The Norwood Amateur Radio Club is an ARRL affiliated club based in Norwood, Massachusetts, approximately 20 miles (32.2 km) southwest of Boston in Norfolk County. The purpose of the club is to promote interest in amateur radio and a closer fellowship among radio amateurs.
NARC is somewhat unique in that we don’t purport to be everything to everyone, yet we still provide all the resources required to be a rewarding experience for all our members. We accomplish this by partnering with other special interest organizations that focus on some of the unique aspects of the hobby. For example, we utilize the expertise of the Eastern Mass Amateur Radio Group (EMARG) who’s sole focus is amateur radio licensing testing. We have partnered with another group that conducts amateur radio licensing classes for both new prospective hams, and for existing ham’s wishing to upgrade their licenses. Several of our existing members are also part of these organizations, but our goal as an organization is to focus on the aspects of amateur radio that is generally important to the majority of our members.
Our virtual meetings utilize Zoom technology that allow former members that moved out of the area to stay involved even though it would be impractical to attend meetings in person.
NARC is a not for profit organization and is proud to be an ARRL affiliated amateur radio club. The club was established to conduct its programs and activities to advance the general interest and welfare of amateur radio in the community. Currently, our General meetings are typically held on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. via a Zoom virtual session. Due to holiday scheduling, our November and December General meetings are held on the third Tuesday of the month. All are welcome — experienced hams, new hams, and the general public.
NARC maintains a two meter repeater. The 147.210 (PL 100) Lou Schall Memorial repeater located in Norwood Mass is accessible on RF as well as IRLP (node#4393) and EchoLink (W1JLI-R). The frequency pair was graciously donated to the club by Lou Schall, W1JLI (sk).
Our mailing address is: The Norwood Amateur Radio Club – PO Box 352 Hanson, MA 02341.
Although we don’t have an exact date of when the Norwood Amateur Radio Club was founded, we do know that it dates back to before 1957. In 1957, the club had Gonset Communicators commonly referred to as Gooney Boxes. The Gonsets were among the first commercial radios available for the post-World War II amateur bands and helped popularize the VHF bands for amateurs. In addition, the club also operated a Collins HF radio which was used to check in to the Civil Defense (CD) nets. Meetings were held in the basement of the Norwood Town Hall. Future meetings were held in a variety of locations including a church hall and the Norwood Civic Center.
The club maintains an excellent relationship with the Town of Norwood, providing emergency radio communications for the town’s Emergency Management Agency as well as providing communications for the town’s Festival of Lights holiday celebration and 4th of July road race and parade.
Over the years, the club ran numerous amateur radio license training classes for individuals, and facilitated the licensing of many hams that are still licensed today in Norwood and surrounding towns.
Today, our monthly club meetings are usually held on the fourth Thursday of the month beginning at 7:30 PM and ending around 9:00 PM. Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic restrictions, we have currently suspended our in-person meetings and replaced them with online Zoom sessions. Once the restrictions are lifted, we plan to implement hybrid club meetings (in-person and Zoom). The hope is that members unable to attend in-person will have the opportunity to join the meeting utilizing Zoom. All our meetings will be recorded and available to all our members via download from the website.
In the event that the fourth Thursday falls on a holiday, which is usually the case in November and December, the meetings are moved up a week to the third Thursday of the month. Be sure to check in to the club net for firm meeting dates. Our meeting dates are also available on the club websites calendar. All our meetings are open to the public and guests are always welcome.
The Norwood Amateur Radio Club has partnered with the Eastern Mass Amateur Radio Group (EMARG) to provide amateur radio license testing for us. EMARG is an ARRL accredited Volunteer Examiner (VE) group and, in our view, one of the premier amateur radio testing groups in the nation. Several of NARC’s members are also Volunteer Examiners with EMARG.
One of EMARG’s founding values is to take the stress out of taking an amateur radio exam, at which they excel . EMARG provides monthly exam sessions, that unlike other VE groups, do not require preregistration and are always there when they say they will be. We have heard countless times that applicants have shown up for an exam with other VE groups only to be turned away because they did not preregister. Or, worse yet, because the VE group did not have any preregistrations, they simply didn’t bother to show up for the session.
In addition to their monthly testing sessions, EMARG VE’s frequently provide special sessions in support of ham radio licensing classes at other clubs or organizations.
All amateur radio exam elements are administered at all their testing sessions.
New applicants are asked to bring a photo ID. Upgrading hams should bring their original and a copy of their current license, as well as any CSCE’s they will be using to apply towards an upgrade; a photo ID is also required.
The FCC now requires you to have a ULS registration number. If you do not have one, the EMARG VE’s will help you register with the FCC using your social security number to obtain your ULS registration at the session.
For more information, go to the contact page and select EMARG VE.
One of the biggest reasons people get their ham license is to be able to support their communities by being able to help out during an emergency or planned community event. However, how do you go about gaining some experience before you actually need it? A lot of emergency communications follow National Incident Management System and Incident Command System protocols. Having knowledge of these are crucial when dealing with EMS, MEMA, FEMA, as well as your local police and fire departments. Sure, you can take some online courses offered by FEMA, but how can you practice what you have learned? How about community events? These often do not require any knowledge of NIMS and ICS, but again, how do you get some experience beforehand?
The Norwood Amateur Radio Club provides radio communication for two annual events for the town of Norwood. The first event which we refer to as the “Hot Event” is the towns 4th of July road race and parade. We are responsible for staging the parade events at and near the staging area, dispatching the events, and provide communications to the reviewing stand (which is staffed by two of our volunteers). Our review stand volunteers pass along placement information to the review stand announcer, and community TV announcers.
Our second event which we refer to as the “Cold Event” is the holiday celebration which usually happens right after Thanksgiving. We are responsible for staging, loading and off-loading hay rides. We provide volunteers for opening and closing the roadway at the staging area, and assisting riders safely getting on and off the hay wagons.
In addition to these two planned events, we also stand at the ready to help out our community in the event of an emergency. Many members of the club are skywarn spotters, and members of community CERT and EMA organizations.
Zoom is a video conferencing system that NARC maintains a subscription to. If you are not using Zoom, you are missing out on a lot. Zoom is free for participants and allows you to join video conferences with any browser on any computer platform (including Android and iPhone phones and tablets. NARC uses Zoom for our pre and post weekly nets as well as our monthly members meetings. To set up a Zoom account, go to zoom.us and sign up. Then, download the client or app that is appropriate for your device(s). All that is required is a connection to the internet.