Author Topic: NEAR-Fest Radio Project at the Deerfield Fair October 1st - 4th 2009.  (Read 4773 times)

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Offline W1RC

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Mike K1TWF (aka "Twoof") and Mister Mike, W1RC as official Deerfield Fair "Superintendents of Radio" as depicted by a caricature artist, October 2009.

Many of you have probably noticed there has been a lack of activity in the NEAR-fest Forum but trust me we haven't been idle.   Our latest project involves an interesting venture in which we have undertaken a very important assignment: providing the Deerfield Fair with a reliable and cost-effective radio communications system during their annual four-day Fair held October 1st through 4th 2009.

A little background.  In July 2008 my contact on the Fair Association Board of Directors, Alan O'Neal, contacted me asking if I would be interested in serving as Superintendent of Radios at the Fair.  As much as I would have loved to do this prior commitments made it impossible for me to accept the position.  I suggested to Alan that NEAR-Fest Treasurer Ed Anderson, N1IWV, could easily handle the task since he is familiar with the Land-Mobile Service having worked in the two-way communications business for a Motorola dealer.  So this is how it came to be that NEAR-Festís Treasurer also became the Superintendent of Radios at the 2008 Deerfield Fair!

While performing his duties Ed couldnít help but notice there were several serious shortcomings in the existing system that resulted in poor radio performance and service.  It was difficult working with only two channels, inadequate radio equipment and tired old batteries.   Of greatest concern was the lack of reliable communication with law enforcement and other emergency first responders.  Ed kept a log of everything relevant and after the Fair we reviewed his notes to see if we could help them upgrade and improve their radio system next year.

In November Ed and I met with the Board of Directors to discuss the situation and make recommendations.  It was obvious that they needed to modify their F.C.C. Station License and add more channels.   Fair Association President Sheryl Bolduc asked me asked if NEAR-Fest could help them accomplish this task.  I explained that amateur radio could not be used at the Fair as it is a commercial venture but we could help them petition the F.C.C. for more frequencies.  A resolution was passed empowering NEAR-Fest to act as their agent with the F.C.C. and a private frequency coordination enterprise to make this happen.  By January we were able to successfully add ten new channels and modified their license for both wide and narrow band modes of operation, saving them from having to do this in anticipation of narrow band "rebanding" scheduled for implementation in 2013.

Since the Fair Association rents the majority of the radios in use during the Fair we offered to provide same at a cost significantly lower that what they had been paying in the past.  I told them that we could offer them with public safety grade Motorola portables with brand new batteries at a 25% savings which cinched the deal.  Since NEAR-Fest is a not-for-profit Corporation we can easily do this because we are not obsessed with the bottom-line profit as are the commercial ventures that would compete with us for their business.

Since January we have been acquiring Motorola HT1000s and GP300s from a multitude of sources, many through the generosity of hams who understand what we are doing.  It is hoped that our initial investment will be amortized over a three year period; after that all revenues derived from this project will go to offset the cost of renting the Fairgrounds.  NEAR-Fest now owns a fleet of approximately 80 radios, all Motorola, that are now being programmed with the Fairís frequencies.

The four days the Fair ran are now just a blur but we had a great time and the Fair folks seemed quite pleased with their radio communications system.  We set our headquarters up in the Maintenance Building out of the way and just hung out most of the time with the great people who work there.

Many people have helped us in this effort, notably John Flood, KB1FQG, Will Bartlett, N1PXA and Joe Truss, KB1FDA who have been assisting us with the technical side of the operation.  Iíd like to thank them both for their valuable assistance and contribution to this project.

73,

Mister Mike, W1RC,
Superintendent of Radios,
Deerfield Fair

Offline W1RC

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Re: NEAR-Fest Radio Project at the Deerfield Fair October 1st - 4th 2009.
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2009, 05:30:09 PM »
UPDATE: The D.F.A. Board of Directors has officially asked us to provide them with radios and management for the 2016 Deerfield Fair.  So looks like Larry, Richard, Twoof and I are gonna be Superintendents of Radio again next year.



73,

MrMike

Offline W1RC

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Further update:
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2016, 10:05:43 AM »
In May 2016 MrMike, W1RC; Larry, N1PHV and Richard, KB1UFi were invited to a meeting of the Deerfield Fair Association membership committee.  The following night at the D.F.A. monthly meeting all three were voted in as Probationary Members.  After one year they will be voted on once again for permanent membership.