Western Massachusetts ARRL

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

Calling all VE's and Teachers

Hello, the Western Mass section needs your help! As you know COVID has squashed most of the classes and testing sessions this year. I have been informed by Ken Burstall WB8PKK that the Masonic Hall in Gardner has a new air filtration system and is allowing us the use of their dining hall to host a Tech-in-a-day course and an open and walk in VE session. We need volunteer teacher’s and VE's to assist in conducting the testing and teachings. There are also 25 Boafeng radio's preprogrammed for those that have passed.

This will be in compliance with the guidelines of the Board of Health and testing materials will be sterilized using UV-C process and heat-sealed bags. Ken has provided the materials for sterilization and has provided the means to get this off the ground. 
Session dates are open and can be either a Saturday or Sunday in January or February. We need to know who can participate to do what and when in order to secure the date to advertise. Please contact Ken at backhoeken@yahoo.com. This invitation will also be open to our EMA neighbors as well.

Thank you, Ken, for your generous effort and donation. Please pass this along to anyone interested. And please let’s not let this opportunity pass by.

Thank you,
Ray KB1LRL

WMA ARES HF Emergency Net Signal Reports

Hello to all stations that checked into the WMA ARES HF Emergency Net on Sunday October 11.

You've probably noticed that I've requested your power levels to be reported also ... this is to assist in studying some of the 75m ionospherics at play during our net relative to the time and your location. I've attached a table of your received signal strengths at my station here in Southwick MA for your information. Receive antenna is a multi band Off Center Fed Dipole (OCFD) at about 70 feet into a Yaesu FT-1000MP. Results are interesting especially at low and QRP power levels.

While I have not calibrated the meter at this point, I believe the readings vs power levels vs distance from the station will give us a better idea of what could be the case in a large scale emergency where 100 watts might be the maximum power a station could produce - especially if deployed. Near Vertical Incident Skywave (NVIS) signals are the defacto mode of communication for our nets due to the typical heights of our antennas. This is usually a good medium for reliable communications out to 300 miles or so. However, there has been information published that describes a 'donut hole' of about 100 miles that may pop up depending on the condition of the ionosphere with time...most likely the D and E Layer absorption growing as the sun heats things up.

Certainly other layers and factors affect our efforts and I'm trying to get a handle on all this by collecting reports and trying to relate things to ionosphere level  readings taken at the same time as our net from the nearby ionosonde site at Millstone Hill in MA. I will keep you advised of any findings as I study the voluminous data on ionograms and their translations on the web. I am pretty new to this and the data available is primarily at research science levels so if any of you are well - versed or have a potential contact that might be, I'd appreciate your inputs <grin>!

I'm going to try to collect and refine readings going forward and will make these available as I collect them ... at a location to be determined - possibly posted here for the time being.

Thanks to all of you for your net participation and your willingness to serve your communities in disaster situations.

Vy 73,
Bob - K1YO
Section Emergency Coordinator - Western Massachusetts Section

Department of Defense Exercise With Amateur Radio Participation, October 2020

As written by Tom Kinahan N1CPE and posted on the NE Division website:

For almost the whole month of October, (now through October 26) the Department of Defense is conducting a series of exercises that will train the connection of MARS members to the Amateur Radio Service.

There are opportunities for hams to participate in this exercise.

1) Every day at noon local time, there will be a net on 60 meters channel 1 (5.3305 MHz USB) to have checkins from hams. The NCS will ask for your callsign, city and state. As the month moves on, there may be other unplanned requests.

2) Familiarize yourself with the METAR which is transmitted on VHF AM from all major and some less major airports as weather information for pilots. See if you can transcribe the weather information. They speak fast, and usually in mumbles. This is valuable information to the DoD in times of communication outage. Contact me for additional details.

3) There will be ICS-213 messages originating in MARS for certain ARRL and other local ham radio leaders refiled into the NTS system for delivery. NTS nets may carry these messages. Be ready to copy these messages and deliver them, by checking in to your local NTS net.

If you have any questions, please let me know!

 

[Tom Kinahan is the Army MARS Region 1 Executive Officer. He can be contacted at: tom.kinahan@verizon.net]

New Amateur Licensees September 2020

Congratulations to the latest new hams of Western Massachusetts:

Samuel A Bell, KC1NUK
470 Memorial Dr
Apt 351
Chicopee, MA 01020-5051

Michael P Siekiewicz, KC1NUL
556 Main St
Hampden, MA 01036-9679

Patrick J Lennon, KC1NXI
91 Pineridge Dr
Westfield, MA 01085-4544

David J Moriarty, KC1NSZ
76 Campechi St
Springfield, MA 01104-2921

Paul M Bigos, KC1NUJ
95 Mountain Dale Cir
691
Becket, MA 01223

Aaron Taylor, KC1NWC
41 Hill Province Rd
Williamstown, MA 01267-2030

David W Eckler, KC1NWI
10 Briarcliff Ln
Spencer, MA 01562-3111

ARES Potential Deployment Capabilities Survey

The ARES Western Massachusetts Section is in the process of updating information about its members. We are beginning a redesign of our Registration Form and accessibility to the data you have provided in the past.  Look for more information on our WMA ARES website as we progress through these tasks.

Initially I’d like to ask each of our current members to take a very quick and simple (10 questions) survey to give us an idea of who might be available for deployment in the event of an emergency.

Aaron, KF1G, has developed the survey input as part of his regular website. You can get to the form by going to https://www.kf1g.net/survey/

Please take a minute to respond so that we can have a current picture of our resources, capabilities, and desired level (if any) of deployment should the need arise.
Thanks in advance for helping us provide our communities needed communications assistance.

Very Best Regards,
Bob – K1YO
Section Emergency Coordinator – Western MA ARES

HamXposition / New England ARES Academy Schedule

From ema.arrl.org:

The first-ever New England Division ARES Academy, originally scheduled for the Division Convention in November, will instead be held over a period of several weeks in October via Zoom. There are five Basic Track classes for those just getting started, and more advanced classes and workshops for those who already have the basics. One-hour classes will be held on weeknights from 7:30 to 8:30, and two-hour workshop sessions will be held Saturday mornings from 9:00 to 11:00.

A big benefit of the on-line schedule is the opportunity to take every single class and workshop instead of having to pick and choose. Weeknight class participants will be able to ask questions and interact with the instructor via chat. The two-hour Saturday workshops are designed to be even more interactive. Academy Instructors are all recognized experts in their subject area.

The NE-ARES Academy is an outgrowth of the successful NH-ARES Academy program that ran at the NH State Fire Academy for eight years. The program’s goal is to offer both basic and advanced skills training based in ARRL ARES training standards.

We plan to continue this program at the Convention once the pandemic is over, in hopes that building a standardized base of training across New England will enhance our ability to provide better local emergency communications, and an effective ARESMAT (ARES Mutual Assistance Team) response across the region, and beyond.

NE-ARES-Academy-Schedule

Academy coordinator Dave Colter, WA1ZCN, was the original editor and principal author of ARRL’s Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course series in the early 2000s, and creator of the original NH-ARES Academy. He is currently ASEC-Training for NH-ARES.

Section Manager Report October 2020

Hello fellow practitioners of the ether! I’m starting to hear rumors that Santa is only giving sanitizing supplies this year! Makes you wonder don’t it?

If you haven’t found out yet we now have a NE Division Vice Director and that is Phil Temples, K9HI. You may have seen him around or talked to him at the former Boxboro convention. Usually when I see him, he is either running around like a nut, resolving an issue, or talking to lots of people. Currently he is trying to put some kind of virtual replacement to our Hamvention in place. I don’t know about you, but I miss those events. I really hope they come back next year.

One thing that Phil has done is launch the NE Div. website! You can see it at https://nediv.arrl.org/. This is for ALL of New England. Take a moment to have a look. A great start to the new appointment. Welcome Phil!

The Eastern section and myself have had some inquiries about Ham Callsign vanity plates from the MA. RMV Apparently new requests have been stalled due to an upgrade in the system back in 2019-ish. I do not know if it applies to other forms of vanity plates. I am curious how many out there have had this issue going on. Please let me know. The section leaders, and the ARRL really have no influence in getting this resolved and Covid likely have pushed this on a low priority as it is supported by third party software. (Unconfirmed sources, FYI) If you are having difficulty with this, best thing is to contact the Registrar of Motor Vehicles.

As you may be aware October and November will be fairly busy as ARES and MARS will be conducting Section Emergency Test (SET). MARS will be including Amateur Operators for their test. Stay tuned to this site and others for information. Anyone is welcome to participate. You can email Bob, K1YO about our SET and if you wish to join in.

I hope everyone is doing good out there and being safe. Radio is certainly a cure for loneliness and boredom if you are stuck at home. I know some of you still had vacations and hope you had a great time. Playing radio outside of your norm allows checking out new antennas, new modes etc. Hope it was worked into your plans.

I hope everyone has a great month!

73,
Ray KB1LRL

 

NEAR-Fest and the Road Ahead

Dear Friends of NEAR-Fest:
 
Now that NEAR-Fest XXVII and XXVIII have been cancelled there are some important issues with which we must deal.....
 
First, this is going to be a major hit on our treasury because, notwithstanding the reason we are being canceled, we have contracts that need to be honored. 2019 was, as you may remember, was plagued with wet weather for both May and October. Attendance was down and so are our cash reserves. Consequently, the hard facts are that we need to raise some new capital starting this Fall if NEAR-Fest is to survive. 
 
In order to do this beginning soon we will be selling advance admission tickets for NEAR-Fest XXIX ($10.00) and inside parking passes ($10.00) either at Ham Radio Outlet in Salem NH and Ross Hochstrasser’s Clock Shop, 40 Walnut Street, Whitman MA as well as by mail to Michael Crestohl, W1RC, 316 Atlantic Avenue, Marblehead MA 01945 with a check or money order and a SASE. 
 
The exciting thing about the advance tickets are that all purchasers of advance tickets will be entered in a special prize drawing for either a Xiegu G90 HF SDR Transceiver (value $425.00) or a Yaesu FT-891 HF Mobile Transceiver (value $559.00). Winner does NOT have to be present to win. 
 
We are going to offer a special “VIP Pass” to NEAR-Fest for those who really want to see us through this difficult and trying time. It will be good for the person to whom it was issued for life, allow that person and the occupants of their vehicle (up to four people) and the vehicle to enter at 8:00 AM on Friday morning. Cost of this VIP Pass is $250.00 and is available by mail only.
 
Additionally, the cost of admission at the Fairgrounds will be increased to $15.00. This added $5.00 is to help alleviate the cost of not having NEAR-Fest XXVII but advance ticket buyers will be able to save this $5.00 per ticket surcharge.  I cannot tell you at this time if this $5.00 surcharge will be permanent. Once we are financially comfortable again we will decide whether or not to restore the cost to $10.00. 
 
In the event that the May 2021 event cannot be held any tickets or passes purchased will be valid and honored at the next NEAR-Fest so no one will lose.
 
We are asking our association and clubs if they can help us sell advance tickets to their members. The procedure will be simple and straightforward. Clubs would determine how many tickets and parking passes their members want, collect the money, send the list with this information along with a check payable to NEAR-Fest to us. We would take care of making sure that the prize draw stubs are properly filled in and put in the prize barrel for the drawing in July. After that takes place we would ensure they are kept safe so they can be put in the prize barrel at NEAR-Fest in May.  The tickets would be sent to the club for distribution to the members. Members should be informed that they are buying admission tickets for our fall event. They are not buying a raffle ticket. However there is no limit on the number of tickets anyone may purchase. Drawing will take place at NEAR-Fest XXIX in May 2021. 
 
Secondly, clubs who have already applied for the 2020 Association and Club Early Entry passes will not have to reapply again in January 2021. 
 
With your help we will survive this horrific nightmare.
 
73,
Mister Mike

Phil Temples, K9HI, Appointed as New England Division Vice Director

ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, has appointed Phil Temples, K9HI, of Watertown, Massachusetts, as New England Division Vice Director. He succeeds Mike Raisbeck, K1TWF, who was elected earlier this year as ARRL First Vice President. President Roderick made the appointment after consulting with New England Director Fred Hopengarten, K1VR, and the region's Section Managers. 

"I want to thank all of those who forwarded their recommendations to Director Hopengarten," Temples said. "Mike Raisbeck left some big shoes to fill. I look forward to working with Fred, and to advise and assist him with various tasks and board committee assignments. One task I'm especially eager to tackle is launching a New England Division website."

An ARRL Life Member, Temples has been licensed for 50 years, initially as WN9EAY in Indiana. He has written articles for QST and contributed articles for the ARRL website. He also recently co-authored a chapter in the Amateur Radio Public Service Handbook.

Temples served three terms as Eastern Massachusetts Section Manager and now is an Assistant SM and an Assistant New England Division Director. He's also held ARRL field appointments as Affiliated Club Coordinator and Public Information Officer and currently serves as program chair for the ARRL New England Division Convention.

Temples has been active in MARS, the National Traffic System, and as an Emergency Coordinator, and he enjoys CW. He holds a degree in electrical engineering from Purdue University.

Temples has actively promoted instruction and licensing and is a Volunteer Examiner under the ARRL, W5YI, and Greater Los Angeles ARG Volunteer Examiner Coordinators. He's currently involved with New England Amateur Radio, Inc. in administering remote exam sessions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Temples is employed at Boston College as a computer systems administrator.