Section Manager’s Report June 2024

Rest in peace MFJ and You Do It Electronics. I don’t know about you; free enterprise and small business seems to be dying rapidly. I think the advancements of technology has a bad side when you look at a computer and just order something. No customer service, no travel, large corporations just getting fatter and fatter without a care. Small business just doesn’t have a chance. Sad. End of rant.

Already halfway through the year. Yikes! Here comes Field Day. As per previous years. I will be doing “the tour.” I wonder if the Hampden Country Radio Club will invite Yogi Bear this year? As usual I will attempt to visit each one. I know where most of you will be, if any have changed venues let me know. Make sure you put yourself in the ARRL Field Day Locator.

I made the pilgrimage to Dayton this year. I spent a good amount of time at the ARRL booth answering questions and meeting many hams from all over. Nice to see some of the locals too. It was a great crowd and I did get some toys. I did leave there a little poorer, but I felt a bit invigorated as well.

Speaking of the ARRL, they have been dealing with a serious IT issue that has impacted multiple aspects of their system. They have been quiet about it as the last update was on the 22nd. I really hope the league and the directors look at this issue and try to get a solution to not only the system issue but also the personnel issue for that department.

If your club is looking for something to recognize an accomplishment by one of your members, there are a number of certificates available for download to print. Get some fancy cardstock and present one to them. There are a few like Mentor award, Ragchewer, etc. More are being developed and some are reserved for officials like me. Go to the ARRL’s First Contact Award page and have a look.

Our HamXposition in Marlboro is winding up to out do last year. They have been working hard to bring you the most bang for your buck there. A lot of comments were the commercial vendors not being present. Very true! So far this year they have secured FlexRadio, Elecraft and some others. They are also having a Mini Contest University from K3LR. The Space Weather Woman will be the Saturday banquet speaker. Tickets are now on sale – go here to buy them. Help keep this convention growing. Who knows, maybe it will rival Orlando, Huntsville!

Summer is here and I hope in your plans you are going out to play some radio. POTA I am sure will be really active as the popularity is booming and only growing. Have a great, safe summer!

73,
Ray AA1SE

Section Managers Report May 2024

Hello, it has been a relatively quiet month of April, but on the other hand it was busy. I guess the big one is the Boston Marathon. That event came and went very successfully. From my seat, things went a lot smoother than ever. Everyone knew what to do and how to do it. Kudos and thanks to all those who woke up super early and helped out in the event.

One club that has been very dormant was the WPI club. This club has been around since 1920. They are now coming back to life which is fantastic. They do have a wrinkle though is they discovered an Asbestos problem in the station so they are closed until they fix it. They have been announcing nets and activities so take a moment and support them by checking into one of them.

A while back I announced that Phil K9HI was introducing an activity called Project Ascend which was active recruiting, outreach and mentoring resources, etc. An application to ARDC was submitted for a grant and sadly it got turned down. This pretty much killed the project. I think he had something with this concept. Can a section, or a club or clubs put something like that together? YES! It does take time, resources and willing participants but it is to grow the hobby. To provide new hams the guidance to get on the air, to welcome them to the hobby. Teaching new hams today are the mentors for tomorrow. I am not opposed to hearing someone’s idea about this. I have a staff of tech specialists who would love to help a ham with a tech issue.

Speaking of staff, have you ever thought about being a volunteer for the Western Ma section? I do have a number of positions that need filling and our ARES program needs people as well. Really, the big requirement is they are active and participating! Assisting me in projects that may crop up. One position is a Asst Section Manager to visit clubs, reporting to me or even coming up with a cool idea. I would love to have one that knows their way around a website. Gil WK1H does a great job with this site, but can use some help as well as he has job, family, etc. Having someone like this can also help with clubs and even myself develop a more attractive website which interacts with our social media stuff. SEC Chuck WS1L needs DEC’s and EC’s. We need people to help in developing an emergency communication system. There is a plan, but no one to help!

Another thing I am planning on is trying to get NTS traffic handling more established in WMA. Smoke signals don’t work anymore! There are nets that can restart traffic handling and maybe start it up to boost their own net activity. I am planning on setting up a training webinar to provide instruction on how to properly pass traffic. It will be conducted by current and experienced traffic handlers. More on that to follow.

Did you notice something? I didn’t start this off with mentioning the weather! I hope you enjoy my report and please give some thought as to helping this old buzzard out.

Thanks so much and 73,
Ray AA1SE

Section Manager’s Report April 2024

Wait for it…Wait… Where is Spring??? The Sun and warm! HURRY UP! That is the general feeling. Nice days but cold and rainy days warm. Wait for it.

I got some club visits in this month and am VERY happy to say that I am seeing some growth in attendance and in memberships. There was a number of new hams present as well. One highlight was the Quaboag Valley ARC. There was not a chair to be found. The town’s fire chief was there and very interested in ham radio in his department. Best of all was one ham GAVE a new ham a Yaesu FT DX 1200 radio in mint condition. He simply was not using it. Surely that is inspiration and incentive to get that extra in record time! Well done Quaboag. That is mentoring at it’s best! I can honestly say all club’s practicing mentoring is starting to reap rewards. Between the league, myself and others to promote it, is starting to pay off. The challenge….STAY WITH IT!

With April pretty much here the big talk around town is April 8 with the total eclipse event. There are some communities that are planning and getting ready for traffic and parking issues and other things that may have the potential to create a strain on their infrastructure. There will be a number of ham activities including a QSO party, Ham-Sci has some projects taking place and some others I am not aware of. Just be safe out there.

In the middle of the month on the 15th is the annual Boston Marathon. Approximately 300 hams from all around will be there to assist like they have been for many years. Hopefully it will be a smooth, incident free event and everyone will have fun. I volunteered for a net control position but I couldn’t break that force field, so I’ll be in transportation again.

The end of the month is the 2 day Near-Fest which is on the 25th and 26th. Yes, Thursday and Friday. A schedule error caused this and hopefully will be the only one. So, if you can, come on up Thursday and support this great hamfest. If not, see you Friday.

So, as you can see why we need that sunshine and warmth. Lot’s going on. I have a couple of antennas to work on and am sure you do too. The bands have been really hopping lately and I hope you are taking advantage of it, for your logs as well as showing ham radio and getting the new hams on the air.

Hope to see you out there in some fashion!

73,
Ray AA1SE

Section Manager’s Report March 2024

Well, hello! Miss me? I had originally planned to get this out after the Mt. Tom hamfest to report about it. Then I discovered I have a noise issue at my QTH I am tracking down. Next thing I see is Gil WK1H giving me a gentile nudge about my report and 10 days into the month. (Thanks Gil) Yep, forgetful played a part in this too.

Ok, we had 2 hamfest’s locally, one in Marlboro and then Mt.Tom. As usual it is always great to see everyone and meet some new ones along the way. Overall, it looked like both did really good and did not disappoint those who went. Some went in and took the test and the smiles was a good sign that we have some new hams in the ranks. My hopes are they have found a mentor to help them get on the air and learn more about our hobby and have joined a club. Veteran hams don’t wait to be asked. Reach out, extend your hand and make a new friend and teach them!

Going back to the noise issue I am having, for those that do have a problem there we have resources available. Rob Leiden K1UI is an New England Assistant Division Director is in charge of RF and Spectrum management. He has assembled teams in each section and are trained in hunting down issues with equipment received from an ARDC grant. There is also a web link available here. They do ask you do some legwork to try to locate it yourself. With information in hand and need help, contact the group in your section so they can get started. Mine appears to be powerline but am not positive yet. All I needed was a portable radio and tuned to an empty frequency. The Grundig (now Eton) radios are good due to the wide range of frequencies you can go to. Rob is interested in the cases so get feedback to him as the league is looking at this also to see if will go national.

For those that do not know yet, the league’s EC-001 and EC-016 is going away after April 1. If you are doing the course now you need to have it completed by then to get credit. A new course will be out that day and will be found in the ARRL Learning Center.

Another thing making a comeback is the book donation program. Clubs looking to donate books to a library can purchase for 250 dollars including shipping. Visit this League HQ page to find out more.

That about it for now. Hope everyone will welcome spring with enthusiasm and get those outdoor projects going. Make it a club event for more fun.

See you next month. 73,
Ray AA1SE

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 nediv.arrl.org 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 nts2.arrl.org 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.

73
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 w1ast@arrl.net, or to sign up go to: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1YdW57tREYSlDdPp8YSKBYUqNkl6OVrAbpcVCclvT4Hw

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,
Ray AA1SE

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