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.

FARA 6 Meter Net

posted Aug 29, 2018, 8:50 AM by L Gray   [ updated Aug 29, 2018, 8:52 AM ]

Brian, W1HXN, has started a 6 meter net on the N1YHS 6M repeater in Barnstable. The repeater operates at 50 watts and is located in Barnstable village by the courthouse complex. The repeater is on 53.010, - 1MHz offset, PL tone is 173.8. The time-out timer is set for 180 seconds. 


Brian set a date of 8/29/18 @ 7:00 pm as the 1st meeting of the 6M net. If you need to check your equipment before that time, Brian will try to monitor the repeater as much as he can. Thank everyone for showing an interest.  It is an open net, so everyone is welcome to check-in.


2018 Falmouth Road Race Support

posted Aug 26, 2018, 6:31 AM by L Gray   [ updated Aug 26, 2018, 6:33 AM ]

Barry, KB1TLR, organized FARA's 2018 Falmouth Road Race communication support crew.  The communications crew consisted of 29 amateur radio operators manning medical and water stop locations along the course, as well as EOC net control, finish line information tent, trail support vehicle, and the unified command center.  As usual, FARA's communication support worked very well, often serving to relay traffic when medical radios or race radios were unable to communicate.  Henry, K1WCC, was stationed at the Unified Command truck located at Mariner's Point.  His "after-action report" is shown below:

Falmouth Road Race 8/19/2018
After Action Report
This year, my station was S-39, the UNIFIED COMMAND van at Marriner's Point.
I arrived on site at 0600, earlier than usual. I'm glad I went early, because traffic was much
worse than usual. Some of our FARA Team seemed to arrive late at their stations due to
In S-39 were Boyd DeMello and Craig O'Malley of the Fire Dept., Sean Doyle of the
Police Dept., Ralph Swenson, N1YHS a scribe, and myself.
Ralph had built a headset controller that made good use of both radios. You could listen to
one or the other, or both, with one radio on one ear and the other on the other ear. This
worked perfectly and did not disturb the FD and PD guys, but they could hear me talking
and often asked questions, since some of the Race radios being used could not reach where
we could.
Call up was at 0730 but not much happened till the Race began about 0900. Most of my
comms were with the Trail SAG Bus. Their medical radios did not work well along the
course so I relayed all of their comms to the FD, as they were a SAG bus and picking up
runners along the way. Using both repeaters worked well.
Since the weather was cool, there were very few patients, only about 40 total at Finish line
Med. We had some issues with computers/lists for the Info Tent guys and hospital but they
used their heads and worked it out. That was impressive.
We were relieved at 1155. Traffic going home was not bad, I went the Heights Rd. to
MacDougalls, then along Grand Ave. north to Elysian, then home the usual way. Some
traffic, but otherwise easy.
This year, I wore my EMCOM/ARES vest. Although I didn't use it during the Race, my
Kenwood HT fit into the left pocket, the speaker mic clipped onto the right chest clip, and
there was a pen and penlight holder as well. I'll use that more often, very convenient.

Falmouth ARES EC

Unified Command
Inside Unified Command 
Inside Unified Command 
Falmouth Hospital
Falmouth Hospital 
Finish Line Info Tent 

Images courtesy: Henry, K1WCC; Charlle, K1CB; Brent, W1NCH

W1MGY Lighthouse Day Event at Nobska Light

posted Aug 25, 2018, 3:36 PM by L Gray   [ updated Aug 25, 2018, 3:38 PM ]

The members of the Titanic / Marconi Memorial Radio Association of Cape Cod were allowed the opportunity to operate from Nobska Light on National Lighthouse Day, August 7th. A number of hams that are also members of local ham clubs participated. On the evening of the 6th, we set up an R-5 vertical antenna and a multi-band wire dipole. Early on the morning of the 7th, we started to operate . We made a few contacts early, but conditions were very poor and the contacts tapered off as the day wore on. We did reach as far away as Australia and Northern Ireland. The prime parts of the day were the visitors that came through to check out the lighthouse. The lighthouse is usually only open for two hours for tours but, because it was National Lighthouse Day, they were open for 4 hours. There were a number of visitors and they stopped by the room we used for operating. There were approximately 40 children that came with parents. As each group came in three dots were sent out using a practice code oscillator.  The visitors--especially the children, were asked if they knew what letter that represented in Morse Code and why it was significant. The significance was explained along with a brief history.  We explained the public service provided by amateur radio, such as CERTS, ARES, disaster relief, aiding in road races and marathons, SKYWARN weather spotters and the like. We had Morse Code charts available and many of the children tried to tap out their names in code. Many times parents had to press their children to move on. Even through contact numbers were not large, it was throughly enjoyed by everyone, and we would welcome the opportunity to do it again. 

A very large thank you to the “Friends of Nobska Light”, for allowing us to operate from Nobska Light.

Barry / KB1TLR; Trustee / W1MGY


Images courtesy Barry, W1TLR and Don, N1JCT

Boxboro Tech in a Day Class

posted Aug 14, 2018, 9:03 AM by L Gray   [ updated Aug 14, 2018, 9:04 AM ]

The Cape Ann Amateur Radio Association, CAARA, will be holding a one day study course for those interested in earning the FCC Technician class amateur radio license. 

This course will be held at the ARRL Boxboro Convention at the Boxboro Regency Hotel in Boxboro, MA on Saturday, September 8, 2018.

Registration begins at 8am
Starting at 8:30 AM and going until 4:30 PM.
Exams will begin at the end of class.

There is a $20.00 fee for course materials, snacks and the FCC Test Fee.

You must sign up beforehand by e-mailing CAARA at

Please advise your members, there may be family members desiring to attend.

Thanks and 73,

Spark Gap--Going to Dayton?......... Going to Dayton!

posted Aug 1, 2018, 8:02 AM by L Gray   [ updated Aug 1, 2018, 1:08 PM ]

Henry, K1WCC, contributed the August Spark Gap article, which is a guide for attending the annual Hamvention.  An excerpt is shown below: 

"The Dayton Hamvention (now held in nearby Xenia, OH) is THE Mecca for hams all over the
world. It's where it's at, as we used to say in the 60's. So what is going there all about? What do
you need to know? I've been there about 8 times, so I may be qualified to report.........."


FARA Club Station

posted Jul 28, 2018, 11:37 AM by L Gray   [ updated Aug 24, 2018, 11:53 AM ]

The Air Force has decided to demolish the building that houses the FARA Club Station, along with several other old buildings on the base.  A group of FARA members dismantled the club station on Saturday.  Equipment and other items will be placed in safe storage until a new home for the club station is found.  Ralph, N1YHS, organized a boom truck to remove the antennas from the antenna pole.

If you have an suggestions regarding a new club station location, please contact FARA President, Brent Putnam, W1NCH.

 Club Station Before
 Club Station After
 Removing Antennas
 HF Beam Removal

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