As you know, Governor Baker’s response to the COVID-19 crisis has forced us to cancel our April meeting. I have also heard from Gary, W1GFF, that the Chelmsford Bible Church is closed until further notice as well. This means that VE sessions for BARS are also cancelled.
I will update the Club as to whether we can have our May meeting. The situation is fluid, as they say. Likewise for VE session status if you have questions please direct them to Gary Frascarelli W1GFF and Bruce Anderson W1LUS.
I have observed other clubs such as NVARC in Pepperell trying to go-live with virtual meetings and reviving VHF nets to keep members connected. I applaud this and will be the first to tell you if BARS begins doing virtual meetings. Meanwhile, stay connected by getting on the air, getting on our Net, and of course feel free to post to the BARS email list which is there for all members’ use.
Another thing that is in flux is the W1DC repeater. I have told you that BARS is not the owner of W1DC but we are a user of course. This repeater is owned by the 1200 Radio Club and the location of the repeater is the former Honeywell building on Concord Road in Billerica. Mike Rioux, W1USN, has been working on upgrading the old repeater and has enlisted Doug Elfman, N1LHP, to test the new equipment and configure it.
I was not notified or involved in recent testing but from what I have observed, the new repeater is now being used simultaneously on 147.12, with a different PL tone. It appears Doug has done this to allow the new repeater to exercise itself and be checked out before installing permanently at Concord Road.
There has been a huge amount of chatter on both repeaters, and people are speculating what will happen next. People are offering to take up a collection for a better antenna, etc. Some people have also wondered why BARS has not made some sort of announcement – well, it’s not our repeater. The 1200 Radio Club owns and operates it, and maintains a budget for it. If you hear questions on the repeater, please feel free to tell people this news and that the 1200 Radio Club is the organization doing the upgrade.
Please be patient and when the 1200 Radio Club finishes the work I am sure word will get out.
This work may affect our Wednesday 8PM BARS Net. My suggestion is to continue to use the 103.5 PL for the old repeater for all BARS traffic.
I hope all our members are doing well.
President, Billerica Amateur Radio Society