Technician Amateur Radio License Course

posted Aug 15, 2019, 5:53 AM by L Gray   [ updated Aug 15, 2019, 5:57 AM ]

The Falmouth Amateur Radio Association (FARA) will be offering a Technician Class amateur radio license course in this Fall.  

Dates: October 12, 19, 26 (2019)
Schedule: 8AM to 12:30PM
Exam: October 26 in the afternoon
Location: Falmouth Fire Station, Main Street, 2nd Floor, EOC Room
Text: Provided
Course Fee: $50.00, including:
1) Nine hours of classroom instruction
2) Course Manual
3) Online test practice and tutoring
4) Refreshments
5) Access to instructors for questions & tutoring
6) License exam
7) 1-year membership with FARA
8) Admission to the 2019 FARAFest, amateur radio flea market

Contact Charlie Bresnahan, K1CB via email at: kilo1cb (at) for further information.

FARA Field Day 2019

posted Jun 27, 2019, 7:32 AM by L Gray   [ updated Jun 27, 2019, 7:33 AM ]

Another successful FARA ARRL Field Day is in the books.  Our submitted score is 8,090, which is about 300 points better than last year.  We lost about 3 hours of prime operating time due to thunderstorms, so the operating crew did very well.  

Friday setup was also delayed by weather.  We waited until about 1100 to start setup and finished it at about 1430, just as rain started again.  Tear-down was not delayed by weather and was completed by 1600, which is record time.  The many volunteers made both setup and tear-down go smoothly.

Paul, K1COD, served as grill-master for the Saturday cookout with assistance from XYL Barbara, K1BOG.   Jim, KC1KM and Charlie, K1CB cooked a nice breakfast for the overnight operating crew.  Gene, KX1C, returned from Vermont to serve as grill-master for Sunday lunch.  Thanks to Joan and Shelly, and the donors of "pot luck" dishes, everyone was well fed.

Some images from FD2019 are shown below:


FARA Emergency Communications Trailer Project

posted Jun 25, 2019, 11:24 AM by L Gray   [ updated Jun 26, 2019, 12:41 PM ]

Double your donation.  We have a $1,000 donation that requires matching donations.  Donate now and double your donation!

FARA Field Day is June 22-23--Public is invited

posted Jun 20, 2019, 2:43 PM by L Gray   [ updated Jun 20, 2019, 2:45 PM ]

Amateur Radio “Field Day” June 22nd-23rd   Demonstrates Science, Skill, and Service 

Members of the Falmouth Amateur Radio Association, Inc. (FARA) will be participating in the National ARRL Amateur Radio Field Day exercise, June 22nd – 23rd, 2019 at the Barnstable County Fairgrounds south parking area at Route 151 and Currier Road in East Falmouth. Visitors are welcome at the site starting at noon on June 22.  Visitors can make over the air contacts using a special station setup just for visitors.

Since 1933, ham radio operators across the United States have established temporary ham radio stations in public locations during Field Day to showcase the science and skill of Amateur Radio. Field Day is open to the public and everyone is encouraged to attend. For over 100 years, Amateur Radio — sometimes called ham radio — has allowed people from all walks of life to experiment with electronics and communications techniques, as well as provide a free public service to their communities during a disaster, all without needing a cell phone or the Internet. Field Day demonstrates ham radio’s ability to work reliably under any conditions from almost any location, creating an independent communications network. 
Ham radio functions completely independent of the Internet or cell phone infrastructure, and can interface with tablets or smartphones. Most ham radio stations can be setup up quickly by simply throwing a wire over a tree for an antenna, and using batteries for power. The ability to quickly setup communications is one of the greatest things about Ham radio, and is very beneficial in times of disasters and other emergencies.  When other communication infrastructures are not working, ham radio works.  

Anyone may become a licensed Amateur Radio operator. There are over 822,768 licensed hams in the United States, as young as 5 and as old as 100. 

For more information about FARA's Field Day, contact Matthew Trott, KB1MLP, ( 

W1MGY - Titanic Memorial Event

posted Mar 29, 2019, 11:22 AM by L Gray   [ updated Mar 29, 2019, 11:23 AM ]

We will be operating April 13 and 14 from the old Coast Guard Station at Coast Guard beach in Eastham. 
Two stations will be set up and operated in approximately 4 hour shifts as follows:

  • Saturday April 13, 6:30 am- 10:00 am ; 10:00 am- 2:00 pm ; 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm ; 6:00 pm- 10:00 pm . we will not be operating over night
  • Sunday April 14, 6:30 am - 10:00 am ; 10:00 am- 2:00 pm ; 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm ; 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm ; 10:00 pm - 1:27 am on 15th

There are 18 slots, you can also come with a friend and log for them or switch off during the four hour slot.

 I'm going to plan on starting setup Wed. the 10th at noon and finish up Friday am if necessary.

Coffee and munchies will be available. Come and join the fun. The old station is a unique place to operate from.

Pick a time slot or slots and email me your choices so that I may set up a roster.

If you are a CW operator - you will have to supply your own key.

We will be open to the public Saturday from 1-4 pm.  73, 

Trustee / W1MGY

if you need to call me 508-237-3429

Cape Cod Maker Faire 2019

posted Mar 29, 2019, 7:50 AM by L Gray   [ updated Mar 29, 2019, 8:03 AM ]

FARA will again be participating in the Cape Cod Mini Maker Faire, to be held Saturday, April 27 at the Mashpee High School.

For more information about the Faire, see

We need FARA members to:
  • Setup stations
  • Operate 
  • Greet the public
  • Help kids make Morse Code sounders

If you are available to assist, or have any questions, please contact Brent, W1NCH, at

Field Day 2019 Update

posted Mar 29, 2019, 7:33 AM by L Gray   [ updated Mar 29, 2019, 7:33 AM ]

Field Day Update:
The following opportunities are still available for anyone willing to participate in FARA's Field Day event.  The setup/teardown crews usually have plenty of help.  However, we never have enough operators.
  • Food Captain - Procures and delivers food and related items for cookout on Saturday, solicits pot luck items
  • Public Information Table Coordinator - Sets up a public information table with club handouts/information and visitor sign-in log
  • Alternate Power Coordinator - Sets up solar power/battery power and makes at least 5 QSO's using alternate power 
  • Educational Activity Coordinator - Develops and presents a ham radio related  educational activity during Field Day
  • Youth Participation Coordinator - Recruits youth participants to make QSO's from the GOTA station
  • Safety Officer - Completes ARRL safety checklist and monitors safety during Field Day.
  • Operators - Operators are needed for the SSB, CW/Digital, and VHF stations to cover the 24 hour period from 1400 on Saturday, 22 June through 1400 Sunday, 23 June
  • Setup Crew - Several people are required to assist with retrieving equipment from the club storage container and setup of the towers, antennas and related items.  Most of this work is done on Friday, June 21.  
  • Teardown Crew - Several people are required to assist with taking down the towers and antennas, coiling coax, storing the equipment in the club storage container.  Teardown is done after 1400 on Sunday, June 23.  
Contact Larry, W1IZZ to sign up, or if you have questions about any of the positions.  Email is good on QRZ.

Falmouth ARA Participation in “Operation Shake Up”

posted Feb 23, 2019, 9:20 AM by L Gray   [ updated Feb 23, 2019, 9:21 AM ]

Matthew Trott, KB1MLP, Falmouth Amateur Radio Association Public Relations Officer writes:

Members of the Falmouth Amateur Radio Association/Cape Cod ARES participated in ARES drill “Operation Shake Up” on February 9 with surrounding Amateur Radio clubs and home stations.

The purpose of the drill was to test the capability in establishing communications with stations both within and outside of our district. The drill also tested communications capabilities with our hospital station, primary stations, EOC, shelters, and other ARES members’ home stations. Various field sites participated across Cape Cod, including: Falmouth, Sandwich, Harwich, Joint Base Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket. In addition, home stations participated from as far away as Acushnet, Massachusetts. Communications utilized 2-meter and 70 cm FM, 75 and 40 meter SSB, and 2 meters PAC digital. ARES field teams were instructed to bring their own equipment. “Served agency” equipment was not used at any time. The Incident Command System (ICS) was assigned prior to the start of operations and used during the exercise.

Falmouth did a great job establishing operations at the Falmouth Hospital, the Falmouth EOC at Falmouth Fire Rescue Headquarters, and the Falmouth Field Site at Falmouth High School. Stations made use of various mobile transceivers, batteries, generators, amplifiers, and home brew antennas. Net control at the Falmouth Hospital did a great job in directing the operation. A lot was learned.

Drills and exercises like “Operation Shake Up” are very important in encouraging participation among Falmouth Amateur Radio Association members.  These exercises are an important part of FARA's continuing commitment to community service.

Spark Gap: New Year – New Goals – New Tradition

posted Feb 22, 2019, 7:03 AM by L Gray   [ updated Feb 22, 2019, 7:04 AM ]

Imagine a disaster befalls Cape Cod. In all likelihood, it will be a weather event – a hurricane 
or nor’easter – that cripples our area. They happen periodically. The Blizzard of ‘78. Hurricane Bob. It will be an event that requires emergency communications, because – as we learned last March – even the modern cell phone system is subject to failure.

FARA will be called to help, and our members will head out to the Cape Cod (a.k.a., Barnstable County) Fairgrounds, and erect a few temporary towers and set up stations under a tent provided by the Barnstable County Sheriff. In the middle of winter.

If you’re scratching your head, you should be.

We’ll come back to this, but a little background is in order. The first meeting of FARA’s Board of Directors in the new year is a routine event. It happens in February, shortly after our general membership meeting in January when FARA holds it’s annual elections. The agenda includes the
appointment of subordinate officers, such as VE Coordinator, Public Relations Officer, Repeater Trustee, etc.

For the past several years, the other significant piece of business is to set goals for the coming year. As president, I draft the ideas. The Board discusses the draft, and approves or changes it. At our meeting on February 13, we set three primary goals for 2019:
1) Strengthen Ties with the Community
2) Improve Emergency Communications Capability
3) Engage the Membership

These goals include more specific sub-goals, or objectives. For example, we’ve had the primary goal of “Amateur Radio in the schools” for several years now. This year, I suggested that we put it under “Strengthen Ties with the Community” since the two are related. The Board agreed to
the placement, but changed the objective to “Youth Engagement – Engage with youth organizations and schools,” acknowledging that the intent is to introduce ham radio to the next generation.

Under “Improve Emergency Communications Capability,” I suggested several objectives, one of which was to abandon the tent and towers paradigm for Field Day.

The editor of Small Craft Advisor, a bi-monthly boating magazine, wrote about fun in a recent column. He described two types, defining Type I fun as the rush we get from a roller coaster or video game. It’s safe and exciting, but rarely memorable.

Type II fun is hard work (sometimes with an element of danger) and the results are remembered fondly. For example, the trip I took back in June with my daughter, Victoria, sailing a 24-foot catboat 700 miles through darkness, fog, and gales. Field Day is Type II fun. It’s not easy setting up and taking down the station and towers, but there is a great deal of satisfaction that comes from it.

Field Day is not a contest, but who among us doesn’t take pride in the results of our hard work? FARA consistently ranks in the top of our class; in 2018, out of 250 or so entries we were 13th overall in the 2A class, 3rd in New England and 1st in Massachusetts.

Now let’s be honest with ourselves: Outside of amateur radio, who cares how well we did? The truth is that what we’ve been doing doesn’t align with our purpose. Article II of our bylaws state, “The primary purposes for which this corporation is formed are... To organize and train units of licensed radio amateurs capable of maintaining radio communications as a public service during periods of emergency.”

Field Day is supposed to be a training exercise. It is intended to prepare us for that hurricane or nor’easter. The problem is that it doesn’t. Every year we have been training for something that we will never do in a disaster – set up a massive station with multiple towers as far away from any emergency services as we can possibly get.

Instead of holding Field Day at the Fairgrounds, we should obtain a trailer and build a truly portable operating station. Every Field Day should be held somewhere new. Downtown Falmouth. On a beach. At Nobska Light. At one of the schools. FARA should be nimble and versatile. We should be able to set up a fully functional communications station anytime, anywhere, under any conditions.

This philosophy extends to the other goals. It is far easier to “Strengthen Ties with the Community,” when we can bring amateur radio to the public instead of waiting for them to come to us. Can you imagine the impact of bringing a trailer to a local school or Scouting event so we can demonstrate amateur radio?

“Engaging the Membership” will be necessary just to build a trailer. Once the trailer is in operation, new events such as the Winter Field Day become possible. No one has volunteered to erect a tent and towers on a sub-zero day in January, but a trailer with a crank-up mast and portable heater would make for comfortable operating.

Field Day at the Fairgrounds has been a FARA tradition for decades, but if we are to preserve the tradition of amateur radio, we need to reevaluate what we do and why. It is far more important that we make amateur radio visible and valuable to the community, and holding Field Day at the Fairgrounds does neither. It’s too late in the year for this Field Day, but the Board agreed that we should build one or more trailers and hold Field Day 2020 in a new location – and begin a new tradition.


 “ARESMAT Requested for Cape Cod Shelter Support for March 13th,”
 Cape Cod Fairgrounds,
 2019 ARRL Field Day is June 22-23,
 Small Craft Advisor,
 Winter Field Day,
 Eastern Massachusetts ARRL: Emergency Communications,

The Spark Gap is the semi-regularly published column of the Falmouth Amateur Radio Association.
Its purpose is to share knowledge and experiences, and to generate discussion about amateur
radio. Submissions are welcome and can be submitted to

Technician License Course 2019

posted Feb 13, 2019, 1:04 PM by L Gray   [ updated Feb 14, 2019, 5:06 AM ]

FARA will be offering a Technician Class amateur radio license course in the Fall, most likely in October.  Please check this website, the FARA Facebook page, the Falmouth Community TV Bulletin board, and local media for announcements.

1-10 of 123