March 2003 MONTACHUSETT AMATEUR RADIO ASSOCIATION Vol 45 No. 7
In This Issue...
Next Meeting 1
New ARRL Video 1
Watt's Happening 2
Old Timer's Lunch 2
February Meeting 3
VE Team Report 5
LEMA Notes 5
Fitchburg Central Station 5
Snowstorm, Flood Duty 9
Contributors To This Issue: K1JHC, AA2T, N1UZ
Wednesday, March 12 7:30PM
Fitchburg Central Fire Station Community Room
The March MARA meeting will again be held in the Community Room of the Fitchburg Central Fire Station.
The Fitchburg Fire Station is located directly behind Dunkin Donuts on lower Main Street. Turn up North Street next to Dunkin Donuts and
proceed past the fire station to the visitor's parking area at the rear of the station. Please do not use the visitor slots near the entrance unless
you are unloading gear for a presentation.http://www.arrl.org/ARToday/
From the parking area, walk back down North Street to the front entrance on North Street at the Fire Station sign. Ring the bell at
the inner door to gain entrance then head directly across the lobby and down the stairs. At the bottom of the stairs turn left in the
hallway. The Community Room is then directly ahead of you.
New ARRL Video: Amateur Radio Today
The ARRL has produced a six-minute video for "nonhams" and volunteers seeking a handy presentation to use at civic club meetings. The video
is narrated by former CBS news anchorman Walter Cronkite, KB2GSD and showcases the public service contributions made by hams throughout the
The video is available for download on the Web. A higher-quality version is available on CD-ROM and VHS videotape.
Video highlights include:
. ham radio's response on September 11, 2001
. ham radio's part in helping various agencies respond to wildfires in the Western US during 2002
. ham radio-in-space educational initiatives
More information is available at
Sundays, 0830 local 3937
Western Mass Emergency Net. Alternate frequency is 3942 in case of QRN, QRM, or frequency in-use. Also a good idea to scan up and down
10kHz if you cannot find the net.
Sundays, 0900 local 145.45- Montachusett Emergency Net
Tuesdays, 2030 local 145.37- Templeton Emergency Net
Wednesdays, 2100 local 28.341 Harvard Repeater Club
10 meter sideband net "Activity Night"
Nightly, 2100 local 146.97- Central Mass Traffic Net
Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays 1800 local 3942 MHz Western Mass Traffic Net (phone)
Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays 1900 local 3562 MHz Western Mass Traffic Net (cw, slow)
First Monday, 1900 local 3943, 7245 RACES Net
First Wednesday, 2000 local 3915 K1ARC Red Cross Net
Sunday, March 9, Amherst MA Mt. Tom Hamfest, Middle School
Sunday, March 30, Framingham MA Framingham ARA Hamfest Walsh Middle School, 9am
Sunday, April 20, Cambridge MA Flea at MIT. Third Sunday April-Oct.
May 2-3, Hopkinton NH Hoss Traders Flea Market
Old Timer's Lunch
de Tom K1JHC
The "Old Timer's" had their monthly luncheon meeting at Bickford's
Restaurant in Leominster on February 5th at 12:45 PM. Members present were Norm W1LXE, Roy W1OY, Tom K1JHC, Howard W1TQB, and Norm W1BYH.
The discussion was both varied and interesting. During the conversation the new location for the MARA club at the new Fitchburg
Fire House came up. It was agreed that this would be much better than the old location in the Burbank cafeteria porch. However it was felt
the small room should not have been the reason for a lack of programs at recent meetings. It was brought out that many fine programs were
given at that location in the past. Topics like Emergency Preparedness, Mapping, The Red Cross. Height above Average Terrain,
Space Cameras, Fedex Communications, Message Handling and the ARRL, came to mind.
The seven astronauts that were lost tragically with Space Shuttle were remembered. The impressions of visits to the Launch Site and the
Houston Space Center were given by different members.
Please try to join us on the First Wednesday of the month and enjoy the fellowship and the fine food.
Welcome New Member
Barry Machado N1XYH of Leominster joined MARA in February.
de Ralph KD1SM
The February MARA meeting was called to order by Gary K1YTS at 1935 in the Community Room of the Fitchburg Central Fire Station. 11 Members
were present: Gary K1YTS (President), Gordon N1MGO (Treasurer), Paul KD1YH (Vice President), Bill N1UZ, Warren KA1JL, Paul N1QDX, Charlie
KT1I, Wayne KB1FOU, Norm W1LXE, Tom K1JHC, and Ralph KD1SM.
Three guests were present: Pauline Carulli, friend of Gordon N1MGO; Gregg Normandin, Fitchburg Fire; and Barry Machado N1XYH.
Technical Committee (Paul KD1YH): The repeater PL turns off automatically on Sunday mornings just before the ARES net. Paul
typically leaves the PL off after the net until the repeater gets noisy again. Sometimes the repeater will go for two or three days
before Paul needs to turn PL back on. Operators who have older radios without tone capability can disable the PL by sending "25*"; the
repeater will execute this command even if the transmitting station does not use PL.
There was some discussion of enabling "long tone zero (LITZ)" as another way to turn off the PL. LITZ is transmitted by transmitting a
'0' for several seconds. This is a nation-wide recommendation proposed by the ARRL.
There was further discussion of the Field Day date overlap with the Fitchburg Longsjo Race. Though there has been some press about
residents of Princeton advocating a change to the Road Race circuit on Saturday, the current Longsjo information shows no course changes from
previous years. It was noted that even if the DEM is willing to let us use the mountain for Field Day, vehicle access will be severely
restricted during most of the day on Saturday. Ralph KD1SM will contact the Longsjo organizers to inquire whether any accommodation
can be made for a limited number of vehicle passes to the top of the mountain. Ralph noted that the mountain road will certainly be closed
for several hours on Saturday afternoon. This will limit the general public access to our Field Day site but there could be a lot of racers
and support crew milling around who might visit our operation. In 2002 we had 25 radio operators at Field Day.
Tom K1JHC suggested an alternate location on the top of Flat Hill in Lunenburg. Wayne KB1FOU suggested looking into Marshall Farm.
Gary K1YTS reported that Bill NZ1D is still working on cleaning up out of date material in the MARA By-Laws.
Paul KD1YH reported that the Boy Scout Spring Camporee is scheduled for May 3 and 4. Paul has arranged that Amateur Radio will be an
explicit activity during the Camporee. Paul would like to have six stations in operation during the weekend with two operators at each station.
Gary K1YTS circulated an architectural drawing of the LEMA Communications Room provided by Jerry AA2T. A 32 square foot space
has been designated for MARA/ARES use. LEMA has asked for input from MARA on the arrangement of this space. Gary K1YTS will convene a
small committee to review this plan. Charlie KT1I and Bill N1UZ volunteered to participate on this committee.
Paul KD1YH reported that he spent some time to cleanup and update the MARA Web Site http://www.qsl.net/w1gz/. The meeting thanked Paul for
his efforts. Paul publishes the newsletter on the Web site after removing telephone numbers and financial details. Paul suggested that
if Members think any other details should be removed they should let him know.
Gary K1YTS announced that the annual canoe race in Townsend was scheduled for the second weekend of April.
Ralph KD1SM offered to coordinate a bulk purchase of version 20 of the QRZ callbook CD-ROM. The group discount for buying ten at a time is
half price. See http://www.qrz.com for details and let Ralph know if you want to participate.
The National Weather Service has a new weather transmitter on Pack Monadnock. The frequency is 162.525.
Bill N1UZ brought a raffle item. Tom K1JHC won the raffle, with the proceeds going to the Treasury.
Barry Machado N1XYH of Leominster submitted an application for Membership during the meeting. Barry's application was accepted by
The meeting adjourned at 2025. Following the meeting, Gregg Normandin led us on a tour of the Fire Station.
VE Team Report
The February Amateur Radio license exam session was held on February 26 in Shirley. The session served two examinees. Both were successful
in taking the General written exam.
Volunteer Examiners Tom WA1RHP, Gordon N1MGO, Don N1HVA, Paul KD1YH, Chat WA1FIA, Jim W1DF, and Ralph KD1SM conducted this session.
This was a very efficient and brief session. Both examinees were well-prepared. The entire session, including registration and
processing of the examinees' paperwork was completed in 45 minutes.
MARA and the Harvard Repeater Club co-sponsor Amateur Radio license exam sessions on the fourth Wednesday of every month.
Pre-registration is required, as the session will be held only if we know by the weekend prior to the fourth Wednesday that at least one
candidate will be attending. Walk-ins will be accepted as long as the session is being held, however we still prefer to receive some advance
notice. Paul KD1YH is the pre-registration contact. Paul can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
de Jerry AA2T
There was no LEMA comm meeting for February. A clean up day was held on Feb 22, 2003 at Leominster OEM. Additional work on the tile floor,
general maintenance and starting work on the offices was done. We are working to get an additional budget dollars in front of the city
council to get the heat installed in the building.
Fitchburg Central Station
de Ralph KD1SM
Following the February meeting, Lt. Gregg Normandin of Fitchburg Fire led a tour of the new Central Station.
The new Central Station was occupied on November 1, 1999. It was built at a cost of $8M on the site of the former Simonds Industries
factory. Tom K1JHC had fond memories of commuting to this site.
Fitchburg Fire runs in 24 hour shifts with 3 days off. Each shift has 9 firefighters on duty. One of the 9 is a member of the dive team.
When not on calls, the firefighters perform station maintenance tasks including cleaning the equipment, cooking meals, and station
housekeeping. The station has 21 toilets to clean.
The dispatch desk is staffed 24x7 with two dispatchers.
The Dive Team has seven divers and makes 3 to 4 calls a year.
More photos are in the Web at
The following photographs are all by Ralph KD1SM.
Left: President's Eye View
Gary K1YTS conducts the meeting in the Community Room.
Below: Lt. Normandin shows the group his office.Below: Lt. Normandin
describes the display of old firefighting equipment in the lobby. The
plaque below the display covers a time capsule, to be opened in 2074.
Below, right: the kitchen, where the firefighters cook their own meals.
Above: Firefighter Lester Lacki describes the communications consoles and the dispatch procedures.
Below, left and right: inside the equipment bay.
Above: Looking up inside the hose drying tower Left: SCOTT pack recharge chamber
Hams Take On Snowstorm, Flood Duty In Eastern US
Amateurs in the Eastern US this week responded after heavy snow in some regions and icy conditions and flooding in others knocked out and
disrupted communications in several states.
In the Washington, DC, area--which received more than two feet of unwelcome and unusual snowfall--virtually all travel was reported
paralyzed. Prince George's County, Maryland, Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) was activated to assist in picking up and
delivering dialysis patients to and from local facilities as well as providing other needed transportation assistance. Murray Green, K3BEQ,
reports that the county EOC was activated, and Deputy Radio Officer, Frank Scott, K3HDM, took the reins as net control station. Primary
communication was via VHF repeaters.
In Northern New Jersey, ARES and SKYWARN activated 15 SKYWARN nets that garnered 173 checkins during the storm, said Section Emergency
Coordinator Steve Ostrove, K2SO. In all, reports were logged from nine New Jersey counties as well as two in New York and one in
Pennsylvania. Hams put in nearly 70 work-hours.
In Ohio, Section Manager Joe Phillips, K8QOE, reports that hams responded to weather emergencies throughout the day February
16. Phillips said the Ohio Single Side Band Net (OSSBN) was called into an emergency session by Assistant Section Manager Connie
Hamilton, N8IO, and Ohio Section Emergency Coordinator Larry Rain, WD8IHP.
"Icy streets and falling snow clogged roads and ice covered trees striking power lines caused power outages throughout Ohio," Phillips
said. "The OSSBN moved emergency traffic and kept Ohio hams in constant contact with the Ohio Emergency Management Agency." He said
in the Dayton area, Amateur Radio operators with four-wheel drive vehicles stood by to transport essential personal such as medical
personnel to their jobs.
In New England, which is much more used to heavy snowfalls, the newly formed Worcester Emergency Communications Team (WECT) in central
Massachusetts activated a net at the request of Worcester emergency management officials. The net ran most of Presidents' Day--when the
majority of the snow fell in the region. "The activation gave us a chance to test our capabilities and explore both our strengths and
weaknesses in terms of emergency communications," said Worcester ARES EC and City RACES Officer Mark Rubin, WB1ARZ.
Rubin said the team set up a VHF station at the Worcester EOC. At one point, he and another WECT member were atop the EOC roof in blizzard
conditions setting up a 5/8-wave antenna. More than two feet of snow fell in some parts of Southern New England.
From The ARRL Letter
Vol. 22, No. 08
February 21, 2003
The MARA W1/GaZette is published by the Montachusett Amateur Radio Association just prior to the monthly meeting. The newsletter is
distributed free to members and friends of Amateur Radio.
Contents copyright (c© 2003, MARA. Permission to use in other Amateur Radio publications with credit to MARA is hereby granted.
Editors: Ralph Swick KD1SM email@example.com
Bill Wornham NZ1D
Club Secretary: Bill Wornham, NZ1D
Annual Dues: Regular $25
Fixed income $15
Meetings: 2nd Wednesday, 7:30pm
September to June
Mailing address: MARA
PO Box 95
Leominster, MA 01453
Web site: http://www.qsl.net/w1gz/
Gary Busler K1YTS President
Paul Upham, KD1YH Vice President firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill Wornham, NZ1D Secretary email@example.com
Gordon LaPoint, N1MGO Treasurer
Charlie Cayen, KT1I Trustee
MARA owns and operates the W1GZ repeater providing emergency autopatch
service on 145.45 (CTCSS 74.4) in Fitchburg.
Montachusett Amateur Radio Association
PO Box 95 Leominster MA 01453
To return to the W1GZ home page