In This Issue...
Next Meeting 1
Parker Classic May 18 1
Field Day 1
Watt's Happening 2
LEMA Comm Notes 2
April Meeting Minutes 3
Townsend Lion's Canoe Race 5
Athol Lion's River Rat Race 5
Boy Scout Camporee 6
SKYWARN Training 9
New Echo Satellite Possible 9

Contributors To This Issue: Jerry AA2T, Tom K1JHC, Gary K1YTS

Next Meeting

Wednesday, May 14 7:30PM Fitchburg Central Fire Station

The May MARA meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, May 14 in the Community Room of the Fitchburg Central Fire Station.

The Fitchburg Central 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.

From the parking area, walk back down North Street to the front entrance on North Street at the flag pole and 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.

Public Service: Parker Classic

The Parker Charter School in Devens has their annual Parker Classic Road Race scheduled on Sunday, May 18. Eight radio operators are needed to staff the checkpoints along the course.

Please contact Stan KD1LE if you are available to help on that date.

Field Day: June 28-29

Field Day is the largest emergency communications exercise that Amateur Radio operators in the US conduct. Sponsored by the ARRL, the objective of Field Day is to erect an emergency station (consisting of as many transmitters as desired) starting no earlier than 1800UTC on Friday and commencing operation at 1800UTC on Saturday.

The objective is to work as many stations as possible on any and all amateur bands (excluding the 30, 17, and 12-meter bands) and in doing so to learn to operate in abnormal situations in less than optimal conditions.

Watt's Happening

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 Monday, 2000 local 145.37 rptr Region 4 North RACES Net

First Wednesday, 2000 local 3915 K1ARC Red Cross Net

Sunday, May 18, Cambridge MA Flea at MIT; third Sunday April to

Sunday, June 1, Newington CT Newington ARL Hamfest, 9am

Sunday, June 15, Cambridge MA Flea at MIT; third Sunday April to October

Saturday, September 27, Orange MA Mohawk ARA flea, Elk's Lodge, 8am

LEMA Comm Team Notes

de Jerry AA2T

15 April, 2003

There is a city wide task force to work through all the tactical callsigns and usage of the public safety frequency we have. This way different departments can talk to each other without confusion.

We are looking at also adding announcements to the neighborhood watch dispatching duties. So those with scanners would get reminders of upcoming Leominster OEM Activities.

We installed 3 new Kenwood UHF radios, one in neighborhood watch car, one in business office and one in one of the command trucks. These radios have alphanumeric display.

A final cleanup is April 26 to remove last items from Lancaster St.

Reviewed new policies:
1. Chain of command.
2. ICS usage
3. Roles and assistant and deputy directors
4. Training, offerings, delivery and attendance
5. Volunteer scheduling.

We are getting the rest of the police handhelds except for a few. Will reprogram and check batteries.

The HVAC system is out for bid. Once installed, the city will finish off electrical work and then we can put in office furniture. Will have a person who did all the wood work so far, build the EOC stations.

April Meeting

de Ralph KD1SM

The April MARA meeting was called to order on Wednesday, April 9 at 1935 by President Gary K1YTS in the Community Room of Fitchburg Central Fire Station. Members present were Paul KD1YH, Gordon N1MGO, Gary K1YTS Phil N1QAM, Paul N1QDX, Bill N1UZ, Norm W1LXE, Tom K1JHC, Norm W1BYH, Howie W1TQB, and Ralph KD1SM. One guest was present; Matthew Ciampaglia representing the Boy Scouts.

Gordon N1MGO reported one correction to the Treasurer's Report as printed in the April W1/GaZette; the ending balance should have been $###.##. With that correction, the minutes of the April meeting were accepted as printed.

Tom K1JHC apologized for submitting a duplicate Old Timer's Luncheon report.

Committee Reports:

Treasurer (Gordon N1MGO): Starting balance $###.##, no income in March, expenses of $##.## for the autopatch phone bill. Ending balance for March is $###.##.

Old Business:

Gary K1YTS stopped at LEMA HQ a couple of times but never when anyone else was there. His objective was to see the communications room.
Norm W1BYH reported that progress was being made, but slowly. Norm proposed that MARA consider operating W1GZ Field Day from the LEMA
Communications Room. He noted that this would be good public relations and would demonstrate what a multi-op station would be like.

Bill N1UZ expressed concern that if we abandon Mt. Wachusett this year we might never regain access to it. Bill also reported that the Mohawk ARC was planning to send three operators to join the W1GZ operation.

Gary K1YTS reported that he had not yet confirmed that the letter to DEM requesting use of Mt. Wachusett had been sent.

After further discussion, Gary asked for objections to using Mt. Wachusett, with alternate locations being Marshall Farm and possibly Walmart. No objections were raised.

Ralph moved that we add LEMA HQ as a fourth possibility for alternate site if Mt. Wachusett was not permitted for our use. This motion carried.

New Business

Gary K1YTS reported that the Townsend Lion's Club Canoe Race was scheduled for the following Saturday, 12 April. Volunteers were to meet for a pre-race briefing at 0930. Four or five Hams had volunteered; more are needed. There are 11 locations to be manned.
Gary scouted the river and noted that the railroad trestle behind Town Hall had a major log jam and was likely to be a difficult location.

Paul KD1YH reported on plans for the Boy Scout Camporee on May 4-5. 30 Patrols of six scouts each are expected to participate. Paul would like Hams to run demonstrations on Saturday from 0900 to 1700. One possible activity is to collect NTS traffic to the scouts' families.

The meeting adjourned at 20:35.

Following the meeting, Paul N1QDX described experiments he had been conducting with better quality microphones and audio mixers to improve transmit audio.

Paul "hangs out" on 160 meters with a bunch of audiophiles. He was dissatisfied with the audio quality and ALC of his Icom 706. Using a professional-quality audio mixer with a frequency equalizer to contour voice characteristics, Paul has been able to make dramatic improvements to his audio.

Paul uses a Behringer MX602A mixer and a studio recording mic on a boom in front of his operating position. He reports that the 706 VOX works very nicely with this setup.

The MX602A is available on the Web for about $##.

In addition to the mixer, Paul built a connector box to connect to his 706. Using this connector box, he is able to keep his PK232 TNC and microphone permanently connected and switch between phone and digital modes simply by throwing a toggle switch.

Paul had intended to do a demo, but was missing one patch cord to connect his speakers.

Paul N1QDX shows the MX602A mic mixer he uses with his Icom 706.

the MX602A mixer with Paul's mic input adapter (top) permitting use of alternate microphones and 706 connector box (right) with PTT and additional input connectors.

Townsend Lion's Canoe Race

Saturday, April 12 started as a gloomy, rainy day; an unfriendly one for the 50 or so canoe teams that were to participate in the Townsend Lion's Club Canoe Race.

But by the time the first canoe was launched down the Squannacook River, the sun was poking through the clouds. The day then quickly turned sunny.

Seven Hams manned critical positions along the course: Bill NZ1D, Charlie KT1I, Gary K1YTS, Phil N1QAM, Stan KD1LE, Den KD2S, and Tom KB1JSG.

There were several capsized canoes but no major injuries. Stan's rescue rope was put to use to aid one canoeist who had firmly attached herself to the railroad trestle supports after her canoe capsized.
Many anxious minutes were consumed trying to locate two young boys who failed to arrive at one checkpoint and were reported to Townsend Rescue as missing by their mother. It was discovered that the boys had indeed capsized but had been taken home by their father.

three canoes paddle down the Squannacook River. Note the far bank -- that's snow over there. photo courtesy of Gary K1YTS

When The Rescuers Need Rescuing: At the Townsend Canoe Race, Gary K1YTS need help retrieving his truck after he tried to get it into a spot where he could search for two
"lost" boys.

Athol Lion's Club River Rat Canoe Race

The same Saturday as the Townsend Lion's Club Canoe Race also brought the Athol Lion's Club "Athol to Orange River Rat Race" on Miller's River.

The River Rat Race draws about 200 canoes. Unlike the Townsend event where the canoes start at one minute intervals, the River Rat Race has a simultaneous start; the canoes are lined up on both sides of the Miller's River and launch all at once. This makes for some "exciting" spots at narrow points in the river.

Ralph KD1SM was at the railroad trestle, which is immediately before one bend. One canoe capsized at this location, and a Dive Rescue Team from Northfield was pre-positioned in the water to help the canoeists.
All 200 canoes passed this location in about 20 minutes.

April Old Timers Lunch

de Tom K1JHC

The monthly meeting of the Old Timers was held at Bickfords Restaurant, North Main Street Leominster on April 2, 2003, at 12:30 PM. There were six members present; Roy W1OOY, Norm W1LXE, Howard W1TQB, John WA1NAQ, Norm W1BYH, and Tom K1JHC. They discussed the difficulty of working on surface mount circuit boards and how the
manufacturers manage to locate fuses in places that require dismantling equipment. Roy W1OOY reported working 103 year old Tex Burdick W5BQU.

Do you recall these members? W1KJO Alvah Kuyanpaa, Ollie Jullian, Edward Hill, Oiva Sooukkala, W1BNO Kaarlo Sandstrom, and W1GLO Fred Dilucci. Why not join us at the next meeting 12:30 PM , on the first Wednesday of the month.

VE Team Report

The monthly MARA/Harvard Repeater Club VE Session was held at Neurophysics Corporation, Shirley, on April 23. Three examinees were eager to take their tests; one for Element 1 (CW), and two for Element
2 (Technician written). All three left having achieved what they came for.

The Volunteer Examiners who served at this session were: Jerry AA2T, Don N1HVA, Paul KD1YH, Tom K1JHC, and Ralph KD1SM.

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

Boy Scout Camporee

On Saturday, May 3, Gary K1YTS, Paul N1QDX, Paul KD1YH, and Stan KD1LE gave demonstrations of Ham Radio during a Camporee held in Lunenburg.

An HF station and a "Fox" hunting station were available for the scouts.

Stan KD1LE (behind the antenna) gives instruction in the finer points of hidden transmitter ("fox") hunting to a group of Scouts at the May Camporee.

A scout is intent on getting a good bearing on the "fox".

Stan KD1LE gives instructions on taking bearings.

A Scout homes in on the hidden transmitter.

A boy's dream; look at all the knobs!

Paul N1QDX instructs some Scouts in making a DX QSO.

Gary K1YTS oversees the HF station.

Paul N1QDX demonstrates another reason why he's good to have around.

SKYWARN Training de Rob Macedo KD1CY

SKYWARN training gets back into full swing beginning in Walpole, NH on April 28. Here, once again, is the Training Schedule for the region. We are still awaiting to hear on training sessions in Holyoke and Boston, Mass. There is no pre-registration and all are welcome to attend the sessions:

04/28/2003 Walpole, NH
04/29/2003 Attleboro, MA
04/30/2003 Concord, MA
05/01/2003 Tolland, CT
05/3/2003 Newport, RI
05/5/2003 Merrimack, NH
05/7/2003 Plymouth, MA
05/8/2003 Walpole, MA
05/17/2003 Noon-3PM Wilbraham Middle School Auditorium, Wilbraham, MA
05/19/2003 7-10PM Nashua City Hall, Nashua, NH
05/20/2003 7-10PM Westfield Vocational Technical High School, Westfield, MA
05/31/2003 Noon-3PM Manchester Masonic Hall, Coventry, RI
06/09/2003 7-10PM Worcester Emergency Management Operations Center,
50 Skyline Drive, Worcester, MA
06/10/2003 6:30-9:30PM Nantucket Fire Department EOC, Nantucket, MA
06/18/2003 7-10PM Pioneer Valley Regional High School, Northfield, MA

New Echo Satellite Possible

New Echo satellite could be launched this year: AMSAT President Robin Haighton, VE3FRH, says AMSAT hopes to launch its new "Echo" satellite, now under construction, later this year. "Progress is good, and we hope to have the satellite under test during the late spring or early summer," he said in a recent AMSAT President's Letter.

The so-called "AO-E" satellite will offer analog (including FM voice) and digital operation, high downlink power (7 W nominal), multiple channels (two transmitters), simultaneous voice and data, a multiband/multimode receiver and a turnstile UHF antenna. Optional payloads include APRS and PSK31 support.

More information on the Echo project is available on the AMSAT-NA Web site <>.

--AMSAT News Service
from The ARRL Letter Vol. 22, No. 18 May 2, 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
Bill Wornham NZ1D
Webmaster: (open)

Club Secretary: Bill Wornham, NZ1D
Annual Dues: Regular $25
Family $30
Fixed income $15
Meetings: 2nd Wednesday, 7:30pm
September to June

Mailing address: MARA
PO Box 95
Leominster, MA 01453
Web site:

Gary Busler K1YTS President
Paul Upham, KD1YH Vice President
Bill Wornham, NZ1D Secretary 978-597-2348
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

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