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’s 250 Raffle – Win A Kenwood TS-590SG

Win A Kenwood TS-590SG


Tickets Just $10 EA


It’s that time for the Hampden County Radio Associations (HCRA) annual raffle. This year the board of directors wanted to raffle off a 100w base station transceiver. The Kenwood TS-590SG ($1700 Retail) was the perfect choice because it’s a very excellent radio packed with features that rival radios that cost much more. It’s an HF-6M 100W with 32bit DSP that has excellent receiver according to sherwood engineering. Some of the features include

  • Auto Tuner
  • On Screen CW decoding
  • HF and 6M Antenna Jacks
  • Programmable Functions
  • 500hz / 2.7kHz  Roofing Filters
  • USB Port
  • Noise Reduction
  • Down Conversion

HCRA has printed 250 tickets. Due to the price of the item, HCRA has put a limit on the minimum amount of tickets that can be sold before the raffle is allowed to take place. If the minimum amount has been reached, the item will be raffled at the Mount Tom Amateur Repeater Association’s Ham Fest in 2016. We’re asking $10 for each ticket.

Tickets will be available at HCRA meetings, VE Sessions at Holyoke Medical Center, Field Day, Selected area Hamfest/Fleamarkets and through the board of directors.

Tickets, Tickets & More TICKETS!!

Good evening everyone,

Just wanted to remind everyone about the raffle ticket for the membership prize, renew your HCRA membership before the end of the meeting this Friday. You can renew through PayPal, the link is on the HCRA.org webpage. Here is the link https://hcra.org/membership-payment/. If you use snail mail it needs to be at the PO Box before this Friday morning, October 3,2014. You do not need to be present to win.

MFJ-266B Antenna Analyzer
For more information:




HCRA’s raffle this year is going to be for a Elecraft KX3!
For a mere $10 donation to the HCRA, you get a chance to win an assembled KX3 by Elecraft valued at around $1000.

This is an very popular and excellent HF portable radio that has an excellent receiver, low power consumption, can run on external power or 8AA batteries internally, it can transmit up to 12W and has plenty of options like an 100W amplifier, 2M module, pan adapter, ATU, Roofing filters, internal battery charger, custom CW paddle and others that can be added later.


HCRA has printed only 250 tickets. Tickets will be sold at meetings and other events throughout 2014 and part of 2015. The drawing will happen when all 250 tickets have been sold or during MTARA’s Hamfest in March of 2015. Plenty of time to obtain your chance. Raffle is just for the Elecraft KX3 Transceiver only. Microphone and paddles not included. Drawing Date Subject To Change.

Last but defiantly not least, The third annual joint HCRA & MTARA Holiday party is scheduled for December 8, 2014. Tickets will be $15.00 and should be available at the October meeting (if the print shop is finished). You may also purchase them by sending a check in the amount of $15.00 made out to HCRA and mailed to Hampden County Radio Association, P.O. Box 562, Agawam, MA 01030. We will have your pre-purchased tickets at the door for you.


Thank you all for making our club the best. 73

Eric LaCombe
Southwick MA 01077
V.P. H.C.R.A.

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.

Win an Elecraft KX3! – HCRA Raffle

HCRA’s raffle this year is going to be for a Elecraft KX3!


(Raffle for radio only! Antenna, angle adapter, microphone and keyer not included)

For a mere $10 donation to the HCRA, you get a chance to win an assembled KX3 by Elecraft valued at around $1000.

This is an very popular and excellent HF portable radio that has an excellent receiver, low power consumption, can run on external power or 8AA batteries internally, it can transmit up to 12W and has plenty of options like an 100W amplifier, 2M module, pan adapter, ATU, Roofing filters, internal battery charger, custom CW paddle and others that can be added later.

HCRA has printed only 250 tickets and we will start selling them during field day 2014. Tickets will also be sold at meetings and other events throughout 2014 and part of 2015. The drawing will happen when all 250 tickets have been sold or during MTARA’s Hamfest in March of 2015. Plenty of time to obtain your chance.

Raffle is just for the Elecraft KX3 Transceiver only.
Drawing Date Subject To Change

2013 H.C.R.A./M.T.A.R.A Holiday Party

Holiday Party Ad 2013

 Directions/Map to the Steaming Tender

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Yaesu FT-857D for only $10?

How would you like to add a Yaesu FT-857, all mode, 160 through 70cm rig to your mobile or home shack? It’s easy; you can either pick up the phone, call HRO and order one (and plunk down almost a kilobuck) OR — buy a $10 raffle ticket at the next HCRA meeting.

We are proudly announcing the latest HCRA *250* Raffle. The prize this time around is a brand new Yaesu FT-857D, HF/VHF/UHF transceiver. Here’s a brief rundown of this cool radio’s impressive features:

(Yaesu FT-857)


  • 160-2 meters +440
  • Electronic Keyer
  • 200 Alpha Memories
  • DSP-2 Board Built-in
  • 100 Watts HF Output
  • 50 Watts 2 Meter Output
  • 20 Watts 440 MHz Output
  • Spectrum Display

The *250* means only 250 tickets will be sold. Even if you purchase only one ticket your chances are much better than the lottery. Buy two tickets and double your chances, buy four and… I think you get the picture….

This is a great little rig that would look nice in any shack or vehicle. Tickets go on sale starting at our June 7th meeting. The drawing is scheduled for March 7, 2014 HCRA meeting. It could be earlier if we sell all the tickets. Included with the radio is the YSK-857 separation kit that makes it easy to mount the radio in almost any vehicle.

We appreciate the support you’ve given the club with the past raffles and look forward to giving away this great radio next March.

Tickets go on sale at the June 7th meeting!

Don’t forget to buy your ticket(s) early before they’re all gone!

’73 and good luck,


And the winner is… ???

It brings us great pleasure to announce the winner of the KX3 raffle today. The drawing was held a little after noon at the close of the MTARA Hamfest.

KX3 Raffle

Our winner is:

Chris Snyder/KB1RMA

Unfortunately Chris was not present to collect his prize. We will be shipping it out to him the first part of the week.

Thanks to everyone that supported our second KX3 raffle and made it even better than the first. From the folks at HCRA that kept track of the sales, manned the tables selling tickets, promoted the raffle and stuck with it to the very end – thank you to Ed/KB1NWH, Rich/N1KXR, Dave/AA1YW, Jeff/NT1K, Frandy/N1FJ and others I’ve probably missed. Most importantly thanks to all our members and guests who participated and supported our efforts. HCRA is better because of your generosity.

So what’s next? Who knows, we’re open to suggestions. What would you like to see as the prize for our next raffle?


From the Shack – March 2013

Next Meeting March 1st  – Our annual Show & Tell night!

It is March Madness again at HCRA with our annual Show & Tell event. I’ve heard a lot of members are putting the finishing touches on their projects and expect we will see a grand assortment of ham radio, or not so ham radio, contraptions that will strike fear in your hearts when they reach for the on/off switch!

All kidding aside Show & Tell brings out the best of our member’s creative juices. The spectrum of projects is wide and has touched most areas of amateur radio and beyond over the years. Matt/W1MSW and Frandy/N1FJ have conjured up neat prizes for tonight along with refreshments and maybe a few other things too? Only way to find out is to be there!

There’s still time for YOU to wrap up your project and get it to this Friday’s meeting. But finish reading this month’s Zero Beat first, OK?

KX3 Raffle drawing – Time is running short! 

The drawing will be held March 2nd at the MTARA Hamfest. Tickets are almost gone, if you haven’t purchased yours yet there’s only two opportunities left; tonight’s HCRA meeting or at the hamfest the following day. Be sure to visit the HCRA table, say hello, join or renew your membership AND get a ticket – how cool is that? The drawing will be held at the hamfest around noon. Who knows, you could go home with a brand spanking new KX3 worth $1000 and get on the air that afternoon!

Foxhunting Coming Soon? – Are you ready for some warm weather fun?

February’s Foxhunting/Build-a-Beam meeting was very successful. Fifteen folks went home with a three element beam and we have a dozen people on a potential fox hunting list. There was a lot of interest in the presentation, including building an Arduino controlled Doppler system. (I wonder if one will show up at Show & Tell) The question remains, “where do we go from here?”

First: We will have the sign-up sheet at tonight’s meeting. If you either missed February’s meeting or were too busy to sign up here’s another opportunity to put your name on the list.

Second: I’m hoping a few people will ‘raise their hands’ to spearhead the first few foxhunts. A perfect combination would be an experienced hunter and a novice. They could get their heads together, plan an opening hunt or hunts and really get the ball rolling. Once started, and with the enthusiasm shown at the last meeting I’ll bet it will roll merrily along gaining momentum every month. Please, see if YOU can find an hour or two in a month to help get this started.

Third: HCRA resources such as our Facebook page, Zero Beat, the website and the HCRA mailing list are open and available for use in promoting and coordinating foxhunting. There may be other ways we can help as well, but first we need some folks to step forward, put a little ‘sweat equity’ into the project and create fun for our entire community.

Let’s talk after tonight’s meeting and see what we can come up with, OK?

HCRA Zero Beat Archives – W200NY – what was that? 

Don’t know, check out the March 1988 issue of Zero Beat in the archives. You never know what you’ll come across in our long and varied history. We’re still looking to ‘fill the gaps’ in our Zero Beat collection so I’ll repeat last month’s request.

Special request. Please take a look at the archive list. If you have, or know of someone who has other issues please get in contact Jeff so they can be added to the archive. We can accept them as a .pdf or can scan and return to you. We know there are folks out there with additional issues, here’s a chance to get them preserved and easily accessible for everyone’s enjoyment.

Spots from the cluster: 

PaypalJeff is working toward a PayPal interface on our website. Our expectations are soon members wishing to join, renew or donate from the convenience of their couch will be able to click ‘send’. The question rose at the February meeting (thanks Norm), “will we still be able to send a check” and the answer is “yes”. Nothing is changing except we are adding an additional method of payment; we’re not taking anything away with the change. 

Meeting Refreshments – It is apparent our members enjoy having coffee and sweets at the meetings. The rub is nobody seems to feel it should be ‘their job’ to procure them! What’s up with that? Counting family members our club membership is over one hundred people! As I’ve mentioned in the past do you really think all club duties should fall on the nine board members? I don’t believe it should, that’s why I’m tossing out this request once again.

We are looking for one or two folks to pick up coffee & donuts for the meeting. Do you feel you, maybe with a friend, could spend fifteen to thirty minutes and benefits all the folks attending the meeting? If so please see me at the end of the meeting. I’ll fill you in on how easy it is to put smiles on the faces of forty or so people.

New England QSO Party – May 4th and 5th, 2013

Mark your calendars now for a fun weekend of ham radio, New England style. During this weekend YOU become the DX with stations from all over the US looking to work you for fun, glory and the chance to win a lobster dinner.

HCRA sponsors a beautiful plaque for this contest. How do you win it? Easy, it’s given to the highest single operator score submitted from HampdenCounty. Sometimes it doesn’t take many QSO’s to win, it all depends on who is QRV in HampdenCounty for the contest. The contest starts at 4:00 PM Saturday afternoon and after taking a break between 1AM and 9AM Sunday morning goes on to end at 8PM Sunday evening. Usually both our club calls (W1NY and WB1Z) are active in the contest. If you would like to operate under either one get your request in now!

‘73 and don’t forget to pick up your winning KX3 ticket at the meeting,



Silent Auction -TONIGHT! – are you ready for some fun?

Yep, whether buying or selling tonight’s HCRA meeting, Coax Presentation and Silent Auction promises to be great fun. If you have something to sell, bring it down. Buying, all you need is $$$ :). Everyone is welcome, members and non-members alike so bring a friend that’s interested in radio along too.

Besides the Silent Auction Ed/KB1NWH will tell us all we need to know about that round black wire going to our antennas and other accessories (coax). Learn which is best to use in specific applications and also where you can save money. Don’t miss it.

And of course there’s the KX3 Raffle, coffee & donuts and a chance to get together with your friends in the new year!

Don’t miss it, see you there!