Section Manager’s Report Sept. 2021

   Hello one and all! It has been an interesting month overall with activities and the weather. I will not labor on the weather. Anyone who poked their head out the window lately knows!

   Looking forward to HamExposition! I am getting my goodies ready and will be out there to “lighten the load” and to get to see everyone there. Look at the link https://hamxposition.org/covid for up-to-date information on Covid policies. 

   The Director elections are still going strong. The ballots are going out at the end of the month or beginning of October. As I had mentioned before, please review each candidate and make an informed decision as to who you want for the next 3 years. They have been busy visiting social events and club meetings.

   The Franklin Club came up with a swell idea. Brad Councilman, W1BCC set up an operating event called Coffee and Radios at Apex Orchards in Shelburne. This was treated to great weather, scenic view, and treats. This was well received and everyone there participated in operating, and answering questions to curious onlookers. Club people, this can be a great thing to do to promote radio and participate in activities. It doesn’t have to be public service events at all! Great job Brad!

   One thing that has been scarce is VE sessions in our area. One person Ken WB8PKK from Westminster looked to improve on that and became a VE and with the help of some seasoned people and the league, helped Ken put together a VE session in Gardner, MA. Eight people helped administer the test and 13 passed their Tech and 2 got upgraded to extra. 6 of them were school age kids! Thanks to Ken and the team for putting it all together. Next one will be Oct 30.

   Just a reminder there are a number of positions open for my section staff, both for myself and for ARES. I had hoped things were further along than what we have now. We are doing much better but getting the extra help will help in many ways. Contact myself or Bob K1YO for more information. Also, we have a Western Massachusetts ARRL Facebook page that is there to get more information on things. It can be used to promote events you may have.

   I hope to see you soon in whatever fashion. As always drop an email and let me know what’s going on.

73

Ray KB1LRL

Section manager’s Report August 2021

Greeting’s! What a month! West coast is burning while out our way is drowning. You never know what the forces of nature is going to bestow upon us. This is a great example of making people aware that even though it has not reached that point, it can turn into a disaster and things will fail. This is an opportunity to tell people how Amateur Radio can be a valued service to our neighbors, towns, counties. Even if you are not involved in emergency communications you can still provide information to others about it.

On that note, Aug. 1 I had the privilege of attending the NTS picnic hosted by Marcia, KW1U who is the East/West Traffic mgr. and was treated to perfect weather and good food and company. Along with myself also were the Eastern MA and NH section manager and the Vice Director with the 2 candidates for New England director. Both of which shared their passions for Ham Radio and why they would be the choice for director. Looking around the group shows there is still a passion for NTS and traffic handling in ANY mode and needs to be recognized more by the league and others in order to keep this valued tradition alive, because…you never know!

Over the past year I have been working in the trucking industry and found the hours were taking a toll on a lot of things personally and physically. After a huge amount of thought and soul searching, I decided to retire as of July 30. This does not mean I’m old! Lol. Yes, radio played a big part of that as I was not on the air very much and stuff was piling up because I was too tired to do anything. So, first thing I did was get my hotel for Dayton for next May. (I know, Xenia.) I have been wanting to do that for some time and I’m doing it. As I have told others, “I will not be bored!”

It looks like the club meetings will be making a comeback after our Covid hiatus in September. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Zoom has now provided a new element to meeting as you can add it along with presenters who may be distance challenged. There is a plethora of recorded content that can also be used to get a good presentation. Definitely worthy of a search in YouTube and other sources for good content. The League is also expanding on available content and also there is a speaker list in this website. Good meeting agenda will keep things interesting and coming back each month.

That’s enough chatter for this month, hope to see you at Marlboro in September and at the club meetings. Enjoy!

Ray, KB1LRL

Section Manager’s Report July 2021

  Hello everyone. I hope your summer is going well so far. I will admit it was a bit toasty of late, day and night.

  July starts off elections in our area. The big one is for New England Director which is a 3-year term. Fred Hopengarten K1VR is seeking reelection and will be opposed by Fred Kemmerer AB1OC who is currently the Nashua club president. It is unconfirmed but Tom Freneye K1KI may be running as well. With the changes coming with the new CEO, I ask that you consider your choices carefully and choose who will be the best fit for New England and for the League.

   The other on is for WMA Section Manager. This is a 2-year term. Anyone interested in running for this go to the ARRL website and see the details and how to be nominated which is only a 5-signature petition. I will be seeking reelection as well.

   Last weekend was our regatta of sorts as it was Field Day. It started out with great weather although a little warm, but doable. I got to visit the 3 sites that had field day and was pleased to once again see the activity once again and also happy to see the people as well. NOBARC returned after a hiatus which was great. Not only did they have a field, but also altitude. Hope it paid dividends in QSO’s. 

   As I previously mentioned changes with the league. Our New CEO, Dave Minster NA2AA was hired as the new CEO for the league. What’s he been doing? Well, listening, sitting on MANY meetings nationwide, receiving input from the members,etc.

   On June 9 I sat on a Zoom meeting with other section managers and other officials and he briefed us on changes taking place. Here is the Readers Digest version:

  • Norm Fusaro W3IZ had retired and taking over as Director of Operations is Bob Naumann W5OV
  • Bart Jahnke has moved from Field services management to Radiosport and Regulatory and Advocacy replacing Dan Henderson N1ND who has also retired
  • Taking over as Field Services Manager will be Mike Walters W8ZY who was the Connecticut SEC. Mike has already hit the ground running doing “meet and greets”. He will be at the HamExposition in Marlboro.

   Dave has revealed his plan of focusing on Clubs, and its revitalization and growth, to attract new members and KEEP them, and getting them active on the air. He finds the new licenses are up and membership is flat. He has groups formed to assist and I’m sure you will hear more about it. Staff members, section managers, and directors are working as groups to come up with ideas to make this work for all. I am encouraged to see this happening as I have been preaching this since I became a SM.

   That’s it for now. There will be other announcements down the road so stay tuned. I will do my best to get the word out to you and I will press on to ask those who read this to encourage others to look at our website and also the http://nediv.arrl.org website as well to keep up to date.

Thanks so much and 73! Stay cool!

Ray KB1LRL

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

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

Section Manager Report January 2021

Hello everyone and Happy New Year! I guess we can all agree we won’t regret 2020 going bye-bye. But a new chapter opens up and we can all hope our dreams, plans, hopes can be realized without much resistance. Myself, I cannot complain, I made some pretty good achievements last year. I learned CW finally and now I need to hone it more so I can get on the air with it. Also, a new career and some home improvements. I’ve been a busy boy!

I do want to apologize as I forgot to announce a new staff member to our ranks. Mike DeChristopher N1TA has become our new Assistant Section Manager. Mike has a background in contesting and once had the position as ARRL contest manager in Newington. He is also a member of HCRA. He will be overseeing the western end of the state and he will be a great addition to our staff. Welcome aboard, Mike!

And as usual we still have some holes to fill in our staffing. Maybe it is a New Year’s resolution to become part of it. Shoot me an email to see what is available. Both Myself and ARES are seeking people to join.

As you are aware the latest scuttlebutt for discussion is the new license fees coming up. The FCC dropped the price down to $35 instead of $50. There were over 190,000 comments sent to the FCC and it did have some impact but not ideally what we want. You can see the R&O at this link. Thanks to all who sent in the comments.

As mentioned last month, our website has a new look and feel having been moved to a new system. We are now looking at incorporating our ARES membership database into our new website, so it is all managed from a single system, making it easier for everyone. Stay tuned on more announcements and instructions about that!

With the new year is also a big time for contesting as there are a number of big ones for the next two months, starting with Straight Key Night tonight. Also the RTTY Roundup this weekend. This is a great way to fatten up your log and maybe get that elusive award you are looking for. It is also a good way to hone skills that you are new to or to dust off your equipment and get back into it. I am just a casual contester which is fine with me, but there are others that really get into it to test their skills and beat scores, etc. Whatever works for you, get into it and enjoy yourselves. Share your experience with your fellow club members.

I hope you all have a productive and prosperous new year and make the best of it! Let’s be hopeful that at least some of the hamfests come back!

Best 73,
Ray KB1LRL

Section Manager Report December 2020

Hello once again. Sorry I’m a little late as the new job is putting a different spin on my weekdays.

As we near the end of 2020 it certainly places a lot of “what-ifs” to the new year, so many thing’s that will drive our livelihoods and our lives, My wish is to find normalcy in all facets of it, as I’m sure you all do as well.

I attended a Zoom meeting with the Hampden County Radio Association along with fellow invitees Fred, K1VR, our New England Division Director and Vice-Director Phil, K9HI. This was actually their virtual Holiday party. Fred gave us some information and fielded some questions from the group. It was a fun time and appreciate Fred and Phil for joining in.

Here is a little bit of breaking news. We are working on a new website and this is actually going to combine the crusty, dusty ARES website into our new website which is under a new host. The revamp also will remove the singular owner/admin and place it with a group that will share control and adapt to personnel changes as years go on. This will also be a huge improvement on how ARES is accessed. It will be much easier to apply, report, and maintain databases. Huge thanks go to Gil WK1H, Grant KC1KCE, and Aaron, KF1G for their collective web talents for putting it together. Also, thanks to Bob K1YO for instigating this! Hi-hi. Stay tuned, more to follow.

I hope that everyone has a safe, healthy, fabulous Holiday season in the best possible way. Take some time and warm up your shack and get on the air for a while.

Stay well and 73!
Ray KB1LRL