Section Manager Report November 2022

Hello, welcome to another silly season. Why I call it that? Simply look around you. Everything goes into hyper-drive. The stores barrage you with ads 5 times a day. Black Friday has grown and had offspring. People have to deal with multiple pressures in concentrated form. Just remember to get away from it for a while, cozy up to some coffee and send some holiday greetings to a far-off land in whatever mode you wish. And of course, I wish you all a wonderful Holiday Season as well.

I guess the big thing from the League is a new operating event will take place all year for 2023. It is called “Volunteers on the Air”. If some may recall in 2014 when we had the Centennial, we had a similar event where each state will have a turn at operating with the W1AW call sign with a designator. League employees and officials will have points assigned to their position so we will all be hunted down. Clubs will be included where the club call sign will have a point value as well. This will be on the normal contest bands from 160-10, no repeaters. LOTW will be used for the event. Stay tuned for more details. Should be a fun event.

Our Affiliated Club Coordinator Larry W1AST will be reaching out to the clubs in the section to introduce himself and to possibly visit some meetings as well. He is looking to assist in ensuring clubs are growing and that you have the resources needed for that. We are here to help but keep in mind the other part to success is taking an active part in it. One person cannot do it alone.

The WMA Train and Test group just completed our Tech class course and we have our sights on doing an Extra class. Needless to say, this one will be a doozy, but one that does not happen a lot. More on that later. Since we started this last year I have seen some of our graduates become active in one or more clubs and are looking to advance their license class. I cannot say enough that mentoring is and needs to be an important part of the radio journey. These graduates are also promoting the hobby already which is what this section REALLY needs! Keep up the fine work and thanks to those that work with me in making this a success.

I truly hope again that everyone has a fabulous Holiday Season. Always remember to look beyond the chaos and embrace the true meaning of the season.

Yours truly and Thank you!
Ray AA1SE

November Section Manager Report

Hello, here we go again. Silly Season is approaching once again! I have a feeling the wish list will include heating oil, electricity, etc. One can also think that as uncertainty is gripping the world, how many of us are thinking about radio as a vehicle for international goodwill, or a means to relay a message telling a loved one that they are ok. We as operators have to ask, “are we ready?”

Right now, the league’s EMCOMM manager, Josh Johnston with Fred Kemmerer and Marcia, KW1U along with others are working on NTS 2.0 to invigorate and modernize traffic handling. Messages have gone out to section officials where we report in as to how and when we receive the messages. The plan is to get NTS back into ARES and working as a unit once again.

Regarding ARES in WMA, it is still in a void. I will admit that I have not been focusing on that is due to frustration. After nearly 5 years of trying with no interest, I changed my direction to teaching license classes and mentoring new hams in hopes that the new hams will be active and therefore participate in ARES activities. Don’t get me wrong, there is a number of members who are active with various aspects of EMCOMM and I truly appreciate it. There just isn’t enough of us to achieve what we need to be an effective group. Served agencies will not consider us in their plans unless we are better organized. If you read this and have ideas, comments, etc. please, let me know.

The Big E for 2022 is in the can. Now the feedback is being looked at and the general feeling from those who responded is they want to see it again next year and want to contribute again. This does speak volumes and is very encouraging. We learned a lot from this one and will improve on it. So keep it on your mind if you wish to get involved.

The Quaboag Valley Amateur Radio Club ran a tech class using the ARRL/ARDC grant they received and received 16 new licensees as a result! That was a stellar effort and they are not stopping there. Keep up the good work!

Speaking of classes, the WMA Train and Test group is now conducting Tech classes with a VE session on Dec 3rd. There are other license classes I hear are in the works. I encourage all clubs if they have anyone interested to point them in that direction, or maybe have a class within. Of course, getting the license is one thing. As I constantly remind those that mentoring them and getting them on the air is an important part of the learning process.

If you haven’t noticed, there has been some great activity on 12 and 10 meters as well as some serious ducting being heard on 2 meters. Take advantage of it to play radio or to teach that new ham.
The are a couple of websites I have been promoting to clubs because they have a growing library of presentations and they actively encourage us to use them. They are www.k8zt.com and www.ratpac.us. The presentations are recorded and slide decks are available. It is a great resource so check it out.
I truly hope everyone has a fantastic Thanksgiving if I don’t see you before then. Please visit nediv.arrl.org and this site often to stay up to date on what’s going on.

Until next month, 73.
Ray-AA1SE

Section Manager Report October 2022

Hello! What a month! As most of you know, a lot of us has been immersed in the Big E Project and in a few days it’s all over. This has been a long time in the making and even though there were a couple of hiccups, the majority of us consider this a huge success. The ARISS event went off without a hitch and received great reviews, and still is! There were key people who contributed an enormous amount of time, resources and energy and each one of us should give them thanks for a fine job! That goes without saying all those who contributed in some ways, the people who manned the booth. The behind the scenes planning and the multitude of Zoom meetings, our director and his wife and our vice director, the production and stage crew, New England Sci-Tech, and so many more and those I may have missed, a huge thank you!!!! Amateur Radio thanks you!

Now to plan next year??? Maybe? We will be looking for a LOT of feedback to see. After years of silence, Western Mass stepped up big time!

During this time, I have also been working with our Train and Test group to plan and prepare for our Tech Class License Course. This will kick off on October 18th. Any one you know wishing to take the class can email me or to backhoeken@yahoo.com. We have been and continuing to work on improvements to provide a quality course for the students.

After 9 months if not more, it looks like my aa1se@arrl.org is now fixed! Just as an insurance and test, if you email me keep using ray.aa1se@gmail.com and cc the .org address.

As September rolled in, I am happy to report all the WMA clubs are back to live meetings. Some are continuing to do hybrid meetings with Zoom. As I mentioned before, GO to the meetings. Don’t go on zoom with a bowl of popcorn on the couch. Bring the popcorn with you!

A special shout out to the Quaboag Valley Amateur Radio Club in Warren, MA. The club has revitalized and restructured themselves and is also a recipient of one of the ARRL/ARDC club grants. It was also great to see them participate at the booth. Congrats to them! Keep up the good work!

When things quiet down a little I will be back to visiting the clubs. I like in-person but will also do Zoom on occasion. Remember, keep me informed as to what’s going on in your club. I think we gained a lot of momentum from the Big E so let’s build on that.

I hope everyone has a great month. Again thanks to those who contributed to the Big E.

73,
Ray AA1SE

Section Manager Report September 2022

Hello! Welcome to September! School’s back in session, vacation’s over and club meetings are back for another season.

Just last weekend we had the HamXposition in Marlboro. And as is the theme for this Summer. HOT! I even added an extra treat and volunteered to help set up. I was looking for someone to baste me as I was cooking out there! There were a number of improvements made and still more tweaking needs to be made, (like vendors) the event I feel went well and reports were forums were well received with great subjects presented. As always, it was such a treat to see and talk to many people there. A number have come to me to compliment and thank me for my efforts which is greatly appreciated.

Dave Minster NA2AA, our CEO has been putting forth a great effort in engaging and improving the league to be positioned for the future. As you know the sad reality was, they let it go to a point where a lot of work has to be done to get it to where it should be. These efforts do take time and we as a membership need to be patient while this goes on. Dave has announced 2023 to be focused on volunteerism. This is something that I am very interested in what they do. As you may know, my section and clubs have been struggling to get people to step forward to help out. Section positions are empty as well as club leadership. This is not right and for clubs it could become the untimely end to them. One reason people state is they are busy. During my 10 plus years as club president, 3 years as section manager, I have worked a full-time job, managed 2 houses and my elderly mother. I could use that reason many times but don’t. I’m not saying our situation is unique, other sections and clubs are experiencing the same thing. There are those who grouse and grumble about something then crawl back into their shack and do nothing. My response is, if you don’t like something, get involved! Fix it! Improve it! Be the team player and not be a piece of sandpaper.

In just over 2 weeks we will be in full swing with the BIG E event and glad to say plans are falling into place nicely. There is still a need to have some more volunteers man the booth and assist in promoting the hobby to the public. Remember, this could benefit your club. Go to the https://nediv.arrl.org/ website and go to the links to learn more.

With the new season, I am going to try to visit your clubs personally. Some are time and distance challenged unfortunately. If you are running hybrid or Zoom meetings, email me the links and also email me your newsletters to let me know what your club is up to. I am always interested in what’s going on. If you have a need or inquiry, shoot me an email at ray.aa1se@gmail.com. My ARRL.ORG address does not work. Hope you have a prosperous club season and hope to see you at an event.

73 Ray-AA1SE

Section Manager Report August 2022

Hello WMA. Welcome to August! I don’t know if you also heard the sonic boom, that’s how fast this year has been going!

Our top story is of course The Big E. Larry W1AST, Fred AB1OC. And myself along with others have been immersed in getting this to be a quality experience for all. Not only have I been building the background displays and counter for the booth, but I have also been tapped to coordinate the stage event for the ARISS contact. Larry is still seeking volunteers to help in all aspects of this event especially manning the booth for various shifts. Those that do volunteer will get their parking and entrance fees covered. Those that do wish to see the ARISS contact and if they bring their license will get in free. (still have to pay parking) Details are still going on so keep up to date by going to the https://nediv.arrl.org/project-big-e/ You can email Larry at w1ast@arrl.net with any questions.

Not to be overshadowed is the other “biggie” which is our upcoming New England Convention in Marlboro August 26-28. This year we are also having the Hudson Division along with us. Reports are the ticket sales have already exceeded last year. Vendor participation looks a lot better too. Go to https://dev.hamxposition.net/welcome-to-hamxposition.html for more info and to purchase tickets. Volunteers are also needed, go to https://dev.hamxposition.net/volunteer.html You get free admission for just 4 hours of your time.

As summer soldiers on and transitions to fall and clubs start to begin their new seasons, now is the time to start thinking about programs for the season. Guest speakers, activities, etc. Try to have a good plan in place to enhance meeting attendance. Members, consider volunteering to help your club. Many clubs struggle to keep a full staff of officers to make it run well. Remember, one per cannot do it all and believe it or not, it’s not rocket science! You may learn a thing or two along the way!

One thing I have been doing during some of my down times is going through some old QST’s that were given me. Lately I have read ones from the mid 60’s. Even though I don’t go through it cover to cover, it is interesting to see how the league as well as the hobby have evolved and how the times have influenced its content. (When was the last time you saw a radio ad with a person smoking a pipe?) I think its good to look back in time and learn from it. For instance, did you know the son of a past US President was the President of the league? QST had a few pages devoted to YL’s in radio. Can the past have an influence in what we do now? I think so!

To wrap this up, I hope to see you at any of the mentioned events. Consider volunteering to these and even to the openings here in WMA staffing. Start planning your club seasons and learn from the past.

See you next month!
73, Ray AA1SE

Section Managers Report for July 2022

Hi everyone, Field Day 2022 is in the books. My day started at 0730 when I started my travels to Windsor Ma. which is between Peru and Hinsdale. It is a pleasant ride with hills and farms etc. There we find our first stop, the NOBARC club. They were setting up for a 4A effort. Marcia KW1U also stopped by there later on.

From there I visited Franklin, Hamden, Southwick, Central Ma. They all looked to be having active events. Did I mention it was HOT out there! Kudo’s to those who were out in the sun dropping large amounts of sweat on the ground setting up and taking down. Sunday, I visited WECT in Worcester and finished the day at Montachusett and helped with the take down there. Thanks to CMARA for treating me to their dinner Saturday. Montachusett made me happy as there was a new Ham operating a station and her 12-year-old daughter operating the GOTA station. Now that’s mentoring! I think she is going to study for her Tech license soon. She loved it! I hope all the Field Days had a similar experience. I would love to hear about it.

Speaking of mentoring, the license classes I have been conducting with a group of instructors just keeps surprising me. A couple of weeks ago we had a VE session in Gardner and 14 people arrived to take the test, 8 of which were our students. All 14 passed their intended tests! Many of them passed with 100% and a number of them did attempt the next level. One person was 2 questions shy of the trifecta! 2 of our students passed at earlier VE sessions. My hats off the the group of instructors who have put forth the time and effort to tune and tweak our course structure to provide a quality course. We have been developing it ongoing. We’re new and we are learning also. The reward so far is great! We are planning future classes for all 3 license classes.

The Big E event is moving right along and I am happy to report that they received a 10,000-dollar grant to help finance the project. There is so much going into this and with events of this magnitude is help is always needed. Please go to https://nediv.arrl.org/project-big-e/ to learn more. We are also reaching out to all New England states as well. This effort benefits Ham Radio, our clubs, and more.

I have been looking at the league’s web to see if the new ham listings have come out and there has been nothing. The FCC is issuing callsigns and I am not sure if the League is getting them. I have not inquired about it as I know there are issues ongoing. My arrl.org email address is still broke. Please use aa1se@arrl.net or ray.aa1se@gmail.com to contact me.

I hope everyone has a great summer. Do some good radio while cooking those burgers and dogs while working on your tan!

73,
Ray AA1SE

Section Manager’s Report May 2020

   Hello! We made it through another month. Being busy make it move quickly. Springtime has certainly sprouted activity out here. Question is…where are you? 

   I write this after a little “recovery” from Near-Fest. It was so great to see you all out there. I was there at 0530 waiting to get in to secure my favorite spot. It was great to have Brad W1BCC and Aaron KF1G and his family there alongside me and provided some assistance. Gary K1YTS and crew stopped by for a visit along with Barry W1HFN from MARA. It really is more fun when you are with friends. Next one is October 14 and 15. Hope you can make it then.

   Larry, W1AST has started the promotion of the BigE radio event planned in September. There is so much to do before then. See the flyer below and consider volunteering for some of it. This event does need a lot of people from ALL of New England.

   Some time ago I acquired a bunch of old QST’s that I have been going through and I came across several articles going back over 25 years and more concerning the state of Ham Radio and new ham mentoring and the “old timers” attitude towards new licensees, also with the general lack of participation in clubs. This kind of struck a nerve as I have been a strong advocate for some time now about the very thing. I am sure all of you who read this are probably tired of me preaching about it. The above statement says it all as to why I do! Sadly, I still hear reports of new hams not feeling welcome when they try to join in. I literally heard a comment stating they should be doing more but “I’m too lazy,” In a room of brand-new hams. My question is what had changed in the last 25 plus years? Not much I guess, just the people and the dynamics. To those that are active in many aspects of the hobby, do not let this discourage you, stay with it. If we can get more positives in the mix, it will drown the negatives out. Don’t be afraid to lean on others for ideas, encouragement, etc. This is a hobby of many investments, not just radio’s, antenna’s etc. You invest in people, community, the hobby. Believe me when I say this, I have to remind myself of this every day!

   Clubs at this time are now focusing their meetings on elections and field day. New(er) hams can benefit from this as they can develop skills at field day and grow in the hobby. It can help develop good relations to the club they participate with. Clubs are also looking for leaders to take them into the future. Some clubs have been successful in dusting it off and adding new things to make it lively again inspiring others to join in. There is a huge pool of people inside and out who are willing to help those who take on those positions. Give it a try, you can be a gamechanger.

   That’s about it for now, better get off the soapbox before it caves in hi-hi! Seriously, if I can do it, you can do it. I am by no means a rocket scientist. I utilize my imagination and my resources around me. Joe Dirt (re: the movie) said it best. Life’s a garden….dig it!

Till next month!

Ray AA1SE

Section Manager’s Report April 2022

Greeting’s earthlings! As you may know I had formed a group back in January with 3 clubs to conduct license classes and VE testing. I am pleased to report that the Tech. class has completed and out of 12 people who took the test, 10 passed and 3 of them also took the General and passed also! I think I can call this a success. We are now planning on doing a General License Class. We had the luxury in using the ARRL PowerPoint slides for the tech class, but found there is none for the general and extra class. We are now looking to develop a course ourselves. Quite challenging since we plan on a May 3rd start. With the success of this program, I am now inviting all clubs who has anyone wish to volunteer to teach some of the classes via Zoom to give me an email. The goal for this is to be a growing program and be self sufficient to provide opportunities for growth in new hams for our clubs. I also want a group of teachers to share the task so as not to burn out others causing the program to collapse.

   Earlier in March I attended the Mt. Tom Hamfest in Chicopee and I think there was an air of excitement that we are now getting out and seeing friends face-to-face again. It was great to see everyone there. My hopes are that some clubs who are still shut out of their meeting places get open again, or possibly a new venue becomes available. Remember, GO to the meetings where you can, don’t rely on Zoom all the time. There is so much benefit to being there!

   So, April and warmer weather brings the thought of Field Day. It’s coming faster than you think. One thing to keep in mind is with new hams getting licensed, the first thing you need to do is mentor them right at the beginning. What a way to enhance that and invite the new hams to Field Day. They can use the club callsign and work HF and learn great skills. That is how I got into it, on top of Mt Wachusett. Do something different, hold a class on a mode, antenna, etc. Try a different approach to Field Day. QRP, home-brew, satellites? It’s not all about the scores, it’s having fun! (I’m sure some may argue that point!)

   While I’m in the neighborhood, here is the list of new hams. Each club should look at this and reach out to them and welcome them and introduce them to your club and mentor.

   That’s all for me for now. What have you got going on? Let me know.

Report for 2022-03-02

Ralph B Cerreta, KC1QND
PO Box 749
Cheshire, MA 01225-0749

Michael Leo, KC1QKM
110 Pearl Hill Rd
Fitchburg, MA 01420-2004

Evan Hollander, KC1QKB
70R Milk St
Blackstone, MA 01504-1216

Mozart M Telles, KC1QMR
30 Douglas Hill Way
Douglas, MA 01516-2257

Howard Shpegel, AC1MN
98 Mary Catherine Dr
Lancaster, MA 01523-2958

Nichole R Anderson, KC1QMD
164 Leicester St
North Oxford, MA 01537-1006

Garret Bratica, KC1QJM
2801 Windsor Ridge Dr
Westborough, MA 01581-2358

Christopher P Pinto, KC1QKI
58 Wildrose Ave
Worcester, MA 01602-1123

Benjamin L Antupit, KC1QMU
100 Institute Rd
# 1213
Worcester, MA 01609-2247

Noel H Nieves, KC1QLQ
143 Beacon St
Apt 1
Worcester, MA 01610-1583

73, Ray-AA1SE

Section Manager’s Report March 2022

   Hello! I don’t know about you, but this has been one crazy month. I think they took the two days and stuffed those activities into the rest of the month. I am looking forward to seeing you at the Mt. Tom Hamfest this Saturday, Bob, K1YO, Smitty, KC1IKA Larry, W1AST and myself will have tables there. Should be a fun time there.

   This month, the Montachusett, Mohawk and CMARA clubs headed by myself (or instigated lol) in a joint effort have started a Zoom Tech License class which is currently attended by 10 students. The goal for this is not only to get people licensed, but also actively mentored to get them on the air and active in the hobby. My hope is this group will evolve and expand. We are learning ourselves and am working to streamline the courses and offer an effective way to present it. If anyone is interested in joining, send me an email.

   It has been observed by club presidents as well as myself there has been a distinct lack of participation among the membership in activities, testing sessions and classes, etc. That is one of the reasons I started the classes. I fully understand the lingering effects of Covid and the impact it has on what we do. We as hams are taught “if it don’t work, fix it!” That also means adapting to a situation. This should also include club activity. Clubs are dying because people are sitting back assuming someone else will do the job or plan the next activity. One phrase club Presidents would love to hear is “What can I do to help?” I know I would! Zoom has in my opinion opened up a lot of opportunities to give clubs not just meetings, but a plethora of content for presentations, trainings, etc. Don’t use it as a crutch. Online or offline, help out your club or you may just click on Zoom one day and it will be gone.

   The League has been active lately in getting key people onboard to bring more communication and resources to the members. One such resource is available grant money. The ARDC has provided the League with a sizable chunk of money and is making it available to clubs. Clubs that have certain projects going and need funding can benefit for up to 30,000 dollars. Stay tuned for more details as they are still working out the details. This is not part of the ARRL Foundation grant program. Stay tuned for more information as it comes.

   As we all look forward to the warmer weather, take some time to try something new, TEACH someone something new. Get together with others and work stations, do a demonstration, etc OUTSIDE. Like my Mama used to say, “the fresh air will do you good!”

Take care everyone.

Ray AA1SE

Section Manager’s Report February 2022

Hello, I hope you take a few moments out of your digging out to have a read. We have not had a storm like that for some time now. I hope all is safe and well.

The past two storms our ARES and Skywarn groups have activated themselves and conducted nets on 3944 kHz LSB and gathered storm reports for the National Weather Service. Bob, K1YO and Rob, KD1CY came up with this idea to not only use this to provide information to the NWS but also to use it as a training/testing platform for ARES members to see what works or doesn’t, and what do we need to improve on it. I think this was a great idea and my thanks to all who participated. Watch for further HF nets in future storms, usually run on the bottom of each hour.

The Boston Marathon is still looking for volunteers. The announcement is as follows:

Keep your eyes open on your email. ARRL New England Division Director Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC will be holding his first town hall meeting in February. It is refreshing to see communication from division leadership. This was pledged during his campaign and he promised to stick to it. He is already visiting club meetings.

We now have a new ARRL Director of Emergency Management in Josh Johnston, KE5MHV. He has a lofty task ahead of him. Currently he is working on moving to CT. He has been also answering as many emails as he can. Any EMCOMM emails should be copied to Ken Bailey, K1FUG as well.

As you are aware there has been a serious lack of trainings and testings for new hams in the area. One class is starting in Pepperell on the 31st. I have formed a group from the Montachusett, Mohawk and Central Ma clubs to start planning and conducting classes and testings. Our goal is to not only get new hams on board and to mentor them to get on the air, but to create a program that makes it easy to teach and to hopefully get others to become teachers as well. With any luck and some work, we can develop this into a successful and self-sustaining program. This is not restricted to these clubs either anyone wishing to join just send me an email at ray.aa1se@gmail.com

Just a quickie. The Marlboro hamfest will be held on Saturday Feb. 19 at the Charles Whitcomb School. Mask will be mandatory. Hope to see you there.

Lots of stuff going on as you can see. Keep in touch here and elsewhere to stay up to date.

Stay warm!
73 Ray-AA1SE