically or on paper. Please remember that your response represents the amateur radio community. Write up your reply, but then let it sit a day. Then, re-read it to see if it really says what you mean and then file it with the FCC. Speaking against the proposal is completely acceptable-just give good reasons why you feel that way, and say so politely. Regardless of your position, we've been given the chance to provide feedback, and we definitely should do so.
Also at the FCC, there's a new form for license renewal. Gone will be the Form 610, replaced by the form 605. The 605 is part of the new Universal Licensing System, and it is what we must begin to use for all applications, changes, updates and renewals. Other services such as marine radio will also use the 605. The 610 will be accepted for the next six months or so, and then the 605 will be required, eventually only electronically. Details are at www.fcc.gov/wtb/uls/ on the web.
I'll ask again-if there are activities or events that you'd like to see BARC do, please let me know. If there's something you'd rather we did NOT do, say so. I've never been good at reading minds, so speak up! Also, if there is something that you feel would be a great topic to hear more about at a meeting, let me know. Just an idea is enough-we can chase things down from there. For example, I am going to try to get a speaker to tell us more about the new Fast Lane pass from the MassPike. Look for that after the first of the year if I can get that booked.
And finally, don't forget change your smoke detector battery when you set the clocks back in a few weeks.
The Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network and the Boston Amateur Radio Club will offer a free Ham Radio class. The class is for the (no Morse code needed) Technician License.
There will be five classes, Mondays and Fridays for three weeks beginning October 26th from 7 - 9 PM, followed by the FCC Exam for the Technician license.
Classes will be held at the Salvation Army, 147 Berkeley Street, Boston MA. There is free parking, and the Salvation Army is T accessible.
The textbook is Now You're Talking, which is available at Radio Shack and will be offered for sale at the first class.
Space is limited. Pre-register by calling 617-338-4155 ext. 513 Or E-mail SATERN@QSL.net
Last year's Holiday Dinner at Ruggeri's Happy Haddock in Medford went so well, we decided to do it again!
Please reserve Wednesday, December 16 for the BARC holiday buffet dinner and awards presentation. The formal announcement and reservation form will be in next month's SPARC. The estimated cost will be $21 per person and the menu is yet to be determined (but the haddock can indeed be happy, as they were not on any of the choices.)
Yes, there are many members who contribute to the club in outstanding ways, but one of them must stick in your mind as special. Each year BARC awards the "Ham of the Year" to someone nominated by the membership. This is your chance to make it happen.
The announcement for the BARC Holiday Dinner (included with the November SPARC) has a place for you to state your choice. Even if you can't make it to the dinner (and miss the great time), you can still nominate your choice. Think about it.
BARC will have a tour of the Logan Airport Fire Department towards the end of the month. As of this date, details are not available, please contact Dick Doherty KA1TUZ if you are interested.
BARC is sponsoring a Newton Emergency Response Team meeting on Thursday, November 12th, 7:30 PM at Newton Police Headquarters, 1321 Washington Street, West Newton, MA.
Please contact Dick Doherty KA1TUZ or Bob Salow WA1IDA for further details.
On September 26, MEMA held a Public Safety fair at the Framingham bunker. This event was open to everyone, and had equipment representing many police and fire departments, ambulance services, and utilities. They also had many interesting demos including a hovercraft, search and rescue dogs, and a fireman who was busy turning a car into a convertible.
KA1TUZ and I were there representing BARC and SATERN. We had both 2M and HF on display, as well as a wide assortment of pamphlets and SPARCs.
Hopefully, we will have a better display ready soon for future public demos.
On the weekend of 12 - 13 September if you got ice cream on your shirt, you were probably doing a worthwhile public service. BARC assisted WGBH public television and radio at their annual Ice Cream FunFest fundraiser. Bruce, KC1US, Mike, N1YER, and Bob, WA1IDA, coordinated the communications to monitor crowd safety, and parking strategy, and to keep the event staff informed.
On the two days, over 15 hams helped, and, as an added bonus had access to all the ice cream they could eat. Get ready for next year.
Twenty-seven hams withstood humidity, heat and thirst to support communications for the Jimmy Fund Marathon Walk on Sunday, 27 September. The walk raised money to fight cancer in children for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI). The route covered the same 26.2 miles as the BAA Boston Marathon, plus a three-mile Family Walk. The Boston Athletic Association (BAA) produced the event.
As we have for the past several years, hams provided communications for the 13 Support Stations as well as medical and logistical functions. But this year was different from the usually calm event. The walk began at 0700 with warm temperature, and high humidity. By mid morning the temperature rose to unexpected levels and the stations quickly used up their water and ice supplies, producing a scramble to replenish them. The walking environment also resulted in far more medical casualties and ambulance requests than ever in the ten-year history of the Walk.
The assigned hams rose to the occasion, and kept communications running for the BAA, the DFCI and the Red Cross. N1VSJ and N1YER ably controlled the nets.
This month's general meeting will be held at the Boston Back Bay Salvation Army Building, at 7:30 PM, Thursday October 15.
Ned Bolle will speak on the National Ski Patrol and local ski patrol operations. Also, the two candidates in the election for the ARRL New England Division Vice Director's office, Andrea Parker K1WLX and Michael Raisbeck K1TWF, have been invited (we cannot guarantee that either or both will come.)
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.
The URL for the ARRL Eastern Massachusetts Section web page in last month's SPARC was incorrect. The actual address is at www.qsl.net/ema-arrl/
Recognizing the popularity of personal web pages, BARC is now publishing the URLs of member webpages on our webpage. To be linked to one of the best ham radio webpages available, please send your URL to: Mike Ardai N1IST firstname.lastname@example.org
Since we recently had our cell phone battery go blooey and now one of my ham radio batteries looks like it's gone, I have wondered what to do with the no-good nickel-cadmium batteries. I know that they are recyclable, but I didn't know how or where. I wasn't about to throw them in the can.
The good news is that just about everyone has a drop-off place close by. Radio Shack, WalMart and Circuit City are national participants in the "Charge Up For Recycling!" program. If you want to know who else participates, or more info on the program, check out www.rbrc.com for more details. This is the website for the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation, a non-profit organization formed by the rechargeable power industry.
This means just about all rechargeable batteries can be turned in when they no longer take a charge-cordless and cell phones, camcorder, laptop, portable radios, rechargeable AA, C, D, 9v, etc. I think they may accept more than just NiCaD batteries, but those are by far the most common type.
I recently had a bad experience at the Jimmy Fund walk. Before leaving for the event, I tossed my gel cell pack on the quick charger and checked the battery on my HT. The HT showed 9.5V (not too bad for a 9.6V NiMH pack), and the gel cell charger quickly turned on it's green 'all full' light. Just a few hours into the event, I realized that .23 was rather quiet. A quick glance at the HT showed that the NiMH pack was empty. Those batteries have a very sharp discharge curve - they go from full to flat in a very short time with little warning. Oh, and the gel cell pack has a bad cell in it. It has a high resistance so its open-circuit voltage looked fine but it couldn't deliver any current under load.
Fortunately, N1INX had a spare HT with him that I could borrow.
What's the moral?
I'm just back from the Fall Hosstraders hamfest, which was distinguished by more than the usual amount of rain. In fact, the mud reminded me of descriptions of the Battle of Passendale. Ah, but a little (?) inclement weather can't keep hams away from a hamfest. I saw quite a few BARC members there, and although the conditions were too bad to put up our club table, it was a good time.
Surely, we will have perfect weather next weekend for the last 1998 MIT Flea as compensation. As BARC missed having a table at the last MIT Flea, we should have lots of goodies on display. You can bring yours too, if you're willing to put in a little time behind the tables. I hope to see all of you there next Sunday.
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 email@example.com, snail mail at 11 Commonwealth Court Apt#15, Brighton, MA 02135, and most if not all BARC club nets and general meetings.
Delays in the start of construction for the International Space Station will postpone the permanent presence of ham radio in space. After meeting with a NASA delegation late last week, the Russian Space Agency rescheduled the launch of the first crew to early next year. Originally set for launch next summer, the first crew now will go into space in January 2000. "So, you won't have an Amateur Radio signal coming out of the ISS until then," said NASA's SAREX Principal Investigator Matt Bordelon, KC5BTL.
The first crew will consist of US astronaut William M. Shepherd, as the expedition commander. Shepherd is studying for his ham ticket. Accompanying him will be Russian cosmonauts Yuri Gidzenko and Sergei Krikalev, U5MIR. All three have previous space flight experience. The crew has been training for their launch on a Soyuz vehicle and a planned five-month mission on the ISS.
The change in launch date was blamed on budget-based delays in Russia's completion of the Functional Cargo Block or service module for the ISS. Launch of the service module now is set for next July. The service module is the section of the ISS in which astronauts and cosmonauts will live during construction and will be ham radio's first permanent beachhead in space. Russia's financial woes have put its space program well behind the curve in recent months.
At the same meetings between US and Russian space officials last week, Russia agreed to sell its research time aboard the first phase of the ISS and unspecified hardware to the US for $60 million.
The latest delay means that permanent Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) equipment will not be on the air until after the Russian service module is in space and occupied. However, Amateur Radio has been manifested aboard the ISS as "necessary crew equipment."
Once aboard the ISS, ham radio, through the SAREX program, will serve as an educational tool through worldwide school contacts and as an outreach to the general public.
From the ARRL Letter Vol. 17 Number 40
ARRL Amateur Radio Direction Finding Coordinator Joe Moell, K0OV, says Canadian Wildlife Service biologists again are seeking help from ham operators and monitoring enthusiasts in tracking the migration of the burrowing owl. Up to 40 radio-tagged burrowing owls will be migrating south from Alberta and Saskatchewan through the central United States in the next few weeks. These endangered birds are expected to find winter homes in southern Texas and nearby areas of Mexico. They are considered endangered in some places and "of special concern" in others.
Unlike other owls, burrowing owls don't roost in trees. They prefer to roost in cavities on the ground in treeless grasslands.
If you have a scanner or extended range 2- meter receiver and live in the anticipated migratory path or in the wintering area of the owls, you can assist by listening for the radio tags, which emit pulsed signals near 172 MHz. They have greatest range at night when the birds are in flight. Your help is especially needed if you have portable direction finding equipment.
For more information, visit the K0OV Radio Direction Finding Web site at
Or send e-mail to
-Joe Moell, K0OV
From the ARRL Letter Vol. 17 Number 40
If developments displayed at the 17th ARRL and TAPR Digital Communications Conference were any guide, the momentum of the Automatic Position Reporting System (APRS) continues to grow. This year's conference-held September 25-27 in Rolling Meadows, Illinois-was notable for the announcement of a new Kenwood hand- held transceiver that includes a built-in TNC with support for APRS display and messaging as well as monitoring PacketCluster DX spots. The Kenwood TH- D7A "Data Communicator" is a dual-band (144/440 MHz) unit. It's expected to be on the market by year's end.
As it was last year, spread spectrum development again was another prime topic of discussion. One key difference from last year was the presence of real spread- spectrum hardware. A large contingent from the Packet Radio Users Group (PRUG) of Japan showed up with three experimental 2.4-GHz, direct-sequence spread-spectrum PRUG96 stations. This system, which comprises radio and computer components, is being developed in Japan by PRUG. At the conference, the three units were operated as a network transferring data among themselves at about 800 kbit/s.
Another spread-spectrum radio development project is the TAPR effort, spearheaded by Tom McDermott, N5EG. McDermott reported at the Conference that the project has moved considerably forward, with much of the development of the digital hardware and the software kernel now completed. A lot of work remains to be done, however, and no specific project completion date is yet forecast.
Dewayne Hendricks, WA8DZP, reported on experimental Amateur Radio spread- spectrum networks (under TAPR's FCC- granted special authority) in the San Francisco Bay area. One system he has tried uses Part 15 wireless LAN equipment, but operates under amateur (Part 97) rules. Another uses cable modems and transverters.
These technological efforts did not escape the notice of conference keynote speaker Dale N. Hatfield, W0IFO, Chief of the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology. He expressed pleasure and approval at seeing the kind of experimental work that amateurs are engaged in, calling such efforts vital to the future of Amateur Radio. - Jon Bloom, KE3Z
From the ARRL Letter Vol. 17 Number 40
The following is a list of the FCC sequentially assigned call signs issued in the First District as of September 1, 1998:
Note: All Technician/General 1x3 calls have been assigned; calls will now be assigned from the Novice group.
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.
Depressed because you have a treasure you must turn to cash and you couldn't make it to the last flea market? Well, cheer up, Bunky! 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.
It's a rare month when we fail to add a few new members. We publish the names of new members periodically. Please make a special welcome for the following new (or long lost) BARC 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
|18 Oct||MIT Flea|
|24 Oct||NE Antique RC Flea (Nashua NH)|
|24-25 Oct||Head of the Charles|
|7 Nov||IRS Flea (Londonderry NH)|
|21 Nov||WARA/1200RC Auction (Newton)|
|16 Dec||BARC Holiday Dinner|
|23 Jan||NE Antique RC Flea (Nashua NH)|
|7 Mar||Mt Tom ARA Flea (Westfield)|
|18 Apr||MIT Flea|
|7-8 May||Hoss Traders Flea (Rochester NH)|
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.
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 email@example.com or on packet to N1GJO Tom Mc Laughlin (Newton FD) at N1GJO@KA1TUZ.FN42JH.MA.USA.NA
BARC is pleased to host the Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network Net on Friday Nights at 9pm on the 145.23 repeater.
The SATERN Net is much like the public safety net, but is used to pass information on The Salvation Army Disaster Services, and Disasters throughout the US and the World. SATERN members as well as the general Amateur Radio community in general are invited to join the net and participate. The first few nets will be a time to get organized, but we hope to get this up and running quickly.
Anyone wanting more info on SATERN can contact Mike Koenemund KB1CKF at: 147 Berkeley Street Boston, MA 02116-5197 KB1CKF@qsl.net or MassDisaster@juno.com KB1CKF@KA1TUZ.7N42JH.MA.USA.NA
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or Treasurer Jim Clogher via the club PO box.
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|
The Boston Amateur Radio Club has a web page at 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 email@example.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, firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact him if you have any comments.
We also run a club e-mail list. To subscribe, send a message to email@example.com with the body (the subject is ignored)
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...)
The Boston Amateur Radio Club holds its monthly VE session on the second Monday of each month. The next session will be on Monday, November 9th. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Read the October 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, November 4th. 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.
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.
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.