We had the opportunity to attend the ARRL New England Division Convention in Boxboro, MA. A big part of any Hamfest is the vendor display area and there was a good one at the Boxboro event.
We saw several interesting things in the vendor area. The first is FlexRadio’s new 6700 Software Defined Radio (SDR). This rig is a state of the art next generation SDR which handles almost all functions in software. The 6700 is not yet released but it is expected to be available for sale by the end of the year.
We also spent some time in Elecraft’s booth looking at the K3 Transceiver and its remote control head cousin – the K3/0. I am very interested in remote operations as I travel a great deal for business. The K3/0 along with components from RemoteRig.com allows one to set up a K3 in a permanent station and then operate this station remotely over the internet. The cool thing about this setup is that the remote end is a “real radio” with an identical control head to the Elecraft K3. The setup allows one to use a microphone for SSB and other voice modes, a key for CW, and the usual equipment to operate the digital modes.
The folks at RemoteHamRadio.com are offering a remote operating service based upon the Elecraft K3/0 remote operating setup. Their service allows a HAM to purchase a membership that provides remote operating access to several world-class stations on a timeshare basis. These folks provide all of the equipment and setup needed to use their service. This could be a great solution for HAMs who cannot build an HF station due to CC&R’s or other restrictions.
Another really interesting part of the Boxboro Hamfest were the presentations on a variety of topics. We particularly enjoyed the WRTC 2014 July Debriefing by Doug Grant (K1DG) and the session on SteppIR Maintenance and Repair Workshop by Mike Bernock (N1IW). Anita and also I did a presentation on our Bora Bora DXpedition earlier this year. Several members of our local Club, PART of Westford also gave presentations as part of the Boxboro program including:
- Andy (KB1OIQ) – Linux in the Ham Shack
- Ernie (N1AEW) – AMSAT
- Terry (KA8SCP) – Area Repeater Owners Working Session
This part of our Boxboro experience was great fun and we also learned a great deal.
There was a special event station, W1A at Boxboro. The folks at WRTC 2014 provided one of their towers and antennas for use with the W1A station. This was a very nice setup of a special event station of this type.
I also helped with my first FCC license testing session since becoming a Volunteer Examiner (VE). The VE program is a great way to give back to the Amateur radio hobby and the testing session that I was part of was a very rewarding experience. I am looking forward to doing this again on a regular basis.
Finally, we attended the dinners on Friday and Saturday evening. This was a great opportunity to socialize with some of our friends and to hear some interesting speakers. All in all, we both had a really great time and we’re looking forward to doing it all again in two years.
– Fred (AB1OC)