JUNE 2012

Raising The Tower Field Day Museum Ships On The Air
Secretary's Report Parade & Marathon

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The June meeting will be a Field Day preparation, focusing on how to get our main antenna support (the Rocket Launcher) set up and taken down, quickly but — more importantly — safely! A well educated Field staff is a powerful staff, so plan to learn a lot. And the stuff you learn will be invaluable when you want to erect your own antenna systems. Following the presentation will be snacks and a chance to catch up with folks.


Mitch W1SJ

As you read this, Field Day is two weeks off. We have the technical plan pretty much in place and are finalizing the personnel plan. Everyone was sent an E-mail with a link to the Field Day survey Please fill this out as soon as possible so we can finish the planning. Having enough help for antenna raising and take down is crucial. We are all getting older and less able to “leap tall towers with a single bound”. That’s why it is important to share the tasks amongst many people.

Our group of CW and Phone operators will be back again this year. But we still need to fill some 16 hours of operating time at both the GOTA and VHF stations. Please sign up for a slot at these stations – you will have a blast. And don’t sell these stations short – last year they combined for over 1000 QSO’s!

At our June meeting on Tuesday, we will have a talk and demonstration on the proper methods to set up antennas and towers. A well educated Field staff is a powerful staff, so plan to learn a lot. And the stuff you learn will be invaluable when you want to erect your own antenna systems.

The following Monday, June 18th, we will have the Field Day planning meeting at W1SJ’s location. The purpose of this meeting is to make sure that all the I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed. Every year we hold this meeting, we find a whole laundry list of items which need to taken care of before Field Day.

Two items which we have to deal with each year are food and transportation. We need to find someone to head up food preparation – food purchase, storage and preparation on site. It is a detailed job and one which is absolutely crucial. Or, failing having a chef, we would instead need someone to plan menus and runs to take-out restaurants.

All the “stuff” you see at Field Day has to be trucked in. Our other crucial job is finding the people who will be able to do the trucking on Friday morning and Sunday afternoon.

This year we are talking about the “three-peat”. Can we take the top spot in 2A for the third time in a row? The odds are against us – we require fairly rare “East Coast” propagation which gives us long openings on the higher bands. We can’t control the conditions, but we can certainly be ready for whatever the conditions throw our way. We have a great setup and great collection of participants. Now we just need to make the magic happen!


Kathi K1WAL

The maiden voyage of station W1T, on board the Steamship Ticonderoga, during the Museum Ships Weekend was a success! Amateur radio operators from around the world looked for and worked us during the weekend. There were times when band conditions were less than optimal but we made the most of it.

Our results are 625 contacts from 40 states, 28 countries, 4 continents and 9 zones.

Countries worked were: Canada, Canary Islands, Croatia, Czech Republic, England, European Russia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Kuwait, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Scotland, Slovak Republic, Spain, Switzerland, and Ukraine.

Other Museum Ships worked were:

Many thanks to the operators who made this happen: Bob W4YFJ, Bob KB1FRW, Doug N6PRT, Bob W1FP, Jim KE1AZ, Brad KD1BL, Howie K2MME, AJ N1ZWL, Cheryl KB1VJD, Dick KB1VJE, Kathi K1WAL, John N1LXI, Jeff N1YD, Steve KB1IVE, Eric KB1VNA, Spence KB1PDW, Carl ABIDD, and Roger WA1OZE.


Jeff N1YD, Secretary


  • According to those who went, NEAR-Fest was fun.
  • We discussed the Memorial Day parade and the Vermont City Marathon.
  • Jim KE1AZ will bring snacks to the next meeting.
  • Bob W4YFJ is inviting operators to the "Museum Ships on the Air" event on the Ticonderoga at the Shelburne Museum. This is on June 2nd and 3rd, so come over right away! You might still have time to drop in or sign up for a time slot.
  • A project called "World Radio Team Championship" is taking shape. It is a competition in which all of the stations are located in the same New England region, and all are using identical equipment, including antennas. Operator skill is the only way to win. You can read more at
  • Field Day is coming up on June 23rd and 24th. We were the National Champions in class 2A last year. Mitch is looking for help in setup, teardown, operators, and other roles. We voted to spend up to $400 on Field Day.

    Presentation: Radio Astronomy

    Jack St. Louis, N1XGB is a member of SARA, the Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers. Many important astronomical objects like quasars, pulsars, and black holes are almost invisible to ordinary telescopes. Only radio astronomy gives us any information about them. In the 1930's, Karl Jansky showed that 20.5 MHz background noise comes from the center of the galaxy. Narrow band background noise at 1421 MHz helped to confirm the big bang theory. The first radio astronomy was done in Springfield, Vermont.

    An astronomical object's radio spectrum can be analyzed much like its light spectrum. It is possible to observe absorption lines associated with particular elements, and a measurable doppler shift. Even though the wavelengths involved are much larger than light waves, high resolution images can be obtained by using arrays of radio telescopes. The signals can be electronically combined, giving the effect of a dish hundreds or thousands of miles wide. The best radio images now have better resolution than the Hubble telescope.


    Mitch W1SJ

    Late May has past and with it, another Ham Radio Public Service Doubleheader. Saturday, May 26th was the Essex Memorial Day Parade. This year, the non-ham radio marshals didn’t have the commercial radios. That meant that all of the parade communications was conducted on ham radio. The lineup process, which most closely resembles herding cats, actually went quite smoothly. I ended up with all of the politicians in my Division which made things interesting as they were more interested in politicking than parading! With the help of several ham operators, we got the big Shriners trailer under the low power lines and averted any emergencies. The parade was one of the smoothest ever – except for the known gaps in front of the bagpipers and fife & drum groups, we had a great line of march and a great day. Thanks to AA1SU, K3BH, KB1FRW, KB1THX, N1WCK, N6PRT, W1DEB, W1SJ and W4YFJ.

    Less than 24 hours later, this group returned and joined with a ham group of 35 strong to provide communications for the 24th Vermont City Marathon. The net was very, very quiet, primarily because the medical traffic was moved to a commercial frequency. We still got to spend time cleaning up bus schedule confusion, so it wasn’t a totally boring day. Technically and operationally, the net ran perfectly! Special thanks to KB1FRW, KB1OAH and KB1VNA for help in installing and removing the repeater and to KB1IVE for his outstanding work at Net Control, especially when I ran off to deal with other issues.

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