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.

Nominations Open for Section Manager

WMA ARRLNominations for Western Massachusetts Section Manager are now open!  The term is for two years starting on January 1, 2020.

Any candidate for the office of Section Manager must be a resident of the section, a licensed amateur of Technician class or higher, and a full member of the League for a continuous term of at least two years immediately preceding receipt of a petition for nomination.  All nomination paperwork must be received by ARRL Headquarters in Newington, CT by 4:00 PM on Friday, September 6, 2019.  The nomination forms and other associated information are available on ARRL HQ’s website here.

Massachusetts Hand-free Mobile Device Legislation Update

This is a re-post from the EMA ARRL website:

Hands-free mobile device legislation moved one step closer to becoming law, passing in the Massachusetts House on May 16. But by all accounts amateur radio operation while driving will remain unaffected.

Eastern Massachusetts section staff who have been in touch with legislative aides in both the House and Senate have learned the language that defines mobile devices will continue to exempt “federally-licensed 2-way radios.”

“MGL Chapter 90 Section 13 provides for the use of a federally licensed 2-way radio while driving. The hands-free bill being considered (House Bill 3793) does not alter this provision,” according to a staffer in Rep. Ferrante’s office. Another staffer from Rep. Hecht’s office also confirmed the preservation of the existing language in Chapter 90 Section 13 pertaining to federally licensed 2-way radios.

The full text of the H.3793 can be found at
<https://malegislature.gov/Bills/191/H3793>.

The text of General Law Part I, Section XIV, Chapter 90, Section 13 can be found at <https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXIV/Chapter90/Section13>.

The Massachusetts Senate is expected to take up the measure in June.

Employment Opportunities at ARRL HQ

Just wanted to remind every ARRL member in the Western Massachusetts section of a ham radio employment opportunity at ARRL Headquarters in Newington, CT. Newington is not that far away for some of us in this section, especially for what could be a dream job for a lot of us.

The League is looking for a Contest Program Manager is responsible for all aspects of ARRL’s Contest program, including receipt and processing of entries, quality of results, awards fulfillment, public outreach, program development and promotion, and volunteer coordination and management.

They are also looking for an IT Systems Engineer. This person would be responsible for the day-to-day operation of the organization’s information infrastructure including desktop clients, server systems, LAN, WAN, e-mail, network storage and printing. This infrastructure supports both local and remote users.

For more information on either of these positions at ARRL Headquarters in Newington, CT, please see the ARRL Headquarters Employment Opportunities page.

ARRL CEO Howard, WB2ITX, to operate W1AW on May 13

Edit 5/3: This event has been cancelled due to potential conflict of interests and a possible violation of FCC Part 97 rules. For more details, check this post on the ARRL Headquarters website.

Below is a press release from ARRL Headquarters announcing a special event involving ARRL CEO Howard Michel, WB2ITX, and a chance to talk to Howard on the air from Maxim Memorial Station W1AW. All hams that so desire should please feel free to make a contact with Howard while he’s operating W1AW.

Newington, CT – April 29, 2019 – ­­To help members of the amateur radio community get to know Howard Michel, WB2ITX, the relatively new chief executive officer of the American Radio Relay League, a little better, the organizers of the “ICQ Amateur / Ham Radio Podcast” are putting on an event that will give ham radio operators the opportunity to chat with him in a very natural setting for all hams – on the air! Michel will be at ARRL’s Maxim Memorial Station W1AW on Monday afternoon, May 13, at 2 p.mEDT, operating on 20 meters (around the 14.250 MHz frequency on SSB) and will be ready to talk to anyone who wants to “work” him.

Also, to commemorate this event, ARRL is creating a special QSL Card for those who connect with Michel via Maxim Memorial Station W1AW. Organizers hope that this card will become a prized part of most hams’ collections.

Michel was a guest on the March 31 episode of the “ICQ Amateur / Ham Radio Podcast” (https://www.icqpodcast.com/download-the-show/2019/3/31/icq-podcast-episode-290-arrl-ceo-howard-michael-wb2itx) when the show’s organizers came up with this idea.

“While interviewing Howard about his management vision for the League, it hit me that hams need to see the new CEO as another ham operator in addition to being the CEO of the ARRL. Our ham metaphor of ‘working’ another ham is a humorous way to engage hams from the US and internationally to ‘put the CEO to work’ on the air at W1AW,” said Frank Howell, K4FMH, ARRL Delta Division Assistant Director and a presenter of the podcast.

“Working” Michel via this event will be a very special event for hams around the world, predict the event organizers. Martin Butler, M1MRB & W9ICQ, said, “This event will attract significant international attention, especially from the UK and Europe due to the ICQ Podcast’s reach.”

Colin Butler, M6BOY publisher of the podcast, added, “There are quite a number of ARRL members in the UK so this outreach ‘across the Pond’ is something we can easily get behind to promote.”

The “ICQ Amateur / Ham Radio Podcast” is a free fortnightly radio talk style podcast for amateur / ham radio operators by amateur / ham radio operators. Each episode features a review of the current news, a discussion of a technical feature and the hobby in general, and interactions with listeners from around the world

Ham Radio @ IEEE International Microwave Symposium Seeks Volunteers, June 2-7, 2019

Re-post of news originally from the EMA ARRL website:

Volunteer form:   HamRadio @ IEEE IMS 2019

Boston area amateurs have been requested to provide an Amateur Radio presence at the IEEE International Microwave Symposium in Boston, June 2-7, 2019 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in Boston’s Seaport District.

Local amateurs will equip and staff an ARRL booth in the trade show area of the conference stocked with ARRL books and literature for display and raffle. It is hoped the booth will also feature a remote radio capable of HF, VHF, and UHF and satellite capability.  Conference attendees can ask questions about how to get involved in ham radio, either as a hobby or as a vehicle for student learning.

Although the conference site is well-served by public transportation, event coordinators are exploring the possibility of complementary (or reduced) parking rates for volunteers. In addition, the conference organizers have scheduled an “Amateur Radio Social” Tuesday, June 4 at 6:30 PM featuring keynote speaker Howard Michel, WB2ITX, ARRL Chief Executive Officer.

If you would like to be involved in this high-profile event, please register at: Ham Radio @ IEEE IMS 2019.

Local ARRL Affiliated Clubs

Most new amateur radio operators get their first experiences with amateur radio with a local club.  Whether it’s contacts via the clubs local repeater system, attending a club’s meeting, or operating at a club’s Field Day operation, local amateur radio clubs embody what the ARRL is all about.

For more information about the local clubs within the Western Massachusetts ARRL section, see their websites in the links below or contact WMA Affiliated Club Coordinator Larry Krainson W1AST.

All Counties:

Berkshire County:

Franklin County:

Hampden/Hampshire County:

Worcester County: