MARA W1/GaZette

March 2005
Vol 47 No. 7

In This Issue...
Next Meeting 1
Boston Marathon Needs You 1
Watt's Happening 2
VE Team Report 2
February Meeting Report 3
Contest Chatter 6
Groton Road Race 7
WMA Section News 8

Contributors To This Issue: KB1JXJ, N1MGO, AA2T

Next Meeting

Wednesday, March 9
LEMA Headquarters
Carter St., Leominster

The March MARA meeting will be held in the Emergency Operations Center
at the Leominster Emergency Management Agency headquarters, 37 Carter
St., Leominster.

Driving from downtown Leominster, head east on Mechanic Street, turn
right on 3rd street then a sharp left on Carter. From there LEMA HQ
is on the right 1/2 block away. If you approach from the east, then
coming west on Mechanic Street, turn left on 5th, down the hill, make
right on to Carter St. and next left into driveway or park out by the
front door.

After parking, walk to the side garage door where you will see a metal
door on the right. This door will be open. Enter and walk on 45
degree angle to the left (i.e. 10 o'clock) to the double doors on
opposite wall for the EOC. Go through those doors; restrooms are on
left for reference, then make next right. The first door on right is
the communications room and second is the EOC room which we will use.

Boston Marathon Needs You!

The Boston Marathon Ham Radio crew is still in need of volunteers.

If you haven't yet signed up, you can now do so on-line. Go to and fill out the Communications Crew information
there. When asked for your coordinator's phone number, use
978-632-9432. When you have completed that registration you will be
directed to continue to and click the
'volunteering' link in the top right and follow the instructions in
the text to get to the BAA registration. Both registrations are

Hint: on the second page of the BAA registration when you are asked if
you are volunteering as part of a group, you want to respond 'no'.
Also, I am told that the position preference you enter on the site will take precedence over the position information
requested on the BAA site.

Watt's Happening

Sundays, 0800 local 5330.5 (ch 1) USB Western Mass Emergency 60M Net
Alternate frequencies are 5346.5 (ch 2), 5366.5 (ch 3), 5371.5 (ch 4),
and 5403.5 (ch 5).

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

Mondays, 2000 local 147.525 simplex Worcester Emergency Simplex Net

Tuesdays, 1930 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

First Monday, 1900 local 3943, 7245 RACES Net

First Wednesday, 2000 local 3915 K1ARC Red Cross Net

Sunday, March 6, Northampton MA
Mt Tom ARA hamfest, Smith Vocational High School, 9am.

Sunday, April 3, Framingham MA
Framingham ARA hamfest, Walsh School, 9am

Saturday, April 9, Londonderry NH
IRS hamfest, Lion's Club, 8am

Sunday, April 17, Cambridge MA
Flea at MIT. Third Sunday April-October.

VE Team Report

The February Volunteer Exam session was canceled as there were no
candidates pre- registered by the Monday before the session.
Unfortunately, we learned that a candidate did show up at the session
site without calling hoping to be accepted as a walk-in.

While the VE Team did accept walk-ins as long as the session was being
conducted, we will be changing future session registrations to
indicate "walk-ins not allowed" to emphasize that candidates should
contact us to insure that the session is being held.

The MARA and Harvard Repeater Association VE Team holds FCC Amateur
Radio Exam sessions on the fourth Wednesday of the month in Shirley.
Preregistration is requested; the session is canceled if no candidates
are registered by the weekend prior to the session. Contact Paul KD1YH
at 978-597-6535 to register for the session.

The VEC exam session fee for 2005 is $14.00. Examinees may take as
many different exam elements as they wish during the session. Any
exam re-takes are at the discretion of the examiners and constitute a
separate "session", with a new session fee required.

February Meeting Report

de Pauline KB1JXJ

9 February 2005

Fitchburg Central Fire Station

07:10 PM (19:10 UTC) - Executive board Meeting called to order by
Gary, K1YTS.

Present - Gary K1YTS, Paul KD1YH, Gordon N1MGO, Pauline KB1JXJ,
Charlie KT1I, Ralph KD1SM, Bill N1UZ, and Norm W1BYH.

New Business

Financial Report for November and December 2004

Starting balance 724.26

Income 148.00 Dues, repayment of Monty's Garden bill (Club paid $12.00
toward total bill for all members at Monty's)

28.34 Ck # 527 phone bill
50.00 Ck # 528 Monty's Garden, reserve room for Christmas
28.34 Ck # 529 phone bill

Ending Balance 765.58

Financial Report for January 2005

Starting balance $765.58


$28.34 Ck # 530 phone bill
$28.34 Ck # 531 phone bill

Ending Balance $708.58

Ralph, KD1SM - Has Beltronics paid for the advertisement yet?
Gordon, N1MGO - Don't know, will check on status.
Gary, K1YTS - Do we need an audit?
Norm, W1BYH - no

Secretary's Report

1. Announcement of this February meeting appeared in the Sentinel and
Enterprise in the Community News section twice, Thursday and Sunday,
before the meeting.

2. Do we want to meet in the new Public Safety Facility in Lunenburg?
Ralph has already begun inquiries and will try to book the April
meeting there.

Paul - 2 VE sessions have been canceled due to snow.

Charlie - Inquiry - Status of moving the repeater downstairs in the

Norm - Contact person was not available, agrees that problems could be
temperature related.

Gary - Maybe time to schedule a maintenance party - Spring?

07:23 PM Gordon N1MGO, Volunteers to be Field Day Coordinator, we need

Bill - Suggestion to arrange antennas by means of a Plot Plan.

Norm - Volunteers to make a plan.

7:30 PM (19:30 UTC) Regular Meeting

Present, above listed names plus, (total 19)

Ray KB1LRL, Paul W1SEX, Ed KB1LJJ, Bill KC0HMJ, Norm W1LXE, Jerry
AA2T, Randy Eisenberg (nocall), Paul N1QDX, Nancy KB1KEF, Bob KB1JZU,
Wayne KB1FOU [Ed note: also saw Tom K1JHC].

Old Business

Bill - Fitchburg Charter School has taken the Ham Course off the
curriculum for 1 month.

Jerry AA2T - Reports the ARES net has 22 - 23, HF net 14 or 15, all
going OK.

New Business - None

07:38 PM - First demonstration by Paul W1SEX, continuing to build your
power supply.

08:04 PM - Second demonstration by Bob KB1JZU, DX Lab Applications

08:52 PM - Meeting adjourned

Respectfully submitted
Pauline Carulli KB1JXJ

Paul W1SEX uses an oscilloscope to demonstrate his power supply design
around a multiple winding transformer. Right: the Heathkit case Paul
will re-use. Below: Paul talks to a packed room. Bob KB1JZU is setup
to present also.

above: the Groton Road Race had beautiful spring weather in 2004 as
the runners pass through the town center. Photo courtesy KB1HDO

Contest Chatter

de Gordon N1MGO

March 2005

Contests coming up in March:
5 Open Ukraine RTTY Championship 2200Z-2359Z, Mar 5 (Low Band) and
0000Z-0159Z, Mar 6 (Low Band) and
0800Z-1159Z, Mar 6 (High Band)
5-6 ARRL Inter. DX Contest, SSB 0000Z, Mar 5 to 2400Z, Mar 6
13 North American Sprint, RTTY,
4 hours only!
19-21 BARTG HF RTTY 0200Z, Mar 19 to 0200Z, Mar 21
26-27 CQ WW WPX Contest, SSB 0000Z, Mar 26 to 2359Z, Mar 27
Contests coming up in April:
2-3 EA RTTY Contest 1600Z, Apr 2 to 1600Z, Apr 3
2-3 CWA Spring QSO Party 1800Z, Apr 2 to 1800Z, Apr 3
16 Holyland DX Contest 0000Z-2359Z, Apr 16
16 TARA Skirmish Digital Prefix Contest 0000Z-2400Z, Apr 16
23-24 SP DX RTTY Contest 1200Z, Apr 23 to 1200Z, Apr 24

Also many spring sprints and many state qso parties in the month of
March and April!

The above contests are some of the big ones to continue the winter
into spring contest season.

There are many other contests also going on during March and April.

For more contests and information, with links to the rules see: or

How to have fun contesting!

Many of the contests have several Entry Classifications, like: Low
power (usually <150 Watts), High Power (>150 watts), QRP and
Multioperator, single, 2 or multi transmitters.

Charlie and I entered the CQ World-Wide RTTY WPX Contest in February
as a Multioperator-Single Transmitter station. This category meant
that we could only use one transmitter, but could take turns operating
for the entire 48 hours of the contest.

Single operators could only run 30 hours of the contest. This allowed
us to get lots of operating in without getting so tired. Also to be
considered was which call sign to use. Because the Prefix of the call
was a multiplier in this contest, and KT1 is much rarer than N1 or W1
we chose to use Charlie's call. That meant we were in demand as a
"Multiplier" for extra points to other stations.

Contesting is not about winning with the most points, only one station
can do that in each contest and the winning station is usually one of
the "Super Stations" that are setup for just contests, like KC1XX, and
K1TTT in the local area. Our goal was to make 1000 qso's in the
weekend, something that neither Charlie nor I had done before, either
alone or as a "Multi-operator" setup. We made it with some to spare
with 1066 qso's in 41 hours!

Contesting can be fun with goals set that are realistic for your
station and operating experience level. Some contests are fun to try
to do "WAS" (Worked All States) in a weekend, in CW one time then SSB
or RTTY the next time. Another goal should be to better last years
score, if you did the same contest last year. Contests are also a
great time to look for the rare DX that you might need for DXCC, or a
state or county you need for some other "Wall Paper" you might want
for the shack! CW contests are great for increasing your code speed.

If you do any contest, please submit your log. This helps the contest
committee score all the contestants better. Most contests are now
scored using special software that enters everybody's log, that is
sent in, in a data base file. This database and some custom software
allows cross checking of the logs, producing more accurate scores.
All the cross checking depends on every one that participated sending
in their log. If you need help with log submission, or setup for a
contest, I will try to help. Call me on the club repeater, or e-mail
me, or stop by.

Gordon - N1MGO

Groton Road Race - April 24

de Ralph KD1SM

The Groton Road Race is a nice country foot race attracting about
2,000 runners to the town of Groton on a Sunday in April. Since its
first running in 1992, the Groton Road Race has relied heavily on
Amateur Radio operators to provide communications essential to
managing the race.

This event truly highlights Amateur Radio at its best. The race is
organized by a local running club, the Squannacook River Runners. The
Club has an excellent relationship with the Groton Police Department
-- vital to the safety of the event. In turn the small Groton Police
force has to call in officers from neighboring towns, and even the
Massachusetts Environmental Police, to cover all the road
intersections along the course. These several Police Departments of
course have no shared radio communications between themselves. Here is
where we Hams prove our worth to the public for the frequencies that
the FCC preserves for our use.

In a letter thanking us, race director Sue Podolske wrote "We truly
could not even consider allowing a single runner across the starting
line if you were not there to insure communications were open to
safeguard the participants."

Sue is not understating her need for our services. The only way the
Groton Police Officer who is responsible for ordering road closings
and approving the starting musket to fire can communicate these orders
to the entire course and to the starting line is by instructing his
Ham 'shadow' to communicate his instructions. We even station a Ham
in the Groton Dispatch center so that out-of-town officers have a
direct path to Groton Dispatch.

It takes about 40 Hams to meet the full needs of this event. Please
consider spending a few hours on Sunday, April 24 and joining us. It
is very rewarding; both the runners and the spectators have approached
Hams at various checkpoints and thanked us "just for being there".
Volunteers are needed starting at 9am and 11am but the major event is
the 10k race at 12:30pm.

If you are able to spend 3 hours with us and show how Amateur Radio
serves the public, please contact Ralph Swick KD1SM at
or 978.582.7351 evenings. More information about the race itself may
be found at

WMA Section News

de Bill W1UD

News last updated: Tue, February 8, 2005 at 8:57 AM ET

Another month has passed and I see very little improvement in
propagation. Record snowfall and poor operating conditions has left
many of us trying to make any contact without thinking of anything
exotic. Looking forward to a lighter note, I've been thinking of Field
Day. It's not too early to make plans. June will be here before we
know it. The sooner the better as far as I'm concerned. This time of
the winter I get a definite longing for moderate weather and green
leaves on the trees. Why not volunteer to be chairperson for FD. It
will be an adventure.

Last year I spent FD traveling to clubs in the section but this year
I'm going to Mt. Wachusett to operate with the MARA club. A friend
gave me a camping trailer and I'm going to take it on it's maiden
weekend. It should prove interesting. Now I have to think of the
antenna I will use. The mountain has no trees higher than twenty feet
on the summit.

Each year that I have spent FD on Wachusett, I've come up with a
different antenna. Everything from a 2 element quad for 40 meters to a
ZL Special. I'm thinking of a Moxon square for this year. I'll keep
you posted on my progress.

Very few know that I spend my evenings operating on MARS nets and
handling traffic in the NTS. My way of returning what I owe for the
privilege of having a ham license and not having to pay for the use of
very expensive amateur frequencies.

This months meeting of the MARA will be a triple header. The meeting
will be held at the Leominster EOC. Paul, W1SEX, will continue his
series on home brewing. Last month he illustrated the tools one should
have to build. This month he will continue and show some techniques to
use the tools. Bob, KB1JZU, will give his overview of DX Labs new
software suite designed by Dave Bernstein, AA6YQ. This software suite
treats everything from radio control, propagation analysis, spotting,
logging and also supports many digital modes. It should prove to be an
interesting evening.

Our troops in Iraq would like to have reading material sent to
them. If you have old editions of QST or CQ and would like to help,
get on for information on how to accomplish
this or contact Paul Bolduc, WR1X, at

Our ongoing adventure in the Marshall Islands with Dave V73UX finds
him out in the bay with a different video camera. The leak in the home
made assembly has been solved. He's down to better than 100ft and its
relatively dry. It is more sensitive to light and despite the overcast
conditions he was able to see better at 100+ feet down. His logging
and position retrieval is being done using a GPS measuring
device. Problem is that it only reads out to two decimal places. He
can move 90 feet before the last digit changes. The new firmware is on
the way to readout to four decimal places. That will make it much
easier to log and relocate where he has been before.

This time out they were able to locate and photograph a Japanese fuel
barge that went down during WWII despite the 20 knot wind that was
blowing their small craft around during photographing. If Kwajalain
Island where Dave is stationed, doesn't ring any bells, look at the
History Cannel and see the fighting that took place there during
WWII. Thanks to Franny Moy's Senior News for another chapter in Dave's

Protect you vehicle and mobile equipment with a little tape. The
latest thing the crooks do is read your vehicle's VIN number from the
tag that is on the top of the dashboard on the drivers side. They go
to any new car dealer parts department and order a key. Now they don't
have to break anything to get in and drive away. A little tape over
the VIN cures that problem and it's legal.

The Mt. Tom Repeater Assn. will hold a hamfest in Northampton March 6,
2005. For additional information contact Ed Libera, WT1W. WA1PDF,
Steve, of QRP Labs will be the speaker for HCARA in February. His
company is contributing a QRP Labs kit as a door prize. Steve is a QRP
guru and the meeting should be very interesting. How about this. Win
the kit, build it, and present it during the March 'Show and Tell'
meeting and will the $50 prize. What a way to get involved with QRP.

Remember, if we don't use our frequencies we have the possibility of
loosing them. Commercial entities are always looking for operating
space. CUL 73

Bill W1UD

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 2005, MARA. Permission to use in other Amateur
Radio publications with credit to MARA is hereby granted.

Editors: Ralph Swick KD1SM 978-582-7351
Webmaster: Paul Upham

Club Secretary: Pauline Carulli KB1JXJ
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 978-597-8769
Paul Upham, KD1YH Vice President
Pauline Carulli, KB1JXJ Secretary
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