Don Mara, WA1PLT, SK

2016-01-31It is with great regret that we announce the passing of SEMARA member Donald A. Mara, WA1PLT of Dartmouth.  Don passed away on Sunday, January 31, 2016 at 11:30 AM.  He was 87 years old.  Don was still active in recent months and also attended several SEMARA business meetings in 2015.  President Marcel, W1MLD adds:

So sorry to hear about Don WA1PLT SK. He was always so interested in amateur radio and SEMARA. He will be missed.

Share your thoughts and memories of Don using the “Comments” link at the top of this story.  We send our sympathy to Rachel and his family for their loss.  May he rest in peace.

WA1PLT, SK

SEMARA’s Clubhouse Addition Gains Steam!

2016-01-18Construction of a new addition, which will house the new SEMARA radio room, began this past summer when a former cellular communications shelter was placed on a newly built foundation behind the existing clubhouse.  Last month, construction kicked into high gear with the ground being graded, a floor and wall being added to attach the new building to the existing clubhouse and a roof being framed and shingled.

As construction continues, follow along with pictures from start to finish, with newer photos being added periodically at SEMARA’s Clubhouse Addition photo album.  The SEMARA Web Committee would like to thank Mike-W1BZJ and Michael Raposa for providing a majority of the pictures for this growing album.

Annual “Santa Net” on 3916 kHz

2015-12-11The annual “Santa Net” is conducted every night at 8:30 PM ET (01:30 UTC) on 3916 kHz LSB until Christmas. Get your kids, grand-kids or neighbor’s kids on the air third-party and talk with Santa at the North Pole via amateur radio! The Santa Net is held every year before Christmas on the 75-meter ham band.

Greater Boston Public Service Events – Fall 2015

2015-08-26Brett Smith, AB1RL, Public Service Coordinator for the Boston Amateur Radio Club (BARC) is looking for volunteers for two upcoming public service events.  If interested in helping out for either event, email ab1rl [at] brettcsmith [dot] org or call (859) 466-5915.

I hope you’ve enjoyed your summer. Fall will be here faster than you know it, and with it come more public service opportunities for hams. There are a couple I wanted to let you know about.

The Jimmy Fund Walk on Sunday, September 27. This is an all-day walk along the Boston Marathon route to raise funds for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Hams provide communications for each medical tent along the route and the sweep vehicles that serve them.

To help out, please write me back with your call sign, phone number(s), available equipment, and t-shirt size. Please also let me know if you have any constraints on your schedule that day—if you can’t start before, or must finish by, a particular time.

The BAA Half-Marathon on Sunday, October 11. This is the BAA’s annual half-marathon along the Emerald Necklace in Boston. Volunteers will need to park at the Roxbury Community College before 6:00 AM to report to their assignments, and will finish in the early afternoon.

To help out, please register as a volunteer on the BAA site. When asked for an assignment preference, make sure you select Ham Radios. You don’t need to join any group.

If you have questions about either event, please feel free to contact me at ab1rl [at] brettcsmith [dot] org, or phone (859) 466 5915. I look forward to hearing you on the air soon!

73,


Brett Smith, AB1RL
Public Service Coordinator, Boston Amateur Radio Club

William M. Pasternak, WA6ITF, SK (1942-2015)

2015-07-29On June 11, 2015, the amateur radio community lost a well-known media voice, when Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF passed away following a period of illness.  Bill was co-founder (with Jim Hendershot, WA6VQP) of Amateur Radio Newsline™ (formerly The Westlink Report) way back in 1976.  He was also the originator of the Young Ham of the Year Award.  Bill primarily remained behind the scenes, however he was sometimes heard as a reporter on Newsline itself, which airs Sundays at 8:00 PM on the 147.000 repeater.  As SEMARA extends its sympathy to Bill’s family, please take a moment to view this video tribute to Bill on the Amateur Radio Newsline™ site.

New 224.800 Repeater On The Air

2015-07-16After an 8 month absence, the SEMARA Repeater Committee has restored 220 MHz service via our brand new BridgeCom Systems ComLink™ BCR-220 repeater!  The new repeater went live at 9:05 PM on Thursday, July 16, 2015.  Like our 2-meter and 900 MHz repeaters, this repeater resides at our 180-foot tower site and its antenna (temporarily a Comet CX-333 shared with our 2m APRS station) is also atop the tower.  Full technical specifications can be found on our repeaters section.

This new unit replaces our old Hi-Pro repeater and uses our existing Bird Technologies/TX RX Systems duplexer that was purchased new by SEMARA in November 2010.  Maggiore Electronic Labs which manufactured our old repeater went out of business in the Summer of 2012.  Due to a frequency drift problem, it had been off the air since October 2014.  At the July 2015 SEMARA business meeting, a motion passed to purchase the new repeater and to sell the old one.  There may be an interested local buyer, however if they decide to pass on it, we will place the old unit for auction on eBay.

The new 224.800 MHz repeater runs 30 watts output power as apposed to old one which was 20 watts.  The temporary measure of the repeater’s outgoing CTCSS (PL tone) being different to stop desense (the transmitter feeding back into the receiver) is no longer necessary.  There is a small amount of desense that still exists due to the sub-par antenna arrangement, however it appears to be mild in our initial tests.  The new repeater is running 67.0 Hz for both transmit and receive.  If you had set your radio up for a split tone, you will need to reprogram your radio for 67.0 Hz on both encode and decode.  For the time being, the new repeater is running on its internal controller, which provides a basic CW ID and a short tail without a courtesy tone.

Future plans on the “to-do list” include interfacing the repeater to our brand new S-COM 7330 controller.  This is the same 3-port full-duplex controller we currently use on our 2-meter and 900 MHz repeaters.  A completed PiRLP node (IRLP and EchoLink node 4215/W1AEC-L) and UHF Motorola GM300 link radio are ready to be interfaced to this new controller as well.  When that happens, we plan to have this 220 MHz repeater full-time linked into the Quahog Repeater Network (QRN) via the link radio to the North Providence hub.

The repeater committee also recommends that the club approve the purchase of a dedicated 220 MHz repeater antenna to be added to the top of our tower.  This would be the Sinclair Technologies model SD214 four bay offset dipole.  The offset pattern should be east/west to add slightly more gain over the South Coast and less south to the ocean.  We should request for it to be black anodized with a lightning spike.  This commercial antenna will greatly improve the coverage and will resolve the desense issue that remains.  The existing Comet tri-band antenna that is temporarily being used should also remain.  It will continue to be used for our 2-meter APRS station and future UHF link radio, plus serve as a auxiliary antenna system for our 2-meter and 220 MHz repeaters should our primaries fail.

On Tuesdays, we plan to setup an automatic scheduler setpoint to separate the repeater from QRN and participate in “220 Tuesdays”.  Via IRLP, it will link to the New England Reflector 912 Channel 4 (reflector 9124, the NEAR-220 channel) for the day, where it will be linked with other participating 220 repeaters including the MMRA‘s five 220 repeaters that link through their “HUB2”.  220 Tuesdays is a similar promotion as “900 Thursdays”, which you can also participate on via SEMARA’s 900 repeater.  Both 220 Tuesdays and 900 Thursdays are New England-wide promotions to gain awareness and generate activity on the 220 MHz and 900 MHz bands respectively.

Be sure to keep current with future SEMARA Repeater Committee updates by subscribing to SEMARA.org’s RSS feed, liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter!

Thank you,

Richard J. Cabral, W1RJC
SEMARA Repeater Committee

Rochester (NY) Hamfest – June 6th

2015-05-08Come one, come all!  The Rochester Hamfest sponsored by the Rochester Amateur Radio Association (RaRa) is Saturday, June 6, 2015, 7:00 AM rain or shine at Barnard Fireman’s Field, 360 Maiden Lane, Rochester, New York.  Admission is only $8.00 per person and $10.00 per vehicle to tailgate.  Youths under 16 are admitted free with a paying adult.

The Rochester Hamfest is one of the biggest in upstate New York.  Everything you want in a Hamfest is here.  Good food, lots of fun and a 16 acre flea market!  A free VE session will be offered along with hourly door prizes and a 50/50 raffle.

More information can be found at http://www.rochesterhamfest.com.

NEAR-Fest, Deerfield, NH – May 1st & 2nd

2015-04-30A reminder that the biggest hamfest/flea market in our region, the New England Amateur Radio Festival (NEAR-Fest) XVII, is this weekend, Friday, May 1st and Saturday, May 2nd, 2015.  General admission tickets valid for both days are $10.00.  The event kicks off Friday at 9am at the Deerfield Fairgrounds, 34 Stage Road, Deerfield, New Hampshire.  Check out the official NEAR-Fest site for more information.  See you there!

Whitman ARC Flea Market – May 30th & 31st

2015-04-23The Whitman Amateur Radio Club (WARC) is currently planning their Flea Market to be held at the Knights of Columbus, 1195 Bedford Street, Whitman, Massachusetts.  The hall is located near the Whitman/Abington line on MA Route 18 and the event is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, May 30th and Sunday May 31st, 8am to 3pm.  Further information may be obtained by calling WARC at 781-523-5010.  An official announcement should also be posted at their website soon.