April 2020

Update #1: Our first online club meeting, held on Tuesday, April 21, was a great success. We had 40 attendees, including one from North Carolina, and another from Perth, Western Australia. The fame of PART is worldwide! Club member Bryan, KE4NTU, made a presentation about the activities of the Massachusetts National Guard during the current Coronavirus pandemic, and Bob, W1IS, enlightened us on the relationship of the speed of light to antenna length.
Thanks to a lot of hard work by Terry, KA8SCP, the three WB1GOF repeaters now have new antennas and feedlines. During the week of April 13, Terry installed the antennas on the new Westford water tower on Prospect Hill. The results have been amazing. Club members who could barely make the repeater from their home QTH with a base station are now full quieting with a handheld, and I’ve heard stations from as far away as Fall River check in with S9 signals. We’re interested in locations and signal reports for the new antennas so we can measure their effectiveness; you can report to Terry at repeater@WB1GOF.org, or better yet, report to Terry directly on the repeater. Be sure to thank him for all he’s done for the club!

As many clubs are doing because of “social distancing” rules, we’ll be holding our next monthly club meeting on a video conference. The club board evaluated three systems for this conference: Jitsi, Zoom, and Webex, and we decided to use Webex because of its superior security. I’ll be sending an invitation for the conference a few days in advance via our Groups.io mailing list, and the invitation will have a clickable link and password. All you should need to do to join the conference is click on the link in the email and, depending on your computer, possibly enter the password. If you don’t have a computer, or are mobile, you can access the conference by a phone number and password. Remember too, that you must be on our Groups.io mailing list to get the invitation, so if you’re not on the list, see the instructions on the homepage of this website.

Many events are canceled or postponed because of the coronavirus: the Boston Marathon, the Westford Apple Blossom Parade, and the Amateur Radio Direction Finding (ARDF) championships that were to be held in the Boston area. Field Day will be held as scheduled in late June, but at this time we’re unsure of what the format will be. In the (unlikely) event that social distancing rules are lifted, we’ll hold our Field Day as we did last year, at the Concord Rod & Gun Club. It’s more probable that we’ll be holding Field Day from our individual home stations; I’m waiting for guidance from ARRL on what they plan to do. If you do operate from home, this could be the chance of a lifetime to do some memorable operating — achieving Worked All States might be an attainable goal! As long as you’re stuck at home, use the time to tune your antennas and get ready for some fun on June 27-28.

Another activity you might want to try at home is the semi-annual ARRL Frequency Measuring Test (FMT) at 10:00 PM (Local time) on April 23. In this event the object is to precisely measure the frequencies of two signals on 80 meters and 40 meters to within one hertz. Instructions are at fmt.arrl.org and www.k5cm.com.