Annual FARA Dues by January 31

posted Nov 28, 2018, 7:42 AM by L Gray   [ updated Nov 28, 2018, 7:43 AM ]

FARA long ago established the cutoff date for dues at April 1. The lengthly grace period accommodated the fact that dues were largely paid by check, or by cash in person at one of the FARA meetings. Many of our members are seasonal residents, and are often out of the state on January 1.

The advent of the Internet has made such grace periods unnecessary. News of the club, previously mailed monthly in a newsletter, is now distributed almost continuously via email, Facebook and our website. PayPal is accepted for dues payments, which can be made from anywhere there is an Internet connection. As a result, the Board of Directors voted to move the grace period for 2018 from April 1 to March 1.

For 2019, the Board established a cutoff date of January 31. If you have not paid your dues by February 1, 2019 you will be removed from the membership roll and all FARA privileges will be revoked.

Annual membership dues are due on January 1st. Member is $20, family $30, student $10, and the first year of a new licensee is $5. New applications or renewals are available at

Checks can be mailed to the FARA address (PO Box 815, West Falmouth, MA 02574), or brought in person to one of the FARA regular meetings, or via PayPal on our website at

If you've any questions, feel free to reach out to any FARA officer or director.

FARA 2018 Field Day Results

posted Nov 17, 2018, 5:06 AM by L Gray   [ updated Nov 17, 2018, 5:07 AM ]

The 2018 ARRL Field Day results were released in the December issue of QST.  FARA did very well, both regionally and nationally.

FARA's Field Day score was:

#1 in Eastern Massachusetts in Class 2A
#3 in New England in Class 2A
#13 nationally in Class 2A out of 282 entries
#82 nationally overall out of 2,902 entries in all classes

Thanks to everyone who contributed to another successful FARA Field Day.

Field Day 2019 is just 217 days away.  Field Day 2019 is scheduled for June 22-23, 2019--put the dates on your calendar now!

2018 FARA Christmas Party

posted Nov 14, 2018, 8:10 AM by L Gray   [ updated Nov 16, 2018, 4:11 AM ]

You won't want to miss the 2018 FARA Christmas Party! Andy Stewart, KB1OIQ, will be doing a presentation about the HF Signals BITX40 and uBITX transceivers designed by Ashar Farhan, VU2ESE (see

Founder of the Worcester Linux Users' Group and Chelmsford Linux Meetup Group, Andy is the ARRL Affiliated Club Coordinator for the Eastern Massachusetts (EMA) section (see Andy is perhaps best known for his ham radio Linux distribution, "KB1OIQ - Andy's Ham Radio Linux" (see

The party will be held at the Falmouth Yacht Club on Thursday, December 13, starting at 6:30 PM. The cost is $35 per person (includes dinner, dessert and gratuity) with a cash bar.

In addition to Andy's presentation, there will be the Not-Quite-Yankee Swap (bring a gift!) and awards and recognition. And speaking of awards - if you know of a FARA member deserving of recognition for their contributions to the club and/or ham radio, let us know!

Payment of $35 per person can be made via check mailed to the FARA address (PO Box 815, West Falmouth, MA 02574), or brought in person to the November FARA meeting (Saturday, November 17). For those who wish to use PayPal, click the button below.

If you've any questions, contact Brent, W1NCH, at


posted Nov 10, 2018, 2:35 PM by L Gray   [ updated Nov 10, 2018, 2:38 PM ]

Another FARA FEST is in the books.  We had 24 vendors selling their wares, including our very supportive commercial vendor, Ham Source.  Nearly 100 "customers" attended.  In addition, we gave away about $350 worth of raffle prizes, including antennas, LMR400 cable and several ARRL gift certificates. 
Thanks to Ralph, N1YHS, and Don, N1JCT for their efforts in organizing and running this event.  Thanks also to the FARA members who assisted with the event.

Photos courtesy of Barry, KB1TLR

Vertical Antennas for 6M and 2M

posted Nov 7, 2018, 7:45 AM by L Gray   [ updated Nov 7, 2018, 7:46 AM ]

The Squalo antennas for operating on the lower portions of the 6 and 2 meter bands fulfilled a need for inexpensive and easy to build, horizontally polarized antennas. These antennas are not suitable for FM as most stations use vertically polarized antennas on this mode.  With the recent interest in 6m FM there was a need for a vertically polarized antenna. There are several examples on the Internet.  The November Spark Gap article submitted by Jim, WA1GPO and Don. N1JCT, provides information on the construction of 6m and 2m versions

The first antenna presented in the Spark Gap article is a version for 6m ‐ built by 
Don (N1JCT) and Jim (WA1GPO). It is self‐supporting, easy and inexpensive to build. The antenna is fabricated from coaxial cable, hookup wire and PVC pipe.  This is a coaxial half‐wave antenna. The design makes use of the ‘skin effect’ property of RF in a conductor. In this case, RF is flowing to the antenna elements on the ‘inside’ of the coax cable shield; the ½ wave antenna is formed by the ¼ center conductor of the cable and the ¼ current flowing on the ‘outside’ of the coax cable shield. The current on the outside is limited by the RF choke – a spirally wound section of coaxial cable, 20 turns on the 1.25 inch PVC pipe. Each element, shield and center conductor are 50.5 inches in length.

A 2 meter version of the coaxial half‐wave antenna was also fabricated and tested. It was built into a ½ inch (.875 OD) section of PVC pipe about 48 inches long. It also utilizes an RF choke (15Turns) wound on the pipe; the choke is about 3.25 inches long. The ½ PVC can be adapted to a larger 1.25 PVC pipe (see the 6m version) or can simply be hose clamped to a mast. Note – the coaxial choke must be above any metal supports. The lower (coaxial shield) element is 16.75 inches and the upper (center conductor) element is 17 inches. Construction is similar to the 6m version, the pictures in the Spark Gap article tell the story.   Fabrication is easier with a 2 part PVC pipe.

See the November Spark Gap article for complete details.

VHF/UHF Weak Signal Operation

posted Oct 26, 2018, 8:04 AM by L Gray   [ updated Oct 26, 2018, 8:05 AM ]

FARA member, George Jones, N1GJ, introduced fellow FARA members to the world above 30 MHz at the October FARA meeting.  Most amateurs do not operate above 30 MHz, with the exception of 2 meter repeater use.  George provided an informative introduction into this interesting aspect of amateur radio.

A copy of his presentation, "Introduction to VHF/UHF Weak Signal Operating", can be downloaded in PDF format by clicking the link.

FARA Fest November 3, 2018

posted Oct 11, 2018, 5:57 AM by L Gray   [ updated Oct 11, 2018, 5:58 AM ]

FARA-Fest 2018
 will be held on November 03, 2018, 9am-noon, at  Upper Cape Regional Technical School.  See the attached FARA-Fest flyer for additional  information.  FARA-Fest contacts are Ralph Swenson or Don Zaffini .

Pay for your table space using PayPal:

Jamboree on the Air (JOTA) October 20

posted Oct 10, 2018, 9:53 AM by L Gray   [ updated Oct 10, 2018, 9:54 AM ]

FARA will be participating in the 61st annual Jamboree On The Air (JOTA) on Saturday, October 20, 2018. We will be holding the event at Falmouth's Gus Canty Recreation Center at 790 Main Street, from 10am-5pm.

Once again, we will be using a special event call sign - W1BSA! The goal is to show all attendees (specifically any Scouts, Boy or Girl) what ham radio has to offer and get them on the air!

Volunteers are needed to operate several stations as demos and to get folks on the air:
* CW station
* HF voice (SSB)
* Digital (likely PSK31) with a big screen
* 2m HT and/or mobile

We are coordinating with another JOTA event held at Boy Scout Camp Greenough in Yarmouth for local 2m communications. If you can't assist with the event itself, but may available on the 20th, we could also use you for contacts!

Please contact Glen, KC1GKT, at glen.dowden at

SQUALO Revisited – an Antenna for 2 Meters

posted Oct 8, 2018, 2:30 PM by L Gray   [ updated Oct 8, 2018, 2:34 PM ]

This is a continuation of the previous 6 meter Squalo effort utilizing the leftover parts from the chair to 
fabricate an antenna for 2 meters. In keeping with the theme I dubbed this a “Squalo Revisited”; however, this is NOT a true Squalo – it is simply a U shaped dipole. 

I kept the square shape overall as it makes stacking the 2 & 6 meter versions a little easier (see end). The antenna pattern will not be circular, it will favor the direction of the feed point hence the pattern will be somewhat elliptical. This is due to the current distribution with a half wave dipole; current is maximum at the center and zero at the endpoints. This is not an antenna for 2m FM as it is not vertically polarized, it is intended for the low end of 2m where most of the CW and SSB operations are horizontally polarized.

The section of chair I had available was a little short for 2m. End to end a dipole should be about 39 inches, the section I had was 34 inches. I improvised and added the short ‘tails’ visible in the picture along the horizontal section of PVC to adjust the antenna resonance. I placed the pipe mounting clamp off center so the antenna would be balanced, it also provided space for the RF choke. I fabricated the RF choke from a section of RG58 cable, 7 turns close wound on the PVC mount as shown. 

I tried a hairpin match but found the overall length would interfere with the pipe mount. I 
ended up with a small inductor across the feed point for matching, 8 turns of #16 copper wire, 1 inch long. I used a screwdriver shank as a form to wind the inductor. Tuning is relatively easy – trim the tails for resonance while spreading or compressing the coil for the best match.

So, does it work?  Back at the WA1GPO antenna test range VSWR and antenna Z results looks reasonably good – VSWR is 1.1:1 at 144.29 and the Z is very close to 50 ohms (resistive).

WA1GPO Test Range
VSWR and Z

I operated during the September VHF contest from a Park’n’Ride located in Mattapoisett on Saturday night. I only operated for an hour or so and the number of contacts were limited. . .

 Squalos on a 20 foot mast, ready to go up
 Antennas in position

Just another fun project. I have parts available (a couple of spare chairs) if anyone is interested in building antennas for 2 or 6 meters.


Spark Gap - Microwave Operating

posted Sep 1, 2018, 7:10 AM by L Gray   [ updated Sep 1, 2018, 7:15 AM ]

George Jones, N1GJ, contributed this month's Spark Gap article.  George is a long-time microwave operator and member of the Northeast Weak Signal Group.  George gives a great description of an area of amateur radio that is not well known to most hams.

If you are interested in more information about microwave operating, look for George at a FARA meeting.  He also plans to make a presentation at a future FARA meeting.

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