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

Section Manager Report November 2020

Hello everyone, it’s been kind of quiet out there lately, even the crickets aren’t saying much. The only thing that has been happening is some of our staff has resigned their post’s for various reasons. Some of it is that there has been little progress in plans and activities, etc. in the ARES department. Remember, we have been building our ARES group from ASHES- nothing! Bob, K1YO has been working many hours on many facets along with getting the staff together and along with some on board who have been contributing to put the program to functionality. Without volunteers who are willing to participate to get the movement moving better, it will be slow as snails. I have been continuously seeking people to help and I hear the deafening silence all the time. Keep in mind, we could get a blizzard this year of epic proportions with huge power outages and people seeking shelters and stranded in their homes. Ask yourselves this, Are we ready? The help wanted sign is out. To those who have been working hard with our group, again, many thanks for your efforts.

Earlier, I posted a member Ken, WB8PKK is putting together a venue where we will have tech classes and VE sessions during the months of January and February. The Masonic hall in Gardner has provided their dining hall with a new air filtration system to conduct the sessions. We have a number of people signed up for the sessions and am looking for volunteers to assist in teaching or conducting the testing. Give Ken a email at backhoeken@yahoo.com for more information. Additionally, the Boston chapter is expressing interest as well in getting something together and have invited the Eastern Mass section partners as well.

These sessions have become a controversial subject not just here but across the country. There are those that hold a very traditional approach to teaching and testing and expresses their opinion loudly of that. I, myself do like to embrace the traditional methods but understand there is also a need to adapt with the times. Remote testing and learning and other forms are getting to be the “norm” to get people taught and licensed. My take on this is to look at the other traditional method of making active hams. That’s Elmering! This was also embraced in times past and has since gone away. The way I see it, regardless of how we get people interested and licensed under the FCC guidelines, Elmering and Mentoring those to become grounded in the hobby will be the key in the success in the hobby. Those who participate in this can actually teach those traditional methods they embrace so tightly.

That was a mouthful this month. I really hope you give things a thought and see about doing something which can get a lot of positives and growth in this great hobby for all!

I hope you all have a safe, healthy Thanksgiving in the best way you can.

73,
Ray KB1LRL

Section Manager Report October 2020

Hello fellow practitioners of the ether! I’m starting to hear rumors that Santa is only giving sanitizing supplies this year! Makes you wonder don’t it?

If you haven’t found out yet we now have a NE Division Vice Director and that is Phil Temples, K9HI. You may have seen him around or talked to him at the former Boxboro convention. Usually when I see him, he is either running around like a nut, resolving an issue, or talking to lots of people. Currently he is trying to put some kind of virtual replacement to our Hamvention in place. I don’t know about you, but I miss those events. I really hope they come back next year.

One thing that Phil has done is launch the NE Div. website! You can see it at https://nediv.arrl.org/. This is for ALL of New England. Take a moment to have a look. A great start to the new appointment. Welcome Phil!

The Eastern section and myself have had some inquiries about Ham Callsign vanity plates from the MA. RMV Apparently new requests have been stalled due to an upgrade in the system back in 2019-ish. I do not know if it applies to other forms of vanity plates. I am curious how many out there have had this issue going on. Please let me know. The section leaders, and the ARRL really have no influence in getting this resolved and Covid likely have pushed this on a low priority as it is supported by third party software. (Unconfirmed sources, FYI) If you are having difficulty with this, best thing is to contact the Registrar of Motor Vehicles.

As you may be aware October and November will be fairly busy as ARES and MARS will be conducting Section Emergency Test (SET). MARS will be including Amateur Operators for their test. Stay tuned to this site and others for information. Anyone is welcome to participate. You can email Bob, K1YO about our SET and if you wish to join in.

I hope everyone is doing good out there and being safe. Radio is certainly a cure for loneliness and boredom if you are stuck at home. I know some of you still had vacations and hope you had a great time. Playing radio outside of your norm allows checking out new antennas, new modes etc. Hope it was worked into your plans.

I hope everyone has a great month!

73,
Ray KB1LRL

 

Section Manager Report September 2020

Hi Gang, we are now rounding the corner into September. I will admit it was a hot summer.

With the arrival of September comes the opening of some clubs starting up their meeting’s. I’m sure most, if not all will be virtual for now. Just as a reminder the WMA website now has resources to aid in various aspects of your club. The links are below:

For speakers:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1qLesHfit7-elLKXI-e8sQfpiKtNLCmyTirWFdALmRWE/edit#gid=1857305376

For new hams: 
https://wma.arrl.org/western-massachusetts-section-mentoring-program.html

Nets to try out: (let’s keep it up to date!)
https://wma.arrl.org/media/files/netlisting/WMA_Ham_Nets.pdf

Note: I do know the COVID Breakfast nets are now suspended. Hopefully they will no longer have to be used.

These are resources for you. Please keep them up to date and accurate please. Contact myself or the webmaster to get changes made.

The summer I have been busy setting up and learning some digital modes to support ARES. This is part to help Bob K1YO in testing capabilities and what works best in the area. The other is I am building a versatile EMCOMM station with a FT 991-a I just bought (nice rig by the way!). Things are moving along and what I am learning will hopefully provide someone interested in digital EMCOM technical assistance. Anyone is welcome to participate and encouraged to do so.

This month I am going to do a shoutout to the Mohawk Club in Gardner. They have spent the summer in getting their repeater groomed and set up with Fusion and DMR. They actually used part of it to do a demonstration on Zoom. It was quite informative. The other thing they are doing is one person has stepped up and will be doing a CW ops course aside from the usual one which fills up quickly. I will be participating in it to see if I can start using it on the air. This is a great example of a club that was struggling and with a committed group of members, is coming up with ideas to increase participation, activity, and add membership. I am looking forward to see the results from their efforts. Great job all!

When your club has their meetings, drop me an invite so I can pay a visit and say hi.
That’s all for this month. Like they said in the seventies..”Keep on Truckin'”!

Best 73,
Ray, KB1LRL