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Silent Keys / Joe “Vortex Joe” Cro, N3IBX SK
« Last post by W1RC on April 28, 2019, 01:52:01 PM »
Joe Cro, N3IBX, aka “Vortex Joe” of Washington Crossing PA passed away on Thursday April 18th 2019.
NEAR-Fest XXV - May 3rd and 4th 2019 / NEAR-Fest XXV Schedule of Events
« Last post by W1RC on April 24, 2019, 09:37:39 PM »
NEAR-Fest XXV Schedule of Events   

Friday, May 3rd.

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: Antenna Law News and ARRL News – Fred Hopengarten K1VR.  This forum will cover two important areas: 1. The latest news on laws concerning the erection of antennas and the steps you need to take to be compliant. 2. The latest news from the ARRL from our New England Division Director. (Located in the Entertainment Building, see map)

12:00 PM: Interconnecting Parts of the Station - Leo Langelier Jr. KH6JKQ. You have all of your ham radio equipment collected, but how do you hook it all up? Leo will give us insights on how to set up all of your station equipment and antennas into a functional ham station.  (Located in the Entertainment Building, see map)

1:00 PM: The Polar Explorer - A New High Efficiency Transmitter - Tony Brock-Fisher  K1KP. This will be a presentation on a new high-efficiency HF transmitter design. With better than 80% efficiency on all HF bands from 160-10 meters, this all-mode transmitter can produce 500 watts of RF power. Tony will describe some of the key points of the design, as well as future steps and beta testing. The class E AM crowd is invited. And yes, it works on 3885 AM too! (Located in the Entertainment Building, see map)

2:00 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)

3:00 - 4:30PM: Inside Enigma: Hands On - Tom Perera W1TP and Spy Radios with Michael Crestohl, W1RC, aka “Mister Mike”.This talk will take you inside a genuine German WWII Enigma machine and let you see and explore how it is constructed and how it works. This will be a unique chance to personally investigate the mechanism and technology of the Enigma. We will also look at some examples of so-called “Spy Radios” used by spies to "phone home". (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, May 4th.

10:00 AM: The Digital World of FT8 and DMR: Friend or Foe? – Mitch Stern W1SJ.. This forum will offer a survey of the two digital modes sweeping amateur radio by storm: FT8 (mostly HF) and DMR (VHF/UHF). The talk will present a brief introduction and how to get set up on these modes. Finally, the discussion will focus on the pros and cons of each mode and whether you want to be on them or not. (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 10:30 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 ELECRAFT,KX-2 “Shack in a box”.  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:

See you all at Deerfield bright and early Friday morning!


Mitch Stern, W1SJ,
Forums Chairman
Hello Mike
Please change the VE exam time in this post to 10:00 AM

The Spring 2019 NEAR-Fest VE Exam Session will be at 10:00 AM on Saturday, May 4
In the Arts and Crafts Building (Building number 7 in the NEAR-Fest aerial view map) Use the rear entrance.

If you are an ARRL VE and wish to help with the exam session Please contact Bruce Anderson, W1LUS via email at

·         All elements administered - Tech through Extra
·         Walk-ins welcome - no preregistration required.
.         Handicap Accessible - Call in advance for special needs

You are required to bring with you:
·         One form of photo identification Or two forms of non-photo I.D.
·         $15 Exam Fee Cash or check.
·         Original of any CSCE you are claiming
.        Original of current FCC Issued License - if licensed
·         Copy of any CSCE you are claiming
·         Copy of current FCC issued License - if licensed

Checks should be made payable to ARRL VEC.
I.D.: Identity of the applicant must be confirmed with a photo I.D. bearing
the applicant's signature. If you do not have a photo I.D. two other forms of
I.D. are required. Minors not having sufficient I.D. must have a concerned adult
over the age of 21 with sufficient I.D. that can vouch for the identity of the minor.

FORMS: The Form VEC 605 necessary for application is available on site. Any
existing original licenses or Certificates of Successful Completion of
Examination (CSCE) and copies of each to accompany the current application
must be brought with you.

GENERAL: Non-programmable calculators are allowed; cell phone calculators are NOT allowed.
Scratch paper and writing utensils will be provided. The applicants are
required to observe proper decorum, so as not to disturb other applicants.

You need to supply your Social Security number or your FCC Registration Number (FRN) on the VEC 605 application
You can obtain an FRN at
If you have a marine radio license or any other form of an FCC license you already have an FRN.
It is important to use your existing FRN as the FCC will not process your form without it on the 605 form.

Modify message
NEAR-Fest XXV - May 3rd and 4th 2019 / Ham Radio Club Liability Insurance...
« Last post by W1RC on April 20, 2019, 02:51:50 AM »
This company sells a ham radio club liability insurance policy at very reasonable premium rates.  Their policy meets the requirements of the Fair Association in order to rent the fairgrounds and only costs a couple hundred bucks a year.  In April 2019 a commercial insurance agent quoted is $1,640.00 a year for the same coverage.

And no, your club doesn’t have to have over 50% League membership in order to qualify for coverage.  A big “thanks” to Phil, KA1PXZ, for telling us about this plan....


NEAR-Fest XXV - May 3rd and 4th 2019 / boatanchor clinic
« Last post by K1QAR on April 19, 2019, 07:11:46 PM »
Got an old tube radio gathering dust?  Those old soldiers were made to play, not sit and decay. 

Near fest is a great one stop opportunity to bring it back to life (and maybe find it a new home).
Or get a jump on overhauling that newly purchased old radio
Troubleshooting and replacement parts in one spot.  And at people's prices. 

Specializing in R-390As, KWM2s and stepper tuned high power magnetic loops.

And consider being a tech for an hour and helping let the magic smoke out of other peoples' radios. 
Silent Keys / Re: Anthony “ Tony” Pazzola, W2BEJ, SK (formerly WB2BEJ)
« Last post by W1RC on April 14, 2019, 03:09:53 PM »
I received this message from Tony’s sister Mer......

“Tony’s funeral was just what he would have wanted. He was dressed in his light blue fire dept shirt with badge. We had a small hand held radio placed in with him also to represent his love of radios. At the visitation, the line of friends never stopped. It went on for almost 3 hours. His funeral service was beautiful and carried the essence of Tony, without the puns of course. My sister and I were overwhelmed, but not surprised, by the many people who came, called, emailed or texted us throughout the last week.”
Silent Keys / Re: Anthony “ Tony” Pazzola, W2BEJ, SK (formerly WB2BEJ)
« Last post by w1sj on April 11, 2019, 05:18:04 PM »
Tony was very special to those who knew him. He was the master of the one-liner - he could make Henny Youngman blush! I met Tony 40+ years ago and he instantly became a celebrity on the repeaters with stories and wit. We traveled to Dayton Hamvention some 35 times and Rochester 10 times over the years - that's a lot of travel time! When not at hamfests, Tony was fireman and a crack emergency communicator. Tony had some significant health issues, but he never complained - he just told more stories and jokes. That is a trait we all should strive to embrace. Keep up the wit and humor as you visit those hamfests on the other side!

1. Tony at the All-You-Can-Eat Buffet in Dayton
2. Tony (far right) and the gang at Rolling Rock in Sorryexuse, NY 1996 (some of YOU may be in this picture!)
Silent Keys / Anthony “ Tony” Pazzola, W2BEJ, SK (formerly WB2BEJ)
« Last post by W1RC on April 10, 2019, 12:56:32 PM »
April 8th, 2019:  It saddens me greatly to report that the one and only Tony WB2BEJ is gone......... The repeaters in the Capital District area of New York are safe again.  “Big Enormous Jugs” is a silent key.

We first met Tony in the late 1970s when he was working at the IBM factory in Essex Junction VT  for Fairchild, a contractor.  Tony was in residence at the Radisson Hotel in Burlington VT.  His company was paying.  We will always remember “Club 604” which was his room.  He showed up on the Mount Mansfield .94 repeater and quickly became a fixture on the nightly “Hoot Owl” net.

Tony eventually moved into a townhouse in Essex Junction and for several years he kept us entertained and amused with his antics both on and off the air.  To say Tony was a characteris an understatement.

Tony had a very interesting sense of humour.  Those of us who knew him will know what I mean. Much of it went over peoples heads if they didn’t know him.   ‘Nuff said!

In the early Eighties Tony moved to Albany NY and found employment with the State of New York as a procurement agent purchasing electronics for the NY State Police. His kitchen table was piled high with Motorola radios that were sent to him for “evaluation”.   They are probably still there.  In addition to his procurement functions Tony was also a tour guide at the NY State Capital Campus.  Those tours must have been a riot.

“BEJ” quickly became a regular on the Capital District area repeaters and it was always a part of the journey through the area to stop and meet with him and his pals for coffee or a meal. Tony could quickly raise a wrecking crew at several area restaurants so a ham travelling through would never have to eat alone. 

Tony loved to attend hamfests especially Hosstraders like Hosstraders, Rochester NY, Milton VT, Dayton and NEAR-Fest.  Along with Mitch, W1SJ, Tony never missed the Dayton Hamvestion.  To ensure his buddies had rooms every year Tony booked the entire hotel.  I joined them a few times and the long drive to Dayton and back was a very interesting and entertaining experience as well as the hamfest itself.  He would “work” at the BatteryTech booth with his buddy Dave. 

Tony was a master of the fine art of being in the right place at the right time.  One time flying home from FL he managed to get a seat on the right side of the plane where he witnessed a perfect shuttle launch.  As a member of the Loudonville NY Fire Police he went to New York City just after 9/11 and even got to have a couple meals on the cruise ship that was pressed into service as a command center.

Tonk knew everybody and everybody knew and liked Tony.  He was totally in his element at any amateur radio gathering. He was one very funny guy and he will be sorely missed especially the funny faces and silly noises he would make on certain occasions.

He was a real piece of work!  They broke the mold when they made T.

Ebbbbbbbbbbbbbb!  Ira!

Only those who knew Tony will know what this means.

RIP my friend.  You may be gone but never forgotten. The Albany NY repeaters are now being returned to normal amateur use.

MisterMike, W1RC

Tony’s obit as it appeared in the Albany Times-Union on April 10th, 2019:

Pazzola, Anthony J. Jr. LOUDONVILLE Anthony J. "Tony" Pazzola Jr., 70 of Loudonville, entered into eternal life on Monday, April 8, 2019 at Albany Medical Center. Born in Utica, N.Y. on October 26, 1948, he was the son of the late Anthony J. and Angeline (Palmieri) Pazzola Sr.

He served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War and was stationed in Korea. He was a procurement officer, employed by NYS Office of General Services for many years. He was a member of the Shaker Rd. Loudonville Fire Company and Westmere Fire Company, the American Legion Zaloga Post, the V.F.W., the D.A.V. in Lansingburgh. He was a volunteer with American Red Cross, the Urban Search and Rescue of Albany County, the NYS Fire Police Association, the F.O.O.L.S International, the 40 and 83rd District Cheminot and was NYS Director of V.A.V.S.

Tony was an avid amateur radio and HAM enthusiast with his handle being WB2BEJ and was active in many organizations especially in the Troy Amateur Radio Club.
NEAR-Fest XXV - May 3rd and 4th 2019 / Re: Ham Jam May 2019
« Last post by KB1NZN on March 15, 2019, 12:50:22 AM »
Hi Rick. I see you’ve still got some of that Ham Jam!!  I think I’ll be able to help supply some Jam!

Hopefully in the meantime things warm up!


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