HCRA is READY for Field Day – are YOU!

About seven days from now HCRA will be blasting the airwaves with “CQ Field” day from School St. Park in nearby Agawam, MA. Our plans have solidified to a 5A operation, perhaps even 6A, the usual superb four towers with beams on 40, 20, 15 and 10 and dipoles for 80/75. a Saturday VE session, lots of operators, KX2 raffle tickets and….

FOOD! Alan/AB1XW will be serving up dogs and burgers, “on the house” Saturday evening. A perfect way to stoke the fires for an all-night operation.

Read all the details and see the participants by clicking here.  After looking through the list you’ll see a few spots where we could use YOUR help. What would you like to do?

1. We can make 100 points by simply originating an NTS message to our Section Manager and up to an additional 100 points by sending 10 radiograms. Are you ready for the challenge? It’s easy and shouldn’t take more than an hour at most. Want to give it a try? Contact Jim/KK1W for more info.

2. Are you a good teacher? There’s another 100 points on the table for organizing an educational activity. It could be as simple as showing how to get active on digital modes or constructing a wire dipole. Interested, contact Jeff/NT1K or Jim/KK1W and we can get you going.

3. Finally, we can make up to another 100 points for “Youth Participation”. Any operator under 18, that makes at least one FD QSO earns HCRA 20 points. If we get five youth operators we make another 100 points! How cool is that? Remember they (or you) don’t have to be licensed to operate at Field Day. It’s a perfect opportunity to expose youngsters to a hobby that could shape their future. Time your visit just before Saturday evening and have a burger or hot dog for your (and their) efforts.

Don’t forget to pick up a KX2 raffle ticket while visiting Field Day. A mere $10 donation could bring you a spanking new Elecraft KX2!

The weather forecast looks promising and plans are in place. What are you waiting for, all we need is YOU!

HCRA Is Now On Club Log

HCRA is now listed as a club on ClubLog.org. This allows HCRA members who use clublog to see how they rank against other HCRA members in DXCC standings. HCRA could also compete with other clubs. This could create friendly competition  within the club as well as with other clubs. It can also benefit knowing that if your fellow club member made contact with a certain DX entity, that it could be possible for you as well.

If you are a HCRA who uses electronic QSL services such as LoTW, QRZ.com and eQSL.cc then it would be stongly suggest that you create an account at clublog.org, upload your logs and join the HCRA club on ClubLog to see where you stand.

If you are a ClubLog member and would like to Join the HCRA League, please do the following

1: Go to Clublog.Org and Sign In.

ClubLog1If you do not have an account, you can sign up for free and upload a log. Please follow the instructions on ClubLog.org

2: Once you’re signed in, Click Settings



Located on top of the page, Click on the Setting Link

3: Click on the “Clubs” Link/Button located near the top of the page


4: Look for “HCRA – Hampden County Amateur Radio Association”: in the list, Highlight it and click the “Join Club(s)” button under the list



Please note that members have to be manually added to the club to prevent random people from joining in. Once approved you should be able to view your standings.

ClubLog6On the left side of the page, please click “DXCC Leagues” then choose HCRA from the dropdown list and then click “Generate DXCC League” button. You should now be able to see standings from all HCRA members that are participating on ClubLog. Please note that if you don’t see your callsign right away, don’t worry. Sometimes it takes a day for the lists to repopulate on the server which we have no control over.

Thanks for Participating!



HCRA’s 2014 10M Contest Results

ARRL 10M Claimed Results For HCRA.

This year propagation was really good. According to some people, you may never see 10 meter band conditions this good for a long time. The band was alive with decent windows to EU and SA. I hope you all had a great time on the air!

Call Used Operators CW SSB Mults Total
KK1W Jim 542 382 275 806300
W1AST Larry (AST) Jim (KC2FEV) Bob (NO4MM) 53 760 136 235552
NV1Q Juergen 182 156 156 162240
W1MSW Matt 232 109 120 137520
NT1K Jeff 132 224 113 110288
WD1S James 140 63 106 72716
N1FTP Harold 0 293 83 48638
NQ1C Bob (1C) Andrew (KB1WPJ) 24 179 66 29964
N1AW/QRP Al 114 0 48 21888
AB1WT Jeff (fmr KB1VKY) 0 100 45 9000
W1NY Ed (KB1NWH) 0 53 26 2756
NZ1MT/QRP Mike 0 50 27 2700
N1FJ Frandy 3 4 6 120
K1MAZ Nick 0 2 2 8

Total Claimed Score For HCRA in 2014: 1,639,690

Past Final Scores
2013 Final Score: 1,144,606 (14 entries)
2012 Final Score: 466,188 (11 entries)
2011 Final Score: 1,546,158 (18 entries)
2010 Final Score: 197,830 (9 entries)
2009 Final Score: 72,258 (8 entries)
2008 Final Score: 38,378 (11 entries)
2007 Final Score: 19,544 (8 entries)
2006 Final Score: 64,878 (6 entries)
2005 Final Score: 72,910 (4 entries)
2004 Final Score: 35,956 (5 entries)
2003 Final Score: 212,070 (6 entries)
2002 Final Score: 925,124 (12 entries)
Source: ARRL Contest Results Page

Soapbox Comments

Mike (NZ1MT): I operated QRP SSB with only an end fed dipole attic antenna and only
operated when I had time during the day between household jobs. The
propagation on the 10M band was excellent and seemed better than
previous years. A lot of fun using my new ICOM IC-703.

James(WD1S):  Made good use of N1MM to spot multipliers this year.   I was using a 160m inverted L and a G5RV and surprisingly worked almost everyone I could hear.

Al (N1AW): Approximately 6 hours operating time. 24 states, 3 provinces, 21 DX, 114 Qs 48 multipliers. At my age I may never see another 10 meter contest like this one.

Jeff (AB1WT, Formally KB1VKY): i can’t wait until next years so i can do it again.

Larry (W1AST): It was great fun and I had Jim, KC2FEV and Bob, NO4MM helping me. We’re already planning on doing it again next year

Jeff (NT1K): This is my first 10M contest. I did SOLP mixed without using spotting assistance which made a bigger challenge for me on CW. My new 3el beam is working fantastic.

Bob (NQ1C): Andrew and I operated the 10M contest as a multi-op from Montgomery, MA. Andrew built a 10M dipole antenna for a science project for school and since our G5RV came down, we decided to use the 10M dipole to run the contest. Conditions were great and the dipole, only up about 15 feet, worked quite well. We interspersed working the contest with visiting family so it wasn’t a full-out effort, but we had fun.

Andrew (KB1WPJ) operating during the 2014 10m Contest (NQ1C Photo)
Andrew (KB1WPJ) operating during the 2014 10m Contest (NQ1C Photo)

Ed (KB1NWH as W1NY): Lots of great opening, not enough time for the chair

Please Check Back For Updates! Don’t Forget To Submit your scores to the ARRL!

Homeland Security’s 2014 National Emergency Communications Plan Incorporates Amateur Radio

The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Emergency Communications (DHS-OEC) has released the first updated National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP) since the original publication in 2008. According to the Department, the DHS-OEC developed the NECP in cooperation with more than 150 public and private sector emergency communications officials.

Of interest to Amateur Radio Operators, is that in this 2014 updated NECP, the DHS has incorporated Amateur Radio in its mix of media that could support and sustain communications in a disaster or emergency. The publication is titled the “2014 National Emergency Communications Plan“, and a PDF of this plan may be obtained by clicking here.

Welcome to the 2014 – 2015 Year

OK, here we go. It the first meeting of the year tomorrow night at the Holyoke Medical Center at 7:30.

There will be the usual camaraderie, 3 that’s right 3 guest speakers. KK1W, W1MSW, and W1MOR. All have short presentations on these summers’ activities that the club participated in in one way or another, They will be talking about Field Days and WRTC.

There will be chances for you to buy your HCRA 250 Raffle tickets for a nice KX3.

Renew you membership and get entered for a MFJ 266B antenna analyzer.

Propagation Forecast Bulletin 24 ARLP024 From Tad Cook, K7RA Seattle, WA June 13, 2014

To all radio amateurs

ARLP024 Propagation de K7RA

Last week’s bulletin opened with your author (me) moaning about a decline in solar activity, but this was short lived. The current week saw average daily sunspot numbers more than double, rising from
60.1 to 144.3, and average daily solar flux rise from 104.1 to 146.4. In addition, on June 12 the daily sunspot number was 196, and solar flux was 174.5. It actually was not long ago when sunspot numbers were last at that level. April 16-19, 2014 had numbers ranging from 245-296.

Predicted values are also up. The latest has solar flux at 170, 165 and 155 on June 13-15, 145 on June 16-18, 140 on June 19, 130 on June 20-21, then reaching down for a low of 110 on June 24-25, then peaking at 165 on July 8. The outlook for Field Day Weekend has brightened, with solar flux at 115 on June 27-28 and 120 on Sunday, June 29.

Predicted planetary A index is 18, 20, 10 and 8 on June 13-16, 5 on June 17, 8 on June 18, 5 on June 19-24, 8 on June 25-26, 5 on June
27 through July 5, 15 on July 6, 5 on July 7-9, 8 on July 10, 5 on July 11-14, and 8 on July 15-16.

OK1HH predicts mostly quiet geomagnetic conditions on June 13, quiet to active June 14, quiet to unsettled June 15, quiet June 16-18, quiet to active June 19, quiet to unsettled June 20, mostly quiet June 21, quiet June 22-24, mostly quiet June 25, quiet to active June 26, active to disturbed June 27, quiet to unsettled June 28, quiet on June 29, quiet to active June 30, mostly quiet July 1-2, quiet to unsettled July 3-4, quiet July 5, quiet to unsettled July 6, active to disturbed July 7, quiet to active July 8, and mostly quiet July 9.

Again this week there was an interruption in data from the middle latitude geomagnetic observatory in Fredericksburg, Virginia, so the middle latitude A index numbers at the end of this bulletin for June
8-9 are my own guesses.

We saw a lot of geomagnetic activity over last weekend, June 8-9, when the planetary K index reached 6 in two 3-hour periods, and the planetary A index was 13 on Saturday, then 39 on Sunday. This geomagnetic storm was from a CME which hit Earth at 1630 UTC on June 7, but left the Sun on June 4.

A significant solar flare on June 10 could cause polar geomagnetic storms today, Friday June 13. It will probably deliver a glancing blow to Earth’s magnetic field. See http://earthsky.org/space/x2-solar-flare-today for an article about the June 10 flare, and for a UPI story on possible effects today, see http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2014/06/12/Solar-storm-to-hit-Earth-on-Friday-the-13th/7891402590302/

Ted Leaf, K8HI sent a fascinating video and article about renewed activity at the peak of the current solar cycle. See http://earthsky.org/space/solar-maximum-is-back .

Max White, M0VNG sent two relevant articles. See http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2014/06/11/Another-giant-solar-flare-erupts/4281402500673/

David Moore sent a review of “Nearest Star; the surprising science of our Sun” which you can read at http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2513/1#.U5NRe3TXbgY.email .

An excellent book I’ve been reading is “Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age” by W. Bernard Carlson. This may be the best biography yet on Tesla, as other articles and books I’ve seen accepted uncritically some of his later work, which included transmitting electrical power via wireless. I think copper wire works better for this.

NASA has a new and slightly revised prediction for Cycle 24.  View it at http://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/predict.shtml . The changes from a month ago are:

May 2, 2014 forecast: “The current prediction for Sunspot Cycle 24 gives a smoothed sunspot number maximum of about 70 in the Fall of 2013. The smoothed sunspot number reached 75.0 in October 2013.”


June 12, 2014 forecast: “The current prediction for Sunspot Cycle 24 gives a smoothed sunspot number maximum of about 70 in late 2013.
The smoothed sunspot number reached 75.4 in November 2013.”

These are smoothed numbers, averaged with real and predicted values over a year, so when we have higher and extended activity this year, that changed the maximum from fall of 2013 to late 2013, and 75.0 in October 2013 to 75.4 in November 2013.

Astrophysicists at Trinity College in Dublin are using crowdsourcing for classifying sunspots. They want people to visit http://www.sunspotter.org/ to rank pairs of sunspot images based on complexity. As you are presented with each pair, use your gut feelings and vote for the image that seems the most complex. Or if you want examples, go to http://www.sunspotter.org/#/classify .

We learned of this from the Irish internet news site TheJournal.ie, and you can read their article “Trinity College astrophysicists want you to play ‘Hot or Not’ with sunspots” at
http://www.thejournal.ie/article.php?id=1513613 .

Another interesting project to use crowdsourcing is “Seafloor Explorer,” where they want help classifying real images of the ocean floor. Check it out at http://www.seafloorexplorer.org/ . People who believe they see a face on Mars or pyramids on the moon should find a lot to like here.

Find other projects and educational info at https://www.zooniverse.org/projects. Click on “Study explosions on the Sun” to enter their Solar Stormwatch project.

This weekend is the ARRL June VHF Contest. The multiplier is number of grid squares worked. The contest begins at 1800 UTC Saturday. See http://www.arrl.org/june-vhf for details.

If you would like to make a comment or have a tip for our readers, email the author at, k7ra@arrl.net.

For more information concerning radio propagation, see the ARRL Technical Information Service web page at http://arrl.org/propagation-of-rf-signals. For an explanation of the numbers used in this bulletin, see http://arrl.org/the-sun-the-earth-the-ionosphere. An archive of past propagation bulletins is at http://arrl.org/w1aw-bulletins-archive-propagation. More good information and tutorials on propagation are at http://k9la.us/.

Monthly propagation charts between four USA regions and twelve overseas locations are at http://arrl.org/propagation.

Instructions for starting or ending email distribution of ARRL bulletins are at http://arrl.org/bulletins.

Sunspot numbers for June 5 through 11 were 102, 132, 155, 144, 152, 149, and 176, with a mean of 144.3. 10.7 cm flux was 110.5, 133, 136.7, 148.6, 161.2, 166.2, and 168.4, with a mean of 146.4.
Estimated planetary A indices were 7, 6, 13, 39, 5, 7, and 7, with a mean of 12. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 7, 5, 14, 40, 6, 7, and 8, with a mean of 12.4.

60th Anniversary of HCRA Field Day Inferno

This year’s Field Day will mark the 60th anniversary of HCRA’s Field Day that didn’t happen. In 2010, Jim/KK1W asked Jack/W1WEF, an HCRA member in 1954, to give an account of the event. Jack gives a wonderful narrative on ham radio in Hampden County at that time, as well as what happened that day. The photo posted here was the 2004 W1NY QSL card marking the 50th anniversary of the event.

No fires planned for this year, but we do hope that you’ll come out and participate in field day.  It’s  a great chance to hang out with fellow club members and operate on HF radios and antennas you might not have access to at home. Please contact Matt/W1MSW or leave a comment below this post for more information.


Hampden County Radio Club Memories                     Jack Schuster   W1WEF

I was asked by KK1W to possibly give a short talk to the Hampden County Radio Club on my recollection of the Field Day fire on Wilbraham Mountain. I doubted I could remember enough to talk about for more than a couple minutes, but thought I’d see what I could remember in general from my earliest ham radio Field Days while a member of the club.

Licensed in 1952 at the age of 13, I was probably a member from around 1953 to 1956.   I can remember getting a ride to meetings…I think from Roger Corey, W1JYH at that time…W1AX now.  Roger lived on the next street, but the end of one of his wire antenna was only 100 ft from my bedroom window where my shack was located.

 In my early days of ham radio, it seemed like everyone built their own rigs. I’ll never forget my transmitter with a pair of 807’s…those were tubes before they were beers …that I built from an article in an issue of my Dad’s “Radio News” magazine.  As soon as I turned it on, the 807’s blew. I checked and rechecked my wiring, and my Dad did the same, but we couldn’t figure it out. After blowing a second pair of tubes, I asked Roger if he could take a look and see if he could figure out what was wrong.  I think it took Rog about three minutes to see that the screen and control grid pins were swapped on the schematic in the magazine. As a result, screen voltage was being applied to the control grid and zappo!  After that experience I converted the rig to 6146’s and had no further problems.

I was an active CW op in those days as I am now, and did a lot of traffic handling on the Western Ma net, First Regional Net and Eastern Area Net. Through the National traffic system,  I met a few other Hampden county members  I  recall. Art Zavarella , W1MNG (later W1KK) was on Western Mass Net every night. I remember Bob Julian , W1DVW also being active…and in later years learned that Art was Chief Engineer at the Springfield Armory, and  I think Bob was head of Research. It was probably because a good friend of our family was Art’s secretary and she always referred to me  as “Jackie“, that Art called me “ Jackie”  also as long as I knew him!

A few other CW op calls from the club that I remember were W1WEN, Bob Little, W1WDW, Don LeFebvre, W1SRM Ken DeCelle, and of course W1EOB, Vic Paounoff. Vic is now N4XR and in his 90’s is doing great. Ham Radio helped me get thru college…despite all the time I spent in the ham shack at U Mass. Vic hired me for three summers at Sickles where I was a troubleshooter on the TV tuner  production line, back in those days when we had an American TV industry.  Sickles was building the majority of the tuners used in every manufacturer’s TV sets back then. It was in HCRC that I met Jean and Norm Peacor, K1IJU and K1IJV. Jean also was a CW Op handling traffic in those days.

I remember Eunice and Bob, W1UKR and W1KUL who were active members of the club. Eunice was active in handling traffic on 75M, and a good phone op. Bob was a good engineer, working for Monsanto and building the station that did well for Eunice from a small city lot in Springfield. I remember their Johnson Ranger that Bob built from a kit, a rig I could only dream about in those days. I can also recall attending a lecture on modulator design that Bob presented on the U Mass campus. It’s funny how you never forget some little things that you learned at a young age. It was on a Hampden County Field Day that Bob Gordon saw me stripping some 14 ga antenna wire with dikes, and he showed me a neat trick that I use to this day. Instead of cutting part way thru the insulation to strip it with the business end of the dikes, he showed me how to first crush the insulation with the side opposite the cutters, and then just cut the insulation without nicking the wire.

I can remember FD that year was in a field somewhere in Hampden. I can remember Hank Baier, W1NY being there, as well as the Peacors and Hal, W1UPH. I probably only operated 3 or 4 Field Days with the club, but I remember going to the home of W1CJK, Bill Werenski one year in Holyoke for a FD planning session.

I also remember operating FD  (maybe 1953) on top of Wilbraham Mountain in someone’s back yard right on the ridge of the mountain. I seem to recall that the fellow was somehow associated with Springfield Sound company, and was not a ham, but others in the club who worked there were hams. The name Bob Lyman comes to mind. I know I did some CW operating that FD, but I recall being really impressed by how many Qs they were knocking off on 2M using a Gonset Communicator, aka a “Gooney Box“.

In those days, it seemed like the ham population density was far greater than it is today…at least that of active HF operators. W1JYH was one street to my West. W1QUQ was on the next street. W1KFV, Bob Leeson was one street to my East. Dick Stevens, W1QWJ was  a few houses from Bob Leeson. W1CCH, Lyle Luce was a big VHFer with 144 elements on 2 M just North of me about 300 yds away.

In those days, radio supply places were abundant. In Springfield alone, we had Springfield Sound (later Soundco), Springfield Radio owned by Lou Richmond W1AVK, Cushing Radio owned by Frank Cushing whose call I cant remember, Knapp Radio who sold radio kits and components, Hatry and Young owned by Murray Dressler…another ham. All sold components and some sold ham gear. That was a time when the only Radio Shack was in Boston, and it was primarily a Ham radio supplier. There was also a Lafayette radio in town, come to think of it, and there were even Lafayette ham rigs! How times change…today the computer stores like Comp USA are already disappearing!

That brings me to my last FD with the club, the reason I was invited to test my memory. After exchanging a couple emails with Mike, N0HI (ed. now N1TA), Mike mentioned a club QSL with a photo of a fire atop Wilbraham Mountain on a club field day. I told Mike I’d love to have one of those cards, because I the last one out of the structure that burned. We were getting set up for FD on Saturday morning in a terrific location atop Wilbraham Mountain. We had the use of  a wooden tower structure which at one time probably housed a concession stand on the ground level, and had an inside staircase going to an observation room on the top level. As I recall it was maybe 4 or 5 stories high and resembled a Dutch Windmill tower but with a porch all around the first level.  It had been closed for some time before the club got permission to use it for FD.

The VHF/UHF station was going to be on top, and the HF stations on the lower level. We would be protected from the weather, as it was all enclosed an ideal FD setup. I was on the top level after carrying up some gear, when someone down below yelled “FIRE”!

I was the only one on top at the time, and went flying down the staircase but grabbed a fire extinguisher that was on a landing at the second level. Unfortunately the fire extinguisher didn’t work, but I don’t remember how big the fire was at that point. It might not have mattered if it worked because the dust covered wooden structure was doomed to go down fast. Everyone got out in time, and I don’t think any of the gear on the first level was lost. All was lost on top however, including some homebrew gear that Bill Rosner, W1RFU had used to set records.

I think it was no more than ten minutes when the tower was burned to the ground. The cause was declared to be spontaneous combustion. Needless to say, the club didn’t operate FD that year!


Ham Radio Classes – Coming Soon


The Hampden County Radio Association will be holding an Amateur Radio Technician Class along with General and Extra Study Groups at the Holyoke Hospital Auxiliary Conference Center (auditorium), 575 Beech Street, Holyoke, Mass. This classes and study groups are open to everyone of all ages and affiliations.

There will be three different meeting dates:
Class #1 – Monday, January 13, 2014 7:00 – 8:30 PM
Class #2 – Monday, January 20, 2014 7:00 – 8:30 PM
Class #3 – Saturday, January 25, 2014 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM

VE Exam – Saturday, January 25, 2014 at approximately 3:00 PM

Attendance is NOT taken. If you can’t make the Monday evening dates, just come on Saturday. These condensed meetings are presented with the assumption that individuals will study and take practice tests on their own outside of class time. Our goal is to provide experienced ham radio operators (elmers) to be used as resources when going over the questions and answers that may be on the test.

There is no charge for the class/study group, but the purchase of the ARRL License Manual ($29) is strongly suggested. Internet links to other resources will be provided. ARRL License Manuals can be ordered for delivery at the first class by contacting John, kx1x@arrl.net.
The cost to take the test is $15 per attempt.

The license, after passing the test, costs $0 and can be renewed for $0 every 10 years. Two forms of ID are required, including one picture identification.

Questions? Email John/Kx1x, kx1x@arrl.net

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HCRA Meeting Location - Holyoke Hospital

ARRL 10 Meter Contest This Weekend!

Hello Fellow HCRA Members,

This is a reminder that the 10 meter contest is this weekend and we will again be participating not only as individuals, but also as a club. The band has had some great openings over the last couple months, so there is some potential to see quite a bit of activity during the contest.

A couple of things to remember:

  • For HCRA to get credit for your score, you must have “Hampden County Radio Association” spelled out in the “CLUB” field in the cabrillio file you submit to ARRL after the contest (ex. CLUB: Hampden County Radio Association)
  • If you use ANY assistance (ie Cluster Network, Facebook, QRZ.com, Telephone, etc), you need to change your operating category to Multi-Single instead of Single-Op.
  • Work on setting up logging NOW and not 10 minutes before the contest.
  • READ THE RULES!!!  It can seem daunting, but they’re not too complicated, just detailed.  Knowing what to expect makes all the difference in the world.
  • If you don’t understand something, let us know and we’ll do our best to explain and help get you going.
  • DD gift cards will be awarded to anyone who scores over 100K.
  • HAVE FUN!  Don’t get hung up on the equipment that you have compared to what others are using or how everyone else is doing.  Just focus on your own operating and try to do better than the year before or if you’ve never operated in the contest, set a baseline to try to beat next year.  We do this because it’s fun!

When the contest is over, please send me your claimed score and QSO breakdown so we can update the HCRA page. Below are few useful links for more information. Again, don’t hesitate to ask questions if there is something you don’t understand. Also, if you need a place to operate or want to try HF for the first time, let us know and we might be able to find a station where you can guest op.

General Rules for all ARRL Contests:

10 meter contest rules in addition to the general rules:

Contest basics for those new to contesting:

A deeper look into contesting: