KB1NZP Silent Key


Peter (Pete) Richard Hall Holtby, of Acton, Maine went home to be with the Lord on Tuesday, November 2, 2021 at the age of ninety-one, with his two loving sons, David and Stephen, by his side.

Pete was born in Winnipeg, Canada on March 9, 1930, the eldest child of Alfred Sydney Thomas Holtby and Sarah Kathleen (Holman) Holtby. Pete’s family moved from Calgary, Canada to Glendale, California where he graduated from Herbert Hoover High School in 1948.

Pete was a patriot, proudly serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force and the United States Army Aviation Company of the 45th division during the Korean War. Peter earned the Bronze star …

Pete married the love of his life Elizabeth “Jane” Hemmington on March 8, 1958 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Pete wrote to Jane, “I thought I knew what love was but I didn’t until I met you.” He is reunited with his lifetime love in heaven in the presence of their first love, Jesus Christ.

Pete and Jane made their home in Anaheim, California where they had their three children. When Pete became a Captain for American Airlines in Boston, Massachusetts he moved his young family across the country to Hampton Falls, New Hampshire. They purchased a camp on Square Pond in Acton, Maine and quickly fell in love with the area.

Pete moved his family to Merrywood Farm in Lebanon, Maine in 1970, which was only a short drive to their camp. The 200-acre farm fulfilled a dream the family had to raise Polled Hereford cattle and horses. The whole family worked the farm together and showed their horses and cattle at fairs, bringing home many ribbons, trophies, and awards.

Pete was committed to helping others and his community. He served as a First Responder on the Fire and Rescue Squads in Lebanon and Acton, Maine for many years. In 1964, he began driving ambulances and at 80 years old was still actively responding to calls. In 2010, Pete was awarded the Emergency Medical Services Merit Award by Maine Governor Baldacci.

Pete’s hobbies included birdwatching, communicating with others on his ham radio, driving Jane and her friends to quilt shops, and studying and learning about the weather. Pete remained active in the weather spotters society of Gray, Maine continuing to monitor weather for the National Weather Service.

Pete was predeceased by his loving wife Jane, his daughter Debbie Clark, two brothers Michael Holtby, Jon Holtby, and a sister Sharon Holtby .

Loved ones left behind include his son David Holtby and wife Julianna of Woodford Virginia, Stephen Holtby and wife Sherrie of Lebanon, Maine, his sister Pat Rector of White Oak, Texas, 14 grandchildren, 21 great grandchildren, and his faithful canine companion Kelly.

Services will be held at the north Lebanon Second Baptist church on Saturday, November 20, 2021 at 1:00 PM. There will be a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to: North Lebanon Second Baptist Church or the Acton Rescue Squad

A private spring internment at Springvale Veterans Cemetery will follow.

Arrangements are under the direction of Black Funeral Homes and Cremation Service, Sanford-Springvale.

To send sympathy gifts to the family or plant a tree in memory of Peter Holtby, please visit our tribute store.


KB1OWW Silent Key

Joe “June” Despres’ (KB1OWW) went silent key on July 29, 2021. He will be greatly missed by those of us who know him from the ham radio community. Joe had been participating with the NEWN since the 1960’s. His stories could entertain you for hours and he would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. Joe was truly a jack of all trades. He was with the Army (Green Berets) in Germany during the Cold War. He met his wife Karin there. He was an avid hunter, trapper, and outdoorsman. Joe could fix radios and built and modified a lot of equipment over the years. I will miss the “eye balls” over a cup of coffee in his ham shack and the long QSO’s over the air.

Obituary: https://www.lajoiefuneralhome.com/obituary/joseph-june-despres

Jack, W1AWX

AB2ZO Silent Key

Frank J. Tomesch

Poughkeepsie – Frank J. Tomesch, 74, passed away at home on, Sunday, February 16, 2020, surrounded by his loving family. The son of the late Frank A. and Joan S. Valla Tomesch, he was born on November 3, 1945 in Little Ferry, NJ. On August 11, 2001, he married Lisa H. Andersen in Tarrytown, NY, she survives at home. Frank served his country as a Lieutenant in the United States Army during the Vietnam War era and was employed with Metropolitan Life in NYC as a computer programmer. Being remembered as an amateur radio enthusiast, he was a member of the Overlook and Mount Beacon Amateur Radio Clubs and an official observer for the National Weather Service for Poughkeepsie. Frank also belonged to the Sons of Norway, the New England Weather Net, and also a member of the ROTC at St. Peter’s College. Frank is survived by his daughter, Johanna Tomesch and her companion Miles Uchida, both of Portland, OR, his stepson, Seth A. Pierzkor of Orlando, FL, his brother John Tomesch and wife Kristine of Succasunna, NJ, as well as several nieces and nephews. Calling hours will be held on Friday, February 21, 2020, from 4:00pm – 8:00PM, at the Wm. G. Miller & Son Funeral Home, Inc. 371 Hooker Ave., Poughkeepsie, NY 12603. A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered on Saturday, February 22, 2020, at 10:00AM, at the Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel, 185 Hudson View Dr. Poughkeepsie, NY 12601. Burial will take place at a later date in the Gerald R. Solomon National Cemetery, 200 Duell Road, Schuylerville, NY 12871 with military honors. The family suggests in lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Frank’s name to St. Peter’s Church. If you wish to send an online condolence please visit our website at www.wmgmillerfuneralhome.

64 years and 20,000 sessions!

The New England Weather Net was founded in 1955 with the mission of gathering weather observations from around the greater New England region. The net has operated six days a week (Monday thru Saturday) continuously since that time. This Thursday, November 21, 2019 marks a milestone with session 20,000.

Thank you to all who have participated both in recent years and through out the net’s history. The New England Weather Net remains strong and committed to gathering each morning to share weather data.

Here is the recording from Session #20,000:

Next stop… Session 30,000 in 2051.


Jack Caron, W1AYX, Net Manager

Bonus: Here is a recording from Session 10,000 from December 12, 1987:

Listening Using a WebSDR

A Software-Defined Radio (SDR) is a system where many of the traditional radio hardware components have been replaced or supplemented by means of software on a separate personal computer or a built-in operating system. While the concept of SDR has been around since the early 1970’s, recent technological advances and cost reductions have made these radios both affordable and popular among the amateur radio community.

A WebSDR is a Software-Defined Radio receiver connected to the internet which allows for multiple users to independently listen and tune simultaneously across the radio spectrum.

One of the benefits of listening on a WebSDR is that you can monitor a given frequency from an entirely different geographic location without having to actually visit that area. Here on the New England Weather Net the propagation is not always favorable to hear some of our participating stations from the local receiver. This is where listening remotely to a WebSDR will often assist you in being able to copy the net control or other participating stations.

In addition to using a WebSDR for as a remote receiver, there are some other good reasons you may want to give it a try. Here are a few:

  1. You can record and download audio files from the WebSDR server.
  2. You can test your station’s signal strength or check for open propagation in a given region.
  3. You can take it with you anywhere there is an internet connection. Most mobile browsers support WebSDR’s so you can wonder the house or the hi-way and listen to your favorite net on a smart phone, tablet, or similar device.

Below you will find some links to a few WebSDR’s that can be used to monitor the New England Weather Net:

A global list of active WebSDR servers can be found here: http://www.websdr.org/


Jack, W1AYX


 Message of the Day  (Disponible en anglais seulement) CoCoRaHS Blog | Go to end of message

Snow Flurries? How do I report them?

Great question. If you have a snow flurry and see flakes in the air but nothing accumulates on the ground, that is still a “Trace” of snow and should be reported as such “T”. And remember, a Trace of snow means you’ve had at least a trace of precipitation. You cannot report 0 for your precipitation when you’ve had a trace or more of snow. Snow is, after all, precipitation.


Why is the Sun so quiet? As the Sun enters into a period of time known as a Solar Minimum, it is, as expected, showing fewer sunspots and active regions than usual. The quietness is somewhat unsettling, though, as so far this year, most days show no sunspots at all. In contrast, from 2011 – 2015, during Solar Maximum, the Sun displayed spots just about every day. Maxima and minima occur on an 11-year cycle, with the last Solar Minimum being the most quiet in a century. Will this current Solar Minimum go even deeper? Even though the Sun’s activity affects the Earth and its surroundings, no one knows for sure what the Sun will do next, and the physics behind the processes remain an active topic of research. The featured image was taken three weeks ago and shows that our Sun is busy even on a quiet day. Prominences of hot plasmasome larger than the Earth, dance continually and are most easily visible over the edge.

What you see above is something I have copied, with permission, from the Astronomy Picture of the Day, a website that I visit at least once a week (https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap180820.html).  The picture of the Sun above, taken by Alan Friedman, show the absence of any sun spots.  Combine that with the fact that the Gray Line is appearing later each morning as we approach the end of Summer and we can understand why our band conditions have been so poor.