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New Members Join BARC, Great Presentation on SDR

21 Mar

At our March 19 meeting, we were excited to welcome Terry, KB1YSO and George, AB1GL as new members!

We also enjoyed a presentation by Michael, N1EN (formerly AB1OD) on software-defined radio using the Funcube Dongle. Thanks Michael!

Field Day Coming Up

Please block off your calendars for the last full weekend in June – it’s Field Day 2013!  Our Field Day Committee is hard at work planning a new automated logging system, public demos, a GOTA station and more!

New Trustee, Committees, and Our First Life Member

24 Feb

At the February 19th meeting a number of exciting changes occurred.

K1QPN – First Life Member of the Bloomfield Amateur Radio Club

Honoring our long-standing former trustee and a founding member of the Bloomfield Amateur Radio Club, the membership voted to induct Don Moore, K1QPN as a Life Member of the Club. Life Membership is the highest honor the club can bestow – and it reflects how grateful we all are to Don for his years of service.

Don is the owner of Moore’s Sawmill in Bloomfield – the oldest continually-operating business in our town.

New Trustee Committee

To clarify the responsibilities of the Club Trustee a new committee was established including outgoing Club Trustee Don, K1QPN, experts in insurance and legal issues, and members who hold club trusteeships for other organizations. The members of the Trustee Committee are directed to “create a designee / control operator structure to comply or satisfy the needs of insuring the repeater operations and protecting all parties involved” including creating a “job description for the position of trustee.”

Field Day 2013 Committee

Getting ready for Field Day (the last full weekend in June) takes a lot of planning and dedication. We’re excited to have the following operators as members of this year’s Bloomfield Amateur Radio Club Field Day committee:

  1. Michael, N1EN
  2. Mary, KB1WFI
  3. Mike, KB1ZHB

Field Day 2012 Pictures

5 Jul

This year’s Field Day was spectacular!  Some of our fastest set-up and takedown times, better planning, fun GOTA activities, delicious food, and exciting band conditions!

Thank you to our Field Day 2012 Coordinators: Mary, KB1WFI, Michael AB1OD, and Bill AB1LZ! Thank you also to everyone who brought equipment, food, posters, and FUN to this year’s event!

Finally – we were very honored that CT Section Manager Betsey, K1EIC and SEC Wayne N1CLV made the trip up to our mountain location this year! Thank you both very much!

Amateur Radio Week in Connecticut

21 Jun

Governor Daniel P. Malloy has officially declared June 18-24 “Amateur Radio Week” in Connecticut, and specifically mentions Field Day:

“WHEREAS,  the ARRL Amateur Radio Field Day exercise will take place on June 23-24,
2012 and is a 24 hour emergency encampment exercise and demonstration  of the Radio Amateurs’ skills and readiness to provide self-supporting communications even in fields without further infrastructure;”

The full text of the announcement reads as follows – PDF scan is here (updated courtesy ARRL).

By His Excellency Dannel P. Malloy, Governor: an Official Statement

WHEREAS, Amateur Radio operators are celebrating over a century of the miracle of the human voice broadcast over the airwaves; and

WHEREAS, Amateur Radio has continued to provide a bridge between peoples, societies and countries by creating friendships and the sharing of ideas; and

WHEREAS, Amateur Radio Operators have also provided countless hours of community services throughout these decades; and

WHEREAS, these Amateur Radio Operator’s services are provided wholly uncompensated; and

WHEREAS, the State also recognizes the services Amateur Radio’s people also provide to our many Emergency Response organizations, including local police, fire and ambulance companies; and

WHEREAS, these same individuals have further demonstrated their value in public assistance by providing free radio communications for local parades, bike-a-thons, walk-athons, fairs and other charitable public events; and

WHEREAS, the State of Connecticut recognizes and appreciates the diligence of these ”hams” who also serve as weather spotters in the Skywarn program of the US Government Weather Bureau; and

WHEREAS, the Amateur Radio Operators of Connecticut stood ready to serve their fellow citizens by providing emergency communications in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene and the Winter Storm of October in 2011; and

WHEREAS, the ARRL is the leading organization for Amateur Radio in the USA; and

WHEREAS,  the ARRL Amateur Radio Field Day exercise will take place on June 23-24,
2012 and is a 24 hour emergency encampment exercise and demonstration  of the Radio Amateurs’ skills and readiness to provide self-supporting communications even in fields without further infrastructure; now

THEREFORE, I Dannel P. Malloy, Governor of the State of Connecticut, do hereby officially recognize and designate June 18-24, 2012 as
AMATEUR RADIO WEEK In the state of Connecticut

(Signed and Sealed) Dannel P. Malloy, Governor

More info can be found at the ARRL’s website.

20 Words for Field Day!

20 Jun

20 words for Field Day

Ham radio operators like lingo – here are some terms you may hear around a Field Day “shack”

  1. Amateur or “Ham” Radio: amateur radio operator are often called “hams.” They are fully licensed by the FCC in the US, and by other national governments to operate radio stations and manage sophisticated radio equipment often capable of communicating around the world, with satellites, and even bouncing signals off the moon. Amateur radio operators are strictly non-commercial, and use their licenses and skills to advance technology, education, and public service.
  2. Analog: Analog signals are characterized by a continuously changing wave in contrast to sending numbers representing “real” information in a digital signal.
  3. ARRL: The national association for amateur radio in the United States.
  4. ARES: The ham radio emergency communications service that helps with public events, and communications during emergencies.
  5. Bandwidth: the amount of “room” that a signal takes up. There is a limited amount of frequencies available. Each service like amateur radio and commercial users are assigned limits on the range of frequencies that they can use. Some modes like CW are very efficient, so many CW signals can “fit” in the same space that a single voice signal would use.
  6. Commercial radio station: a radio station licensed by the FCC to operate on a particular frequency for business use, or to make money (such as by playing music and ads).
  7. CW: “Continuous Wave” – also known as Morse Code. Morse code is still used today, and remains one of the most effective types of signal when conditions are poor or low power is used.
  8. Digital: Digital refers to using numbers to communicate. These signals are often generated and received by computers, allowing files or text to be sent and received. Morse code is actually a type of digital signal. It is either “on” (1) or “off” (0).
  9. DX: ham radio shorthand for a foreign country – also used to refer to contacts very far away.
  10. FCC: The US Federal Communications Commission that legally governs and licenses the use of radio waves in the US.
  11. Frequency: a measure of how many times an electromagnetic wave changes its polarity every second. A signal that changes 95,000,000 times every second is 95 MHz – part of the FM band on a car radio. Electromagnetic waves of different frequencies have different properties and can all share the same environment while carrying different signals like voice, digital, or morse code.
  12. HF: frequencies below 30MHz that are characterized by long distance communications made possible by bouncing off the ionosphere.
  13. Ionosphere: The layer of charged particles in the atmosphere off which lower frequency signals can be “bounced” to enable communications beyond the horizon.
  14. Modes: AM and FM on a car radio are two modes – ways information (such as music) can be sent. CW (morse code) and digital techniques are other modes. Each mode has different advantages and disadvantages in terms of the amount of power they take, how much information can be sent, and how much “room” (bandwidth) they consume.
  15. QSO: a conversation.
  16. QTH: your station location.
  17. Repeaters: a radio station that automatically extends the range of other radio systems. Repeaters work by listening to the signal put out by these stations, and re-transmitting them. Repeaters are put on mountains and tall buildings to give smaller stations (like handheld radios) more range.
  18. Skywarn: the National Weather Service program to spot and report dangerous weather, the “trained eyes on the ground” – many of whom communicate with the Weather Service over amateur radio.
  19. Transceiver: instead of having separate receivers and transmitters, many hams use transceivers. A transceiver has both a transmitter and receiver inside it and switches between the two functions – a “two way” radio.
  20. VHF/UHF: Different frequencies are grouped into categories. HF is below 30 MHz, VHF is in the 30-300MHz range, UHF is from 300-3000MHz. Above that are microwaves. These categories have different properties, such as the ability to bounce off the ionosphere, penetrate it easily, how easily they travel through air and buildings, and how much information they can carry.

Do you know someone who’s new to ham radio? New to Field Day?

18 Jun

The first night of Field Day back in 2010.

Field Day – this coming weekend – June 23-24 – is a great intro to the excitement of ham radio!  From experimenting with antennas in the woods, to setting up portable radio stations and talking to people around the country and world!

Amateur radio is a very diverse hobby:

  • Learn electronics, and build or repair your own radio station equipment
  • restore radios or make replicas of the original sort of equipment used 100 years ago
  • design and build the latest “software defined radio” (SDR) equipment, and invent “the cutting edge”
  • Many professional inventors, engineers, and scientists got their start, and continue to innovate, using amateur radio
  • Talk to people in other countries, ships at sea, airplanes, and the Space Station
  • Communicate by morse code, digital packets, image or television, or voice
  • Be prepared for emergencies and public service needs at the local, regional, or national levels

Amateur radio is what you make of it – come join us at Heublein Tower this weekend – or check out any of the other groups on Google Maps who will have Field Day setups all over Connecticut and around the country.

Field Day! Field Day! Field Day! It’s FIELD DAY!!!

13 Jun

Michael, AB1OD shows how to get on the air to a group of kids who stopped by in 2011

Okay, maybe it’s not that exciting… Actually, it is!!!

WHAT is Field Day?

Field day is when amateur radio operators all over North America, and the world get on the air from their homes, parks, emergency shelters, and other areas to test their ability to prepare for emergencies. Setting up antennas in parking lots, trees, and parks and operating throughout different weather conditions with lots of other stations on the airwaves is challenging, fun, and prepares for real emergencies.

Field day is also a time during which members of the public are invited to stop by and get on the air and talk to everyone from stations a few miles down the road, to the other side of the world, and sometimes even astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

Is it Free?

Amateur radio operators do what they do because of enjoyment of meeting new people on the air, trying out or even inventing new wireless technologies, or a desire to help the community. We don’t get paid for our activities – in fact it’s illegal!

Field day is a FREE event for the public, and there is FREE parking at the beginning of the Talcott Mountain trail.

When is Field Day?

Field Day is on Saturday June 23 through Sunday afternoon June 24. You and your friends and your Facebook friends are all invited to join us during daylight hours between 1PM on June 23 (Saturday) and 4PM on June 24 (Sunday).

Where is Field Day?

Many ham radio clubs in the Central Connecticut area will be having Field Day events. We’re going to be up near Heublein Tower, at the covered pavilion in Talcott Mountain State Park, giving us beautiful views and amazing signals!

For more information on our location, including a Google Map, please click here.

Please note: if you can’t make it by the time we are “off air” under Field Day rules, we will still do our best to get you on the air to try ham radio (we just won’t get “points” for it).

Accessibility: The tower and pavilion are accessible by walking. If you need to drive, we do have access to a private road that allows you to drive directly to our location. Please contact Josh, AC1N or Dan, W1CNI for further information.



Unless it’s unsafe, Field Day is rain or shine!

2011 Field Day Results Published

21 Oct

Good job team!

W1CWA’s final published results are on page 78 of this month’s QST.

ARRL makes this article available free on their website. As previously reported we had a score of 2,938.

Field Day 2011 – See You Next Year!

26 Jun

Field Day 2011 – Helping Teach Ham Radio!

26 Jun

In addition to being in a public place, this year we had a GOTA station, extra literature, and flyers put up throughout the Hartford area ahead of Field Day. Our GOTA operation was particularly popular, with Michael, AB1OD often demonstrating the wonder of amateur radio to groups of kids while proud parents looked on.