Hamshack Hotline

Hamshack Hotline, nicknamed the “Bat Phone for Ham Radio”, is a FREE dedicated Voice-over-IP (VoIP) telecom service for the Amateur Radio community. This has been around a couple years and is quickly growing here in Western New York. There are over 4000 extensions existing globally on the network. 

The service utilizes VoIP desk phones that simply connect to your Internet router with an Ethernet cable. The VoIP service uses the SIP protocol and compatible devices are listed on the Hamshack Hotline website (www.hamshackhotline.com). Most of the supported models are regularly available on eBay for anywhere between $20-$50. It’s important to ensure that the phone is unlocked, so it is not tied to a proprietary service provider.  

I started with a Linksys SPA942 which I purchased as part of a few lots totaling 40 phones, which I made available to local hams at my cost, $20 each including an AC Adapter. The phones utilize PoE or “Power over Ethernet”, so don’t forget an AC Adapter if you do not have a PoE Ethernet switch (not common on home routers). Another popular model is the Cisco SPA504G or higher end Cisco SPA525G2 which has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, color screen, and multimedia functions. 

There is an online directory (https://apps.wizworks.net:9091) for all the Hamshack Hotline users, and many will publish their extension on their QRZ website (this is one phone you do not have to worry will be a telemarketer when it rings!). Locally we have a Western NY conference bridge at extension 1377. This allows for many users to all be connected at once. The status of conference bridges and who’s in them is available on a special BLF website (https://beyondblf.hamshackhotline.com/blf), which helps others know when there is activity. There are also bridges specific to ARES and other amateur radio related interests. 

The free service is offset by donations from users who find this a valuable tool to have in their Hamshack. You may wish to think of it as a private intercom, as there is NO connectivity to the public switched telephone network (PTSN). It’s a fun way to stay connected with other hams, spotting contacts with others on HF, and setting up an on-air schedule with someone. 

Matt Brown K2EAG x5748
ARRL WNY Section Traffic Manager

SKYWARN Training

This just in:

Skywarn Training – Spring 2021

Posted: 11 Mar 2021 04:08 AM PSTSpring SKYWARN Spotter Training Classes are coming!

Most upstate NY counties are conducting Winter SkyWarn Training in March, April and May.

The training will be held at various area locations and on-line. This class is for beginners or anybody that has a general interest in weather. These classes train volunteers how to accurately measure and report snowfall totals to the National Weather Service. The class is free and open to everyone; no age requirements, previous training, or equipment is required.

The SKYWARN program is a nationwide program that provides real-time severe weather reports to the National Weather Service. “Trained weather spotters provide valuable lifesaving information to the National Weather Service and we encourage those who have an interest in weather to participate in this critical program,” said David Nicosia, Warning Coordination Meteorologist in Binghamton NY. “Despite all the technological advances, SKYWARN Spotter reports are still crucial to the National Weather Service in providing more accurate severe weather warnings,” Nicosia continues.

See the full training schedules at:

Binghamton (Syracuse):  http://www.weather.gov/bgm/outreachSKYWARNtraining
Buffalo (Rochester): http://www.weather.gov/buf/Skywarn
Albany :https://www.weather.gov/aly/skywarn

Learn more about SKYWARN and Amateur Radio at: http://www.upstateham.com/p/skywarn.html 


So, if you’re interested sign up and learn all about it.


The National Traffic System is a great way to get involved with the hobby of Amateur Radio. It teaches you some message handling techniques and provides you with contacts. If you ever wanted to start using that skill more and would like someone to talk with you can get an Amateur Radio PenPal.

NTS PenPal is a system started by a Texas Traffic Manager to connect Amateur Radio Operators with others around the country and around the world. This gives you the opportunity to send traffic of all kinds and get responses back. Teaching message handling skills and also emergency preparedness. So, if you are interested click on the link, sign up and wait to see who and where you will get connected.


Online Ham Radio University

Looking for something interesting to do this winter and want to learn some more Ham Radio knowledge? Well here is something right up your alley. The Ham Radio University (HRU) is holding their educational conference on Saturday, January 9, 2021 from 8 am to 4 pm EST. Registration is free, but they do suggest a donation of $5

There are several presentations being held covering some of the following topics: emergency communications; operating HF basics; Earth satellite use; remote station operation over the internet; software defined radio (SDR); HF and UHF digital communications; and Raspberry PI computer use with amateur radio. There area about 14 different sessions you could attend or just a few.

This link provides all the information you need to get started. So, if you want or need something to learn and have the time sign up and enjoy.


Radio-Relay International

This site and the corresponding link was just recently brought to my attention so I thought it would be a good idea to share it here also.
The Radio Relay International is set to assist with Global Messaging by Amateur Radio. Providing traffic net information, radio grams, and other important communication documents and information. The link has been added to our Links page.

Here is the actual link for their site: http://radio-relay.org/

-73 & Stay safe and healthy.

January Meeting 2021 Update

Due to the continued rise in COVID-19 cases in the area we will not have our January meeting in-person at Theodore’s. We will be having our meeting virtually again.

We hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and New Year and we will meet in January online again over our virtual format.

Stay Safe and Healthy

December Meeting 2020 Update

Just to further let any potential visitors know we will not have our December meeting in-person at Theodore’s. We will be having our meeting virtually due to the COVID-19 uptick in cases in the counties that we live and serve in.

We hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and New Year and we will try to meet in January depending on the situation at hand.

Stay Safe and Healthy

National Amateur Radio Operators Day

Here is an interesting article talking about a resolution that World Amateur Radio Day (WARD) which is April 18 of each year also be classified as National Amateur Radio Operators Day. The resolution was put forward by an Arizona Congresswoman after a letter from a 12 yr old amateur radio operator. You can read the full article from the ARRL by clicking the link below.


Maybe we will have something new to look forward to in 2021 if this passes.