Section Manager Report April 2023

Ahhhhh….Spring! May it last a long time. At least for 3 months! I’m sure you are looking outside and writing up the list of repairs, cleanup, tree cutting, etc. especially from the most recent storm. I kind of embarrassed myself when I could not assist in storm reporting as my power went out for 12 hours and no backup was in place. Lesson learned. I also have antennas to fix and battery power re-installed and mobile set up. I’ll be busy.

Mixed in with the list of to-do’s is that toward the end of the month I will be having surgery in Worcester and will be sidelined for a couple of weeks at least. I will do whatever I can parked in front of a PC but emails may be delayed.

A busy month is in store as activities are ramping up. First of all, the VOTA W1AW/1 Massachusetts event is April 12. There are spots available if you are interested in operating. You can do it as a group or by yourself and any mode. Contact Larry, W1AST at w1ast@arrl.net to sign up. Let’s all have some fun and make the state proud! Speaking of Larry, he is also heading up the upcoming Big E event once again and is looking for volunteers now. Planning is now heating up as you may know as this takes a lot of time to line up everything to cover a 16-day event. I will be doing what I can and I hope you and your club can help as well. Let Larry know to volunteer.

April 28 and 29 is our favorite, Near-Fest at the Deerfield NH Fairgrounds. I have enjoyed going there and lately have been challenged getting there recently. I hope you can get out there and enjoy the area, the people and the food.

March 28 I will be kicking off the WMA Train and Test Extra class course. This is one that does not get taught a lot as it is a large undertaking. This course has actually went national and many (69 signups to date) around the country have signed up. Our teaching is actually done by a group so it is taught by those who are subject matter experts and the others can chime in to provide “color comments”. There is a need for a few volunteers to help teach the classes. This is on Zoom and you do not have to be on every session. If you are interested contact me and I can provide further information.

Field Day planning is ramping up within the clubs and one of the challenges I have been hearing about is having participants to help in setting up, take down and various other functions. The natural reason for one is those that have been doing it year to year is they are getting on in years. One thing that can help is breaking out from the norm and trying something different that makes it easier. Using this as a promotional tool to attract hams and non-hams alike. Getting the word out beyond the club can help as well.

That’s it for this month. I hope you get outside and enjoy Spring and while your at it bust out some gear and get some Q’s in your log.

See you soon!
Ray-AA1SE

Section Manager Report March 2023

Hello, a busy February was in store for me with meetings, visits and planning. This seems to be the preview of what the rest of the year is going to be like.

Hamfests are firing up. We just had the Marlboro Hamfest and that was fun. Nice to see a lot of familiar faces there. The turnout was really good also. The next one is March 4 in Chicopee for the Mt Tom club, and further down the road is Near-Fest at the end of April.

I have been visiting club meetings when I can, mostly on Zoom. I did go to the Quaboag Club as I was invited to do a presentation there. I applaud their efforts in the revitalization of that group. Keep at it! Also I presented at the Mt. Tom club live. I do have other’s lined up as well.

I attended the division Town Hall meeting with our director, Fred AB1OC. He touched base on the grant program and the VOTA event. Also he talked about highlights about the board meeting and some things they are working on at the league. Looks like they have a busy year as well. Good stuff coming down the road.

One of the things I have been involved with is the NTS 2.0 project. Over 30 people in 5 groups are now working on various tasks to revitalize this time honored function and get it back to modern methods and promote it to the newer generation of hams. Trainings and on-air activities are in the works.

On March 28 The Western Mass Train and Test Group will be launching the Extra Class License Course. Much work is going into this as we need to get the program put together. As you may know, last year was our first year and it was a pretty good success. We have worked in making it somewhat unique which helps in preventing the “glassy eyes” that happens sometimes. I am looking to add some more instructors to the group. Email me at ray.aa1se@gmail.com if you are interested.

That’s about it for now. Remember to be a mentor to the new hams and get them on the air and active in your clubs.

73,
Ray- AA1SE

Section Manager’s Report February 2023

Ed: Due to a website issue, this is posted late. Ray got this to me on time, sorry for the technical issue.

Hello, I certainly hope that January isn’t an indicator of the whole year, I’ll go hide somewhere! It all started with my primary computer going bye-bye and it’s been challenging all month since.

We were met with some back to back storms which in itself were not huge, but it created tree and power line damage which required nets to get going and monitor the situation. Thanks to those who participated in getting information passed along. Our new SEC Chuck WS1L has been busy gathering information and looking to see what and where we need to work on to get ARES back to where it should be. Needless to say, help is needed. Please consider volunteering for a position or just be active in net’s, public service, etc. New hams just getting their licenses have often expressed interest in EMCOMM, here’s your opportunity.

Clubs have been active with meetings in various forms which is good. One challenge is getting speakers and having an agenda to work with. Clubs with newsletters are content challenged. A lot of important elements for a healthy club is key to a successful club. If you are a member, don’t assume someone else will do the job. People handling multiple tasks get burned out real quick. Mentoring can help in a lot of it. Getting involved goes a loooong way!

Clubs and other groups are starting VE sessions again which is great! I do wish to ask that you have a mentoring plan and to introduce the “newbie’s” to the clubs and to someone who can get them started. Doing that consistently will pay dividends!. Also, to those conducting exams, there are resources available to promote your session. The Western Mass ARRL has a Facebook page you can post to. If you send me the information I will post it to this website as well as you can submit it to the nediv.arrl.org website. You can also post classes as well.

Another thing I wish to ask of the clubs is to promote the WMA ARRL website more. It is frustrating when I get an email or question about something that I have been mentioning or promoting on that site. It just tells me not many are reading the postings I put in. Anyone reading this, please spread the word.

It looks like the Big E will be returning this September. Larry W1AST is starting his search for volunteers. Keep that in mind as time moves on. We are definitely going to work on improving things now that we have learned what worked and did not.

Bands are really hopping right now and many stations are looking for contacts. I hope you are getting on the air and taking advantage of the band conditions. VOTA is something that can augment your radio enjoyment. Combine it with POTA and SOTA. It’s all good!

Until next month. Hope to see you a a meeting or hamfest somewhere.

73,
Ray-AA1SE

New WMA Amateurs from December 2022

Please welcome the recently licensed amateur radio operations in the WMA section!

Daniel Tereso, KC1SGB
4R Archie St
Chicopee, MA 01020-1702

Eric J Phinney, KC1SHM
197 Bumstead Rd
Monson, MA 01057-9780

Mike R Balestri, KC1SEW
486 Cold Spring Ave
West Springfield, MA 01089-3765

Steven Hilliard, KC1SFO
98 Douglas Rd
Gardner, MA 01440-1860

Edmund L Bilodeau, KC1SFD
27 Ridgewood Ln Apt 24
Gardner, MA 01440-2029

Ezrah C Itkowsky, KC1SGJ
44 Juniper Brook Rd
Northborough, MA 01532-2343

Section Manager Report January 2023

Hello everyone, Happy New Year! I have some breaking news for you all. Please join me in welcoming Chuck Chandler, WS1L as the new Section Emergency Coordinator. Chuck is from N. Adams and has a background in law enforcement. He is now retired but works part time with the Williamstown PD. I look forward to working with him in getting ARES reformed and functioning again.

2022 was certainly a busy year for us and am pleased with the uptick in activity. Some of which were brought on by the new director in Fred, AB1OC bringing his visions to fruition, and to Larry, W1AST for his efforts in bringing ham radio back to the Big E. Again, I want to thank all who participated in these efforts, near and far. We are looking to doing another event again in September.

Another item of interest is outreach, training and testing which have been dormant since Covid hit. The Quaboag Vallery Amateur Radio Club has regrouped, won a grant and has had successful license classes. I have formed a group, WMA Train and Test and have had success as well. I’m sure there are others but are keeping it a secret. Bringing in new hams is great and I am constantly reminding them to mentor those to get them on the air and active in their clubs. Please consider being part of the mentors performing that vital function. Every month I post on this site the list of new hams. You should take those that are near your club and reach out to them and invite them to the meetings.

2023 we will be looking to build on last year. With these, there are new things going on. One of Mr. Kemmerer’s initiatives is the revamping of NTS, being called NTS 2.0. This is a nation-wide program to get NTS in a better place and working better as a vital function for the modern era.

Another project starting up is the RFI group consisting of a group that is looking to help resolve interference and noise issues in the sections. This is a local (NE) effort but if successful could go national. They received a grant which is purchasing the equipment. Training starts in January.

The league has introduced Volunteers on the Air. A year long event similar to the 2014 one for the centennial. Go to https://www.arrl.org/volunteers-on-the-air to see the details.

So, what will you be doing for 2023? Can’t say there is nothing to do. Volunteer for a staff position, ARES, NCS for a net, traffic handling, take an office for a club, learn a new mode. (I’m still learning CW and getting into building things more) The list is endless. Being active on the air is great and not only being on the air is part of mentoring, but we are also protecting our spectrum by using those bands.

I hope you have a great year and again thank you for 2022!

73,
Ray AA1SE

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