Sparks from the Spa Newsletter – June 2022

Hello all,

It’s June.  Here are a couple of things to pass along.

  1. Here is the the June 22 issue of the Sparks from the Spa Newsletter. If anyone has a problem with downloading it, please let me know at KG2H@arrl.net and I will email you a full copy.
  2. It’s the June meeting this Monday, June 13.  That means 2 things.  First it’s the annual business meeting where we elect officers for the upcoming year.  If you are interested in becoming an officer or general  board member, please drop an email to one of the existing officers, listed on the back page of the newsletter.  Second,  just a reminder that we take a meeting break in July and August so there are no physical meetings planned.  This month’s meeting will be held starting at 6:30 PM with a board meeting, followed by the general meeting starting around 7:00 PM.  Due to the speaker, (see the next item) we will be holding a hybrid meeting, both in person and via ZOOM.    The physical meeting will be at the Fire Training Center in Ballston Spa, 6012 County Farm Road, right behind the Animal Shelter building.
  3. The meeting speaker will be Joe Carcia, NJ1Q who is an ARRL Staffer.  He will lead us on a guided tour of the ARRL facility.  Shortly before that we will hold the annual elections, and Club  status report.

Please be sure to join us.

Jim KG2H

Sparks from the Spa Newsletter – April 2022

Hello All,

I hope everyone is doing well.

First item of interest is that the April issue of the Sparks from the Spa Newsletter is available.

Second, is the information for the April Club meeting, which will be held in person.  It will be at our usual location, the Saratoga County Fire Training Center.  It is located at the Saratoga County facility on County Farm Rd. If you need an address for your GPS, try 6012 County Farm Rd, Ballston Spa.  The actual training center is located behind the animal shelter building.

The business meeting will start at 6:30 PM, and the general meeting will start at 7:00 PM.  The speakers for the evening will be Brian Szewczyk NJ1F, and Jim Polewczak KG2H.  We will be examining and comparing 2 very popular computer logging systems, N1MM+ and N3FJP Amateur Contact Log.  It should be an interesting meeting.  I hope to see you there.

Jim KG2H

Sparks from the Spa Newsletter – March 2022

Hello all,

Here is the March issue of Sparks from the Spa Newsletter.

Just a reminder that the monthly meeting for March is scheduled for Saturday, March 19, at 8:00 AM.  It is our annual Swapfest which is being held at the Cooperative Extension Building located at 50 West High Street in Ballston Spa.  This has been on hiatus for the last 2 years because of you know what!  There is no admission charge.  The Swapfest will close at 11:00 AM so we can set up for the exam session to be held at noon.  More information is in the newsletter and this post about the Swapfest details.

I hope to see you there.

Jim KG2H

2022 Swapfest – March 19

[graphic of assorted ham gear in box]Hi all.

Just a simple reminder about our March meeting.

I am pleased to announce that we will be having our traditional March Swapfest to be held in person (!!) for the first time after the last 2 years in COVID isolation. We will be holding it on Saturday, March 19 at its usual location in the Cornell Cooperative Extension Building at 50 West High Street in Ballston Spa The doors will officially open at 8:00 AM so come on out and get an eyeball QSO with your fellow hams. If you have some items you wish to give a give a new home to, bring them along also. Tables will be available until they’re all used up. We will have to close down the swapfest at 11:00 AM so that we can ready the room for a VE Test session at Noon.

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. It will have your FRN number which you need to have to fill out Form 605. If you don’t have a copy of your license you can visit https://www.fcc.gov/wireless/universal-licensing-system to obtain one.
  • If you are unlicensed, the FCC requires that you have a FRN. You can obtain a FRN in just a few minutes before the exam session by visiting FCC FRN Registration. You simply apply for the FRN on line (you will receive it immediately), and you will have it with you when you come to the test session.
  • You need an email address to enter on the FCC form 605. This is the address that the FCC will use to communicate with you.
  • 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 team 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.

Jim KG2H

February 2022 SCARA Club Meeting – Winlink

Hello all,

Hope you all are doing well.  It’s time for the monthly SCARA Meeting.  It will be a Zoom meeting, this Monday Feb 14.  The business meeting will be held starting at 6:30 PM, and the general meeting will start right after that, at approximately 7:00 PM.

The February SCARA Meeting Program will be on Winlink presented by our very own Fred – W2EMS.

Winlink Global Radio Email®️…

…is a network of amateur radio and authorized government-licensed stations that provide worldwide radio email using radio pathways where the internet is not present. The system is built, operated and administered entirely by licensed “Ham” volunteers. It supports email with attachments, position reporting, weather and information bulletins, and is well-known for its role in interoperable emergency and disaster relief communications. It is capable of operating completely without the internet–automatically–using smart-network radio relays. Licensed Winlink operators/stations use both amateur radio and government radio frequencies worldwide.

It should be interesting to see.  I’m sure that Fred will wind in the emergency communications aspects of Winlink.

March Meeting – Swapfest

Also, here is an important announcement, our March Meeting will be our annual swapfest meeting, to be held live and in person on Saturday March 19 starting around 8 AM at the Cornell Cooperative building, at 50 West High Street, in Ballston Spa.  We anticipate a VEC test session Starting at noon.  There will be further information coming in this later.

Check your email for the Zoom link for the February meeting.

Jim KG2H

Sparks from the Spa Newsletter – January 2022

Hello all,

Here is the the January issue of the Sparks from the Spa Newsletter.

Also you may have heard on the Sunday evening net that we are resuming our monthly meeting to be a ZOOM format, at least until the COVID threat retreats back to a lower level.  We will keep you apprised of the situation on an ongoing basis.  See your email for the Zoom meeting information for this Monday Jan 10.  Business meeting starts at 6:30, with a general meeting immediately thereafter.

Hope to talk to you on Monday evening.

Jim KG2H

January 2022 SCARA Club meeting

Hello all,

I hope that everyone is doing well and had a Happy New Year.

The board has decided to resume meeting via Zoom due to the dramatic increase in COVID cases in the area.  The board meeting will start at 6:30 PM, and the general meeting will be immediately after that.  Here are some items we might discuss:

  • Develop programs for our monthly meetings in 2022
  • Plan for the March SwapFest (COVID permitting)
  • Plan for our Hamfest (COVID permitting and assuming that W2BEW doesn’t rescind his retirement as Hamfest Chair)
  • Coordinate Field Day 2022
  • Organize at least one special event station this year (maybe in October and related to the Battle of Saratoga or maybe one related to Track season).
  • Identify new public service activities that SCARA can be part of.
  • Increase our ARES footprint and publicize our capabilities more than we have.
  • Other events/activities of interest to the membership

See your email for the Zoom meeting information for Monday evening, Jan 10.

I hope to see many of you on the screen .

Jim KG2H

Sparks from the Spa Newsletter – December 2021

Hello all,

I hope everyone is doing well and getting their holiday shopping done.

Here is December issue of the Sparks from the Spa Newsletter.

Also, a reminder that the club’s December meeting is scheduled for next Monday December 13.  The location is different for this meeting:

SCARA’s monthly in December is on Monday December 13.  Because of scheduling conflicts with our normal meeting area, we are changing our meeting area.  We will be meeting at the Trinity United Methodist Church located at 155 Ballard Road, Gansevoort zip 12831.  Please plan on arriving about 6:30 PM.

You can get there by exiting the Northway at exit 16 (Ballard Road) and heading east (towards route 50).  The building is about ½ mile east from the exit, on the right side of the road.

We will not be having a formal program.  Instead, the club will be providing food to help ring in the holidays.  We will be providing subs, chips, soda and water.  Since we will be providing the food, we will ask you to RSVP to me with the count in your party.  Please email me at KG2H@ARRL.NET to let me know how many to plan for.  Spouses and significant others are welcome to come.  (maybe we can convince them to get their ham license).  We hope you will enjoy eyeball QSO’s and that everyone will have a good time.

I hope to hear from many of you.

Jim KG2H

Sparks from the Spa Newsletter – November 2021

Hello all,

I hope everyone’s Halloween went well, and you were not too inundated with Trick or Treaters. (I certainly hope you didn’t get any Tricks played on you.)

Here is a link to the November issue of the Sparks from the Spa Newsletter.

Just a reminder, our monthly meeting is scheduled for this coming Monday, Nov 8.  The Fire training facility is pre-booked for both November and December so we will move our meeting site.  Right now, our November meeting is going to be help at the Paul E Lent Public Safety Facility, in the same campus as the Fire Training Center where we normally meet.  We will have a short business meeting at 6:30PM, followed by a general meeting at 7:00 PM.

Be sure to go out and Vote tomorrow.

Jim KG2H