Volunteers Still Needed for 2019 Boston Marathon

The Boston Marathon Communications Committee is currently at 250 out of our goal of 350 volunteer registrations for this year’s Boston Marathon. Registration is scheduled to close on February 6th (we have requested an extension on this, but there’s no guarantee the BAA will grant it) so there isn’t much time left. 

If you’re interested in volunteering, please register today. You can sign up at https://www.baa.org/races/boston-marathon/volunteer/volunteer-registration. Please share this note with your ham friends / organizations that may be interested.

Any questions can be directed at contact@HamRadioBoston.org.

Local Communities Looking for RACES Officers

A few months ago, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency conducted a survey for all local community emergency management directors across the Commonwealth. The survey was specifically about the use of amateur radio and RACES locally within their community, whether they have an appointed RACES Officer, and if not, if they would like to find one.

The Radio Amateurs Civil Emergency Service (RACES) is a radio service using amateur stations for emergency management communications during periods of local, regional or national emergencies. RACES is defined in law in Part 97.407 of the FCC rules. In the event the U.S. President ever needed to silence the regular Amateur Radio Service by invoking the War Powers Act of 1941, only RACES appointed stations could continue to operate and assist their appointed served agencies. Requirements for RACES varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction but will include possession of a FCC amateur radio license.

As a result of this survey, the list of communities below are interested in locating an amateur radio operator to serve as their RACES Officer. If you are interested in any of these appointments, please inquire with that community’s emergency management director. It is also highly recommended to discuss the matter with MEMA Regional RACES Officer which services that local community’s county. We might be able to recommend you based on whatever previous amateur radio EmComm or other public service you’ve done that we’re aware of. We may also be able to give you additional insight into the role in that community.

The MEMA Regional RACES Officers are:
Region 1: Terry Stader KA8SCP
Region 2: Mike Leger N1YLQ
Region 3: Frank Morrisino K1LMY
Region 4: Gil Hayes WK1H

Communities looking for RACES Officers:

  • MEMA Region 1 (Suffolk, Middlesex and Essex Counties)
    • Belmont
    • Manchester-by-the-Sea
    • Nahant
    • North Reading
    • Revere
  • MEMA Region 2 (Norfolk, Bristol, Plymouth, Barnstable, Dukes and Nantucket Counties)
    • Barnstable
    • Chilmark
    • East Bridgewater
    • Edgartown
    • Marshfield
    • Rochester
    • Somerset
    • Yarmouth
  • MEMA Region 3 (Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire and Berkshire Counties)
    • Chesterfield
    • Colrain
    • Huntington
    • Russell
    • Sandisfield
    • South Hadley
    • Stockbridge
    • Washington
    • West Springfield
  • MEMA Region 4 (Worcester County)
    • Ashburnham
    • Fitchburg
    • Grafton
    • Royalston
    • Sterling
    • Sturbridge
    • Sutton
    • West Boylston
    • West Brookfield

Section Manager Report February 2019

Western MA ARRL

Hello everyone. So, I hear that our friend Phil predicted an early spring. We’ll see about that. If you recall, last time he did that we got bombed with endless snows. I don’t know about you, it’s been a relatively decent winter, but I like the warmer temps.

January 12 I was in Springfield where other section managers, club presidents, etc. gathered with Fred, K1VR for his first cabinet meeting which is held before the board of directors meeting. He was greeted to a packed room and there was some great discussion. The first item was the release of our presentation for reintroducing the tech specialist program which will also involve getting elmering (mentoring) back to help support new hams when they enter the hobby to introduce them to the many avenues that it has to offer. Paul, W1SEX put together the presentation and showed it at the meeting. Thank you, Paul, for a stellar effort. This will be made available to all on the website as well as we are looking to get this in the ARRL web as well.

Along with the presentation we will be also introducing other tools and information that clubs will have access too, including a brochure to give new licensee’s when they pass the test. This will be available to customize as they want to their local club. This does not take away from the ones they use now. I have seen some nice ones and stick with it! There was quite an emphasis in getting the league to bring out more and better information and ease of access to it to aid also the new ham. I will admit finding things there is a bit clunky at times.

It appears Berkshire county will have a full compliment of EC’s. Dave W1TTT has been working with me in getting personnel in place and will be gearing it up to get that county off the ground for ARES. This will be finalized very shortly. I will be starting on another county soon. Anyone interested in assisting for their county, let me know.

I paid a visit to the CMARA club meeting in West Boylston. As usual there was a great turnout there. A nice presentation on 3-D printing and they had their officer elections there. Brian K1BML has been elected President receiving the gavel from Bob, W1TAB. Thank you Bob for your efforts during your tenure.

Of course, it is February and I’m sure thoughts are starting to turn to Field Day. It is my hopes to do the visits like last year. It was enjoyable and impressed to see the setups and activities that goes on there. I have been doing the MARA event and seeing the others gives me a different perspective of their own logistics there.

That’s enough chatter for now. Watch out, I may be sneaking in to your meeting soon enough.

Take care and 73,
Ray KB1LRL

Proposed MA Legislation Seeks to Require “Hands-free” Cell Phone Use While Driving

This news was originally written and posted on the Eastern MA ARRL website.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker on Tuesday “proposed his most sweeping set of road safety rules yet, calling for Massachusetts to join 16 other states in requiring hands-free cell phone use while driving and proposing to allow police to stop motorists for not wearing a seat belt,” according to Boston’s PBS station, WGBH.

Various pieces of “hands-free” cell phone legislation have been introduced in recent years by members of the State House and Senate and while some have included clear exemptions for Amateur Radio operators, others have been vague or non-existent on the matter.

Eastern MA State Government Liaison Hank McCarl, W4RIG, quickly alerted ARRL section and division leadership about the proposed legislation. 

McCarl reports he has already spoken with his State Senator’s office legislative assistant about the ARRL’s concerns regarding the wording of proposed legislation on hand held cell phones while driving. They “will keep a close eye on the wording of that legislation and let us know if there seems to be any problems for our mobile operations as licensed amateurs in community service or training,” McCarl said.

ARRL Headquarters Regulatory Information Manager Dan Henderson, N1NC was also notified of the proposed legislation by Eastern MA Section Manager Tom Walsh, K1TW.

Details about Baker’s proposed hands-free cell phone and other road safety rules can be found at <https://www.wgbh.org/news/local-news/2019/01/22/baker-proposes-hand-free-cell-phone-driving-bill>.

Boston Marathon Volunteer Registration Now Open

On behalf of the BAA Amateur Radio Communications Committee, we want to wish you a Happy New Year. It’s hard to believe that 2018 has come to a close and we are heading into 2019, and with the new year also comes the 123rd running of the Boston Marathon. 

Today, January 3rd, 2019, volunteer registration will open for the marathon which is taking place this year on Monday, April 15, 2019. The sign-up process will be the same as last year and will provide you with a direct link once registration is open. Please be on the lookout for an email from the BAA, and we will also be asking for everybody’s assistance in getting the word out about volunteering to help with recruitment.

Click here to register as a volunteer for the 2019 Boston Marathon. The registration deadline is Wednesday, February 6, 2019.

If you have any questions about the upcoming volunteer registration period, or the 2019 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.

We look forward to seeing everyone again soon.

Thank you, and 73,
Matthew Forman, K6MCF
for the Boston Marathon Communications Committee
contact@hamradioboston.org

Section Manager Report January 2019

Happy New Year! This also marks 1 year as your section manager. It has been a busy year. It has also been a big learning curve for me. And of course, the usual triumphs and setbacks.

My hopes in 2019 is what we have got now grows. I have been working on some things which I feel will certainly help. One thing is to expand on is the mentoring of new hams and providing the technical resource to keep then interested from the moment they pass the test. I am also looking for a good way to put out the list of new licensees for the section. This was brought up at one of the club meetings I visited.

Another thing I think will be fun is I want to do a logo contest. Some sections have a logo and I think it would be neat to have one. So, between now and Field Day draw one or two or three and send them to me. I will have two others be part of the judging. If one is selected for use, they will be awarded the latest ARRL Handbook. (Or something there of equal value) Get your artistic skills going on this!

I still have ARES to fulfill and I really wish this did better. I still have a number of openings and very few takers. The assistance of all who read this can help in spreading the word. I am finding around a quarter of the section look at the site. I am also confirming who is currently listed in different databases and making it consistent with all and making sure the League database is up to date.

I understand some of these things may not appeal to everyone. That’s fine. That’s the beauty of the hobby. My hopes are to get as many as I can to come together as a team for a common cause, and that is Ham Radio. Promote your specialty interest, tell your peers, train the new hams, etc. There are some people out there who have been doing a great job of doing just that. And they stay with it! I will truthfully admit I have had periods of disappointment in this role, (ex: Boxboro) and wonder if I should really continue. It’s when I see clubs or individual efforts that consistently make the effort is what encourages me to go on. I won’t labor on this. I don’t want this to sound like a politician’s speech either. I just hope the message spreads.

I have heard some great suggestions and some of which I am or will be researching on. They were from you and thank you as these guides me to working on what may be best for our section. Continue to do that. I may not have an instant response, but I do keep the emails and review them often.

I hope everyone has a Happy New Year and I look forward to 2019 working with all of you. Thank you all once again!

73,
Ray KB1LRL

Youth Survey

reddit

This is a repost from the /r/amateurradio subreddit:

Hi all,

I’ve been talking with the ARRL, actually got a response from both the CEO and the Lifelong Learning Manager. I offered to use whatever contacts I have to try and get more hams involved, and to try and see how the younger hams like to operate.

If you’ve got a couple minutes, if you could please fill out this survey:

Getting Young Hams Involved

It’s a google survey. I’m not collecting email addresses, and don’t hesitate to skip anything that you don’t want to, or don’t feel comfortable answering. The information will be used solely to try and grow the hobby. Results will be shared in one way or another with people at the ARRL, and maybe I’ll reach out to the RAC/RSGB/etc if there’s sufficient results.

There’s a bunch of questions, but most should be pretty fast to click through.

Please only respond if you’re 26 or younger. While those of us slightly above that demographic may like to think we’re young, there’s enough of a disparity between what those of us in our late 20s/30s like and what the younger demographic likes that it’ll skew the results. 26 was chosen as that’s what the Youngsters on the Air group in IARU region 1 use.

I’m hoping to be able to give them real, actionable feedback on how they can help actually get young hams involved. If some of the feedback looks like we can use it here on Reddit, we can also do that.

Thanks everyone!

Amateur Radio License Class in Holyoke in January

Hampden County Radio Association

The Hampden County Radio Association will be sponsoring an amateur radio class for those looking at getting their Technician license.

The class will run on Tuesday evenings from
6:30 PM to 9:00 PM running from January 15 through February 26. The class will be held in the Auxiliary Conference Center at the Holyoke Medical Center at 575 Beech Street in Holyoke.

The class costs $30 and includes a copy ARRL Amateur Radio License Manual.

It is suggested that you pre-register for this class with HCRA Vice-President Dave Fant WM1B to ensure that a copy of the manual is available to you at the time of the class. Any other questions about the class can also be directed to Dave.

Good luck to all and hope to hear you on the air soon!