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.

Public Information

Amateur Radio is a valuable resource that deserves to be promoted to the public in a variety of ways.  The ARRL has established a public information and relations wing of the field organization to help the general public discover the value of amateur radio overall.

The ARRL has established several public information campaigns to promote amateur radio, which can be seen on their national website.  They have also designed an online course to help those involved with PR campaigns to be more effective and better prepared in their roles.

Appointees

Public Information Coordinator

The Public Information Coordinator is the section’s expert on public information and public relations matters. They build and maintain a positive public image for Amateur Radio within the section, and are responsible for organizing, training, guiding and coordinating the activities of the Public Information Officers.

At present, the Western Massachusetts ARRL is looking for a Public Information Coordinator to lead up these efforts throughout the section.  If you are an ARRL member within the section interested in this appointment, please contact the Section Manager.

Public Information Officers

Public Information Officers are appointed to be the local representatives of the WMA ARRL campaign throughout the section.

“Experience Amateur Radio” in Worcester

On Saturday, May 12, from 1-3 PM, members of two local amateur radio clubs will be at Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester on 65 James Street to talk about their experiences with ham radio, and give a hands-on demonstration of what ham radio operators do.

The event is meant to perk the interest of kids in the middle school to college age range, although anyone of any age is welcome to come and enjoy the event.

Several members of the Central Massachusetts Amateur Radio Association and the Worcester County Radio Club (including KC1SDL, W1TAB, WW2JS, W3SJP and others) will be working the event, describing what ham radio is and what you can do with it once you have your license.  A partial amateur radio station will be set up at Annie’s Book Stop and attendees will be able to get on the air.

More on this event is posted on the event’s Facebook page.  Feel free to drop by during the event and say hello!