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NEAR-Fest XXVI - October 11 & 12 2019 / Re: Ham Jam Oct 2019
« Last post by DrOptigan on October 05, 2019, 05:39:06 AM »
Things have been crazy around here as (un)usual, but I'm still planning to go if things work out. Have some new toys to haul along with the Big Red Farfisa, so it should be interesting to see how things shape up. Should be fun!  :)
NEAR-Fest XXVI - October 11 & 12 2019 / NEAR-Fest XXVI Schedule of Events
« Last post by W1RC on October 04, 2019, 04:07:00 PM »
NEAR-Fest XXVI Schedule of Events   

Friday, October 11th.

6:00 AM: Fairgrounds opens for Blue (Staff) and Yellow (Commercial) Vendors ONLY.  Commercial buildings open and set up commences. 

8:00 AM: Fairgrounds opens for Clubs & Associations passholders only to occupy their traditional spaces.  NO "FOR SALE" ITEMS DISPLAYED OR SELLING IS PERMITTED UNTIL 9:00AM!

9:00 AM: Pre-Paid Entry, opens for Advance ticket and RED passholders only.  Once the Pre-Paid entry line has entered the General Admission line will enter.  Flea Market and Tailgating buying and selling commences.  Please note our flea market parking policy:

This is the ENTERTAINMENT BUILDING, see map for location.

Forums, Seminars and Lectures
Forums Director Mitch Stern,

11:00AM: ARRL Forum: Michael Raisbeck, K1TWF, ARRL New England Vice Director. Join our New England Division Vice Director as he updates us on what is happening at the ARRL. The League had a Board meeting this summer and Mike will share what transpired. What is happening with new proposed ham radio rules? What is the ARRL doing about promoting amateur radio? Where will we be in five years time? All these and more are possible questions which can be discussed! (Located in the Entertainment Building, see map)

12:00 PM: Tower Safety - An Issue of Great Urgency for Amateur Radio - Jim Idelson K1IR. Come learn the three simple things every ham must do to dramatically reduce the deadly risks of tower work. Recent tragic events including the loss of our friend, Joe K1JGA, and the serious injuries sustained by Mike K1EEE drove a full investigation of amateur radio tower fatalities in the US over the past 20 years. The results of the research are disturbing, but they also show us exactly what we need to do to eliminate this problem in our community. (Located in the Entertainment Building). (Located in the Entertainment Building, see map)

1:00 PM:Radio Restoration - Chuck Hurley K1TLI. Join us for a discussion of radio equipment restoration, with focus on Johnson and Collins gear. We will also talk about the availability of custom-made multi-section electrolytic can capacitors to keep your equipment original. (Located in the Entertainment Building, see map)

2:00 PM: Grounding: Magic or Exact Science? - Steve Kercel AA4AK. Effective grounding is the result of the art of engineering judgment. The key problem is that no matter how big the disaster for which you design, a bigger one can happen. Even worse, there are four conflicting problems that are each solved by burying metal in the ground. Worst of all, there is no exact scientific description of either the problems or the solutions. What is a ham to do? (Located in the Entertainment Building, see map)

3:00: How to Be a Super Ham Operator - Mitch Stern W1SJ. Whether you are an old buzzard or a Johnny novice, you strive to be a better operator to work lots of other ham stations. Or do you? Are you an old timer and have lost interest? Or are you a new comer and have no clue what to do next. Our forum today will help build excitement to get on the air and have a load of fun. (Located in the Entertainment Building, see map)

4:30 PM: R-390A and German HRO Fun - George Rancourt K1ANX. We will once again share experience with bringing back to life the R-390 - a remarkable series of radios that, introduced in the early 1950’s, still holds its own against most of the radios available today!  In addition we will take a close look at the German HRO receivers. The HRO was a receiver produced by National which was instrumental in helping to receive and break German coded messages. It was so good, Siemens in Germany built copies of it during World War II, which we will carefully look at. (Located in the Entertainment Building, see map)

7:00 PM: NEAR-Fest's Legendary Ad-Hoc "Ham-Jam Session" (Located in the Entertainment Building, see map)

For full details see

Saturday, October 12th.

10:00 AM: The History of Heathkit and Restoration Economics - Paul Topolski W1SEX. We will explore how Heath became a major player in the electronics and ham radio industries after World War II. In addition, we will learn about the roles of the GI Bill and how amateur radio played a part in making Heath and so many hams, electronic technicians, and engineers successful. Finally, we will find out why Heath products are still serving to teach electronics and why they are the easiest and economical products to restore. This will be a fact-filled presentation with plenty of time for Q&A. (Located in the Entertainment Building, see map)

Licensing Examinations

10:00 AM:Volunteer Exam Session conducted by Bruce Anderson, W1LUS and the NEAR-Fest VE Team  The exam session is located in the Meeting Room (in the Arts & Crafts Building) right across from the flagpole.  The entrance is around the back of the building (see map)

The Volunteer Examination session begins at 10:00 sharp.  Be sure to have two forms of identification (one with photo), original and one copy of your Amateur license (if you have one), documentation and $15.00 exam fee ready.  For more information on the Volunteer exams or if you are a ARRL accredited VE wishing to help, please contact the VE Coordinator at  Despite what it says on the ARRL Web site, pre-registration is not required.  Just show up and give it your best shot.  Try the higher level exams even if you don't feel you are ready - you never least you'll know what to expect the next time.    Good luck!

Closing Ceremony

2:00 PM: Closing Ceremony, Awards and Door Prize Drawing.  The Grand Prize this time is an ICOM IC-7300 which is a very much sought-after radio.  Runner up to the Grand Prize is a dual band Digital (DMR) and analog portable radio. (Located in the Relaxation Grove, see map)

More than simply a prize drawing, this is the time we honor individuals, present updates to the NEAR-Fest mission, and provide a little insight as to what lies ahead. See a list of past LIFETIME PASS recipients:

We shall also have a brief remembrance for Joe Arezaga, K1JGA, who became a Silent Key in July when the tower he and Mike, K1EEE, were dismantling collapsed under them.  This happened less than a mile from the Fairgrounds.....

See you all at Deerfield bright and early Friday morning!


Mitch Stern, W1SJ,
Forums Chairman
NEAR-Fest XXVI - October 11 & 12 2019 / Re: Ham Jam Oct 2019
« Last post by N1ERF on October 03, 2019, 05:09:04 AM »

NEAR-Fest XXVI - October 11 & 12 2019 / What's happened to the Jam?
« Last post by Bri on October 03, 2019, 01:35:10 AM »
Good evening everyone (or or those 3 people who actually read this board these days)

Bri Here. I used to (back in the day) try to coordinate the jam at Nearfest.
I'm a bit disappointed on how it's turned out. The lack of involvement in the jam, the lack of posting on this board and the lack of camaraderie for our players. Most of the jammers are not and have never been professionals musicians but many have put their heart and soul and many hours practicing hoping to bring anyone who happens by the entertainment building a smile or a hell yeah.

I wish you could all experience what the jam was like when Elliot hosted it in Rochester, or Wes in Hopkinton. I miss playing with many of you and I miss going to the Fest, but some of us need more than the same broken songs from yesteryear.

Players used to challenge each other and we welcomed (tolerated??) ALL PLAYERS (me included).

I'm also disappointed in the lack of recognition for the jam.
Other than the forum you would never know that there was a jam. No pictures in the gallery, no videos in the video section, no mention on the Facebag site, (Hmmm... did we suck that bad?) Yet when I look at the Fest site stats we are among the MOST viewed and MOST posts.

Yes i Know Nearfest is about Ham-radio for many attendees but the side interests spread out into all avenues of technology. Just like music. How can we open this up to a broader audience? Maybe you don't want to.

If you want it to be the little rascals "He-Man's Woman Haters club" and just keep it radio;  so be it. I'll find other places to take my ball and play as others have. If not, step up, chime in, help out.

Lastly, A shout out to the following people in no particular order.
John D. Cliffy, Don, Adam 1, Adam 2, Bob (Accordian guy from PA.), Nolan, Rick, Bob (keyboard guy), Harp guy, Raj, Bill, Scott, John from NY, Steve, Wes, Dale, Rich, Genny and Ben.

Miss you all.


NEAR-Fest XXVI - October 11 & 12 2019 / Re: Ham Jam Oct 2019
« Last post by N1ERF on September 29, 2019, 03:24:38 AM »
After having a heart attack in May, I think it's time I go to this one.
It's just a matter of time when I won't have a choice.

I dare you to give me new stuff to learn, that you'll actually play at the jam.
NEAR-Fest XXVI - October 11 & 12 2019 / Re: Ham Jam Oct 2019
« Last post by n1iro on September 27, 2019, 04:22:55 PM »
It's on!   2 Weeks to go!  Doing wrist exercises already.
At NEAR-Fest XX in October 2016 Lynn gave us an excellent presentation on how clubs and organizations can easily apply to the IRS for tax exempt, aka 501(c)(3), status.  We made a video of her forum and here it is for everybody to enjoy.

Thanks, Lynn......
NEAR-Fest XXVI - October 11 & 12 2019 / Ham Jam Oct 2019
« Last post by Whoz Your Daddy on September 15, 2019, 06:37:49 AM »
Ok Jammers! Get ready!!!!
NEAR-Fest XXVI - October 11 & 12 2019 / The Apollo XI Mission in its Entirety
« Last post by W1RC on August 22, 2019, 01:05:34 PM »
Stolen from AMFONE

To all Tower owners in the Amateur Radio Community – a must read!  By Mark Pride, K1RX
Many old timers in the hobby that own a tower, perhaps in the air for 20, 30, 40 or 50 years, need to take this article seriously as it could provide life saving information to you and your ground crew. This is a cautionary article for all that have a tower no matter how long its been the air.  What occurred at a NH amateur station recently provides a lesson for all of us tower owners. Although the article speaks to a Rohn 25 guyed tower product, it could be prove helpful to others.
 K1JGA and K1EEE tower tragedy
A crew of amateurs gathered at the home of K1EEE to take down two 40 ft. Rohn 25 towers.  The details of the tower which collapsed and its failure is provided below.  It was a very unfortunate accident which took the life of Joe G. Areyzaga, K1JGA.  The owner of the tower, K1EEE suffered multiple injuries but did survive.  We all in the amateur radio community extend our prayers and condolences to the families affected by this tragic event.
Tower Description
One of two forty foot (40 ft.) Rohn 25 towers, with one set of guys at the 35 ft level was to be taken down. The base was the BPH 25 hinge plate on a concrete pad of unknown depth. This used tower had only been up 3 years. 
NOTE:  Following the accident, the owner learned one leg of the hinge plate had been previously repaired but the material used was not galvanized.
With the reasonable expectation the tower would support itself to 40 ft, the guy wires were disconnected from the anchors and the top section was to be removed. The top section to be removed had a rotor shelf and one torque assembly mounted at the 35 ft. level along with the three guy wires. The gin pole had not been raised at that point.  The antenna, mast and rotor were previously removed.
Lesson Learned
At the time of the initial install, the tower was self supported to 40 ft until the first set of guys were attached per Rohn specifications. That may have been the case then, but after many years of exposure to the elements, one can no longer expect the same!
Prior to the start of the tower take down, the tower was thoroughly inspected and found to be in acceptable condition.  The base was dry and free of any water. No obvious problems were found.
The general reason for this tower collapse was corrosion at the junction of the hinged base short legs (one leg previously repaired and welded as noted above) and the bottom of the lowest Rohn 25 section occurred primarily from the outside and some inside as well and thus weakened the structure. The first point of failure was the repaired and non-galvanized short leg of the hinge plate. When the guys were removed from their anchor points (necessary to remove the top section), the tower was free standing with the two climbers at 35 ft.  It's clear that the tower deflection from the vertical was extreme enough to make the overturning force at the base (the bending moment) great enough to cause base failure.
The proper installation of the hinge bracket (BPH 25) requires mounting it on a flat concrete surface, secured with bolts placed in the concrete, surrounded by a beveled edge for water run off.  Normally, all of the hardware associated with the hinge plate are galvanized and able to withstand the wear and tear of Mother nature.  However this base was slightly recessed where the plate sat and there were some gaps under the plate. This created the opportunity for water or ground contaminants to collect. It is presumed the previously repaired short stubby leg of the bracket began to corrode while sitting in water. Years of this kind of exposure slowly weakened the metal.  Subsequent movement by climbers at the top of the unguyed tower led to breakage at the base.
NOTE:  Rohn towers are very high quality and generally last many, many years with proper installation and maintenance.  It is a very popular tower in the amateur radio community. And where tower sections join, they typically show little wear as water drainage occurs easily and there is a limited chance for collecting contaminants and held for long periods of time.  Or where tower materials come in contact with the earth, the normal galvanizing process is more than adequate for a long lifetime. But what is noted here is areas that are in contact with the ground or areas such as the repaired leg of the bracket that can accumulate harmful materials and therefore become a danger over time.  Clearly there are areas on a tower that are difficult to inspect however, the Rohn design usually lends itself to high levels of confidence that these blind areas are within acceptable standards if installed per the manufacturers specifications.
JGA Safety Guy Technique for Tower Take Downs in honor Joseph G. Areyzaga,  K1JGA (SK)
When dealing with unknown tower installations that require removal, it is absolutely critical to err on the side of extreme caution.  The technique described below is one approach and a simple one to help safe guard all involved.
A suggested safety procedure that should be applied during any tower take down of this type is attaching a set of additional guy wires at either the 10 or 20 ft. level prior to any work on the tower.  By applying a set of guys near the base, further stabilization of the tower base can be achieved.  Using this added set of guy wires reduce stress on the legs (twisting, flexing, bending) and prevent breakage at the very bottom of the section just above the concrete surface or surrounding areas.  Then what would remain after the tower is taken down to the Safety Guy set becomes very manageable (10 or 20 ft. to be lowered to the ground).
And in honor of our friend and now silent key, Joe, K1JGA, I am naming this important safety procedure the “JGA Safety Guy Technique” with the hopes all of us will not forget Joe but more importantly, keep us all safe while our old towers are taken down.  In particular, towers that have been up for our entire ham career and its maintenance history may be questionable require special attention.  Of course if the base shows significant deterioration, corrosion and breakage, the tower should NOT be climbed!  It should be removed by other means (cut down if the landing area is open and clear or by crane or similar).
The suggested collection of material that comprises the JGA Safety Guy Technique include:
Three (3) lengths of unbroken or spliced guy wire (3/16 inch EHS or larger) longer than the lowest guy to be sure it is long enough (DO NOT USE ROPE!);
Guy Grips for each end of the guy wire;
A come along at each guy anchor point for proper tensioning and;
A reliable heavy duty attachment device to connect to the existing anchor.
The attachment to the guy anchors should be done in a way that does not interfere with the existing guy anchor assembly (turnbuckles, etc.).  If the JGA Safety Guy kit is to be used in multiple tower take downs of varying heights, use of the Guy Grips will allow full flexibility of locating the attach points where they are needed, without cutting cable.  Just make the cable length longer than you might need to give you enough head room.  One further consideration: Rather than just use this technique near the ground, consider always using it no less than 10 ft. below where you may be working I.E. erecting or dismantling a tower, place the JGA kit 10 ft. below the location you are either installing or removing the next section.  Therefore, the guy lengths need to be approximately the same length as the longest guy (upper guy). This will assure maximum safety. With the guy grips, it is easy to relocate them, as you adjust the length of the temporary guy at each point on the tower.
As part of your annual maintenance plan, include keeping the base free of debris, dirt, trees, plants etc. to protect this area from any long term damage. Consider making one of these JGA Safety Guy kits for your club to be used as necessary. 
Best to use the JGA Safety Guy Technique and find the tower base was just fine, than not use it and suffer a similar situation or worse!  Stay safe!
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