From the Shack – December 2012

Holiday Party – December 10th

If you’re planning on going – and you haven’t bought your ticket yet – you’re almost out of time. Don’t miss out on a chance to spend a fun evening with your ham friends from both MTARA and HCRA this holiday season. It isn’t possible for us to sell tickets at the door because we need to provide the restaurant with a head count a week prior to the party. If you still want to go here’s what you need to do.

Contact either me or Marty/W1MJB and let of us know  you will be attending. We will add your name to the list and make sure there’s food for you when you get there! You can contact us via the links on the website or call me directly at 413.237.4666. At this point in time there isn’t any other way. We don’t want anyone to miss out so get it done now!

DON’T SEND CHECKS TO THE PO BOX! It is too late for that and it may not be checked in time for the party. Call us instead and we will make it happen for you. More info on the party by clicking here!


There is no regular club meeting in December. This was mentioned in last month’s ‘from the shack’ but it bears repeating. Instead of the meeting we’re having our gala Holiday Party event – that’s a good trade off I think? If you show up the first Friday of December and we’re not there don’t say you weren’t warned!

Are you ready for an ARRL 10 Meter Contest Challenge?

Earlier this month we posted the 2012 challenge goal of 100K pointsMake or exceed the goal and you will receive a Dunkin’ Donuts gift card for your efforts. Why are we doing this? Because we want YOU to be on the air (QRV) and having fun while we can still enjoy the Cycle 24 peak. Ten meters has been open a lot over the last few weeks and we all have our fingers crossed it will be hopping on December 10th. You can find more information about how to operate, the 2012 rules, the 2012 challenge and past scores simply by clicking the hot links.

The 10 meter contest is a great way to introduce new or inexperienced operators into HF operating and/or contesting. It offers both voice or CW so new ops can try a different modes if they so desire. Adding to the fun is all our individual scores count as a club score – how cool is that? In order to get new folks on the air we’re looking for folks willing to open their home station to visiting (guest) operators. Please comment below if you have time and station resources to help someone get excited about HF! It need not be for the entire contest. Even if you only host for a few hours Saturday or Sunday afternoon think what that means to someone that hasn’t had the opportunity to play radio on HF, or may not even have an HF station. Those few hours of your time could make a huge difference in someone’s amateur radio excitement for years to come.

Putting my station where my mouth is I will be opening my station for guest ops throughout the contest. If you would like to spend some time on the air using our club call WB1Z from my shack drop me a note so I can get you on the schedule. The station is competitive with an Icom Pro-2, amp and beam antenna. Come on over, I guarantee you’ll have some fun and kick some contest butt at the same time! And if the band isn’t open we can do what all good hams do – shoot the bull, find something else to play with or break and still have fun.

Notes from the cluster:

Cycle 24 is still working! I just finished up a weekend of contesting in the CQWW-CW event this past weekend. The bands were hopping. 10 meters was open quite a bit, and early in the morning. 15 meters was just amazing! I ran QRP (5 watts) and worked 99 countries over the weekend. Lots of DX including Japan, Micronesia, Guam, Asiatic Russia and more, all with only 5 watts! Like everything else, Cycle 24 will soon start a downturn. Don’t miss your chance to have fun on the HF bands. Get on the air and operate. Whether in a contest, a rag chew, casual DX’ing it makes no difference. It’s all good and if you miss it another eleven years will have to pass to get back to where we are today. Don’t be an ‘armchair amateur’, get in front of the rig and have fun!

Field Day Planning has begun.  It is in your hands!  If you have some thoughts about what we should (or shouldn’t) do for FD now is your chance to speak up. For years now our FD has been one of HCRA’s ‘Big Events’ and attracts more members than anything except perhaps the Holiday Party. If you’ve been attending you know why. If you haven’t been attending we want to know why. What would excite YOU enough to participate? Have ideas, that’s great – just be prepared to back them up with some ‘sweat equity’ to make it happen 🙂

Wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday season – 73…


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