Section Manager’s Report March 2021

Hello! You know those video clips you see and there is the phrase “wait for it”, well that’s how I feel when March has arrived. Come on Spring! Not that we had a bad winter, but there is this thing about warm temps that interest me.

Basically, another quiet month. I have been getting to Zoom meetings the best I can with my schedule. One in particular is one set up by Ed Snyder W1YSM in CT. who, with Phil K9HI our vice director has reached out to club coordinators and section managers to get together with the division to looks at our clubs and what works, what doesn’t and see what can be done with clubs that are struggling. This will be an ongoing group and I will share things as we go along and as usual, if you have any suggestions feel free to email me. (crickets not invited!) I do want to give kudo’s to Phil, since he stepped into the role as Vice Director, he has been really opening up communications amongst the division. Well Done Phil!


I got word the League has approved the Hamexposition in Marlboro to be the New England Division Convention. I really hope this will be a live event. Zoom events are nice, but I miss the face to face that these have to offer. Cross your fingers.

I have over the year purchased a Anytone handheld and a tri-band mobile and have been trying to get it operational. One challenge is there is no repeater nearby. I purchased one of those MMDVM hotspots which I fear I ruined the card in it. I can really use some help in getting things up and running from one of the DMR guru’s out there. Give me an email if you are interested in giving me a hand. I also have a rotator that only turns 90 degrees that needs a climber for but that is when the snow melts.


Paul W1SEX from the Mohawk club is issuing a challenge to the WMA clubs for Field Day. This is to inspire some friendly competition and drive participation. It used to be a challenge with the Montachusett club. The losing club would get the 23 channel CB to display at the meetings for the year. An old Sears mobile I donated to the cause. For this one I will provide a new Handbook and maybe some other goodies to the highest scoring club, and the CB will continue as the booby prize. The Mohawk club in Gardner was one of the clubs that was struggling, but thanks to Bill, N1UZ and W1SEX along with others have been working to get better participation and activity, and their efforts are now paying off. Hats off to those guys! Keep at it!

I hope everyone has a great month. See you next month.

73 Ray, KB1LRL

Section Manager’s Report Feb, 2021

   Hello there! It must be the cold of winter doing this, my brain is frozen! Seems like as soon as February comes around, I get itchy for Spring. I guess Puxatawney Phil has an influence in this…oh well!

   The nice thing about winter is there is some great contests going on in the weekends. There is something for everyone so I hope you dust off that radio and work one of them. CQ WPX RTTY is one of my favorites which is on Feb 13. Contesting is also a good way to mentor that brand new Ham. So many things go into it live and behind the scenes.

   On the Federal side of things there is much going on. Of course, there is the Fee increase which will take place except it will be 35 dollars instead of the 50 as planned. The Chairman of the FCC Ajit Pai stepped down on January 20. There was a flurry of notices regarding rumors of people using Ham Radio’s in protest/riot situations. The usual culprit were the Baofengs. It is a good idea to scan around to see if there are anyone using the bands illegally, especially the simplex vhf/uhf frequencies. Report any occurrences to myself or to one of the Volunteer Monitors. Riley Hollingsworth K4ZDH is the head of that program and will assist were needed. So far things have been quiet. 

   January 9 we had our Division Cabinet meeting which was a virtual event this year. I think this was the first in a long time all 6 Section Manager’s in New England was present. Fred Hopengarten K1VR received reports from us as to what has been going on. Our new Chairman David Minster NA2AA was also present and presented the Rhode Island SM Bob Beaudette a very distinguished award for his many years of promoting radio. The meeting went well and there was some good information presented there. 

   Our Hamden Club President Larry Krainson W1AST is forming plans to hold an amateur radio booth at the 2022 Big E in Springfield and had asked the NE division to participate and assist where possible. This is a huge undertaking as this event runs for nearly 2 weeks. He has set up a groups.io reflector for those who want to join a group discussion. Contact Larry for more information.

   That’s enough for now. I hope you and your clubs are doing well. Keep looking for ideas to have participation and activity during this Pandemic. Keep in mind, it’s not a restriction, it’s an OPPORTUNITY! Stay Safe

73

Ray KB1LRL

New Amateur Licensees December and January

Congratulations to the latest new hams of Western Massachusetts:

Timothy L Johnson, KC1OJL
PO Box 31
Southampton, MA 01073-0031

Michael S Maruk, KC1OHK
25 Potter Mountain Rd
Pittsfield, MA 01201-1079

Flavia R Mastellone, KC1OHX
PO Box 207
Williamstown, MA 01267-0207

Rachel L Schmoyer, KC1OHY
278 Stow Rd
Harvard, MA 01451-1907

Josue Valentin, KC1OLK
113 Prospect St
Chicopee, MA 01013-4027

Todd Alexander, KC1OKD
202 Reservoir Rd
Westhampton, MA 01027-9613

Brian D Strout, KC1ONA
15 Stirling Dr
Wilbraham, MA 01095-1941

Daniel Conroy, KC1OLR
54 Primrose Dr
Longmeadow, MA 01106-2532

Thomas Jahl, KC1OKK
PO Box 126
Petersham, MA 01366-0126

Peng Bai, KC1OMW
54 Howard Hepburn Dr
Sunderland, MA 01375-9496

Stephen Levin, KC1ONF
31 Royalston Rd
Warwick, MA 01378-7805

James Williams, KC1OLT
1 Oak Hill Rd
Fitchburg, MA 01420-1000

Fabrizio Laporta, KC1OKM
8 Flagg Rd
Hubbardston, MA 01452-1308

Michael J Aschettino, KC1OKT
22 Nathan Dr
Clinton, MA 01510-1339

Bradley J Pontbriand, KC1OKV
PO Box 301
East Brookfield, MA 01515-0301

Roger P Proctor, KC1OLD
58 Keith Hill Rd
Grafton, MA 01519-1315

Michael E Paul, KC1ONZ
176 Maple Ave
Apt 3-33
Rutland, MA 01543-1332

Matthew T Pandina, KC1OKH
12 Fairview Rd
Westborough, MA 01581-1105

Ian J Winiarski, KC1ONS
115 Drumlin Hill Rd
Bolton, MA 01740-2021

Fall Boston Marathon Date Announced

This just in from the BAA to all its volunteers. More details on the BAA announcement on their website.

We hope you are safe and healthy. We wanted to provide you a short update on 2021 Boston Marathon plans in light of today’s public statement from the Boston Athletic Association (BAA).

The BAA statement can be seen here:
https://www.baa.org/fall-2021-boston-marathon-date-selected

Per the BAA, a Boston Marathon race date for 2021 has been set for Monday October 11th, 2021, which is the Columbus Day holiday, and a virtual option will also be offered. This race date assumes that the Massachusetts statewide reopening plan will allow road races at a large scale such as the Boston Marathon to take place. Additional details, including field size for the in-person race, registration dates for runners and volunteers, safety measures and protocols, and participant requirements that will be in place, are still being determined and will be communicated when available.

Our team continues to be engaged with the BAA at both the Organizing Committee and Medical Committee levels regarding the 2021 Boston Marathon. We have continued to meet regularly as an Amateur Radio Communications Committee in an attempt to review some of the issues of past events to more proactively address them for this year’s 125th running of the Boston Marathon..

Over the next few weeks, in addition to our proactive review of some of the issues seen in past marathons, we will be working with the BAA to send out a survey to our volunteers to gauge how comfortable you would be, given your specific personal situations, to participate in this year’s marathon on the October 11th, 2021 date. The availability and comfort of all volunteers, including Amateur Radio Operators as part of the thousands of volunteers of our race, is very important. These surveys will help inform the Communications Committee and the BAA of what r services our team can offer them this year.

There are still many details to be finalized and will be forthcoming as stated in the BAA press announcement. We will keep you posted as updates become available and questions are answered. We will continue to release updates as appropriate in coordination with the BAA. Thank you for your continued support of the BAA and the Boston Marathon.

As always, we welcome your correspondence and questions on volunteering to our general mailbox: contact@hamradioboston.org.

Thank you, and 73,

Boston Marathon Communications Committee
contact@HamRadioBoston.org

Amateur Radio Booth Proposed for “The Big E” in 2022

Hampden County Radio Association president Larry Krainson, W1AST, is coordinating an effort to organize an amateur radio booth at “The Big E” in West Springfield, Massachusetts for 2022. The exhibition runs for 17 days from September 17 through October 3, 2022. 

According to Wikipedia, “The Big E,” formally known as The Eastern States Exposition, is billed as ‘New England’s Great State fair.’ It is the largest agricultural event on the eastern seaboard and the sixth-largest fair in the nation.”

W1AST says the 2016 event had 1.4 million visitors, and over 1.6 million visitors in 2019. “If just one-tenth of one percent of attendees sign up for ham classes, that would be 1,600 names to distribute to all New England clubs. We would all benefit and grow ham radio.” 

There hasn’t been a ham radio exhibit/booth at The Big E in over ten years.

Larry envisions a ham radio booth that would demonstrate the many aspects of ham radio, as well as an avenue for people to sign up for information and courses in their local area.

Some of his ideas include:

  • an EMCOMM display
  • DMR and/or other digital mobile mode demo
  • Digital HF modes on a big screen
  • A special event station (W1E or N1E or similar) with unique QSL cards
  • SSB, CW and digital modes
  • Demonstrate portable stations for field operation (i.e., Parks On The Air, Summits On The Air)
  • Highlight youth in ham radio

W1AST says he’d like to see clubs from different states staff the booth during “State” days and theme days. 

“If there is enough interest, we have lots of time to plan.”

Such an undertaking can succeed only if there is a sufficient number of volunteers and radio clubs who agree to participate in the event.  A special Groups.io mailing list group has been established to promote exchange of dialogue and ideas for the event. To join, send an email to ProjectBigE+subscribe@groups.io.

NEAR-Fest XXIX May 2021 Deerfield NH Cancelled!

Dear Friends of NEAR-Fest…..

I am sure that just about everyone knew this was coming but this makes it is official.

Given the current Coronavirus situation with new cases reported every day at astronomical levels (on January 8th there were 7,110 in Mass. alone) and the fact that the vaccination process is running behind schedule we have decided that April 30th/May 1st 2021 is far too soon to hold NEAR-Fest XXIX and guarantee that it will safe for all.  Consequently I have this day notified the Deerfield Fair Association that we have decided to cancel it.

This decision was not taken lightly but it is also a no brainer.  There are no options.  As you know this is the third NEAR – Fest that had to be cancelled because of Covid-19.  The good news is that NEAR-Fest XXX is scheduled for October 15th and 16th, 2021 and, for the first time since this started, I am fully confident this will be our grand “NEAR-Fest Homecoming!”

Advance tickets and parking passes that were sold for NEAR- Fest XXIX will be valid for NEAR-Fest-XXX.  However anyone wanting a full refund may have it.  Email w1rc@near-fest.com for details. 

For more information visit http://forum.near-fest.com/index.php?topic=1522.0

73 and see you all on October 15th

Mister Mike, W1RC
Benevolent Dictator
New England Amateur Radio Festival, Inc.

Section Manager Report January 2021

Hello everyone and Happy New Year! I guess we can all agree we won’t regret 2020 going bye-bye. But a new chapter opens up and we can all hope our dreams, plans, hopes can be realized without much resistance. Myself, I cannot complain, I made some pretty good achievements last year. I learned CW finally and now I need to hone it more so I can get on the air with it. Also, a new career and some home improvements. I’ve been a busy boy!

I do want to apologize as I forgot to announce a new staff member to our ranks. Mike DeChristopher N1TA has become our new Assistant Section Manager. Mike has a background in contesting and once had the position as ARRL contest manager in Newington. He is also a member of HCRA. He will be overseeing the western end of the state and he will be a great addition to our staff. Welcome aboard, Mike!

And as usual we still have some holes to fill in our staffing. Maybe it is a New Year’s resolution to become part of it. Shoot me an email to see what is available. Both Myself and ARES are seeking people to join.

As you are aware the latest scuttlebutt for discussion is the new license fees coming up. The FCC dropped the price down to $35 instead of $50. There were over 190,000 comments sent to the FCC and it did have some impact but not ideally what we want. You can see the R&O at this link. Thanks to all who sent in the comments.

As mentioned last month, our website has a new look and feel having been moved to a new system. We are now looking at incorporating our ARES membership database into our new website, so it is all managed from a single system, making it easier for everyone. Stay tuned on more announcements and instructions about that!

With the new year is also a big time for contesting as there are a number of big ones for the next two months, starting with Straight Key Night tonight. Also the RTTY Roundup this weekend. This is a great way to fatten up your log and maybe get that elusive award you are looking for. It is also a good way to hone skills that you are new to or to dust off your equipment and get back into it. I am just a casual contester which is fine with me, but there are others that really get into it to test their skills and beat scores, etc. Whatever works for you, get into it and enjoy yourselves. Share your experience with your fellow club members.

I hope you all have a productive and prosperous new year and make the best of it! Let’s be hopeful that at least some of the hamfests come back!

Best 73,
Ray KB1LRL

Boston Marathon Volunteer 2021 Update

Boston Marathon Communications Committee writes:

We hope you are all safe and healthy. We also hope you are having an enjoyable holiday season despite the impacts of COVID-19. We wanted to provide you a short update on 2021 Boston Marathon plans in light of today’s public statement from the BAA.

The BAA statement can be seen here: https://www.baa.org/2021-boston-marathon-updates 

Our team has been engaged with the BAA at both the Organizing Committee and Medical Committee levels regarding the 2021 Boston Marathon. We have also been meeting as an Amateur Radio Communications Committee over the course of the Fall to be ready for a potential Boston Marathon event in the Fall of 2021 and attempt to review some of the issues of past marathons more proactively and address them given the delay in a potential race to the Fall of 2021. 

Given the uncertainties brought about by the recent surge in COVID-19 along with how quickly a vaccine can propagate to the general populace, the BAA has pushed back their decision on a Fall race date to early 2021.

We will continue to update you as things change regarding a potential 2021 Boston Marathon race and what changes that might entail in light of the COVID-19 impacts. When the BAA is once again able to resume the Boston Marathon, we hope to see you again as part of the Amateur Radio Volunteers, presuming it is safe for you in your personal situation.  

We will keep you posted as updates occur and attempt to get updates out as appropriate in coordination with the BAA. Thanks to all for their continued support of the BAA and the Boston Marathon.

As always, we welcome your correspondence and questions on volunteering to our general mailbox: contact@hamradioboston.org.

Thank you, and 73,

Boston Marathon Communications Committee
contact@HamRadioBoston.org

A Message from the WMA ARES Section Emergency Coordinator

WMA ARES

So, 2020 is finally winding down! This year has certainly been a challenge across a broad spectrum of events, interests, and areas…. and the continuing development of the Western Massachusetts ARES Section has borne its share of difficulties driven by the pandemic.  As Amateur Radio operators, communications is woven into our fabric just by the nature of what we do. This is even more important relative to the ARES organization – it’s our primary charter and mission.

I’d be derelict of duty if I didn’t acknowledge that communications from leadership to members of our community is critically important. This pandemic has wrought quite some havoc in my trying to visit individual clubs to solicit inputs and let them know what the planned direction of our Section currently is.  You are all aware that we are in the process of rebuilding a dormant ARES Section. Reasons for the past decline are varied … but we are on the way back though we’ve surely been hampered by setbacks in personal contact, staffing, and other unexpected obstacles.

Several folks have asked for a brief overview of what’s been done and what else is coming so I’d like to take this opportunity for a quick update.  You may have noticed that we have a new Section website that has just recently come out of construction. It’s the same url … wma.arrl.org … but has been totally rebuilt on another web hosting service to allow us better control and functionality. A thankful shout out to Aaron – KF1G, Gil – WK1H, and Grant – KC1KCE for all their work in accomplishing this.  Under the Emergency Communications menu there is an option for new members to submit a request to join us. Doing this sends an email to an administrator and me and allows the user to be added to a new members group and redirected to a place where they can assign themselves a password. This will allow entry into the main profile system where we collect important information regarding their capabilities and interests.  We are also going to generate a communication asking current members to follow a similar process which will allow us to update our (sometimes ancient) information.

This was a primary concern for me … you need accurate member information to be able to assess the needs and interests of our Section and to enable accurate interfacing with municipalities and agencies that may require our assistance in various ways. That being said, I’m sure you’d like a glimpse of what’s to come. Here are some of the key activities underway currently:

  • Continue website development to include sections covering technical, public service events calendars, and team-building with agencies served.
  • Develop a new and effective Notification System for Activations of all types.
  • Update our WMA Emergency Plan document to reflect staffing and any organizational and procedural changes.
  • Implement a drive for new membership and renewed participation from existing members … provide services that will enhance their efforts in Emergency Communications and technical topics to help grow their capabilities in amateur radio overall.
  • Enhance our current VHF / UHF net activities … add practice nets across the Section with a focus on emulated EmComm situations, and setup mentoring for interested parties to become Net Control Stations (NCS).
  • Establish a Section – wide Digital HF net enabling messaging across counties if needed by served agencies.
  • Form a Steering Committee comprised of internal (ARES) and external representation to evaluate our capabilities and provide guidance in developing new goals and objectives focused on our members’ and agencies’ needs.
  • We are developing, with the assistance of our ARRL Technical Specialists and volunteer technical ‘consultants’, a program of technical training sessions (Zoom and/or document based) to enhance the skills of new and existing members.  Typical topics considered are:
    •  Soldering, Cable Fabrication, Simple Antenna Design, Construction and Testing
    • Introductory and NCS net training
    • Go-kit needs and assembly
    • Portable Power Sources
    • Radio Testing with basic tools – DVM, Oscilloscope, Antenna Analyzer
    • Digital Modes Introduction / review with hands – on : NBEMS, JS8Call and WinLink
    • … others to be determined with YOUR inputs!

I sincerely hope you will consider joining us or renewing your previous interest in ARES. I am very interested in what would be valuable to you specifically on your journey through Amateur Radio.

Please feel free to offer your suggestions to any of our leadership team or  contact me directly with comments and ideas.

We’re well on the way to reviving a substantial and valuable organization that can provide important assistance to our communities and agencies. We need you to help make this a reality. Please give this your thought and consideration

With sincere wishes for a Safe, Blessed and Happy Holiday Season …

Vy 73,
Bob Meneguzzo – K1YO
k1yo@arrl.net
ARES Western Massachusetts Section Emergency Coordinator

Newcomers Roundtable Net Starting on the NoBARC Repeater

North Berkshire Amateur Radio Club (NoBARC) is once again starting their Newcomers Roundtable on the Mt. Greylock Repeater.

Specifically, the net is to provide a forum for new ham radio operators to ask questions, learn how to operate in a net environment, and meet hams that have been around for a while with plenty of experience and advise to share.

The net is held on the first Sunday of the month and if proven popular may also be held on the third Sunday as well.

The net meets at 6:00 PM local time. The net meets on the Mt. Greylock repeater, 146.91/-600, 162.2 CTCSS. Also you can connect with Echolink at K1FFK-R. For more information contact Net Manager Dave Foley W1TTT.