Section Manager’s Report February 2024

This has certainly been a busy month of January, and I am cautiously optimistic in seeing an increase in activity in this section but elsewhere. Time will tell if it takes hold, there are a lot of things being worked on that will have an influence on it.

First of all, there was the ARRL board meeting. This was surrounded by a very controversial motion which caused headaches for many board members. I applaud Fred, AB1OC for putting together a New England town hall before AND after to inform us of what went on. If you go to the website you can see the recording if you missed it. The outcome seems to have made a lot of people happy.

License classes and VE sessions are also on the rise. As I mentioned last month, I have been making an effort to add mentoring to the license class and VE sessions. I am seeing early results of new hams becoming active, even learning traffic handling! I am hearing new hams on repeaters receiving welcoming QSO’s and invites to their clubs and offers to help if they need it. Make this an epidemic! Clubs, promote this to ALL members.

One thing that is coming is an initiative called Project Ascend started by Phil Temples K9HI. This is very new but is designed to establish a mentor network as well as provide a loaner program of equipment. It will also involve an aggressive mailing campaign that includes discounts on selected license classes and admission to the Northeast HamXposition. Yes, I am part of that group along with others throughout New England. Currently a grant application has just been submitted to the ARDC. The outcome will determine the extent of the project. More details to follow. Anyone who has an interest in mentoring. Hams, please consider volunteering as we will be creating a database of willing mentors.

NTS 2.0 project has been making great progress in coming up with some new ways of promoting and creating more traffic. One way is sending messages through APRS developed by Michael, WC0Z, and another is being finalized for use by the general public developed by Jonathon Taylor K1RFD also known as the creator of Echolink. There are other things as well coming too! If you want to keep up with NTS happenings you can subscribe to the new NTS Newsletter that is now going out the first Tuesday of each month. Go to for more and you can see some of my handiwork as I am working on the education side putting together short training videos and soon adding promotional materials.

As you can see, I have been a busy boy. The need is still out there for people who are willing to help in the field even in one of our projects. I really think 2024 can be an exiting time for radio if we all can work toward it.

One last thought, it has been a while when we looked at the presenter’s list. If you have something you would like to present or update your current list please let me know.

Thank you,
Ray, AA1SE

Section Manager Report January 2024

Greetings to 2024! I think personally ‘23 was a challenge and some things I would rather forget! Not section wise though. I think things in the section went fairly well. Let’s highlight what has gone on.

I have been working with a group revitalizing the NTS system called NTS 2.0. We have now launched the NTS Newsletter from the League and are now or close to introducing a couple of cool tools to send messages and are looking at other things as well. Does it replace the traditional methods? The answer is not at all! But we need to get something newer to attract the new and younger Ham to traffic handling. More goodies coming.

Chuck, WS1L, our new SEC has been putting together some things and analyzing all kinds of stuff to get the ARES program moving forward, improving the database, and bringing better communications and accountability to the membership as well as having an actual SET and getting some training going. I am really encouraged by his efforts.

I have been heading a group that is doing license classes on Zoom and am having good success with it. The Western MA Train & Test Group have been doing a great job in creating a program and delivering it giving people the ability of passing their test and getting on the air. It is also encouraging to see some other clubs getting classes started as well. One of my goals is to get mentoring back to this hobby more aggressively to the newbies on the air and welcome into the hobby.

The project at the Big E this year was another success thanks to Larry W1AST. This is a tremendous effort and 2024 is in question as Larry is not going to head up the effort so there is a need for someone to take up the reigns and continue this project. This does require a group to manage this. When you think that the HamXposition is 3 days and you see the group that put’s it all together there. I believe it can be done. But it is up to YOU to make it happen and it is not limited to just WMA. Let’s keep a good thing going!

The League is winding down the year-long VOTA event. We had a couple of W1AW/1 events and I have seen a number of you participating. I have been dishing out points as well on FT8 but admit I could have done more.

Also, if you have not heard by now the League has received more grant money from the ARDC to the tune of 2.1 million dollars over 3 years for clubs and ham related projects. Detail’s will follow on that. Stay tuned.

January is also when my new term as Section Manager starts. I sometimes I lay in bed thinking if I am doing THAT good of a job or if no one is aware of such things going on. I really don’t lay there thinking about it but I do wonder what is the case in this section? I do plan on trying to fortify clubs through mentoring and outreach, continue getting ARES working more and better, being available to WMA as best as I can. As usual, I still have positions open and the need for volunteers and participants are still needed to help this section grow. I have been asking for input to see what make you tick and still do so. Let’s see if you and me can make a difference!

Thanks to all and have a Happy New Year

73 de Ray-AA1SE

Section Manager Report December 2023

TOO LATE!!! You blinked your eyes! Another Holiday Season is upon us! Seems like a few days ago I was having surgery and looking forward to the warm, summer days. Oh well!

The one thing I need to do is apologize for not visiting the clubs as often as I usually do. I hope to catch a few this month. One I am going to visit is the Hampden County Radio Association as they will be celebrating 75 years as an affiliated club. Their efforts and participation over the years demonstrates what a club can do to make it last for so long. Congratulations to you on your achievement. There are other clubs that are also getting close. WPIWA in Worcester has over 100 years under their belt. Sadly, efforts to contact them have gone by the wayside despite multiple efforts.

How is your club doing? The league has continued to look at ways to help clubs grow. One thing I found is the Active Club Primer. This guide is a good read to give you some pointers on running and growing your club. Reminder, make sure you go to the League’s website and do your annual update if you have not done so. This keeps your affiliation active.

In October we had our SET exercise and afterwards Chuck WS1L sent a survey to get feedback and the big response is they were not aware of it. Hmmm, were we not communicating enough? This is also an indication that not many people are looking at the WMA website as there was mention of the event there as well as I send stuff to the ARRL WMA email reflector. Chuck has also set up an email group so anyone in WMA ARES will receive a notification if anything comes up. We will work to communicate more; you also need to read what we send. Hopefully the next SET will have better participation.

It is good to see clubs getting active in giving license classes and testing again. Covid slammed the brakes on it and things were quiet for some time. The one thing to consider when you have that new ham on board is to welcome them and do some follow up to make sure a club or mentor is getting them on the air. Giving them an information handout after they passed will give them a good start at finding a club and basic information. Back issues of QST and other magazines are good also.I truly hope each one of you will have a wonderful, warm, happy Holiday season and a fabulous New Year. Remember, Santa Ham comes to the good operators and gives them presents! Take care everyone.

73 de Ray, AA1SE

Section Manager Report November 2023

Hello, I see that all those green leaves have fallen off the tree’s and landed on my yard! Yep, bust out the coats and jackets, winter is coming. I’m sure some of you are rustling in the leaves and making sure your antennas are ready to withstand winter’s wrath. Now the indoor projects will take priority and hopefully you get on the air with them. I have been working on setting up various digital modes like Winlink, FLDigi, etc. This can be pretty challenging in trying to get Computer and radio to talk to one another. There is no one size fit’s all scenario!

WMA had our SET and it has taught us a lot. If ARES is to grow and attract operators and also area leaders, we need participants! Gee, same old song. This exercise was set up to be very minimal effort. We are discussing getting some activities together to give us practice, to gather information, and hone our skills. NTS has been getting reworked, that may play a part in this.

The other part in all this is I do not feel people are getting informed about what’s going on effectively. I could use your help in getting information out to more people. Not just hearing me, going ho-hum and going back to your smartphone! I know people care about many aspects of the hobby, the league, and the section. I’ve heard it! Mentor, communicate, participate!

If you have not heard already, the FCC is currently acting on a couple of items that have been sitting on their inbox gathering dust. One is the proposed change on 60 meters. Going to 15 watts and allowing the use on that little slice and not channelized. The comment time has been extended to Nov. 28, Also they will be voting on the change on the symbol rate to 2.8 KHz. This one has been sitting for a long time. This will allow digital modes like Pactor 4 to be used and the need to ask for exemptions in times of disaster will not be needed. There are still others waiting, hopefully things are starting to move at the FCC again.

I have been realizing that I have not been making club visits lately and I apologize. This year has not been fun for me personally. Sadly, I had to miss yet again Near-Fest due to a death in the family. The one time the weather cooperated!

So, once again, I am making a call out looking for active, willing participants who could put in some time to help out WMA. Jiminy Cricket can’t do it all and neither can Facelessbook and smart phones. I need you! I have many open positions including assistant section manager’s and emergency coordinators, DEC’s, EC’s, Government Liaison. Public information, Traffic manager, and more. I have been struggling with this ever since I took over as section manager. There is also a need to help out with the website. Your silence is speaking to me very loudly. Other sections are very active in many aspects. I haven’t found the right magic dust to use.

I do hope everyone has a happy, safe Thanksgiving.

73 de Ray AA1SE

Section Manager Report for October 2023

Hello Western Mass! I must be doing a great job or no one is paying attention or ….? My re-election was another landslide again. Yup, no one else stepped up. So, your stuck with me for another 2 years.

I am a tad late getting this out as we have wrapped up the Big E for another year. I considered it another success as there was some good interest in radio. Over 100 people have signed up interested in taking classes and will go to those who conduct classes to reach out to them. (I will be starting a General class on October 17.) So, now we take a breather, and see what this event will do next year. There were a number of challenges that more helpers could overcome. Time will tell.

October brings cooler weather, fall foliage and Near-Fest. I hope you are praying to the weather gods now considering the weather we had. Most of the weekends were washouts as far as outdoor stuff was concerned. October 13 and 14 are the days.

October is also the month of the annual SET conducted by those in EMCOMM. Chuck WS1L our SEC has been working on one for us. This will be a first in a very long time. Please consider taking a part in it. Details to follow.

I have been working with others revamping NTS called NTS 2.0. We have been updating the ICS 213 and looking at ways to get more activity, awareness injected back in to encourage newer hams to take part in this. This is a national effort and great progress is being made. Tuesday 10/3 was the official launch of the NTS newsletter sent out monthly from the league. If you want to receive it you log in to the leagues website and go to the opt in/out and edit your selection. Not only are we going to provide updates to our project, we are also going to have training tips, traffic related news. This project is supported by the ARRL.

On October 4, 1948 the Hampden County Radio Association became an affiliated club with the ARRL. That makes them 75 years old! I hope you take a moment to send a note (or a piece of traffic) to the club and offer congratulations. They have been a lively active club taking part in many activities and has a membership of over 125 members. Congratulations HCRA!

That all for now. Hope to see you or hear from you. Remember, let me know what’s happening in your neck of the woods.

Ray, AA1SE

Section Manager Report for September 2023

I had an interesting realization at the New England Convention that ham’s like to talk about certain things, their radio’s, their antenna’s, the weather, and their joint’s, operations and ailments. The sad part is I BECAME ONE OF THEM! YIKES! The glaring reality is we are not getting any younger and as elder keepers of the hobby we need to pass on our talent’s, experiences, to the younger generations. Yep, we heard it time and time again by myself and others. At my sparsely attended WMA meeting at Marlboro, I made the comment, “We need more DOER’S to keep radio going” Even with aches and pains there are things you can do to promote the hobby. I was not there but Rick Roderick our ARRL president delivered a moving message. I wish it was recorded, but it also emphasized the same thing. If you did not go, you missed out. It gets better each year. The forums were the talk of the town. It was great to see many friends and others there.

The next big event is the Big E. As usual, the planning staff have been working hard to get this put together to provide another successful showing. The one really big task is getting people to sign up to man the booth for a shift or two (or three?) It is getting to the point that if we cannot get the booth manned for the entire time it’s open, we may have to cancel and possibly lose a DONATED booth space that is not cheap. I ask clubs as well as individuals to consider signing up. Doing so gets you free admission and parking. For more contact me or Larry at, or to sign up go to:

As September rolls around clubs are firing up their seasons of meetings. I hope there are some good stuff going on to boost your club. Outreach can be beneficial especially if they are new. Have an agenda and try to avoid it being a “Geritol gathering” Many sources of online presentations are available and if there is no internet, simply download it on a flash drive. Live is always best, but distance, time, etc. can prevent getting someone. I am going to try to make visits as I can. Lately I have been busy with the NTS 2.0 project and will be starting up a General License Class soon. Zoom still can be your friend if you use it right.

One thing that came up at my meeting was some ideas that they used to promote their clubs. Don’t keep them a secret, share them! Email to another club, email them to me. And don’t make excuses, be a DOER! If it did not work, try something else and stick with it. There are some clubs struggling out there. They could use whatever help they can get. We are getting creaky, don’t let that cause your club or our great hobby to go to that path.

That’s all for now. Remember the Big E and be a doer!

Thanks, and 73,

Section Manager Report August 2023

Well, that was one gooey, soggy, month! I hope you took some of the month and got away from it…sort of. Hopefully it got it out of its system so there is no problems for August, especially for the convention! Hope to see many of you there. There are some really cool forums this year. Sunday will feature our SEC Chuck WS1L who will be meeting with ARES members and anyone interested is welcome to join us. Right after that will be yours truly meeting with everyone in the same room. I encourage you to stop on over. Bring questions, join in something, or to say hi.

Just a reminder that this year is the re-election for the WMA Section Manager. I you wish to step forward and put in for nomination as well please do so. I am running again this year and I do hope we can make some great gains in the next two years. Crickets not included!

One thing that has been a concern for me lately are the nets we have and the ongoing need for Net Control Stations (NCS) There are nets that sadly has been getting missed due to no NCS willing to participate. The Western Ma net on Sunday mornings for example for the last two years has not had a net during Field Day, therefore no traffic has been passed. Participating in a net is easy. There is usually someone in charge that is willing to coach you. It is usually a commitment of once a week or once a month depending on the net and only for about ½ hour on average. This also is good operating training in case of emergencies. Some of these nets are actually quite fun! (George’s Old Timers Net) Please consider joining up as NCS on your favorite net or a new one.

Most of the clubs are in summer vacation mode and will be firing up in September. One thing to keep in mind is the importance to have an agenda and a program that will encourage member participation. Presenters are good to have as well. Realizing that we are kind of a drive away for speakers to visit, Zoom has opened up a bumper crop of possibilities from all over the country with so many subjects to offer. Many of you know I have made myself available to visit and present something when I can.

That’s enough jibber-jabber for now. Hope your summer is going well and hope to see you at the convention.


Section Manager Report July 2023

Hello everyone, we now blinked our eyes and find that June and Field Day is done. I hope you and your respective club had a great event. I recovered enough to manage 462 miles in club visit traveling. Some of those Mass. roads made comfort a little interesting though. It was great to see everyone.

There was some rain that quite possibly impacted participation and I did observe participation was lower than previous years. Is this also yet an indication that we are aging out and not interested anymore? I hope not! I don’t have to tell you that Field Day is THE best opportunity to promote the hobby to others. Despite the participant level, most sites have been reporting good successes. Some of the highlights are:

  • Hampden County RA had an opportunity to have an operator for GOTA but was more interested in the donuts on the table. This was a very large bear that found the tasty treat. You don’t see that often especially in Holyoke!
  • Mt. Tom ARA had their own event this year at the Blandford Fairgrounds. This was very well received by both the club and the Fairground group. Congrats to them.
  • Montachusett ARA helped out the Waltham ARA and joined forces this year at Wachusett Mountain. Both clubs were happy with the outcome.
  • Franklin County ARC put a lot of emphasis on publicity and outreach to bolster membership. Le’s hope the effort paid off.

I did see clubs were not setting up with big hardware and worked with more wires and easier to manage equipment, even QRP. HCRA usually puts up 3 tri-banders on military masts but they ran end-feds also other light setups. No harm in that! It may help to mix it up and help cure possible stagnation of the same old stuff. Keep it different and interesting.

Ok, enough about field day. It is July and every two years the election of Section Manager arrives at WMA. Any member in good standing with the ARRL is welcome to get nominated. As usual, I do a lot of thinking for some time and there have been times I really questioned staying on. This year there is some momentum going on with some clubs trying a comeback, a new SEC in Chuck WS1L and ACC Larry W1AST. We now have the Big E. More license classes, etc. I guess I need to stick around and give it more of a push. I really would like to see the clubs in better shape, more active nets, more operating activity and the need for MORE MENTORING! One person cannot carry the burden alone. It does take a bit of commitment, effort, participation, a team effort, and sprinkle it with a little insanity and there may be some good things come out of it. But it takes a bunch of you to make it happen. If you are interested in trying to knock me off my soapbox, I welcome it. Go to for information on my position as well as others if interested. Email me also.

I truly hope everyone has a great summer! Enjoy yourselves. Operate VOTA, POTA, SOTA and let’s work towards making this hobby thrive even more!


Section Manager Report June 2023

Guess what! It’s June and that means one thing to us hams…Field Day! We are out there checking radio’s, antenna’s generators, and all the other goodies we need to stuff in our vehicles and bring it to your home for 2 days. I hope everyone has a fun time. Remember to promote the hobby to all visitors. Myself, I will endeavor to visit all sites as I can. I have been improving since my surgery and hopefully by then I will be pretty much back to normal.

One of the project’s I have been involved with is the NTS 2.0 revamp of the Traffic System. This is something the League has unfortunately let fall into disrepair and Fred AB1OC has been spearheading along with a group of us updating the standards and bringing it up to modern times. There will be an article in July’s QST about it. We are working on developing documentation, presentations, and trainings that will be available for download and for your use. Promoting NTS to your club is another way to add activity for members and providing them with a new skill of passing messages “when all else fails” This is also something to add to your nets. Even if it’s for a birthday, congrats on a new license, etc., its good practice. It was surprising to me the network of national traffic nets that meets on VHF and also HF. There is a new Net directory in the works as well.

Just a reminder, June 30 is the end of the General class question pool and the new one starts the day after.

One thing I am seeing of late is as most clubs are wrapping up their seasons and having elections there is a lack of people willing to step up and take on officer or board positions and importantly president. I presently have a couple of clubs facing that situation to the point of extinction. There are many reasons why this is happening and you need to work on a fix for it. The one thing that needs to take place from my observations is the lack of getting new hams active in the hobby and part of a club. Don’t assume someone else is doing it! Look at the new ham listings and reach out to those in your area. Invite them and offer your assistance. The reason why I started my license classes is to educate and bring in new hams for your clubs. Don’t let the cricket’s get them! The next president could be on that list!

I hope to see you out there on Field Day. I always enjoy doing the tour visiting the sites.

73 de Ray AA1SE

Section Manager Report May 2023

Hello! Sorry for being a little late. As I indicated last month, I had a little encounter with a surgeon and fortunately everything went well. Now I am dealing with the post op goodies like tiredness and pain that some cool medications tend to help with.

Warm weather is returning albeit a little on the slow side. Near-Fest was a bummer for me as it did not rain and I couldn’t be there.

As I am getting myself back up to speed, I have my sights to be mostly normal when Field Day arrives. I plan on making the visits as I normally do. It’s always great to see the activity going on and visit those out there. In your planning, perhaps try something a little different like ARES outreach or EMCOMM or maybe traffic handling. Educational things are great as well. Lots of possibilities there.

Most of the clubs are wrapping up their seasons and usually involves dues and elections. Elections especially have been challenging as many members choose not to volunteer for various reasons. Trust me, I’ve heard them all! There are those that dedicated themselves to the point of burnout and just quit because no one else is willing. The club, the officer’s and the board need to take a hard look at where they are and what they need to do to sustain themselves for the future. Some people have some great ideas, but there is no one to step up and say “I’ll Help!! Give it some thought please.

13 Colonies will soon be rolling around and planning will be starting to get operators for this event. This has become a popular event and if you like working pileups this is the event to participate in. Larry, W1AST is the contact person this year again and you can email him at

That’s about all for now. I should be back to visiting clubs soon or if you are hybrid I should be popping in. See you soon and thanks.