MAY 2013

Expedition to Japan Vermont City Marathon Essex Memorial Parade
Museum Ships Weekend Secretary's Report Field Day Is Coming

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Next Meeting: May 14

Even though most of our ham radios and much electronic technology come from Japan, few people in the Eastern U.S. have been there and little is known about the day to day life there. Mitch & Debbie decided to do something very off-the-wall this spring and took a two week vacation to the "land of the rising sun". It was a pretty amazing journey. While the itinerary did not allow for much ham radio, there was a visit to Icom and a few photos of ham antennas snapped here and there. Otherwise, the trip encomp assed all sorts of crazy things like riding trains and cable cars, taking in a ballgame and even visiting a famous pussycat. You'll certainly find the pictures and stories of what was seen pretty amazing. It was an experience you donít find anywhere else!

Also on the agenda: a very short synopsis of the festivities at this year's Boston Marathon, and how we are preparing for the Vermont City Marathon this month.


Mitch W1SJ

As those who worked the VCM will tell you, things were very quiet on the ham radio net last year. Medical reporting was moved to a system sponsored by Burlington Fire Department and Colchester Rescue. It otherwise didn't leave much need for the ham net sa ve for getting the busses organized (i.e. herding cats). Since then, I have had several meetings with Peter Delaney the CEO of Run Vermont, with the latest meeting including Burlington Fire Department and Medical. Our primary mission will be to support ra ce logistics. By that, we mean that Peter needs to know the pulse of the event and we need to get that information for him quickly. Our new mission will involve the use of several shadows to follow Run Vermont staff. Our secondary mission will be to provi de backup to the Medical Net, should it get overloaded or if something goes down. Net Control will have the ability to monitor and communicate on all frequencies (ham and non-ham) used in the event.

The Boston Marathon was only 3 weeks ago and now everything has changed in regards to Marathons and other large events. Specifically, all communications dispatching (including Net Control) will be located offsite in a combined Command Center. The location will not be made public. This makes a good deal of sense. The event in Boston shut down not only the ham net control, but the command centers for several police agencies who all had quickly relocate to a hotel nearby.

Waterfront Park will become more restricted. Vehicle access will be restricted and everything which comes in will be sniffed. Everyone going into Waterfront Park, including our operators at the medical tent and all shadows will have to deal with new security measures. We won't need to bring in the trailer nor have to deal with fencing anymore. But sadly, we won't be next to the food either!

I'd like to be able to tell everyone what it is going to look like this year, but frankly, with so many new things happening, it will be hard to say. We all get to reinvent communications this year.

Based on the meetings I've had with staff, and the extra need for volunteers in this new age we live in, we will continue to support the Vermont City Marathon. But me saying that doesn't mean much unless we have the volunteers to do the job. One thing whi ch should be on the edge of your thinking is that there is an inherent risk in this. Fortunately, no volunteers (ham or otherwise) were hurt in Boston, but that doesn't guarantee anything in the future. I've been asked why I would risk being at such an event. Frankly, there is more of a likelihood of being run over by the proverbial bus while crossing the street (I hate busses) than being hurt at a Marathon, so I don't give it much thought. Every volunteer should access what they are going to be doing and be clear of any and all assumed risks. The other piece of this is that we cannot guarantee that you will end up with a great job. Some of you may get to speak very little on the radio, while some may be inundated. It's Las Vegas night at the Marathon - y ou never know.

So if you are inclined to help 8000+ people run through the streets of Burlington for no apparent reason except to get a medal and bragging rights (just like a ham radio contest), we need your help. And we have free T-shirts for the first 100 ham volunteers! But kidding aside, we need 40 radio communicators for this operation, and recruiting has been tough the last several years. And we will train new operators, so donít let inexperience get in the way.

The Marathon will be held Sunday, May 26th. Most of the jobs start at 7AM. The earliest jobs end at 10:30, while others run until 2:00.

Go to: and fill out the form. Please don't send emails or phone messages - these get lost!

Please hurry, because we need to put together the communications team right away!


Mitch W1SJ

The Essex Memorial Parade is Saturday, May 25th. This is on Memorial Day weekend, one day before the Marathon. We provide communications support for this event and require 10 operators. Volunteers get together at 7:30 with the jobs lasting until 10:30 unt il noon. If you have been there before, you know the drill. If you are new, this is fun event which doesnít require any serious preparation. To sign up, drop me an E-mail at


Carl AB1DD

We will once again put W1T on the air for the Museum Ships Weekend event sponsored by The Battleship New Jersey Amateur Radio Station. The dates are 0000Z June 1, through 2359Z June 2, 2013. We did this last year, and those who got on the air had a ball. The station will be set up on the Ticonderoga, at the Shelburne Museum. This year we will have 2 stations on the air. One will be calling CQ (running), and the other will be searching for other ships.

I am setting up the operating schedule so those who want to operate let me know at This will be a good warm up for Field Day at the end of the month. Anyone can operate as there will be a control operator for those who don't have HF privileges.

For more information check out the links at and at


Jim KE1AZ, Sec'y-Designate

April Meeting



  1. The Museum Ships event from the Ticonderoga, organized by Bob W4YFJ, will be running again this year June 1-2. Operate from the deck of this historic ship! There will be two radios, one contacting other museum ships and one calling CQ. Contact Carl AB1DD to participate.
  2. Paul AA1SU made three announcements.
  3. There was a heads-up that NEARFest is coming. Advance tickets are not available from Carl this year. Check out the web site
  4. John N1LXI is looking for help at the March for Babies (formerly the March of Dimes) on Saturday, May 4.
  5. Field Day is on the horizon. The date is June 22, 23. We hope to have a new CW tent this year to improve the conditions for those operators.

Presentation: SMPS

President Bob KB1FRW turned into presenter Bob. He discussed the Alinco Switched Mode Power Supplies (SMPS), and how they compare to to the linear power supplies that many hams may have experience with.

Why would you prefer a SMPS? They are light, small, efficient, and less input sensitive.

Why would you not prefer one? They are not as reliable (more than 100 parts versus 30 parts in a linear), they can be noisy, they are harder to fix, and the design is more difficult.

Bob got into it to fix an LED that was always on. He eventually, after a great deal of head-scratching, found two bad capacitors.

An interesting side note was that for load testing he used a Liquid Rheostat. It is a metal can filled with salt water, and with a steel rod in the middle, offset from the cat at the top by a wooden holder. (You can't use copper or it turns into an elect roplating machine.) To make the media, he filled the can with water and put in a half cup of table salt. Bob recommends that for more information you search on YouTube for "liquid rheostat."


Mitch W1SJ

Field Day will take place Friday-Sunday, June 21-23. This is only 6 weeks away. Plan your work and family schedule now so that you can join us for this event.

Last year, we just missed taking the crown in the 2A category as our arch-rivals from Arkansas nudged us out. We wonít take this lightly! Plans are underway to change some of the contesting methods we use in the CW and Phone tents to put more contacts in the logs, especially when conditions get slow. The operators of these stations are hashing out the details while you read this. But for everyone else, we still need to erect towers, put up tents and make the site go and then put it all away when itís over. The infrastructure will be pretty much the same.

In the next few weeks, you be asked to fill out the Field Day survey so we can determine who will be around at what times. Please set up your schedule and let us know quickly so plans can move forward.

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