Section Manager Report for February 2018

Hello everyone! I hope you are doing well and looking forward to the warmer weather once again. I know I am. It has been a quiet month section-wise. I do apologize as I have been a bit preoccupied as I am in the midst of moving by mother back home from Arizona so I have been doing real estate stuff on both ends. I will be doing some travelling, but I am an email or phone call away.

I went and visited the CMARA club meeting and after witnessing their first attempt of conducting the business meeting under Roberts Rules which we will conclude is a work in progress, but had some entertaining moments. They had a kit building session that night which was interesting. They also had an impressive turnout of members and they said it was a light night. This club is a fine example of a group that actively participates for ham radio and their club. They will continue to sustain themselves for many years. Great job!

I was at the Marlboro hamfest and was a fun and busy time. When I wasn’t selling the treasures, I was meeting and talking to section members and dignitaries as well. I will be at the Mount Tom Hamfest coming up and am looking forward to meeting more of you. I am planning to not leave right away if anyone wishes to talk about things regarding section matters.

The Help Wanted sign is still out to fill some positions to get the team together to do some great things together in order to make this section more ready and visible to the section as well as the League. Give it a think and consider joining. In particular, we are looking to fill the currently vacant Assistant Section Manager Northwest and Public Information Coordinator appointments, and to replace Section Emergency Coordinator N2YHK who is stepping down.

I am going to be putting together a presentation to show what my job is and the structure I wish to form so that it will be balanced and efficient. I’ll try to make it lively. I know what some of these can be like, Zzzzzz!

For those that saw this, thank you! Please tell others about this website so more of you can see what’s going on.

Thanks again and 73. See you soon!

Mount Tom ARA Hamfest

The Mount Tom Amateur Repeater Association is holding its annual Amateur Radio and Electronics Hamfest on Saturday, March 10, 2018 at the Castle of Knights, 1599 Memorial Drive in Chicopee. All amateurs and those interested are invited!

Admission is $5 for adults and children 12 and under are free. Doors open at 6:30 AM for vendors only and 8:30 AM for general admission.

The hamfest will feature:

  • A snack bar serving hot and cold beverages, hot dogs, burgers and the like.
  • An amateur radio license exam session will be run at 10:30 AM.
  • Several raffles (tickets $1 each or 6 for $5)

Those wishing to reserve a table for selling, please contact Brian Mullarney N1FI.

Talk-in for the hamfest will be on the W1TOM repeater (146.940 MHz, PL 127.3).

In connection with the MTARA Hamfest, the Hampden County Radio Association is presently selling tickets for their 2017 raffle. There will only be 250 tickets sold for HCRA’s raffle at $10 each. The raffle will be for brand new Yaesu FT-891 transceiver and ATAS-120A mobile HF antenna. The raffle winner will be drawn at the MTARA Hamfest.

WMA Section Manager Ray Lajoie KB1LRL is planning on attending the hamfest.

Algonquin ARC Hamfest

The Algonquin Amateur Radio Club will be holding its annual hamfest at 1Lt Charles W. Whitcomb Middle School at 25 Union St. in Marlborough, MA.  The hamfest is very popular among hams in both the Eastern MA and the eastern portions of the Western MA ARRL sections.

The hamfest will be held on Saturday, February 17, 2018 from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM.  General admission is $5 and includes a chance at the $200 Cash Door Prize.

An amateur radio exam session will be run at the hamfest at 9:00 AM for those how wish to get licensed or upgrade.

Vendors may reserve 6 foot tables at the hamfest at $15 each if purchased by February 9, 2018 ($20.00 each accepted at the door if space is available).  Vendors may arrive at 6:30 AM for setup.  For more information or to reserve a table, contact Tim Ikeda KA1OS at 1-508-919-6136 before 9:00 PM or email  A mail in order form is also available on the bottom of the hamfest’s official flyer.

Talk in will be on the MMRA Marlboro repeater system: 147.27+ (pl 146.2).

WMA Section Manager Ray Lajoie KB1LRL is planning on attending the hamfest.

Hope to see you there!

Section Manager Report for January 2018

Hello everyone. This is going to be a regular feature to keep all up to date in the going’s on in our section. Anything of timely importance will be posted separately as normal.

As you are aware my priority has been getting a staff together to fill spots that are vacant or to replace those who wish to step aside. First of all, I would like to welcome Cory Goodall AC1AZ as our SW Mass ASM, and Roland Chaffee KC1VQ as our new SGL. The top of the list is selecting a new Section Emer. Coord. This is an important one as I consider this a cornerstone to the organization. With this we can align our EC staffing to an efficient structure and review and revamp our communications plan. With this plan I look to use this as a means to promote our abilities to the served agencies. It is understandable that ARES is going through a revamp in itself and FEMA may play a part in things, I do ask that this does not be a decision factor. The other position needed is a Public Information Coordinator. This role will be expanded as I will be looking to “get the word out”. Not just to the media as needed but in promotion as well. Also, I have a need for an ASM for the northwest sector.

One thing to consider is these positions may seem like a huge job, my emphasis is going to be teamwork! Everyone working together does make the job easier, it can also make it interesting and also fun. This way also we do not burnout as quickly.

Ok, enough of that. Lately I have been listening to the Paxton repeater more as our ASM, Greg WA1JXR has started a really cool net to teach people CW. He has for the last two weeks had check ins of at least 36 hams and reports of others listening on other receivers! This is huge! This is what our section needs more of throughout and Greg nailed it. Well done! The other thing that encourages me is the amount of new hams and others offering to assist. This, I feel is what keeps new hams interested as they feel there is something more other than just getting their license. This repeater has been a popular one for a long time, and the huge footprint certainly helps. All to often I hear repeaters out there with very little activity. I encourage those to use them more to promote your clubs, assist the newbies and anything else that comes to mind.

One thing I wish to highlight is we do have technical assistance team within our section. This is headed by Brian Arsenault N1FIY. He has a few tech specialist’s available. If anyone is in need of assistance in anything reach out to them. I hear they can’t wait to help.

If there is anything that comes to mind that you wish to let me know, please feel free to email me. I have asked the staff to give me an informal report of their activities and news (or gossip hi-hi). I do want to know what’s going on out there. Remember, I am the voice to the League for you. I also want to thank all those that emailed me in welcoming me to the section. In closing, please consider volunteering for a spot that is available. Together, I want to do good things.

73 to all and Thanks


FCARC to Support the Greenfield Winter Carnival Sleigh Bell Race

The Greenfield Winter Carnival Sleigh Bell Race will be held on Saturday, February 3, 2018. The Franklin County Amateur Radio Club will be supporting this event as they have in the past.

The amateur radio support team will meet at the Hope and Olive Restaurant. Because of last year’s UHF frequency disaster, and the new court house, this year they will be testing for use of simplex. Specifically, the most likely channel of use for this event will be the FCARC simplex frequency of 147.435 MHz. Please have your handhelds and mobiles set up with a channel for the 147.435 Simplex.

Setup and taking in people for radio positions will begin at 8:00 AM. The race start time has traditionally been at 10:00 AM. The race traditionally takes about 90 minutes for the last runner/walker to make it back to the Hope and Olive Restaurant start/Finish line.

All those interesting in helping with this effort, please contact Richard KB1NOX at  More details on the Greenfield Winter Carnival, including the Sleigh Bell Race, are available at the event website.

Learn CW Training Net on VHF

The Central Massachusetts Amateur Radio Association will be conducting a “Learn CW Training Net” on the Club Repeater W1BIM on 146.97 PL 114.8 on Monday Nights at 7:30 PM starting January 15.

Greg WA1JXR will be your Net Control Operator and CW Instructor. The purpose of the Net is to teach Ham Radio Operators new and old how to send and receive CW. The net will be a combination of FM voice as well as modulated CW (MCW) transmissions over the repeater. CMARA members as a club project have built an MCW interface for their 2M FM radios which will allow them to send CW. If others are interested in obtaining a MCW Interface Kit you can contact Greg WA1JXR at and I will start an interested list. If we get a minimum of 10 kit orders I will do a bulk buy of parts and circuit board and assemble more kits.

So check it off on your calendar and check into the “Learn CW Training Net” on Monday nights and learn and have fun with the Original Digital Mode, CW.

73’s Greg Algieri WA1JXR

Volunteer Registration for Boston Marathon Now Open

Volunteer registration is open for the 2018 Boston Marathon! Sign up today on the BAA’s web site. You don’t need to specify any group name or passcode. Just make sure you request at least one ham radio assignment in your preferences. Once you get your application confirmation number, you’re all set.

If you’re a returning volunteer, you’ll be asked to provide your BAA Volunteer Loyalty Number. You should’ve received that in a separate e-mail from the BAA today. There’s also a tool to look it up on the BAA volunteer site. If you still have trouble finding it, e-mail us and we can help you out.

Don’t delay! Volunteer registration closes in early February. Help us get the word out by forwarding this e-mail to your club and other hams who might like to volunteer. Most volunteers first learn about the event through word of mouth. If you know new amateurs who might like to join us, make sure to let them know about it. Even just a quick mention at your club meeting can be a big help.

Again, If you have any questions about volunteer registration, or the 2018 Marathon generally, please get in touch anytime. Volunteering at the Marathon is a big job, and we appreciate the time and effort everyone puts into it. We’re happy to do what we can to make your work more comfortable or effective.

Again, we look forward to seeing everyone again soon.

Thank you, and 73,

Matthew Forman, K6MCF
for the Boston Marathon Communications Committee

KB1LRL Reaches Out Regarding Section Field Appointments

Hello to all Amateur Radio enthusiasts. I hope that you all had and will have a wonderful holiday season.

As some or most are aware, I will be assuming the duties of Western MA Section Manager as of January 1st. I wish to first and foremost want thank Ed, W1KT for his leadership for the last 12 years. I wish him the best of luck in the future.

Since my election to the position, what I have been looking for is what needs to be done to revitalize this section and get it updated to meet the needs of all the parties involved. The major task is to get the proper staffing in place. Some have indicated they do not wish to continue with their positions. I ask that they continue to support me as I select a new candidate to replace them.

The biggest one is the Section Emergency Coordinator. John N2YHK does not wish to continue in this position. I thank John for his tenure. He has made valuable contributions during his time. So, at this time, I will be looking for individuals to consider taking on this position. Please read the Appointment Description in the ARRL website or by clicking on the SEC staff member on this website. When a SEC is selected, we will work on firming up the county level DEC’s, local EC’s and the rest of the WMA ARES organization.

The Amateur Auxiliary and the OO program is currently under review and updating by the ARRL and the FCC so there will be no changes or additions until the new protocol is in place.

One of the position I will be looking for along with the SEC will be two more Assistant Section Managers, one for the southwest quadrant of the section and one for the northwest quadrant.

I am asking that anyone who is interested in any position, is wishing to continue or wants to step aside please send me an email to I ask to also please spread the word to the various clubs and let them know as well. I will be reviewing all based on qualifications, and their involvement and participation currently.

I will be emailing others with existing WMA ARRL field appointments to see what their wishes are. But, I do ask that everyone please email me and give me the information I ask and a brief summary of your qualifications, and what you have contributed to the section since the appointment. Please again let others know who may not view this website. There will be more communication as time goes on. I do not wish to make this a huge message, but, we as a section needs to get a lot in place at the start. I do ask once again to consider becoming part of the Western Ma Section team.

Thank you and 73,

Communications Interoperability Training with Amateur Radio Community Set

Elements of the US Department of Defense (DOD) will conduct a “communications interoperability” training exercise November 4-6, once again simulating a “very bad day” scenario. Amateur Radio and MARS organizations will take part.

“This exercise will begin with a national massive coronal mass ejection event which will impact the national power grid as well as all forms of traditional communication, including landline telephone, cellphone, satellite, and Internet connectivity,” Army MARS Program Manager Paul English, WD8DBY, explained in an announcement.

During the exercise, a designated DOD Headquarters entity will request county-by-county status reports for the 3,143 US counties and county equivalents, in order to gain situational awareness and to determine the extent of impact of the scenario. Army and Air Force MARS organizations will work in conjunction with the Amateur Radio community, primarily on the 60-meter interoperability channels as well as on HF NVIS frequencies and local VHF and UHF, non-Internet linked Amateur Radio repeaters.

Again this year, a military station on the east coast and the Fort Huachuca, Arizona, HF station will conduct a high-power broadcast on 60-meter channel 1 (5330.5 kHz) on Saturday from 0300 to 0315 UTC. New this year will be an informational broadcast on Sunday, on 13,483.5 kHz USB from 1600 to 1615 UTC. Amateur Radio operators should monitor these broadcasts for more information about the exercise and how they can participate in this communications exercise, English said.

“We want to continue building on the outstanding cooperative working relationship with the ARRL and the Amateur Radio community,” English said. “We want to expand the use of the 60-meter interop channels between the military and amateur community for emergency communications, and we hope the Amateur Radio community will give us some good feedback on the use of both the 5-MHz interop and the new 13-MHz broadcast channels as a means of information dissemination during a very bad day scenario.

Ham Radio Clubs Brings JOTA to the Scouts

On September 21st at 7am, three radio clubs converged at the district Boy Scouts headquarters in Lancaster, MA to introduce amateur radio to the local scouts for the 60th annual JOTA event. The Scouts and their parents and other leaders were given a demonstration of some of the many facets of Ham Radio.

The three clubs participating were the Montachusett ARA from Lunenburg, Nashoba Valley ARC from Pepperell, and the Mohawk ARC from Gardner. Mohawk ARC brought their communications trailer, NVARC provided their tower trailer and MARA brought radios and supporting gear.

The scouts were treated to many aspects of radio including QRP kit radios, SSB, DMR, Morse code, phonetics and Echolink. The scouts had the opportunity to make contacts with other JOTA event stations across the country.

The biggest hit was the Foxhunt demonstration where the Scouts enjoyed the warm weather and attempted to locate the transmitter using tri-angulation. Stan Pozerski, KD1LE along with Skip Youngberg K1NKR created Thinking Day on the Air events for the Girl Scouts and brought their expertise in enhancing this event. They also set up tables with practice keyers and Morse code sheets and coached them on the code as well as phonetics. Kevin Erickson, N1ERS and his Mohawk group bought their nicely setup utility trailer set up for operation and gave the kids a great SSB demonstration.

This was the second event for JOTA and it saw an increased amount of participation by both Scouts and volunteers. MARA extends great appreciation to all the clubs and the volunteers for such a successful event and looks forward to a bigger and better one next year.

de Ray, KB1LRL