From the Shack – September 2012

“Welcome back my friends…..”

Welcome to the NEW HCRA – new meeting hall, new website, new raffle and more! I hope your summer has been interesting and exciting. Now, as the leaves begin to turn and there’s a bite of crisp autumn in the air, it is time to re-energize your activity in amateur radio! The new HCRA has lots of stuff in store for you – read on.

New Meeting Location

Thanks to the efforts of John/Kx1x we have secured a new meeting hall. Starting with the September 2012 meeting our meetings will be held at the Auxiliary Conference Center at the Holyoke Medical Center. Many of you have been here before, it’s where the Western Mass VE Team has given examinations for close to a decade. We have all the details of the hall and how to get there on our website. Simply click this link!

What does the new location give us that prompted the change? Let me count the ways. First off the location is free. Your board has decided to make a donation to HMC for the use of the facility however we’re still saving over $500/year in room fees. That’s just the start of good things. Our new location is newly renovated with state of the art heating and cooling, comfortable chairs, a complete A/V setup including screen, projector, sound system and wifi. Handicap access, convenient rest rooms, vending machines and 24/7 security round out the list. I think you’ll find it a superior alternative to our old location.

If, after reading the information about the location, you have ANY questions concerning directions, parking or anything else send me an email or call and I’ll do my best to help ease the transition. All my contact information can be found on the ‘Contacts‘ page of the new HCRA website. Speaking of the website, this brings us to our next major improvement…

The NEW HCRA Website!

When we launched our first website, sometime back in the 1990’s, we were ahead of our time as amateur radio clubs go. However over the ensuing years everything around us changed and we didn’t! What was cutting edge became ‘old fashioned’ and we didn’t do anything about it. Sure, our facebook page is an example of forward thinking but we needed to get our website into the 21st Century too.

The board discussed improving the website for over a year. Unfortunately the folks with the time didn’t have the skills, and the ones with the skills didn’t have the time. One night, after the HCRA meeting and over a beer or two, Jeff/NT1K volunteered to take on the task if we wanted him to do so. Heck yeah, we had been talking about it for months and now, here’s someone that actually has the skills AND the time to ‘get er done’. You’re looking at the results of a few solid weeks (40 to 80 hours) of work – and we’re just getting started!

The new site promises to be  interactive and will improve the exposure of HCRA to the amateur radio community around the world. We’re learning to use the new tools available and there’s more to come. Two things on the top of the ‘to do’ list are a swap & sell page and a page where you can actually join or renew on line. I’m thinking we’re off to a pretty good start, don’t you?

As with everything new there will be growing pains and some concern over change (aka “not doing things the old way”). If anyone feels we’ve missed the mark in a few areas please let us know. Better yet, sign up on the website and leave some constructive comments. That’s the beauty of the new site, it offers a chance for everyone to have a say in the execution.

Jeff will be presenting a website tour at the September meeting. After the presentation please take a moment to thank him for his efforts. The change involved a lot of work that easily goes unnoticed.

Back by popular demand – the KX3 Raffle!

The Elecraft KX3 continues to be the hottest transceiver to hit the market in quite some time. A few years back it would be difficult to imagine a compact, all band HF transceiver with DSP, ATU, keyer and more wrapped up in a package weighing less than two pounds. That’s the good news, the bad news is it will set you back at least a kilobuck AND there’s a 120 day waiting list  – you just can’t go out and buy one and put it on the air today.

Enter the HCRA KX3 Raffle. For as little as a $10 donation you get a chance to take one of these bad boys home! Only printed 250 tickets have been printed so your chances are very good it could be YOU! (Ask Dan/KB1VWQ about that). The rig is already on order so when the drawing is made, you get to take it home – right then!

Tickets go on sale at the September meeting and are sure to sell out quickly. Be sure to grab yours now before they are all gone. Read more about the raffle here.

Renewal Time is here!

Once again it’s time to open your wallets and support your favorite radio club. Our fiscal year ended August 31st. If you haven’t renewed yet, please do so at the September meeting or by mail using our handy application form. We have worked hard over the past ten years to control our costs, provide quality events for our members and NOT raise dues. By becoming a member you will help keep dues low and fun high! See Rich/N1KXR or Dave/N1MFL at the September meeting and stay current with HCRA. If you can bring a completed application with you it will make the process quicker for everyone.

Still not convinced? OK, here’s some incentive. If you join or renew your HCRA membership by the close of the October 5th meeting you could be the winner of a TYT TH-F5 dual band HT with rechargeable batteries, desk and mobile charger. Getting the bulk of our memberships early in the season allows us plan the year ahead. Help us out by renewing early and we might help you out with a new HT. Fair enough?

Notes from the cluster:

The HCRA October meeting will feature Tom Homewood/W1TO. Tom will be showing us how to get on radio teletype (RTTY), one of many exciting digital modes. Besides a RTTY primer W1TO will talk about RTTY contesting and the Yankee Clipper Contest Club. This will be a dual meeting – it will also be a YCCC meeting and you will be able to join or renew your YCCC membership at our meeting.

The Silent Auction returns at our October meeting. We’ve secured some nice donations over the past few months and will be offering them up to our members at realistic prices.

We will be putting out annual auction ‘on hold’ for 2012 in order to concentrate on getting all the new changes under our belt. It ‘may’ return in 2013 – at this moment it is too soon to tell.

The MTARA picnic is September 9th, just two days after our meeting. HCRA members are most welcome to partake in the fun, food and drink. Purchase tickets from Diane/KB1KST. Info about this and other upcoming events is on our website under the heading of, you guessed it, events!

I think it’s time to put the closing paragraph on this month’s From the Shack. I hope everyone feels all the changes are positive and position HCRA to grow as an amateur radio club and local area resource for years to come. Please, don’t hesitate to voice your thoughts, good or bad, about the new HCRA. Most importantly continue to be the engaged and active amateur radio operator as you’ve always been. That’s the attitude the brings new folks into our fun, exciting and, when disaster strikes, necessary hobby.



2 responses to “From the Shack – September 2012”

  1. mike 'mtz Avatar
    mike ‘mtz

    Hello, I’m not sure how to contact, didn’t see a swap page, I hope this gets passed on…I have 2 old but good tektronics scopes with one cart, all tube except for the plug-ins, 10-450 mc HP sig gens, model 608 types (2) They are free! I don’t have the room! pse reply to mike, wa1mtz@localnet.com

  2. Dave Scarpa Avatar
    Dave Scarpa

    Good Job , Jim

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