Section Manager Report May 2020

Hi fellow hams,

The saga continues, sadly, and they are still saying we are still not even nearly out of the woods. I truly hope everyone out there is safe, sane, and well.

I am currently in PA undergoing my training and I have been monitoring the situation and keeping up to date as far as ARES goes. SEC Bob K1YO has been really using his time to build up the staffing and getting the communications system worked on and soon will get some trainings started, especially with Winlink and another digital modes. The progress for an active ARES service here in WMA has been phenomenal. Bob has also been getting the staff together via Zoom for any status updates and I have been present at these meetings. Thankfully there has been nothing major and we are just in a monitor state.

We just launched our new Net Listings on the website. This was put together by John Nitzke, KF1KI whom I truly thank for the effort. I took the information that those of you sent to me and updated the list so it will be a fairly active and accurate listing. The EMA section will get a copy to post as well. EMA has one in a Google Calendar on their website. The plan is both sections will have a pretty good list of nets.

Now here’s the challenge……

Anyone who wishes to access one, more, or all of the nets, HF or on repeaters, get on and check in. Obviously location and propagation will play a factor. If you go to a scheduled net o the list and not hear anything, try again at another time, and once more. If after three times you hear nothing, report it to whomever, (me for this section) I will do my best to verify and if it does not exist, I will remove it. That way you can stretch your radio’s legs a bit and see how your station is performing. If you have a net you go to regularly and it’s not on the list send it to me to put in or if you can edit it in Word you can do it but keep it in the same format please. If there is great participation, we should have more net activity and a nice active listing to go to.

That should do it for now, Thanks to all who are doing their part in keeping the situation as safe and tolerable as possible. Especially those on the front lines who are facing it head on!

Most 73 to you all!
Ray, KB1LRL

Section Manager Report April 2020

Hi everyone. What a difference a month makes. Last month we were looking forward to meeting’s, hamfests, baseball, etc. Now the new sport that’s popular is toilet paper searches and keeping the kids occupied. Needless to say, this has become a sobering experience for a lot of people. This also brings a new respect for those into making (makers) and preppers. We as hams share similar interests as we are always working on our gear so it will work under bad conditions and situations. Now that we are hunkered down, I’m sure ham projects are getting worked on and caught up, and BETTER!

With the situation in place, clubs have had to cancel events and meetings. Members have been coming up with ways to stay active within the group. I have seen some new nets springing up and there is some online stuff as well. There is a WMA page on Facebook where clubs can share information and ideas. It is pretty secured so no junk will get in. Of course, any articles of interest to all can go to Gil, WK1H, Grant, KC1KCE, our new PIO, or myself. With that, The League as you know is all working from home and can be contacted via email. There have been questions regarding exam sessions that people have been preparing for. They are looking at this as well as other things to keep parts of these areas moving. There is chatter, although nothing confirmed that the Extra class question pool may get extended to cover those that were studying before the June 30 cutoff. I’ll keep you posted.

Some of you know of my latest act of insanity where I retired from my job and went to school and got my CDL. March 30 I will be out of state going to orientation and training with Schneider. When I am done, I will be going over the road over 37 states. This was a little premature but none of the local companies would not hire unless you have experience, despite the huge demand. I will still, the best I can continue to keep up to date, attend online meetings and answer emails and calls, etc. There is good forward momentum going on, I want to keep it going.

As I have mentioned in the past, I have always encouraged the advancement of Ham Radio in some form. Whether it’s learning a new mode, taking lessons on EMCOMM, building antennas, etc. If you have kids or grandkids, this is an excellent opportunity to “home school” them in science, or if you are good, math. This hobby richly promotes STEM, what a great opportunity while at home! While I am away and, on my downtime, I do plan on busting out the Morse Code cd’s and learning code…again! Let’s see where that gets me.

I hope everyone stays safe and healthy. With any luck we will be out of this and we get back to normal with the exception that we ALL, hams or not, have learned from this experience.

Thank you all and 73!

73,
Ray, KB1LRL

Section Manager Report March 2020

Hello Western Mass.  I’m sure by now we are starting to come out of hibernation and thinking warm thoughts which is what I hope to be a warm, sunny season coming up.

First of all, join me in welcoming Peter Mattice, KD2JKV to a new position as Assistant Section Manager.  Peter is currently one of the WMA Assistant Section Traffic Managers and will continue with that role as well.  Peter will be concentrating on the northwest corner and Berkshire county which I find to be a real challenge to get out there.  He also does a radio show and podcast dedicated to ham radio called Ham On! which is broadcasted on WTBR in Pittsfield every Wednesday at 9:00 AM.  I was a recent guest on his show and had fun with it!  Welcome Peter!

Hamfest’s are warming up! I was at the Marlboro hamfest and as usual was a great time. My next one is at Mt. Tom hamfest for Saturday, March 7th. With that will also be representatives for ARES and RACES for our section so stop by and say howdy!

On a personal note, a number of members are aware of my career change to a commercial truck driver. As of Jan 15, I did receive my Class A drivers license and have been looking for a position. The vast majority of local companies failed to respond to my applications except one. I will be driving over the road which will keep me out of state quite a bit. This will limit my appearances somewhat for a while and my intent is to keep an open line of communication. With any luck, I can still attend field day and Boxboro. (Oh, wait, HamExposition!) I need to see how things are with time. There is some great momentum going on and want to see it blossom.

For those who are not aware, Grant, KC1KCE has set up a Facebook account for our section. All are welcome to post club and public service events and other information as well. This is also linked to this website so when items like my report goes on this site, it populates to Facebook. This is to expand our information pipeline to get news and events out more. Thanks, Grant, for the stellar effort!

As you know, our Section has initiated a Mentoring program which ran into a little snag in the brochure we introduced. It has now been revised and approved and you will see it on the website for all to download and modify as needed for your club or event. I would love to get some feedback as to what you did and if this has a positive impact on the new ham.

Our resident Near-Fest creator, Mr. Mike W1RC came up with an idea where he created an email and with some of our members help, emailed 99.9% of the states police departments to educate them on ham radio exemption to give them clarity and to ensure with the distracted driving law which is now in effect. A number of departments replied with appreciation that they received the information. Keep in mind, if you are pulled over and you get a ticket, just take it and bring it up to the court. I do not anticipate a problem, but just in case. Thanks to all who assisted in the effort in getting the word out.

Boy, I had a mouthful to report this month! Please keep spreading the word according to Amateur Radio! Thank you all for a wonderful month.

73,
Ray, KB1LRL

Section Manager Report February 2020

Hello Western Ma. As I write this, reports are that Puxatawney Phil did not see his shadow. Early spring? Let’s see!

January 12 I met with other division officials with Fred K1VR in Springfield and Paul W1SEX, Bob K1YO, Aaron KC1CXX and myself introduced our mentoring program which included the distribution of our guide to give to people just getting their license which can be customized to their local area to provide club, and contact information. This was met with very good reviews and was well received. I also traveled to Newington on the 23rd with it and it received the same rave reviews. Unfortunately, there were some copyright protection issues with the original copy that we published here on the website, so until we edit some things to resolve that we had to remove it. I am now looking into a different structure to this and my intention is to bring back an elmering/mentoring program to get our new hams started and on the air. Hang in there.

Now that February has come upon us, our thoughts turn to Hamfest’s starting with Marlboro which is Feb 15. I will be there with my goodies. It is a shame that Framingham has stopped their hamfest. It was a good one and can only hope it comes back. Mount Tom ARA Hamfest is around the corner and I plan on being there as well. As some of you know, I am in the midst of a career change and the new job I get may pull me in a different direction. Speaking of hamfests, most, if not all are aware of the change to what we used to call Boxboro which has now moved to Marlboro at the Best Western for July 24-26. The word that I have been hearing is this is a very positive change as it can accommodate a lot more there to the point that a national convention can occur there. My wish to this is it will bring back vendors that have drifted away from us over recent years.

January also is the time the League board gets together for their regular board meeting and at this time the board minutes have not been approved and released as yet. Two things of note is the departure of Howard WB2ITX. The board did not elect him and Barry Shelly N1VXY is back in as interim. There is no detail about why this all came about hopefully whatever the reasons are, it’s in the best interest for the league and the members. The good thing that came out of it is our Vice Director Mike Raisbeck K1TWF was elected First Vice President for the league. Bad for us is now there is a vacancy for the Vice Director which will be BIG shoes to fill and good for the league that they now have a respected voice with a bunch of years to his credit.

That’s enough razzle-dazzle for now. I hope everyone has a great February and hope to see you in my travels.

73,
Ray KB1LRL

Section Manager Report January 2020

Hello everyone, Happy New Year! Today I officially begin my second term in this role. I am looking forward to this as now I have something to work with in terms of a staff. To those who have supported me the past two years, I can’t say it enough, Thank you! Now, let’s move it forward!

One of the things I plan on doing is getting together with key people and getting information on what went well or bad and what we need to do to make this section stronger and function better.

Earlier this week we had a visit from mother nature which had all the making of being an ice storm equal to 2008. Thankfully the result was far from that but just the same there was a need for some readiness. Special thanks go out to all those who monitored and conducted nets and provided weather reports. This can certainly act as a building block to improve our ARES program.

In a couple of weeks, our ARRL New England Division Director Fred Hopengarten  K1VR will be conducting the annual cabinet meeting to have club presidents, section managers and other section representatives from New England gather and share comradery, ideas, issues, etc. as the League will have their board meeting shortly after. If you have anything to bring up you are welcome to shoot me an email and I will bring it forward. Meetings such as these have definitely been heard at the League and acted on as well.

As usual, the help wanted sign is still out. You can certainly add to the New Year’s resolutions and volunteer for one of the open positions we have.

That’s all for now hope to see you as I start up visits to meetings.

73,
Ray KB1LRL

Section Manager Report December 2019

Hello all! The silly season has descended upon us once again! I trust each of you will have a very joyous Holiday Season with family and friends. Be safe as well.

With the weather approaching tomorrow take extra care to be prepared in case something was to happen. Even an HT with your local repeater or the 146.520 frequency can always help. With the weather, remember Dec 7 th is the annual Skywarn Recognition Day. This will be the 20 th year of doing this. They will be on HF and various other modes. More information can be found on the NWS SKYWARN Recognition Day website or on our own website post about it.

Two weeks ago, we found out about the distracted driving bill was revised and put on the Governor’s desk later for signature which created a flurry of concern to the Radio community. Tom Walsh, K1TW our Eastern Section Mgr. who has a section Government Liaison, alerted me of the nature of the changes and together we put out an announcement to tell our political leaders our concern for the wording and we received assurances that we are exempt from the law. The response was huge and we received assurances from them that this indeed was the case. Thanks to all who assisted in this effort. This also underscores the need to have our own Government Liaison. I have mentioned this a number of times and still have not been able to fill this. Please consider this or other open positions available in our section.

January 1 yours truly will begin his second term as section manager. I hope you feel the same as I do in that we made some significant improvement to our section and that I have been living up to the promises I made when I started. Has it been easy? Oh, heck no! Kind of tough talking to crickets sometimes. There were times of frustration and a handful of people stepped up and now working together we now have forward momentum. My plan is to build on this and continue doing what I’m doing. I am always open to your suggestions. If I was to ask anything of you is to promote the website, the section, ARES, and also to volunteer. It’s not about me, it’s about Ham Radio! Keep that in your radar!

Happy Holidays and very 73!
Ray, KB1LRL

Section Manager Report for November 2019

WMA ARRLHi fellow amateurs, the question of the month is WHERE DID THE YEAR GO??? It’s November! I was just finishing Field Day. Yeesssh! So many things to do and no time, now it’s getting cold now. Oh well, soldier on.

Sunday, Nov 3 was an important day as our section had our first Section Emergency Test (SET) in a verrrry long time. Bob K1YO put it together largely where our strengths and weaknesses are. All in all this was a successful exercise and indeed, it revealed to us where we need to work on to further strengthen our emergency program. Mine is to set up and operate Winlink and FLDigi. Thanks once again Bob for getting it back together again.

If you haven’t noticed the website is looking a little different. Gil, WK1H has switched to a new service for various reasons and it looks good. Of course, you have to visit the website regularly to see the difference! (hint,hint!) We could use a new logo though. Anyone with artistic skills draw some up and send them to me. The one selected will get a new ARRL Handbook. (I actually sent out this offer in January. Nothing but crickets!).

Looking at the New Ham listings, the western part of the state is showing strong activity with new license and upgrades. I am curious, what works for your club? what do you do? Can other clubs benefit from this? I have ideas and am working on a project to aid in this. But am I missing something? I would love to hear about it. My visits to the clubs have revealed so much but maybe I missed something. Let me know.

That’s enough mumbo-jumbo for now. I just want to say if I don’t see you, have a safe, fun Thanksgiving weekend.

73, Ray KB1LRL

Section Manager Report for October 2019

WMA ARRL
Hi everyone, sorry for being a little late. Things are a little crazy for me, hopefully after this month things will settle down more.

The weather prognosticators really messed up the forecast this weekend and unfortunately had an impact on Near-Fest. I know this event is notorious for having weather of some sort. As Mr. Mike said. “It’s not all about the selling, it’s getting together twice a year and catching up with friends in the hobby.” Usually I am selling there and this time I did not fearing the easy ups were not going to be adequate, I did come up on Saturday and yes, had a great time visiting with friends. It was fun and relaxing indeed. The next Near-Fest is May 1 & 2, 2020. Put it on your calendar now to plan for it.

Most of the clubs have now started on their monthly meetings and I have been hearing about some good presentations coming up. Presentations are very important to a club and some clubs do struggle in finding good speakers. To those that do have a presentation, please consider going to other clubs. They would truly appreciate it and it helps to keep things interesting and helps in attendance. I hope to get a list together of people willing to visit clubs both in East and West Mass. which can help to see who’s available.

As a reminder if you have any news of interest, events, etc. Send it to me or to Gil, WK1H and we can get it on the website. Also, it helps me in knowing what is going on out there more.

That’s all I have for now be safe on Halloween and check out a contest or two!

73,
Ray, KB1LRL

Section Manager Report for September 2019

WMA ARRL

Hello everyone, I held off this month’s report to include Boxboro’s Hamfest which if you missed it, shame on you!

Boxboro provided pretty much the usual cast of characters and events. Most of the outdoor flea vendors were a little worried with Dorian dumping its remnants in the area but, luckily it left us at 6 am and the sun broke out and went into a great day. Some of us turned a great shade of red as a result. The flea market actually looked better than last year on Sunday as they migrate to the hamfest in Albany NY.

There was a great selection of forums that unfortunately doing the flea market restricts me from attending them and I wish Sunday was just as good to go to them. Oh well! I will point out that our SEC, Bob K1YO co hosted an SEC forum with Rob Macedo and others and soon after that I was receiving many compliments on how great his part of the talk was! Bob has continued to impress. I can’t thank him enough for the effort he has done for our section. Next time you see him do the same!

On a personal note I had really one item I needed to accomplish and after 9 years finally achieved it, and that was get my Extra Class License upgrade. It’s surprising how a few pieces of paper can get someone so nerved up! But now it’s out of the way. Time to enjoy the privileges!

I do not know if it is just me, but I noticed QST has been later than normal. The last copy I got was a bit ruffled up. I did get and email from someone reporting the same. If you are getting them damaged or late, let the league know as well as myself.

One other thing, by a unanimous decision, (no one else stepped up!) I was elected to a second term as your Section Leader. So, the good thing is we can keep going on getting our section where it should be. I have a project or two in the works going on and am always looking for positions to be filled to round out our staff. Please give it a thought and join in the fun. It really is not rocket science. (Except for the tech specialists! Hi-hi)

That’s enough gab for this round. Many clubs are starting their new season. Keep me posted as to what activities are going on. Some clubs do a great job of doing that and would love to see more.

Have a great one!
73,
Ray, KB1LRL

Section Manager Report for August 2019

Hello everyone, I hope the summer is treating you well. The weather has certainly been cooperative for hanging around the beach, or pool, or just simply “chillin” at the ham shack working on your latest and greatest project.

This month has been fairly quiet activity-wise and that’s fine. I myself have been immersed in study for a couple of things. First is the Commercial Driver License course which I’m happy to say I now have my learner’s permit for that. The other is cramming to finally get my Extra license before the question pool changes again. Gee, it’s only taken me nearly ten years! I’m just having trouble getting to a passing score on the practice tests. The learner’s permit was a whole lot easier!

This month NoBARC will be having their annual hamfest in Adams on August 17th. Of course, the one coming up is the Northeast HamXposition / ARRL New England Convention in Boxboro on Sept 6,7,8 which is our “biggie” for the year. Tickets are on sale at the hamxposition.org website.

I will make this short and sweet. Quiet month’s means nothing much to gab about. Hope the rest of you summer goes well and hope to see you at one of the ‘fests’.

73 to all!
Ray KB1LRL