The Southeastern Massachusetts Amateur Radio Association, Inc. (SEMARA) is an ARRL affiliated club that was founded in 1932 by the late Alan Cooper, W1HSR as the New Bedford Shortwave Radio Club (NBSWC). The association owns three acres of land at 54 Donald Street in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, which was acquired in 1955. Business meetings are held on the first Thursday of each month at 7:00 PM. Coffee and donuts are served at an informal “ragchew” each Sunday from 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM. VE exam sessions are held on the first Saturday of each month at 9:00 AM.
The current clubhouse was erected in 1977 and is situated about 100 feet back from the road. It consists of a meeting hall, kitchen area and two restrooms. The original clubhouse was a Quonset hut, which was moved from Rockdale Avenue in New Bedford about 300 feet east of Dartmouth Street (a former restaurant called “Wally’s Hut”) when the club first purchased the property. That hut was attached to the current building and served as the radio room until its demolition in 2007.
In 2015, a re-purposed cellular equipment shelter was attached to the main clubhouse via a new small entry way and handicapped accessible ramp. This newest addition functions as the radio room, containing three separate operating positions. Each desk area contains HF/VHF/UHF gear and desktop computers/monitors, all networked together with high-speed business-class internet. To the rear of the club buildings are a small storage shed and workshop.
At the far-left corner of the property (in the woods) is a 180-foot-tall communications tower, which was erected in 1999. The tower is situated on a 100×100 square-foot section of land leased to Blue Sky Towers, a communications site manager. The club has exclusive rights to the top of the tower where our repeater and link antennas are located. Blue Sky Towers in turn sub-leases the below space to various cellular providers and other tenants (including Dartmouth Police and Fire). This arrangement provides a steady monthly income to the club.
The club owns and operates three analog repeaters, plus an APRS digipeater and iGate. The repeaters are on the 2-meter (144 MHz), 1.25-meter (222 MHz) and 23-centimeter (902 MHz) amateur radio bands and provide exceptional coverage. All repeaters transmit a CTCSS of 67 Hz and their output frequencies are 147.000, 224.800 and 927.8375 MHz respectively. Additionally, the 222 MHz repeater is full-time linked with the New England Amateur Radio 220 MHz (NEAR-220) network and the 902 MHz repeater is full-time linked with the New England Amateur Radio 900 MHz (NEAR-900) network.