Sparks from the Spa Newsletter – December 2017

Hello all,

Merry Xmas, Happy Chanukah, or whichever holiday you are celebrating this month.
Attached is the December issue of Sparks from the Spa newsletter.

Just a reminder that our December 11 meeting is our annual holiday get together at the usual location in the Wilton EMS Squad building. There will not be a Board of Directors meeting, instead the General Membership meeting will begin at 6:30 PM (instead of the usual 7:00 PM). The program will just be you and whatever you want to talk about with your fellow hams.
Feel free to bring along some empty calories in the form a snack to share with everyone. If you are able, you can also bring along an unwrapped toy to be donated to a needy child. We will start at 6:30 and it will last until the last one of us leaves the door. We hope you have some fun.

Jim KG2H

Sparks from the Spa Newsletter – November 2017

2017 Field Day tower

Hello All

I hope you’re keeping warm! The last couple of days have been very chilly. We had not had a frost at my house until the night of election day. Having outdoor tomato plants green and healthy until November 7 has to be some kind of record.

Don’t forget that this Monday, Nov is our regular club meeting. Our scheduled speaker has cancelled at the last minute, and as of right now, I am unsure of the program.

Attached is the November issue of Sparks from the Spa Newsletter. I hope you enjoy it.

Here is a bit of information for those of you interested in the new 630 meter band. If you have an 80 or 160 meter antenna, you might want to give a listen. The announcement says Nov 11, but does not give UTC times.

– Jim KG2H

630-Meter Special Operating Event on November 11 Commemorates Berlin Treaty From ARRL

Amateur Radio operators will descend upon 630 meters on November 11 during a special operating event to commemorate the 1906 Berlin Treaty, which made 500 kHz the International Distress Frequency on November 3 of that year. US radio amateurs recently gained access to 630 meters, but must have notified the Utilities Technology Council (UTC) of their intent to operate and either received explicit approval or not heard anything for 30 days in order to participate.

Four different groups will take part: US radio amateurs, US Part 5 Experimental operators, Canadian radio amateurs, and the Maritime Radio Historical Society (MRHS). Canadian and authorized US radio amateurs will operate from 472 to 479 kHz, using CW.

Some stations are expected to offer cross-band contacts, transmitting on 630 meters and listening on 160, 80, and 40 meters. Part 5 Experimental operators, including WD2XSH stations and others who don’t yet have UTC approval, will operate in the 472-479 kHz band or just outside of it, and there may be some operation on 500 kHz proper.

The Maritime Radio Historical Society will activate its KSM/KPH transmitter at Bolinas, California, for a mini “Night of Nights” with special messages and bulletins.

— Thanks to Fritz Raab, W1FR

Sparks from the Spa Newsletter – October 2017

I’m pleased to attach the October issue of Sparks From the Spa. I hope you enjoy reading it.
Just a few quick items for you.

Don’t forget the club meeting this Monday, October 9. Yes, it’s Columbus day. I hope you have a nice day off of work, so come to the meeting. Board Meeting is at 6:30, and General Membership meeting is 7:00 PM.

Apple Walk is this Saturday at Burnt Hills. See the newsletter for information.

Be sure to monitor our repeaters (147.00 and 147.24) this Saturday morning. The organizers of the SET (Section Emergency Test) have been very tight-lipped about SET this year, we may have a surprise exercise.

Jim Polewczak KG2H

Simulated Emergency Test (SET)

ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Service

On SATURDAY, October 7th, the annual ARRL/ARES Simulated Emergency Test (SET) will take place, and Saratoga County amateur radio operators will be taking part. The objective is to activate as many stations from as many county locations, including served agencies, as possible. The goal is to demonstrate that our county can activate a corps of radio operators quickly in case of a real emergency. Points are awarded based on the nature of each QSO, and each county will report its results to the section emergency coordinator for ENY by noon that same day.

The exercise begins at 9 am and runs until 11 am for home, portable and mobile participants. You can take part by checking-in to the club’s linked 2-meter repeaters (147.00 & 147.240) or 147.360 at or about 9:00 a.m. to obtain an assignment. This year we’ll be focusing our efforts on the Northwestern portion of the County. If you can commit to a few hours on Saturday morning, maybe up until noon if we’re getting good results, take a drive towards the Northwestern portion of the county and check-in with NET control. We’ll be looking to test communications in the following areas: Providence, Edinburgh, Day, Hadley, and Corinth. You may need to use the Warren County repeater 146.730, minus offset, 100 Hz at some of the locations so you should check to ensure you have that frequency in your radio(s).

  • Check-in to the SET network on the club repeaters from each location.
  • Do this as many times as you can … then enjoy your morning, knowing you’ve made a real contribution to Saratoga County’s emergency preparedness.

The RULES for scoring are available.

Also, ARRL SET FORMS (and lots of other useful stuff). Look for “Form A” towards the button of the list.

73 and thank you,
Fred – W2EMS

Sparks from the Spa Newsletter – September 2017

Hi, All.

Here it is, it’s after Labor Day, and I hope you all had a wonderful summer so far.

The big news is that this Sunday, we will be holding our 32 annual hamfest at the Saratoga County Fairgrounds in Ballston Spa. I am attaching the final version of our 2017 Hamfest flyer in case you want to forward it on to a friend. Please note that we will have 2 new equipment vendors this year. KJI Electronics who usually comes to our event, PLUS a new (for us) vendor, RW Antenna Store. Be sure to bring lots of money to support both our vendors.

Don’t forget, after the whoop de do on Sunday, we have our regular club meeting the next day at 7 PM at the Wilton EMS building, particulars are in the attached Sparks from the Spa Newsletter. This is one of our longest newsletters, as lots of things happened over the summer. I hope you enjoy it.

Jim KG2H

Emergency Communications Training September 16, 2017

Saratoga County ARES has scheduled an Emergency Communications training session for September 16th from 8:00 a.m. until noon. The topic will be “What’s in your GO KIT”. The training will take place at the Saratoga County Fire Training Center classroom located on County Farm Rd, Ballston Spa, NY 12020.

The County ARES staff will provide attendees with an overview of “GO KIT” contents and use in emergency situations followed by a show and tell of several different kits. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own GO KIT to show the group.

Also, at this meeting members of Saratoga County ARES will be issued new ID cards. Please be prepared to have your photo taken for your new card.

Registration Required

You must be registered on the Eastern New York ARRL Section Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) Member Registration website before you receive your new ID card. Register on the website.

A light breakfast will be provided.

– Fred, W2EMS

Hamfest 2017 VE Testing Information

Don’t Forget: the Hamfest is on Sunday, September 10 at the fairgrounds in Ballston Spa. I am attaching a Saratoga County Amateur Radio Association HAMFEST 2017 Poster in case you have an opportunity to distribute it to our fellow hams.

Also, in conjunction with the hamfest is a VE test session. Here are a few notes to pass along to anyone who is wishing to take a test:

Test Session requirements

If you are going to take a test session for either a new or upgraded ham license, here are a few things you MUST bring along:

  • A copy of your current FCC license. We need to attach the license copy to the paperwork when you upgrade. If you a new licensee, you have a few options. The FCC form 605 requires an FRN or an SSN. You can obtain an FRN before the exam session by visiting the FCC Universal Licensing System website. You simply apply for the FRN online, and you will have it with you when you come to the test session.
  • Another form of ID, a driver’s license is great, or any other form of ID. If you don’t have a driver’s license, (perhaps you are too young for the DMV) the ARRL suggests something as simple as a library card, or even a piece of mail addressed to you at your residence.
  • A pen and pencil (with a good eraser). The pen is for filling out the FCC form 605, and the pencil is to fill out the bubble answer sheet.
  • The proper testing fee. Currently, it is $15.
  • Your WITS. It is not a hard exam, so don’t get too anxious about it.

Please arrive at least 15 minutes before the exam start time in order to fill out the paperwork, and for the VE’s (Volunteer Examiners) to review it.

Another thing to bear in mind is that for many of the testing sessions, the VE will have alternate versions of the various exam elements available for you to try a retake of the exam. If you do desire to take an alternate version, we must you charge you an additional testing fee.

If you DO NOT NEED to take any alternate versions, you may take the next higher level of exam for NO additional costs. For example, if you take and pass the Technician exam, you may take the General exam if you so desire, and there will be no additional fees. I have witnessed a few people who have come into the session unlicensed, and walk away with the Extra Class license.


Hamfest 2017

Saratoga County Amateur Radio Association
presents our 32nd annual


Sunday, September 10th;  Gates open at 7:00 am

Saratoga County Fair Grounds, 162 Prospect St, Ballston Spa, NY 12020

Only $6 per person includes hourly door prize drawing, plus 8’x8′ “tailgate” space


ONLY $3 !!


  • Delicious Food served all day
  • More hourly prizes; PLUS HIGH-END BUCKET PRIZES
  • Hourly demonstrations: What’s hot in ham radio now?
  • VE exam to be held at 9:00am (off site)
    • Cornell Co-Op Ext. (Solar Bldg)
      50 W. High St / Rt 67 west
      Ballston Spa, NY 12020
  • Lots of gear and accessories to haggle over
  • Fox-hunt on the fairground property
  • Under-cover tables available for $10 each
  • Reservations and prepay welcome and encouraged


  • I-87 to Exit 12
  • West on Rt 67 to Ballston Spa
  • At intersection of Rts 50 & 67, follow 50 North; look for HAMFEST signs
  • In village, turn left at Citgo station Prospect Street; up hill on left


  • K2DLL Repeater System
  • 147.000 Mhz, PL 91.5 Hz or
  • 147.240 Mhz, PL 91.5 Hz
  • GPS Coordinates: 43.007438°, -73.855821°

For information or reservations contact:  Jim Polewczak – KG2H
231 Northline Road, Ballston Spa, NY 12020.   Email:
Phone: 518-703-9558

If you would like to help us out by distributing some flyers, a PDF document of the Saratoga County Amateur Radio Association HAMFEST 2017 Poster is available. Please tell your friends and post where appropriate Thank you for your assistance!

While we were challenged by the date change for Boxboro hamfest to be in conflict with ours, we are making the best of it! Get out and enjoy your weekend, by making it a twofer, Boxboro on Saturday, Ballston Spa on Sunday! You never know where you will find the best deals!