147.000 Temporarily Reduces Power

From the SEMARA Repeater Committee:

You may have noticed intermittent crackle noises on weak signals when using the 2m repeater lately. Rick, W1RJC went down to the repeater site this evening to troubleshoot the issue. It was discovered that there is a potential problem with the antenna and/or feedline which is causing the repeater to “desense” (the repeater’s transmitter is getting back into the receiver).

To temporarily remedy the issue and make the repeater more usable, the repeater’s 100 watt amplifier has been turned off and the repeater is currently running 20 watts. The side effect is that the repeater will be slightly weaker on fringe areas, however weaker signals will not be as noisy getting into the repeater. This is an interim solution until the repeater committee has the chance to troubleshoot further.

2m QSO Party – Sunday, May 30th


For full details, check out the document above. Adobe Reader is required.

Jim, WA1GPO writes:

I’m Jim, WA1GPO, one of the directors for (FARA) the Falmouth Amateur radio association. FARA is working to encourage operators to become more active. Generally speaking the amateur bands have been ‘quiet’; this may be due to the low sunspot activity or just the pace of the world we live in, we don’t know. We’re hoping to try to generate a little interest in the local area with various ‘on the air’ activities. Everyone appears to have a 2m radio so that seems like a logical place to start.

Our first activity is a 2m QSO party, it’s on Sunday, May 30 from 7:30 to 9:00 PM. Sunday evenings are generally quiet so hopefully most operators will find it a convenient time. The major objective is to simply encourage folks to turn on a radio and to have a little fun!! It is a simplex (direct) style of operation, repeater contacts do not count however repeaters may be utilized to solicit simplex contacts and to generate a little more activity!!

To make it a little more interesting we’re encouraging others in the SE MA area to participate as well. I’d like to ask your assistance in spreading the word; if your group has a local net perhaps the net control could mention the activity, a few fliers at club meeting would be helpful, a mention in the club newsletter, a mailing list … the more activity we can stimulate the better.

If this activity is successful we would like to do more; different bands, modes, VHF/HF, whatever sparks an interest. Comments or suggestions would be most welcome. Please feel free to invite other groups or individuals to participate.

If there are any questions, Jim may be reached directly – jvaldes [at] whoi [dot] edu

Monthly RACES Net Moves to 147.000

Joe, N1IXC writes:

Tony Gomes, Ed Caron and myself just came back from a RACES meeting at MEMA. After a discussion about switching the net from Taunton to the Dartmouth repeater, it was approved. I know that the membership approved this a few months ago. This net is only once a month and it will be good for the club. It will start in the month of June. If anyone has any questions, please let me know. 73

Joe can be reached directly – joekris56 [at] hotmail [dot] com

Boston Marathon – Volunteers Still Needed

Paul, W1SEX writes:

As I sit here in one of the final BAA Organizing Committee meetings and continuing to review the volunteer numbers for this year, we have openings still available on the finish line.

If you or anyone you know that has a ham radio license would still like to volunteer please go to the following link:


At this time I can use about a dozen more hams. For those of you that have already signed up thank you. Assignments will be coming out in about two weeks.

Paul can be reached directly – paul.topolski [at] comcast [dot] net

Repeater Maintenance

On Thursday, July 19, 2007 in the late afternoon, the 147.000 repeater will be switched to its internal controller while maintenance is preformed. The repeater will temporarily have no courtesy tone or access to IRLP or EchoLink. Local QSOs may commence; just be aware that the courtesy tone will be absent. Normal operation will be restored no later than Friday, July 20, 2007 late night.

This is being done in order to replace the VoIP computer which supplies the repeater with IRLP and EchoLink. The repeater controller interface is also being modified to allow the alarm panel from the club house to be connected.

Newspaper Article – “Hamming it up!”

The following article appeared in the “Sunday Standard-Times,” a newspaper published in New Bedford, Massachusetts on November 17, 1996.

Hamming it up!

Radio buffs tune in to chat, to share information, and to aid in an emergency

By Gretchen Fehrenbacher, Standard-Times staff writer

All was quiet on residential Donald Street in South Dartmouth the night of Oct. 15 — all, except in a curious Quonset hut, hidden from view, where an all-out state of emergency was unfolding.
“This is N1VUF calling all amateurs to pass traffic net control for Southeastern Massachusetts Coastal …
“Message #3 is a priority from MEMA Area II headquarters. The message is as follows: Have confirmed Red Cross Shelter destroyed by tornado. There were 250 people in the shelter. Unconfirmed report is 35 people dead, 175 people injured, 40 people still missing. RACES and EMA officials requesting MEMA assistance to help with this situation.”

The masters of disasterdom had been put on alert.
All the while, Brad Anselmo sat casually on a desk, his feet propped on a chair, as he broadcast his bulletin. Not a bit of tension in posture or tone.
This was, after all, just another test, or “net,” as it is called, to check readiness of the amateur radio operators’ emergency service skills.
Since 1932, the Southeastern Massachusetts Coastal Amateur Radio Association — W1AEC — has been riding the airwaves night and day.
The station — which began in the New Bedford home of founder Alan Cooper and moved to the cellar of the old Ware Radio store at 813 County St. — has been operating at its present site since 1955.
“The funny thing is, very few people know we are here,” said president Bill Miller, adding he considers the club house “kind of a second home.”
For many of the 77 members — male and female, the young and the older — being a ham is a hobby with a mission: part and parcel of amateur radio is emergency response, be it providing assistance in a crisis or simply following the action.
“I have been out every hurricane, every major storm, in the last three years,” said Robert Peckham of Dartmouth.
“Other guys become hams because they like to talk on the radio — talk with their friends,” he said.
There are those who enjoy hooking up with other hams cross-country, relying on repeaters that enable weak signals to be carried farther.
Some hams make a game of contacting people in as many countries as possible. At the club, the end of the Quonset hut is virtually wallpapered with QSL cards, as they are called, from locations the world over — places such as Tartu, Estonia. The cards are postcards from one ham to another confirming they have talked on the radio.
By definition, amateur radio operators — hams — communicate by two-way radio. Communication can be by voice, Morse code or computer. Licensing of operators is required by the Federal Communications Commission to ensure responsible use of the airwaves. Years ago, the equipment would likely be assembled from a kit spread out on a cellar work table. Today, though, amateur radio operators buy pre-assembled equipment. Then they custom-design their set-ups by the accessories they choose.
The choices are staggering. The number of products has exploded as amateur radio has gone in new directions, including satellite link.
“There are some amateurs around here who actually communicate with the space shuttle,” said Mr. Peckham, who teaches the eight-week licensing course.
Rodney Rapoza, a member of New Bedford’s Emergency Management, the successor to Civil Defense, just likes to stay in touch with what’s happening on earth.
“I like to be in the middle of the excitement that is going on, and I like to be at the end of it to see what happens,” Mr. Rapoza said.
An avocational scuba diver, Mr. Rapoza has visions of becoming a member of the New Bedford Police Department’s diving team.
Ham radio operators render public service in many ways, from providing emergency communications to sharing meteorological data with the National Weather Service.
On a smaller, but no less human scale, hams may offer assistance to their fellows, especially those on the road. Brad Anselmo of Dartmouth recalled a ham whose job kept him behind the wheel overnight — and allowed him to radio on-the-spot weather reports from Cape Cod to Boston.
“He is great during storms because he is up all night and can report where the storms are,” Mr. Anselmo said.
Bob Peckham’s wife, Karen, keeps in contact with an 82-year-old ham named Cliff on her radio-equipped daily trips to and from Newport. He knows what time she’s on the road and keeps tabs to make sure her journey is safe.
But it is the crisis situations — the emergency management roles — that most captivate many amateur radio buffs.
As Mr. Peckham said of Hurricane Bob, “I was able to see things that other people weren’t … plus, you never know who you are going to help.
“If I didn’t do that during a hurricane, I would have to sit home, and I would go nuts,” he added.
He noted, “People tend to forget us until they need us.”
Dartmouth’s Bill Miller takes his radio everywhere he goes. Not having it would be like leaving home without his glasses.
And, as he says, “If I ever got lost and needed directions, I could get on my radio and say, ‘Hey …’ ”
A 38-year-member of the club, his forte is repairing, designing and building equipment. His projects include putting up the 160-foot tower on the club grounds and designing and building the club’s original repeater.
But there are many more niches, as he noted.
“Some people just like phone operations. Some like CW (Continuous Wave) or code. Some are into amateur TV. Satellite signals. Moon-bounce — they bounce the signal right off the moon.”
Only two women are members of the club. But an increasing number are showing interest. Of the roughly 15 people who showed up on the first night of the recent licensing course, three were women.
Among them was Susan Metivier of New Bedford, whose husband, Robert Metivier, recently earned his license.
“I find it very fascinating and decided I wanted to go for my license,” said Mrs. Metivier, who was joined by her son, Brian, 18, at the licensing session.
Ham radio operators include tradespeople, from truck drivers and mechanics, to doctors and lawyers.
They hold yearly “Ham Fests,” or flea markets, where they buy and sell such equipage as spectrum analyzers, oscilloscopes and coaxial cables.
At these events, hams get to see other hams they may have spoken to for years, but never met. Members of a worldwide fraternity, of sorts, they talk ham talk and wear their call letters on their hearts, their hats and their sleeves.
In Zero Beat, the Southeastern Massachusetts’ club’s monthly newsletter, members’ names are followed by the call letters that make sense only to other members of the fraternity:
“Manny, N1JVK, and Bill, K1IBR, spliced 32 feet of half-inch hard-line coax onto the existing cable that went up the tower to the 440 Cushcraft Ringo Ranger antenna.”
On meeting nights at the club house, guys stride into the meeting hall, flaunting their IDs on their clothing.
Larry Houbre’s call sign, AA1FS, was on his baseball cap.
Ted Prgymierski of New Bedford wasn’t wearing his letters, but when he introduced himself, he said, “My call is N1WXQ.
Sometimes hams will gather around just for the sake of jawing with others who share their passion for a hobby.
One night, Edward Gadue and Peter Feldmar of New Bedford joined Bill Miller and brothers Manuel and Richard Cabral of New Bedford in a discussion on code.
“I have heard of guys listening to a two-meter band, and at the same time they are listening to (Morse Code) — they are actually picking up two conversations,” said Richard Cabral.
In other words, they can follow voice conversation while deciphering code, without any devices to help them along.
While amateur radio is not a new medium of communication, it continues to attract hobbyists.
Young ones, too, despite the advent of cell phones and computers.
Dartmouth 14-year-olds Tony Duarte and Brian Sladewski are hooked. Both routinely show up at the clubhouse, as does Richard Cabral, 17, of Dartmouth, a senior at New Bedford Vocational Regional-Technical High School.
“I like helping people in an emergency,” said Tony, who’s reported accidents on the spot to police.
A freshman at Voke, he said his hobby is out of the mainstream of kids his age. “Everybody else is in sports … ” he said. “I am kind of an oddball.”
But Brian, a buddy since fourth grade, loves amateur radio, too. A freshman at Dartmouth High School, he likes the thrill of emergency situations, such as storms, when he can ride around with another amateur radio operator and spot trouble.
“You are getting to help people out,” he said.
Brian takes his radio with him, as a matter of course, when he travels in the car. He took it with him when his family went to New Hampshire recently. He only listened to others’ transmissions.
“It is kind of like a telephone conversation, except it wouldn’t be anything too private that they wouldn’t want anyone else to hear,” he said.
The other members of his family are not radio buffs. So how do they feel about being a captive audience?
“It drives them nuts,” Brian said.
What do they say?
“Lower it.”

Photos by Mike Valeri
Photos: (1) Bill Miller, (2) Richard Cabral (father), and (3) Richard J. Cabral (son), operate the radio equipment.