That’s right! I went to ARRL HQ again. With it being in reasonable distance from my QTH, how can I NOT resist on going there often. I try to go at least once a year. I also try to see and or do something different everytime I go. Last year when I went down, the Lab where they test a lot of the things you read in QST was being remodeled so I made it a point to go back when it was operational again.
Here is ARRL HQ which is located directly behind the Hiram Percy Maxim W1AW building. They have scheduled tours provided by a great bunch of Volunteers whom take pride in their work. I had the same person as last time which was Dan Arnold (W1CNI) who gave the tour. Since I was the only one there, I only expressed interest in the lab and wanted to visit the VEC so I can take care of some VE stuff. I figured to kill two birds with one stone. If you didn’t read about the last time I went to ARRL HQ, Read about it here
Here is just a part of the ARRL Lab. At lot about the product reviews you read have most likely been tested here.
Here is where a lot of tests take place. The walls, floor and ceiling are lined with metal and RF absorbing material. You also see a lot of equipment that I wish I had (A HP Network Analyzer would look really good on my bench). In the photo is Ed Hare (W1RFI) who does a lot of work in the lab and is very passionate concerning RFI (Hence the call). Very nice person to talk with and I’m glad he does what he does and he’s an asset for the League.
This is why I came down. It’s the W1AW building. It’s where all the toys are at.
Looks small but it’s packed full of fun. In the background you’ll see one of the many towers on the property. At one point this was a lonely building on a hill and now it has neighborhoods all around it and with HQ in the back. I Guess nobody can complain about the towers since they were there before their house was.
MORE TOWERS!!! Oh man I wish I had just one tower…. Okay, maybe two. A lot of these are fixed beams that are used for the ARRL Bulletins and some of them are on rotors to be pointed where needed.
Here is studio one. You have a Yeasu FTdx9000D in the foreground and you have the Icom IC-7700 in the background. I wanted to use the 7700 because of the PR-781 microphone that was attached to it. I was interested in how they hooked it up. Since I am Biased towards the Yeasu, I got to say that I really like the 7700 If by some miracle I have that kind of money the throw at a rig, I would consider getting the IC-7700 over its Yaesu counterpart. I like the nice clear screen, The VFO knob with nice and smooth, All the important adjustment that are needed are up front, None of that menu driven stuff and the audio sounded great coming out of it.
Here I am at the control of the IC-7700. Muahahahahah!! I started off on 20M SSB calling CQ, the band wasn’t open so I made a lot of US contacts. I then went on 15M finding that it also was just as dead. Not sure if I was allowed to but I played with the Rotor and had the 4 El beam pointing South East (135 Degrees) and got a lot of people calling with the occasional pileup. It was great hearing some people say, “I always wanted to make contact with W1AW. This is my first time!” I’ve also heard a couple of people tell me their W1AW stories. It’s also fun when Saudi Stations are calling me (Well… W1AW) when I’m the one fighting in pileups to contact them.
Overall has a really fun day trip. Wish I could have stayed a lot longer but was worth it. Maybe I can squeeze in another trip. If you happen to be in the Hartford CT area or you know you’re going to be. Give the ARRL a call to make sure they will be ready when you get there. Getting to use the W1AW call is fun because most times there is a pileup
Having Friday off from work I planned to go back to the ARRL HQ located in Newington CT. This time I took a tour and got to operate W1AW which was exciting. Upon arrival you have to check in with the secretary for either a tour and/or use of W1AW. I choose to take the tour since I’m interested . My tour guide was a very nice gentleman named Dan Arnold (W1CNI) who is a volunteer tour guide. He took me around the ARRL headquaters to different parts and departments of the building.
These Ham Aid Go Kits consist of a couple of transceivers to help provide communications to disaster areas. Haiti and Louisiana were just a couple of places that received kits. Behind the partition are kits ready to be sent. It’s great to see that at least something is being sent.
Another area that I was shown was the QSL Department.
Looks sort of like an old style mail room. It’s rose-annes job to sort all the QSL cards that come into the ARRL Headquaters by country destination, box them up and prepare them for shipping all around the world. It’s a nice sight to see that people are still using QSL cards in the electronic age where everything is “E” this and “E” that. I would rather get a QSL card in the mail than a E-QSL card.
The one area I wanted to see inside ARRL headquaters is the lab. However the lab is undergoing renovations and was completely gutted. They hope for completion in early April. So maybe another time I will go back to check out the lab.
(Should have taken a picture of the building… Doi!)
Inside W1AW is some history on the ARRL’s Co-Founder, Hiram Percy Maxim. There is also 3 studios filled with transceivers, D-Star/Echolink desk and a bank of equipment used for transmissions of their bulletins. Licensed Amateurs are allow to use some of the equipment in W1AW. I got to operate 15meters SSB.
Here I am operating 15M at W1AW. It’s a little (just a little) nerve racking operating their equipment. First off, It’s not mine. I didn’t want to hit a wrong switch or change a setting that I was not supposed to. Another thing is that it’s hard to say a different call other than your own. But after a couple of minutes I worked Aruba, Italy and England. I just wish I had the equipment they had.
While at ARRL I ran into four nice people that are members of a club that I recently joined. It’s a small New England world. One of which I took a class that he taught (No, Not grammer class!) on Ham radio back in the late 90′s.
Here is some of their equipment they used in broadcasting. So all of the CW runs and bulletins originate here.
Here is the desk with their D-Star equipment and Echolink setup.
Overall I had a great day and If time allotted, I would have stayed a lot longer and snapped more photos. If your a ARRL member and in the area during the weekday, I would stop in and either visit and/or take a tour.