Section Manager’s Report June 2021

   Hello, welcome to summer, “unofficially”, but we know what that means…FIELD DAY! So far, I know of 2 clubs going live this year. How about the others? I am looking to plan the tour. I may not get to them all but will sure try.

   May 8th, we had our ARES SET to figure out where we are at and what we need to work on, I feel after 10+ years of nothing we did pretty darn good, some good data was received and Bob K1YO is looking at it to develop the next step. I wish to thank you all who participated and did a fine job. I was disappointed my NVIS antenna I built did not perform well as I hoped. I need to look at a possible connection issue at the center point. I guess that is what the test is about! I also need to hone my digital setup more to be more effective and allow to rapid deploy and change as needed.

   With the opening up of the state and the relaxing of Covid safeguards things are coming back to normal. The HamExposition is going to happen! Phil Temples, the Vice Director is looking for people who would like to do a presentation there. Give him a shout if interested. Also live is Near-Fest. That one I missed a lot. (Not the rain though!) Near-Fest is going to be October 15 and 16 this year. Plan on going and supporting this great event.

   I know that some club’s kind of fell into a deeper slumber and others saw opportunities and capitalized on them. One thing that Covid brought us was the benefit of virtual presentations that are in YouTube, etc. and invitations to far reaching people are now a click away. I feel all the clubs should take advantage of this medium. There are clubs that struggle for presentations. This is the answer for you. I know Gordon West just did one for the club in Meridan CT. I don’t think Zoom is going away anytime soon!

   We as Ham’s have this love affair mostly is that nice tower of steel supporting a variety of antennas on them. The one thing that seems to be a challenge is getting someone to climb them to do repairs. I know that some that did is getting older and does not climb anymore. The other thing is liability. That one seems to loom large in light of some of the accidents we have read about. One question is who is out there? The other is, is there some kind of training and certification available? Is there anybody interested in getting that training? Yes, I do need tower work, but I put this out as a general inquiry to see who is doing what and what’s out there.

   I hope everyone has a Fun, safe summer out there. Enjoy the sun!

73, Ray KB1LRL

Section Manager’s Report. May 2021

Hello everyone. Another month has quietly gone by without much fanfare. I hope it’s because you are planning your club’s activities.

   Speaking of club’s activities, Field Day is just around the corner. Who’s doing what? I know the NOBARC club is having a live one this year. Let me know what you are doing. I may do “the tour” this year. 

   On May 8 which is a Saturday our ARES group led by Bob K1YO is having a SET drill to demonstrate and test our communications capabilities. This is a combination of HF, VHF, Digital, simplex and repeater exercises run during segments of a 10am-2pm window. This will help us define where our strengths and weaknesses are and to build on making a stronger operation out of it. Bob has spent months putting this together along with the ARES group. This is something that has been silent for a long time and I am so appreciative of their efforts to get this back on track. Check out more on this website.

   Club Presidents, are you up to date with the league? In order to maintain your affiliation with the League you need to update once a year. More information is found on the http://www.arrl.org/clubs website or contact our club coordinator, Gil, WK1H at wk1h@arrl.net.

   In July Larry, W1AST is heading the annual 13 Colonies event for Mass. It is run from July 1st to the 7th. This event has been going for a number of years and has had rising numbers with last year being the biggest yet. Larry is looking for operators to participate and have some fun. Contact Larry at w1ast@arrl.net for further information.

   That’s all for now, see you next month.

Ray KB1LRL

Additional RF Exposure Rules Presentation, May 4, 2021

Eastern MA Technical Coordinator Dan Brown, W1DAN, will hold another presentation addressing the new FCC RF exposure rules on May 4 at 7:30 PM using the ARRL GoToWebinar platform. 

His April 27 talk was a hugely successful–a maximum number of 100 connections for the call was reached just as the discussion started. The GoToWebinar has a much higher limit and should accommodate all who are interested.  ARRL Laboratory Manger Ed Hare, W1RFI, will serve as Technical Moderator on the call.

To sign up for the presentation, visit:

Registration: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3400737102800150797

System Check: https://support.goto.com/webinar/system-check-attendee

Tech Support: (833) 851-8340

Steve Finberg, W1GSL, SK

It is with deep sadness and regret that I report the passing of Steve Finberg, W1GSL, of Cambridge Massachusetts, the founder and Benevolent Dictator of the “Swapfest, the Flea at M.I.T.”  who became a Silent Key on Friday, April 23rd 2021 just before 7:00 PM.

Steve Finberg, W1GSL

Steve started the famous Massachusetts Institute of Technology electronics flea market in 1985 and ran it up continuously until October 2019.  That was 35 years, 8 shows a year, always the third Sunday of the month, April through October.  I don’t recall it ever being canceled.  An outstanding accomplishment!   “The Flea” produced many amazing treasures over the years, things you would find nowhere else.  You never know what you will find at “M.I.T.”, an event that was highly popular with amateur radio operators and electronics enthusiasts in the Northeast.  “Chip” Cohen, W1YW, inventor of the fractal antenna said that he bought all the test equipment and parts he needed at the M.I.T. Swapfest to invent his revolutionary antennas when he was first starting out.

Steve was a long-time analog electronics engineer at Charles Stark “Doc” Draper’s lab at MIT and the holder of several patents.  He was still working at Draper Labs at the time of his passing.  Steve was an intensely private man and not much is known about his life outside of his work at Draper and M.I.T. I know he would probably not approve of all this attention but the fact that he was so high profile and popular at most amateur radio hamfests and flea markets in the eastern United States makes it necessary.

In addition to his work with The Swapfest, he also compiled and produced the bi-weekly New England Flea Market list for over 30 years.  He was a very familiar figure in his signature red sports shirt and straw cowboy hat at hamfests anf flea markets for many years all over the east coast and as far south as Orlando FL distributing his famous list along with the Flea at M.I.T. promotional flyers.

Steve was a personal friend for many years and was a knowledgeable source of information on New England hamfests and electronic flea markets.  His deep wisdom, advice and wise counsel were invaluable to me when we started the New England Amateur Radio Festival, aka NEAR-Fest at Deerfield NH, in 2007.

In 2009, Steve was awarded the NEAR-Fest Lifetime Pass Award for his contribution to the advancement of the hobby in New England.

https://www.telegram.com/entertainmentlife/20161004/mits-flea-market-specializes-in-rare-obscure-electronics

Unfortunately, there were no M.I.T. flea markets in 2020 and it doesn’t seem there will be very many or possibky none this year as well.  However, the radio clubs at M.I.T. and Harvard University, (the MIT Radio Society,  the MIT UHF Repeater Association, the MIT Electronics Research Society and the Harvard Wireless Club) beneficiaries of the “Flea” since the beginning will be resuming the event as soon as conditions allow it.   First one is tentatively scheduled for August 15th 2021.  The Web site is

https://w1mx.mit.edu/flea-at-mit/

Definitely the end of an era.  Thank you Steve for all those wonderful fleas and the lists.

May he rest in peace.

73,

Michael Crestohl, W1RC/VE2XL,

“Mister Mike”,

Benevolent Dictator,

New England Amateur Radio Festival, 

“NEAR-Fest”

Section Manager’s Report. April 2021

Hello everybody. This month’s report actually started a couple of weeks ago in my head and changed countless times. I usually put a positive spin on them, I could not this month, sorry. I do want to address something if I can. We as radio operators are trained and licensed to communicate. We do that well on the air, but in other media I feel it is seriously lacking. When I became your section manager in 2017 the one thing I promised to do is be visible. I made it a priority to put out the monthly report to communicate to you what’s been going on. I use the section email reflector often and as needed. We have made improvements to our website and is still ongoing. Some good
things indeed!

The thing that is lacking is feedback, response. The term I lovingly use is “crickets”. Now I don’t expect my email box to
blow up with responses each and every time I put something out. But if it is relevant to you in the subject at hand, let others know and let me know. Silence usually tells me that I may not be heard as effectively as I would like. There may be other reasons, but I am not focusing on that. The thing I have also been promoting is participation in our section. Communication within our section is participation.

There are those out there and you know who you are that let me know there is a pulse out there, my sincerest THANK YOU!

I want to ask those out there who are reading this, 1) Ask your club to make sure the section web address in on your website and newsletters. Also, for those that have newsletters and need content, use my section report. 2) Make sure you and others have the section emails checked off in the league’s website to make sure you are getting important emails I send out. Thank you in advance in trying to better our communication with each other.

Now a couple of tidbits…..

Bob, K1YO has been working hard in getting a SET established to exercise our communications capabilities in an emergency. He has been inviting neighboring states and other served agencies to participate as well. He is looking to get as much help and participation as well. It There is a link elsewhere on this site or you can contact him as well.

The other thing is the HamExposition planned for Marlboro in September will be a live event. Obviously current situation may dictate differently down the road, But I am being optimistic. I am looking forward to being there.

That about wraps it up for this month. Hope you enjoy the
spring and the warmth it brings. 73 all.

Ray KB1LRL

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