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”

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.

KB1LRL Featured on Tomorrow’s Ham On! Show

Every Wednesday at 9:00 AM, Peter Mattice KD2JKV hosts his show / podcast on Pittsfield Community Radio WTBR 89.7 FM called Ham on!

Tomorrow morning’s show (February 12), Peter will be talking with Western MA Section Manager Ray Lajoie KB1LRL. In particular, they will be talking about the secton’s new mentoring program that Ray and section’s technical staff is starting, as well as ARES in within the section and other happenings.  You can listen live on wtbrfm.com.  Past recordings of Ham on! are also available at https://anchor.fm/peter0190.

Peter is also one of our section’s Assistant Section Traffic Manager and is highly involved in the local amateur radio community in many ways in the section.

Please tune in for Peter and Ray’s show tomorrow!

New WMA Club Presenters List Published

I’m happy to report that, with the help of many others, I’ve compiled a list of known good club presenters and topics.  The purpose of the list is to help clubs in the section in selecting and asking people to come to their club meetings to speak and present on a variety of interesting topics.

The list can be viewed by going to What We Do > Clubs > WMA Club Presenters List in the main navigation menu above.

If anyone has any additions or changes for the list, please let me know.  Otherwise, I’d like to thank everyone that helped me putting this together, and especially everyone that elected to be on this list.

Thanks and 73,
Gil Hayes WK1H
WMA ARRL Affiliated Club Coordinator

Mike Raisbeck, K1TWF, Elected to ARRL First Vice President

Editor note: This article was first posted on the EMA ARRL website.

The ARRL Board of Directors has elected Mike Raisbeck, K1TWF, of Chelmsford, Massachusetts as First Vice President during its recent meeting January 17-18, 2020 in Connecticut. Mike has served as the ARRL New England Division Vice Director since July 1998.

According to the League’s web site, “[Mike] was first licensed in 1961 as KN1TWF, becoming K1TWF in 1962, and has held that call ever since.  His home club is the Billerica Amateur Radio Club [sic], where he has held various posts.  On the air activities include DXing, contesting, and recently, caring for a DMR repeater in the attic. He is a Volunteer Examiner and a Volunteer Counsel.

“Of particular interest to Mike are the social and organizational aspects of the Amateur Radio.  For over 20 years he has been serving on the Board for the ARRL New England Division Convention, and he is currently president of that organization, which runs an annual convention and funds a number of scholarships to young hams every year. ”

When the President is unable to attend a Board meeting, the First Vice President presides over the meeting.  

Raisbeck’s election to his new post leaves the office of New England Vice Director–a position in which he previously served–vacant for the present.

You can read more about K1TWF on the League’s web page at:  http://www.arrl.org/first-vice-president.

Important Info on the New Distracted Driving Laws

Back in November, it was reported on this website and on Eastern MA section’s website that new changes to the Commonwealth’s distrcted driver laws were being considered.  These changes would include holding any electronics communications device, even with just one hand, while driving. 
 
These changes will go into effect on February 23, 2020.  There will be a grace period until the end of March 2020. So if you’re stopped, only expect a warning. But after that, a first offense will mean a $100 fine; second offense $250; and a third or any subsequent offense will cost you $500. Habitual offenders could also be subjected to auto insurance surcharges or driver training. 
 
Also, as previously posted here and on the EMA website, section management from both sections approached state legislators about this bill with the goal of having an amendment made to the bill to excempt radio operations by licensed amateur radio operators.  They were successful.  The new law states that it “permits use of a federally licensed 2–way radio” provided that “1 hand remains on the steering wheel at all times.”.
 
The best ways to avoid being ticketed for your lawful use of amateur radio while mobile is to have the appropriate documentation in the vehicle with you.  The idea is that you provide the police officer in question with this information, your chances of the officer giving you a ticket for what is clearly legal exempted radio operations will be substantially reduced.
 
The first item to print out and have with you in the car is the actual text of the Massachusetts General Law on the subject.  That would be MGL Part 1, Title XIV, Chapter 90, Section 13.  It is recommended that you also highlight the relavant statement in the law that reads: “a person may operate a motor vehicle while using a federally licensed 2–way radio or mobile telephone, except as provided in sections 8M, 12A and 13B, as long as 1 hand remains on the steering wheel at all times”.  In these situations, only the exact text of the actual MGL in question will suffice.  Do not use any type of summarization of the law, just print the entire Section 13 per the page at the link above.
 
The second item is your valid FCC amateur radio license.  Although the FCC went to paperless licenses in February 2015, there are instructions available for obtaining an official copy of your license.
 
As recent related post to the CMARA email list mentions: “Lest you think this isn’t going to be aggressively enforced please note that a CMARA member was pulled over in early December by a policeman that a) thought the distracted driving law was already in effect, b) didn’t know the provisions for mobile radio operators. Even with this information you may still receive a ticket but the law is on our side and you should be OK if it goes to court.”
 
Please continue to use your best judgement regarding your safety and the safety of others on the road with you and don’t operate your radios unless it is perfectly safe for you to do so.  However, be prepared to ensure that all our hard work to get this amateur radio related exemption codified into the law isn’t wasted by making sure you are ready with the correct documents if you are pulled over for this reason.

Official Observer Program Sunset

ARRL

As announced recently on the ARRL HQ website, on September 30, 2019, the Official Observer program was sunset and replaced with the new Volunteer Monitor program.

As the last Western MA Official Observer Coordinator, I would personally like to thank all of the OOs that have worked in the section over the years and have helped the community by helping bring innumerable issues to resolution over the years, and sent out plenty of Good Operator cards to let our fellow hams know when their good operating has been noticed and appreciated by others.  I’d also like to thank those that have become the new Volunteer Monitors and whom will work directly with the FCC and their continued support of the amateur radio community.

For everyone going forward, for the near future, if there is a need for Volunteer Monitor assistance somewhere, please contact Volunteer Monitor Coordinator Riley Hollingsworth K4ZDH by email.  Mr. Hollingsworth once handled Amateur Radio enforcement as an FCC employee and is now the liaison between the FCC and the ARRL in regards to the Volunteer Monitor program.

Thanks again and 73,
Gil WK1H

ARRL HQ Seeking Emergency Management Director

ARRL

This is a repost from the national ARRL website.  We’re reposting it since it might be possible for Western MA to be employed at League HQ and commute in to work each day.

ARRL is seeking an emergency management director to oversee a team responsible for supporting ARRL emergency communication programs and services, including the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES®) and National Traffic System (NTS), and to work with staff to develop standards, protocols, and processes designed to support the Field Organization. This is a full-time, exempt position at ARRL Headquarters in Newington, Connecticut.

This individual would serve as the official point of contact and liaison to key partners and other served agencies at the regional and national level. Duties would include representing ARRL at served agency and partner meetings, conventions, and exercises as well as organizing and providing presentations for various relevant audiences.

The emergency management director will oversee and manage the ARRL Emergency Preparedness Department and its support of the Field Organization that includes but is not limited to soliciting, training, and maintaining an ARRL Headquarters Emergency Response Team; creating, soliciting, or editing content for publications and electronic media; administering the Ham Aid program, and working with key partners to establish plans, protocols, and procedures for incorporating Amateur Radio in their emergency response plans.

Applicants should possess leadership ability as well as excellent written, interpersonal, and communication skills, and should hold an Amateur Radio license of General class or higher. Applicants should have at least 10 years’ experience in emergency management or equivalent. A bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience in emergency management is required. Certifications from NIMS, FEMA, or International Association of Emergency Managers are preferred.

Frequent domestic and occasional international travel would be required.

See the job posting for complete details on this position and how to apply.