Loop on the Ground Antenna

posted Feb 27, 2021, 10:41 AM by L Gray   [ updated Feb 27, 2021, 10:50 AM ]

Loop on the Ground antenna Spark Gap article from presentation made at February 25, 2021 FARA Meeting.  The presentation file is attached below.

Cape Cod ARES Exercise

posted Feb 13, 2021, 12:03 PM by L Gray   [ updated Feb 13, 2021, 12:04 PM ]

Cape Cod and Falmouth ARES Teams held a Cape wide exercise on February 6 from 10 AM to
noon. Field Teams were set up at Falmouth Hospital, The Sandwich Council on Aging and at
the QTH of Barry, KB1TLR in Brewster.

Falmouth ARES was set up at the main parking area at Falmouth Hospital. This area is at a
high elevation which facilitates non-repeater assisted voice and data comm's to most areas of
the Cape and southeastern Mass.

It was chilly and windy there, and the two 44 foot Spyder poles used to hold VHF antennas were
bending but held. We had two stations: an FM voice station running simplex with 80 watts, and a
Winlink (radio e-mail) station.

The object of the exercise was to simulate a winter storm event that had disabled power and
communications facilities on the Cape. Communications were by FM voice, Winlink and other
digital modes. The control station was at Sandwich Council on Aging, they used all modes,
including HF, there. NTS and digital messages were passed between the various stations.
Power was provided by 2 vehicles as well as batteries and solar power. No commercial power
was used (remember, it was out of service). Antennas were ladder-line J-poles, which are
simple and highly effective, simply being taped to the top of the fiberglass Spyder poles.

After dealing with a few glitches, we concluded a successful exercise at about 11:45.
Thanks to Carole, KC1MAQ for bringing the coffee and a special thanks to Charlie, K1CB who
acted as net control despite having a recent surgical procedure.

Participating were Henry, K1WCC, Charlie, K1CB, Mel, KC1ELB, Jay, WB4KYW, Helen,
N1HVB, Carole, KC1MAQ, Gene, KX1C, Jim, KC1LMA, Max, KC1MAX, Andy, K7ADA and
Dan, KC1GOQ.

Anyone interested in participating in Falmouth/Cape Cod ARES can contact Henry, K1WCC at


FARA Member Featured on QSO Today

posted Feb 4, 2021, 2:48 PM by L Gray   [ updated Feb 5, 2021, 12:43 PM ]

Peter Butler, W1UU, was featured in an interview with QSO Today.  QSO Today was talking with Peter about his work with CW Ops.

Peter Butler, W1UU

Social Distancing on the Air

posted Jan 19, 2021, 1:28 PM by L Gray   [ updated Jan 19, 2021, 1:37 PM ]

A close-knit culture, with separation at its core is a story and accompanying video produced by Christian Science Monitor staff photographer Anne Hermes. It explores how Amateur Radio operators are taking COVID-19 and social distancing in stride and features interviews with Eastern MA hams. It portrays the hobby in a very positive light.

Read the Christian Science Monitor article here: Social distancing? COVID-19 made it real. Ham radio made it a hobby. -

View the video from the FARA home page or by clicking the link: Social Distancing on the Air.

ARRL Magazine On-Line Access

posted Jan 19, 2021, 12:59 PM by L Gray   [ updated Jan 19, 2021, 1:13 PM ]

As an ARRL member, you can can access four ARRL magazines on-line, including the ability to search the archives.  "On the Air" is a relatively new magazine aimed directly at new hams and hams working on getting a station of the air.  It is extremely popular, as it contains lots of practical information.

On-line access is a great ARRL member benefit--be sure to take advantage of it.   ARRL Magazine information can be accessed on the ARRL web site at:  ARRL Magazines

Ham Boot Camp

posted Jan 19, 2021, 12:49 PM by L Gray   [ updated Jan 19, 2021, 12:50 PM ]

It is not too early to sign up for the Nashua Area Radio Society's Ham Boot Camp.  Ham Bootcamp includes a series of demonstrations and tutorials designed to help newly licensed Technician, General, and Extra class license holders get on the air and use their amateur radio license. 

The next Ham Boot Camp session, held via Zoom, is scheduled for April 24, 2021, from 10AM to 6PM.  A great educational opportunity for new hams to learn the basics of getting a station on the air.  No travel required.

See the web site for details and sign-up information:  Ham Bootcamp - Getting Started With Amateur Radio (

Ham-Con 2010

posted Jan 19, 2021, 12:37 PM by L Gray   [ updated Jan 19, 2021, 12:39 PM ]

Dayton and NEAR-Fest may have been cancelled, but HAM-CON is on!  There will be a virtual ham fest with several "rooms" of items for sale.  Ham-Con is scheduled for February 27, 2021.  There are pre-Fest activities also planned.

Please visit: HAM-CON 2021 ( for the details.  No driving required, no need to even get dressed, so no excuse not to "attend".

Cape Cod ARES Exercise Report

posted Aug 16, 2020, 10:12 AM by L Gray   [ updated Aug 16, 2020, 10:18 AM ]

from Henry Brown, K1WCC: 

I thought the exercise today went very well, at least from the standpoint of Falmouth ARES. Hope it all went well at the other Field Stations.

First, the following were present:

Henry, K1WCC   (operator)
Charlie, K1CB (operator)
Mel, KC1ELB    (operator)
Marinna  (operator)
Bill, KC1NGO
Tim, W1TCD
Andy, K7ADA
Gene, KX1C

We set up two stations 100 ft. apart in the east parking area of the Falmouth Hospital. Both stations used Spyder poles extended to their full length of 40 ft. The 2 meter station used a ladder line J-pole with two power sources-a deep cycle gel cell and a vehicle. The vehicle did most of the heavy lifting. Radio used was a Yaesu FT-2980 running the full 80 watts. All documentation was by pen and paper. The second station was intended to operate on 446.000 to test the capability of that band for Cape use. They used a homebrew ground plane and an ICOM IC-208 running full power on 440. They also used the vehicle for power. The 2 meter station set up a table and beach umbrella for shelter and the 440 station used their truck tailgate. Communications between these stations was on 146.520.

The weather was calm but overcast and muggy with occasional drops of rain. Setup started at about 0830 and took less than an hour. Charlie K1CB started net control duties at 1000. He was occasionally spelled by Henry  and Marinna, W1FX.

Propagation was surprisingly good. Noteworthy were our contacts with W2BTA on Nantucket with a good, readable signal, K1LRJ in Eastham, another good and readable signal, and K1WIT in Chatham, weak but readable. We had no problems working the Sandwich Field Station, JBCC station, and various home stations. Also noteworthy was the ability of the 440 station to contact the Sandwich Field Station on 446.000 with a good, readable signal. This opens up another possible avenue of communication. We will need to investigate what limitations we may have on 440 given the Space Force restrictions.

Exercise ended for us at 1130.

Some pictures are attached. Thanks to all who participated.

Henry Brown  K1WCC
Falmouth ARES EC


10M Squalo Antenna - WA1GPO

posted Aug 4, 2020, 10:20 AM by L Gray   [ updated Aug 4, 2020, 10:21 AM ]

New Project - 10m Squalo Antenna:

In addition to the antenna construction, I was also using a new device to characterize the antenna--a NanoVNA-F, Vector Network Analyzer. This was a bit of a learning curve for me. I started by monitoring Return Loss, SWR, Resistance and Reactance; ultimately I replaced the Reactance trace with a Smith Chart. This allows you to visualize the adjustments in real time. I remember being introduced to Smith Charts in one of my transmission line classes many years ago in college. I think I’ve forgotten more than I knew. Kind of exciting to revisit the theory after so many (many) years! 

On to the antenna ....

The 10m Squalo is an extension of the previously documented 6 and 2 meter Squalo antennas. Parts were obtained from a pair of lawn chairs and some scrap, salvaged from my stockpile in the back yard. A single length of 7/8 OD x 72 inch tubing can be purchased from McMaster-Carr for a reasonable price if you don’t have spare stock available to make the sides.

I tested two versions. The first version had a 4:1 step up transformer with a ferrite RF choke in a plastic box. The second version used a conventional gamma match. Bandwidth with both feed systems is about 700 KHz. The dimensions vary slightly as the wire used to connect the transformer feed effectively add to the element length.
( check out the pictures & comments below)

So, which version to build? 

The Gamma match requires more metal work, but is tune-able and slightly more efficient. It also requires more patience to tune!

The transformer version requires the matching box and some core winding in addition to the box construction. It is only slightly more lossy in the core.

Food for thought. Some details may be missing, contact WA1GPO for more information.
This is a nice antenna for casual operating or for our FARA round table gathering daily on 10m - 28411 @  11AM.  Join us and say hello--just an informal gathering.

The transformer version, with a temporary boom, dimensions are 45 x 46.5 inches ‘square’.
Matching box - ferrite choke on top & 4:1 Balun on the bottom.
VNA representation of a sweep from 25-30Mhz., resonance is at 28.4Mhz. This is the transformer version.
Gamma match version, size is slightly larger - 46.5x52 inches. Gamma rod is 3/8 x 24 inches spaced 2.5 inches C-C from the element. The gamma match element is fabricated from a piece of RG-8 coaxial cable. The shield is removed and the center conductor with the polyethylene dielectric is inserted into the 3/8 gamma rod to form the variable capacitor. The conductor extends 2.75 inches beyond the rod at the feed point. The rod is shorted to the element at about 17 inches.

The coaxial feed point can be fabricated from an SO-239 and some scrap aluminum. I also incorporated a coaxial RF choke into the feed, 17 turns of RG-8X wound on the 1.25 inch O.D. PVC pipe, again, what I had available. Element contacts are SS sheet metal screws and the elements are fastened to the PVC T's with aluminum pop rivets.
Final set-up in my shop. Take note of the stock and supplies in the background.
Final tuning of the Gamma match version. Note the SWR and the Z. Return loss is -35dB. Think of it this way ... RL is the highest at the frequency where most if the applied power is radiated (not reflected). Note also the spiral on the Smith Chart. The center of the chart is normalized at 50 +/- j0, that is 50 ohms resistive ... right where we are.

Falmouth ARA Meetings and License Exams Update

posted Jun 25, 2020, 11:25 AM by L Gray   [ updated Aug 3, 2020, 1:00 PM ]

FARA is making use of the Zoom virtual meeting software to hold member and director meetings.  Information regarding the meetings and links to the Zoom sessions are sent to members via the FARA email list.

Lee Thomas, NQ1L, FARA Volunteer Examiner (VE) Coordinator has arranged for the use of a facility that allows for proper social distancing.   Examinations are now available on the 2nd Saturday of the month by reservation only.  Contact Lee Thomas at NQ1L38 at to schedule an examination

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