Western Massachusetts ARRL

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

Section Manager Report April 2020

Hi everyone. What a difference a month makes. Last month we were looking forward to meeting’s, hamfests, baseball, etc. Now the new sport that’s popular is toilet paper searches and keeping the kids occupied. Needless to say, this has become a sobering experience for a lot of people. This also brings a new respect for those into making (makers) and preppers. We as hams share similar interests as we are always working on our gear so it will work under bad conditions and situations. Now that we are hunkered down, I’m sure ham projects are getting worked on and caught up, and BETTER!

With the situation in place, clubs have had to cancel events and meetings. Members have been coming up with ways to stay active within the group. I have seen some new nets springing up and there is some online stuff as well. There is a WMA page on Facebook where clubs can share information and ideas. It is pretty secured so no junk will get in. Of course, any articles of interest to all can go to Gil, WK1H, Grant, KC1KCE, our new PIO, or myself. With that, The League as you know is all working from home and can be contacted via email. There have been questions regarding exam sessions that people have been preparing for. They are looking at this as well as other things to keep parts of these areas moving. There is chatter, although nothing confirmed that the Extra class question pool may get extended to cover those that were studying before the June 30 cutoff. I’ll keep you posted.

Some of you know of my latest act of insanity where I retired from my job and went to school and got my CDL. March 30 I will be out of state going to orientation and training with Schneider. When I am done, I will be going over the road over 37 states. This was a little premature but none of the local companies would not hire unless you have experience, despite the huge demand. I will still, the best I can continue to keep up to date, attend online meetings and answer emails and calls, etc. There is good forward momentum going on, I want to keep it going.

As I have mentioned in the past, I have always encouraged the advancement of Ham Radio in some form. Whether it’s learning a new mode, taking lessons on EMCOMM, building antennas, etc. If you have kids or grandkids, this is an excellent opportunity to “home school” them in science, or if you are good, math. This hobby richly promotes STEM, what a great opportunity while at home! While I am away and, on my downtime, I do plan on busting out the Morse Code cd’s and learning code…again! Let’s see where that gets me.

I hope everyone stays safe and healthy. With any luck we will be out of this and we get back to normal with the exception that we ALL, hams or not, have learned from this experience.

Thank you all and 73!

73,
Ray, KB1LRL

NEAR-Fest XXVII Status Report

 
The big question for the last several weeks has been: Is NEAR-Fest XXVII scheduled for May going to be canceled? The answer sadly now is yes.
 
On March 26th the NH Governor issued Emergency Order 17 which is a “stay-at-home” advisory in effect from Friday, March 27th through Monday May 4th 2020. This Order cancels all gatherings over 10 persons during that time period. This obviously includes us.
 
Henceforth NEAR-Fest XXVII will be known as the “one that didn’t happen”. Now that that has been decided for us we first will need to determine what the financial impact of this will be. Some hard decisions may have to be made. I shall be in touch with you all soon to let you know what we will need to do going forward.
 
In the meantime we all need to keep ourselves and our families safe and healthy throughout these unprecedented and challenging times. This means as much isolation as possible. But remember, amateur radio is the original “social distancing” so stay home and play radio.
 
The NEAR-Fest staff and management thank you for all your support for the past 14 years and we look forward to serving the amateur radio community for years to come.
 
73,
Mister Mike, W1RC Benevolent Dictator

Boston Marathon Postponed Until September

The following message was sent to all amateur radio operators that have signed up to volunteer at the Boston Marathon this year:

As you should now have read in the BAA’s email to all volunteers, the decision has been made to postpone the race this year.  This was directed by the City of Boston and protects everyone involved with the Marathon; runners, volunteers, medical professionals, spectators, and others.

The BAA has posted their official statement on their website:
https://www.baa.org/124th-boston-marathon-postponed-september-14

We greatly appreciate our volunteers and the work that you do.  There are a lot of logistics that go into planning the race and as we have more details in the coming months we will provide timely updates for volunteering for the new race date of September 14.  We look forward to your participation on our Team then.

We wish you all the best and very much look forward to September 14th!

Thank you, and 73,

Yours sincerely,
Boston Marathon Communications Committee
contact@HamRadioBoston.org

New Amateur Licensees - February 2020

Congratulations to the latest new hams of Western Massachusetts:

Lindsay E Stromgren, KC1MSD
106 Amherst Rd
Pelham, MA 01002-9706

Merrick L Stromgren, KC1MSE
106 Amherst Rd
Pelham, MA 01002-9706

Howard M Tuber, KC1MQJ
114 E Hill Rd
Monson, MA 01057-9203

Samuel L Hirshberg, KC1MSB
1 Berkshire Sq
Adams, MA 01220-1300

Lois Hunt, KC1MSC
12 Long Plain Rd
South Deerfield, MA 01373-9721

Randall J Miller, KC1MSA
596 Oak Hill Rd
Fitchburg, MA 01420-4818

Richard A Cinclair, KC1MRL
175 Hastings Rd
Ashburnham, MA 01430-1125

Robert F Goulet, KC1MQX
54 Hawley Ave
Leominster, MA 01453-2124

Robert W Salmonson, KC1MRI
14 Coachman Ln
Auburn, MA 01501-1804

Anne E Rock, KC1MRM
120 Ball Hill Rd
Berlin, MA 01503-1811

Todd E Army, KC1MRJ
107 Wheelock Ave
Millbury, MA 01527-4229

Michael Lussier, KC1MSF
176 Maple Ave
Apt 5-23
Rutland, MA 01543-1337

Jair L Jordan, KC1MQU
50 Commons Dr
Apt 36
Shrewsbury, MA 01545-4913

Christopher M Murray, KC1MRK
215 Rebecca Rd
Whitinsville, MA 01588-1640

 

Boston Marathon "Urgent Appeal" for More Volunteers

This year we have worked hard to build up our volunteer numbers so that the mission may be accomplished.  Unfortunately we’ve been met with lower than hoped for volunteer applications.  So here’s our urgent appeal for help.

Please spread the word, personally, that comms volunteers are needed at the Marathon.  In particular, we are seeking Amateur Radio communications for Course Medical tents, Hydration stations, Transportation medical Sweep and Express buses, and operators in the Course Net Control Operations Center.

Please tell your local Amateur Radio clubs and your licensed friends about the need.

To volunteer, send the following information immediately to contact@hamradioboston.org:
  • Full Name
  • Address
  • Amateur Radio Call Sign
  • Do you have a current Red Cross or other CPR certification
  • What is your jacket size (Male/Female)
  • What is your assignment area preference (Start, Course, Finish)

THANK YOU for stepping up as a volunteer.  You are a vital part of a highly-trained, able team of Amateur Radio communications specialists who are making a huge, and very positive impact on this complex and expansive event.  We cannot possibly thank you enough and simply cannot do the job without everyone’s enthusiasm, energy, and super volunteer spirit!

See you at the training!

Yours sincerely,
Boston Marathon Communications Committee
contact@HamRadioBoston.org

WMA Mentoring Guide (Re)Published

On Sunday, January 12, 2020, ARRL New England Division Director Fred Hopengarten K1VR held a division cabinet meeting for all ARRL affiliated club presidents and other section officials.  During the meeting WMA Section Manager Ray Lajoie KB1LRL,  Technical Coordinator Greg Algieri WA1JAR, Technical Specialist Paul Topolski W1SEX and Technical Specialist Bob Meneguzzo K1YO presented a new ham mentoring program.

Our section's Technical Specialist Team has put together a mentoring guide which is intended to be downloaded by whoever needs it and can edit it specific to their club or group.  This should be given to a person that has passed their test to provide basic information, club and contact information so they do not seem lost when they leave the room.  Hopefully it will introduce them to an Elmer (Mentor) to aid in getting started.

We had some initial setbacks with the initial documentation, but the latest and greatest is now released.  The guide has been added to the website's main navigation above by going to What We Do > Technical Guidance > WMA Mentoring Program.  Please feel free to download it and distribute it to whomever it may help!

KD2JKV Appointed as Assistant Section Manager

Please join us in welcoming Peter Mattice KD1JKV as our newest Assistant Section Manager!

Peter is involved with many things in the hobby, including serving in multiple roles within ARES, within NTS, and he also hosts his own broadcast radio show and podcast dedicated to ham radio.

Peter will be serving mostly as a representative for the section staff within the Northwestern most parts of the section.

Congrats again, Peter, and welcome aboard!

Section Manager Report March 2020

Hello Western Mass.  I’m sure by now we are starting to come out of hibernation and thinking warm thoughts which is what I hope to be a warm, sunny season coming up.

First of all, join me in welcoming Peter Mattice, KD2JKV to a new position as Assistant Section Manager.  Peter is currently one of the WMA Assistant Section Traffic Managers and will continue with that role as well.  Peter will be concentrating on the northwest corner and Berkshire county which I find to be a real challenge to get out there.  He also does a radio show and podcast dedicated to ham radio called Ham On! which is broadcasted on WTBR in Pittsfield every Wednesday at 9:00 AM.  I was a recent guest on his show and had fun with it!  Welcome Peter!

Hamfest’s are warming up! I was at the Marlboro hamfest and as usual was a great time. My next one is at Mt. Tom hamfest for Saturday, March 7th. With that will also be representatives for ARES and RACES for our section so stop by and say howdy!

On a personal note, a number of members are aware of my career change to a commercial truck driver. As of Jan 15, I did receive my Class A drivers license and have been looking for a position. The vast majority of local companies failed to respond to my applications except one. I will be driving over the road which will keep me out of state quite a bit. This will limit my appearances somewhat for a while and my intent is to keep an open line of communication. With any luck, I can still attend field day and Boxboro. (Oh, wait, HamExposition!) I need to see how things are with time. There is some great momentum going on and want to see it blossom.

For those who are not aware, Grant, KC1KCE has set up a Facebook account for our section. All are welcome to post club and public service events and other information as well. This is also linked to this website so when items like my report goes on this site, it populates to Facebook. This is to expand our information pipeline to get news and events out more. Thanks, Grant, for the stellar effort!

As you know, our Section has initiated a Mentoring program which ran into a little snag in the brochure we introduced. It has now been revised and approved and you will see it on the website for all to download and modify as needed for your club or event. I would love to get some feedback as to what you did and if this has a positive impact on the new ham.

Our resident Near-Fest creator, Mr. Mike W1RC came up with an idea where he created an email and with some of our members help, emailed 99.9% of the states police departments to educate them on ham radio exemption to give them clarity and to ensure with the distracted driving law which is now in effect. A number of departments replied with appreciation that they received the information. Keep in mind, if you are pulled over and you get a ticket, just take it and bring it up to the court. I do not anticipate a problem, but just in case. Thanks to all who assisted in the effort in getting the word out.

Boy, I had a mouthful to report this month! Please keep spreading the word according to Amateur Radio! Thank you all for a wonderful month.

73,
Ray, KB1LRL

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.