Western Massachusetts ARRL

A local section of the American Radio Relay League, the National Association for Amateur Radio™

33rd Annual MTARA Hamfest

The Mount Tom Amateur Repeater Association is holding its annual Amateur Radio and Electronics Hamfest on Saturday, March 7, 2020 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.
  • Several raffles (tickets $1 each or 6 for $5)
  • An amateur radio license exam session will be run at 10:30 AM. Candidates must obtain a FCC Registration Number (FRN) and pre-register on the Pioneer Valley VE Team's website prior to the exam.

Those wishing to reserve a table for selling, please contact Brian Mullarney N1FI. Mail-in registration is also available using the form in the official MTARA Hamfest flyer.

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

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

KB1LRL Featured on Tomorrow's Ham On! Show

Every Wednesday at 9:00 AM, Peter Mattice KD2JKV hosts his show / podcast on Pittsfield Community Radio WTBR 89.7 FM called Ham on!

Tomorrow morning's show (February 12), Peter will be talking with Western MA Section Manager Ray Lajoie KB1LRL. In particular, they will be talking about the secton's new mentoring program that Ray and section's technical staff is starting, as well as ARES in within the section and other happenings.  You can listen live on wtbrfm.com.  Past recordings of Ham on! are also available at https://anchor.fm/peter0190.

Peter is also one of our section's Assistant Section Traffic Manager and is highly involved in the local amateur radio community in many ways in the section.

Please tune in for Peter and Ray's show tomorrow!

More Boston Marathon Ham Radio Volunteers Needed

The Boston Marathon Communications Committee is currently at 240 out of our goal of 350 volunteer registrations for this year's Boston Marathon. Registration was scheduled to close on February 7th -- the BAA has granted us an extension until February 17th
 
If you're interested in volunteering, please register today. You can sign up at http://register.hamradioboston.org. Please share this note with your ham friends / organizations that may be interested.
 
Feel free to send me an email if you have any questions. You can also email contact@hamradioboston.org to contact the entire committee.
 
Thanks and 73,
Matt Brennan NM1B
Finish Segment Coordinator

New WMA Club Presenters List Published

I'm happy to report that, with the help of many others, I've compiled a list of known good club presenters and topics.  The purpose of the list is to help clubs in the section in selecting and asking people to come to their club meetings to speak and present on a variety of interesting topics.

The list can be viewed by going to What We Do > Clubs > WMA Club Presenters List in the main navigation menu above.

If anyone has any additions or changes for the list, please let me know.  Otherwise, I'd like to thank everyone that helped me putting this together, and especially everyone that elected to be on this list.

Thanks and 73,
Gil Hayes WK1H
WMA ARRL Affiliated Club Coordinator

New Amateur Licensees - January 2020

Congratulations to the latest new hams of Western Massachusetts:

Vincent J Melling, KC1MOH
88 Rick Dr
Florence, MA 01062-1046

David R Archambault, KC1MKY
44 Cottage Ave
Southampton, MA 01073-9538

Michael J Gregoire, KC1MOI
10 Brentwood Dr
Wilbraham, MA 01095-2504

Pranee Ngaokaeo, KC1MMA
3 Themeli Ct
North Oxford, MA 01537-1026

Section Manager Report February 2020

Hello Western Ma. As I write this, reports are that Puxatawney Phil did not see his shadow. Early spring? Let's see!

January 12 I met with other division officials with Fred K1VR in Springfield and Paul W1SEX, Bob K1YO, Aaron KC1CXX and myself introduced our mentoring program which included the distribution of our guide to give to people just getting their license which can be customized to their local area to provide club, and contact information. This was met with very good reviews and was well received. I also traveled to Newington on the 23rd with it and it received the same rave reviews. Unfortunately, there were some copyright protection issues with the original copy that we published here on the website, so until we edit some things to resolve that we had to remove it. I am now looking into a different structure to this and my intention is to bring back an elmering/mentoring program to get our new hams started and on the air. Hang in there.

Now that February has come upon us, our thoughts turn to Hamfest's starting with Marlboro which is Feb 15. I will be there with my goodies. It is a shame that Framingham has stopped their hamfest. It was a good one and can only hope it comes back. Mount Tom ARA Hamfest is around the corner and I plan on being there as well. As some of you know, I am in the midst of a career change and the new job I get may pull me in a different direction. Speaking of hamfests, most, if not all are aware of the change to what we used to call Boxboro which has now moved to Marlboro at the Best Western for July 24-26. The word that I have been hearing is this is a very positive change as it can accommodate a lot more there to the point that a national convention can occur there. My wish to this is it will bring back vendors that have drifted away from us over recent years.

January also is the time the League board gets together for their regular board meeting and at this time the board minutes have not been approved and released as yet. Two things of note is the departure of Howard WB2ITX. The board did not elect him and Barry Shelly N1VXY is back in as interim. There is no detail about why this all came about hopefully whatever the reasons are, it's in the best interest for the league and the members. The good thing that came out of it is our Vice Director Mike Raisbeck K1TWF was elected First Vice President for the league. Bad for us is now there is a vacancy for the Vice Director which will be BIG shoes to fill and good for the league that they now have a respected voice with a bunch of years to his credit.

That's enough razzle-dazzle for now. I hope everyone has a great February and hope to see you in my travels.

73,
Ray KB1LRL

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 15, 2020 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 7, 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 fleamarket@n1em.org.  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!

HCRA Tech Class Starting in March

The Hampden County Radio Association is holding a weekend Tech Class license session over March 21 & 22. Classes run 8 am thru 6 pm Saturday. 8 am thru 2 or 3 pm Sunday with testing immediately after.

Cost is $35 and includes the book and lunch on Sunday. Bottled water will be available on both days.

Location is the room where the HCRA holds it's monthly meetings, the Auxiliary room at Holyoke Hospital. (http://www.hcra.org/meeting-location/).

You must register and prepay for the class so you can get your book before
the class begins.

A sign up form is at http://www.hcra.org/licensing-classes/

Please spread the word!

Mike Raisbeck, K1TWF, Elected to ARRL First Vice President

Editor note: This article was first posted on the EMA ARRL website.

The ARRL Board of Directors has elected Mike Raisbeck, K1TWF, of Chelmsford, Massachusetts as First Vice President during its recent meeting January 17-18, 2020 in Connecticut. Mike has served as the ARRL New England Division Vice Director since July 1998.

According to the League’s web site, “[Mike] was first licensed in 1961 as KN1TWF, becoming K1TWF in 1962, and has held that call ever since.  His home club is the Billerica Amateur Radio Club [sic], where he has held various posts.  On the air activities include DXing, contesting, and recently, caring for a DMR repeater in the attic. He is a Volunteer Examiner and a Volunteer Counsel.

“Of particular interest to Mike are the social and organizational aspects of the Amateur Radio.  For over 20 years he has been serving on the Board for the ARRL New England Division Convention, and he is currently president of that organization, which runs an annual convention and funds a number of scholarships to young hams every year. ”

When the President is unable to attend a Board meeting, the First Vice President presides over the meeting.  

Raisbeck’s election to his new post leaves the office of New England Vice Director–a position in which he previously served–vacant for the present.

You can read more about K1TWF on the League’s web page at:  http://www.arrl.org/first-vice-president.

2020 Northeast HamXposition: New Venue and New Date!

Northeast HamXposition 2019 General Chair Mike Raisbeck, K1TWF, wrote to convention vendors and exhibitors on January 23, 2020:
 
To all our vendors, past, present, and (we hope) future:
 
Northeast HamXposition at Boxboro, the New England ARRL Division Convention, is now four months behind us. The 2019 show went well.  The gate remained steady. Attendance at the banquets, forums, and flea market was solid, and there were many smiling faces. We have a formula that works well.
 
So now it’s time for us to raise the bar.  Some big changes are coming to the Northeast HamXposition.
 
The biggest is a change of date and venue.  Going forward, the Northeast HamXposition will be held at the Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel & Trade Center, 181 Boston Post Rd., Marlborough, MA, on the 4th full weekend of July.  This year, the dates are July 24, 25, and 26.  Reserve that weekend – we have it nailed down for the next 5 years at least.
 
Why change?  There are several reasons:
  1. The Royal Plaza has considerably more parking, and plenty of flea market space.  It’s a nice, clean, large, and up-to-date venue
  2. The Boxboro site was having trouble making commitments to us for the adjoining parking lot.  It was only a matter of time before we found ourselves, on short notice, without sufficient parking.
  3. The Royal Plaza has an adjacent Trade Center complex.  While we won’t need to use it this year, we want to have enough expansion space that we can hold a National Convention some time in the next few years
  4. The Boxboro facility is, frankly, a getting a bit timeworn.
  5. The Royal Plaza has other adjacent hotels, as well as numerous restaurants and other shops – far more than the Boxboro location
  6. Unlike the current convention, the 4th weekend of July doesn’t conflict with the September VHF contest
 
We’re scrambling to update our forms and procedures.  I’ll be sending out another message shortly, as soon as these are all in order.
 
Please reserve the date, July 24-26.  We would love to see you there!
 
73,
Mike Raisbeck, K1TWF
Northeast HamXposition vendor chair