Section Manager Report for July 2019

Hello, I’m sure by now you have recovered from Field Day, tabulated your scores and feel good about what you accomplished this year. Regardless of outcome it should always have been a successful mission. Some of the clubs reported participation a little off this year. Tough to determine the reason why and it varies, but it makes me think. Are we getting older and tired? Have priorities changed? Are we bored? Tough to tell and I would say yes to all of them. We actually had 1 club that did not participate this year. I hope they will return next year. It is always best to do a after action debriefing to evaluate how the event performed and what could be improved.

One of the visits was at CMARA which is at the Aldrich Astronomy Field in Oakham. That is a great spot and it was buzzing with activity. Of course, around the “mess hall” where I found they have a killer feast there. But importantly there was a variety of activity there including satellite contact where there was over a dozen contacts made. FCARC had someone trying but this is a great thing to demonstrate to people as to what we can do with radio. Others there were trying out new antenna builds and the FT8 mode has been present at the sites also. Thanks to all who participated on a job well done by all.

Bob, K1YO has been hard at work on getting ARES put together and functioning as well. We now have a communication plan in place, and are still getting EC and DEC positions filled, but great progress is being made. Clubs can use this as some of the new hams coming in are getting their licenses largely for EMCOMM.

The July edition of QST has announced the nomination opening for the Western Mass section manager position. This is a 2-year term. In the ARRL site there are nomination instructions including a nomination signature form. I. myself am going to seek reelection, but anyone else is welcome to throw their hat into the ring.

With Field Day out of the way I am going to look at getting the Mentoring program more established and functional. I will be looking for the Tech Specialist’s to reach out to the clubs and make them more aware that this recourse is available to them and to encourage others to volunteer for this position as well.

With summer now upon us and great weather is here, it is a great time to get out there and do something radio related like contacting someone doing SOTA or IOTA, trying out a new field antenna, etc. I myself will be testing and trimming single band dipoles I have built as well as starting my trailer project. It’s not all about radio, spend time with friends and family too!

73 to all!
Ray KB1LRL

Section Manager Report for June 2019

Hello there! Once again that annual tradition of Field Day is upon us and I’m sure you are “making the list, checking it twice, to see if RF is naughty or nice!” (ok..lame attempt) But, we are busy getting the preparations together to have a successful event. And I wish you all good luck. Once thing I will remind you all is SAFETY! It’s always good to have 1 or 2 designated for that to check the setup, generator and fuel, even check the weather for those surprise storms. And of course, fire extinguishers and first aid kits and also a good tick repellent.

I made a visit to the MTARA’s meeting and was a nice time there. They had a presenter who has a PC repair business and appears on the local TV a bit, but, the club and the presenter are sharing information about building a “Ham Friendly” PC. That’s a neat idea as there are some pc out there that are not friendly to our setups.

I also made a visit to Mohawk ARC where my SEC, Bob K1YO did a presentation on his ARES planning and getting the service functioning again.

Speaking of Bob, he now has a final draft of our ARES EMCOMM plan and he has put forth a solid effort. He also has utilized a number of people in various roles to ensure the plan is accurate and in within the expectations of our served agencies and can adapt to the changing needs as well. Next time you see him give him a hearty Thank You!

The Franklin County ARC had some members attend the Metacomet Spring Camporee and Scout Show and set up a demonstration of ham radio to the group there. Exposure such as this and others are important to introduce ham radio to our youth and to generate interest in the hobby to keep it going. Great effort and thank you.

I do want to mention I truly appreciate all who send emails to me to keep me informed of activities surrounding areas and clubs to keep me informed of what’s going on. I may not answer all of them and most of them I do keep for some time afterward. I continue to ask that you keep at it and encourage others to do the same.

Again, I hope you all to have a safe and successful field day. I am planning to tour the sites and I am also encouraging my Assistant Section Managers and Emergency Coordinators to do the same. We need to let the section know we are out there.

Very 73!
Ray KB1LRL

Section Manager Report for May 2019

Hello fellow radio enthusiasts. I don’t about you this persistent rain thing is really getting tiring. 1 day of sun followed by 3 days of rain. It’s getting so I need a canoe to get to my tower.

Things are moving along quite nicely as the ARES staff is starting to come together, thanks to K1YO, we are now bringing on the newest appointee in Bill Fisher W1FSH as the new Assistant Section Emergency Coordinator. It is really great to see the people we appointed for ARES staffing has got very impressive resumes and will certainly be very useful in planning, executing, various activities to train and strengthen this section not only to benefit the communities we live in but to demonstrate to all we can work together and be prepared should a crisis come our way.

One of the hot topics of late is the recently revived bill(s) from the state regarding the hand’s free driving law. Eastern Mass has been watching this closely and the latest is there is wording in it exempting “Federally Licensed” radio operators which will cover us as well as everyone else licensed to operate radios. Our new division director Fred K1VR, has read it and feels comfortable with the wording. By the way, our section could use a state government liaison to observe and communicate to our elected officials of items pertaining to anything radio related. Email me if interested.

Who’s doing field day? I want to know. Any new locations? New groups? Send me the info as I do plan on the visitation tour again this year. I may also put some of it on video and take pictures for a possible project later. I had fun last year despite the driving I did. As you can tell, I have no problem visiting folks in my section!

The next event of note is Near-Fest which is this coming Friday and Saturday I really hope it is not another Soak-Fest. So far Friday may be a bit iffy and Saturday looks to be the winner. Cross your fingers!

That’s it for now. With any luck I will be visiting a club or two shortly. I have been hearing of some great presentations going on so keep it up.

Have a great May and 73!
Ray KB1LRL

Section Manager Report April 2019

Hello, welcome to spring…er…I think. It wants to come! I am sure everyone is busy getting the yard cleaned up as am I.

Sorry for being a little tardy, life kind of got in the way a little bit. But there are things coming up which I am looking forward to. The first one is the Framingham Hamfest on April 7 which is well attended. I will be there manning my tables to see if I can lighten the load a bit. Hope to see you there.

The other one is our annual event which is the Boston Marathon. Many of us will be having a long day there. I am likely will be in a medical van picking up the drop outs and getting them to the bus going downtown. Hopefully we will enjoy great weather there. Remember to have adequate equipment there to handle the job effectively and a backup can’t hurt either, along with being dressed appropriately and some snacks can’t hurt just in case.

It’s been fairly quiet Radio and club-wise. The Montachusett Club is having their annual QSL card sort which is always fun. And, thoughts are turning to field day planning. Please let me know where you are going to be. (Same as last year is ok) I am planning on doing the visit tour like last year. I actually had fun with it and would like to get a bunch of pictures at each site if I can. Last year was very eye opening and am looking forward to it again.

Our new Section Emergency Coordinator Bob K1YO has taken on his new role with great enthusiasm. He is working on getting databases ironed out, getting EC’s in place, etc. Thank you Bob for your efforts!

That’s all I really have for now. Just like the birds, we are busy. When we are tired from our labors, it’s nice to have a drink and sit by the radio and say hi in whatever mode.

Warm 73 to you,
Ray KB1LRL

Section Manager Report March 2019

Hello and welcome to Spring! (When it get’s here!) I held off the report until the hamfest was over so I can include that.

We started the month with a visit to the Hampden County Radio Association. Gil, WK1H and myself went there and presented them with a Special Service Club certificate. These are given to clubs that go above and beyond in publicity, training, technical and operating activities. Each time I go there, that meeting is buzzing with activity. This is well deserved and congratulations to them. Any club can contact Gil Hayes WK1H, our section’s Affiliated Club Coordinator, for details on applying, or what it takes to be an SSC.

A week later I was back in the area at the Mt. Tom Hamfest and time does fly there. I had the good fortune of sharing part of my table with Charlie K1II who set up an information table on ARES and RACES to promote that and answer people’s questions about what it is. Charlie had a helper in Frank, K1LMY. Both of them were busy in a mix of reacquainting with old friends and talking to people about the program. I think this was very successful and hope it can be done again next year. Thank you, Charlie and Frank, for being there and your dedication to this important part of our hobby. And yes, I did some section manager stuff and sold some things too.

I also had the opportunity to meet with Dave W1TTT, our new Berkshire Co. DEC and we discussed what we need to get ARES reintroduced to the area and getting new and renewed relationships to the area. Dave has a good idea and plan as to what needs to be done and hope the EC’s will support and assist him. Thank you, Dave, for your efforts there. I appreciate the enthusiasm you bring to it as well.

So, the recent buzz of late is the reopening of the EC-001 courses from the League. This was much anticipated and the floodgates opened. This is a revised course and is now free. I imagine as you read this you may find the course already booked, but the staff at the league is working on scheduling more courses as they need to get additional resources to accommodate the trainings. These are 9-week online courses and are mentored. If you cannot get in now, hang in there as other offerings will be available.

I do want to remind everyone that I still have a number of spots available for section staffing and would love to see some of these spots filled. I do hear there is some interest out there but there have been no inquiries. Take a moment to see if there is anything that may interest you and let me know.

That’s enough chatter for now. I look forward to seeing you at the meetings or the hamfest’s soon.

73,
Ray KB1LRL

Section Manager Report February 2019

Western MA ARRL

Hello everyone. So, I hear that our friend Phil predicted an early spring. We’ll see about that. If you recall, last time he did that we got bombed with endless snows. I don’t know about you, it’s been a relatively decent winter, but I like the warmer temps.

January 12 I was in Springfield where other section managers, club presidents, etc. gathered with Fred, K1VR for his first cabinet meeting which is held before the board of directors meeting. He was greeted to a packed room and there was some great discussion. The first item was the release of our presentation for reintroducing the tech specialist program which will also involve getting elmering (mentoring) back to help support new hams when they enter the hobby to introduce them to the many avenues that it has to offer. Paul, W1SEX put together the presentation and showed it at the meeting. Thank you, Paul, for a stellar effort. This will be made available to all on the website as well as we are looking to get this in the ARRL web as well.

Along with the presentation we will be also introducing other tools and information that clubs will have access too, including a brochure to give new licensee’s when they pass the test. This will be available to customize as they want to their local club. This does not take away from the ones they use now. I have seen some nice ones and stick with it! There was quite an emphasis in getting the league to bring out more and better information and ease of access to it to aid also the new ham. I will admit finding things there is a bit clunky at times.

It appears Berkshire county will have a full compliment of EC’s. Dave W1TTT has been working with me in getting personnel in place and will be gearing it up to get that county off the ground for ARES. This will be finalized very shortly. I will be starting on another county soon. Anyone interested in assisting for their county, let me know.

I paid a visit to the CMARA club meeting in West Boylston. As usual there was a great turnout there. A nice presentation on 3-D printing and they had their officer elections there. Brian K1BML has been elected President receiving the gavel from Bob, W1TAB. Thank you Bob for your efforts during your tenure.

Of course, it is February and I’m sure thoughts are starting to turn to Field Day. It is my hopes to do the visits like last year. It was enjoyable and impressed to see the setups and activities that goes on there. I have been doing the MARA event and seeing the others gives me a different perspective of their own logistics there.

That’s enough chatter for now. Watch out, I may be sneaking in to your meeting soon enough.

Take care and 73,
Ray KB1LRL

Section Manager Report January 2019

Happy New Year! This also marks 1 year as your section manager. It has been a busy year. It has also been a big learning curve for me. And of course, the usual triumphs and setbacks.

My hopes in 2019 is what we have got now grows. I have been working on some things which I feel will certainly help. One thing is to expand on is the mentoring of new hams and providing the technical resource to keep then interested from the moment they pass the test. I am also looking for a good way to put out the list of new licensees for the section. This was brought up at one of the club meetings I visited.

Another thing I think will be fun is I want to do a logo contest. Some sections have a logo and I think it would be neat to have one. So, between now and Field Day draw one or two or three and send them to me. I will have two others be part of the judging. If one is selected for use, they will be awarded the latest ARRL Handbook. (Or something there of equal value) Get your artistic skills going on this!

I still have ARES to fulfill and I really wish this did better. I still have a number of openings and very few takers. The assistance of all who read this can help in spreading the word. I am finding around a quarter of the section look at the site. I am also confirming who is currently listed in different databases and making it consistent with all and making sure the League database is up to date.

I understand some of these things may not appeal to everyone. That’s fine. That’s the beauty of the hobby. My hopes are to get as many as I can to come together as a team for a common cause, and that is Ham Radio. Promote your specialty interest, tell your peers, train the new hams, etc. There are some people out there who have been doing a great job of doing just that. And they stay with it! I will truthfully admit I have had periods of disappointment in this role, (ex: Boxboro) and wonder if I should really continue. It’s when I see clubs or individual efforts that consistently make the effort is what encourages me to go on. I won’t labor on this. I don’t want this to sound like a politician’s speech either. I just hope the message spreads.

I have heard some great suggestions and some of which I am or will be researching on. They were from you and thank you as these guides me to working on what may be best for our section. Continue to do that. I may not have an instant response, but I do keep the emails and review them often.

I hope everyone has a Happy New Year and I look forward to 2019 working with all of you. Thank you all once again!

73,
Ray KB1LRLRay KB1LRL

Section Manager Report December 2018

Hello everyone, I am sure you are still digesting the feast and overdosing on football games still. I hope you had a truly splendid Thanksgiving.

First thing is to express my sincere thanks to Tom K1KI for his many years as Director of New England. As you know, he was narrowly beat out by Fred Hopengarten K1VR for that position. I wish Tom well in his endeavors and keeping up the good fight wherever it may lead him.

Earlier this month, ACC Gil WK1H and myself went to the Hampden County Radio Association meeting and I did a presentation there which included an open forum to hear what was on their mind. They had a big crowd there which would make a lot of other club’s drool in envy. This is a fine example of a club which actively participates in many facets of the hobby. They also have a great emphasis of bringing in new hams and mentoring them to become an active part of the hobby. Congratulations to this fine group and keep up the great job.

As of now there are some other irons in the fire going on but I will not elaborate just yet. Keep in mind some of these changes are based on the feedback that you have given me. Also remember the help wanted sign is still out.

It’s hard to imagine 1 year is approaching as your Section Manager. It has been one where I feel the biggest accomplishment has been being visible to as many of you as possible and next year will be no different. I am going to sit in on a webinar for ARES connect and see if I can get this new system understood and start getting this set up and in use for our group.

Most clubs at this time are having their annual Holiday parties instead of meetings. I hope you will have a great time in celebration. At this time, I want to wish all of you a happy, safe, wonderful Holiday Season. And of course, a Happy New Year.

73,
Ray KB1LRL

Section Manager Report November 2018

Hello to all, by now everyone has put away their shorts, sandals, sunblock and got out their winter woolies. October was certainly a month of quick transition for sure. This is also the time where we start turning our attentions to our hamshacks and getting on the air and exercising your equipment and operating skills. Good opportunity to try something new to!

On Nov 2nd I will be at the Hampden County Radio Association’s meeting and will be presenting there. It will be a quick, light presentation and will follow with a discussion amongst the group. Bring your suggestions, ideas, etc. (Keep the rotten tomato’s home hi-hi.) This is really the presentation I did at Boxboro to a very small group and a large gathering of crickets. Hope to see you all there.

Also, on that day the Pathfinder’s Regional HS will have their day where they will be set up to contact the ARISS Space Station. Many schools put in for the chance and with the help of the Mount Tom ARA got approved and now is the show. The Pathfinders are very exited about this and hope to get information as to how it went to post here.

One thing I do wish to share with you which kind of bother’s me is email. On many occasions I have asked for reports and request for confirmations, information, etc. and have gotten no responses at all. I am not asking for anyone to pounce the moment I send something, and I do realize we are all busy, and I am DEFINITELY not perfect. All I am asking that we all try to do a better job with responses. There are many other reasons for this and not just personal. We may need something for emergency purposes, to get important information across to others. To keep me informed as to what is going on in the section in case I need to act on something, lastly to let me know my communications are being heard. They say it’s lonely at the top, silence can demonstrate this well, even though it is not the intention. To those that have been really good about this, thank you.

It is with hopes there will be some communication regarding out Tech specialist group and Mentoring our new hams. I am hoping to pull information together and have a program off the ground soon. Anyone with ideas can certainly send me an email. (There’s a test for my previous rant!) I would like to know what works and does not. I feel there is a huge loss of opportunity the moment we congratulate them on passing the test. I am even going to approach the league for ideas as well.
That’s enough mischief for now. I hope to hear from you or see you in the upcoming visits.

73,
Ray KB1LRL

Section Manager Report October 2018

Hello once again. Now that fall has officially arrived and we are getting into winter mode, the local clubs are firing up for a new season. I will be making visits still and getting the word out I am here. I will be working on some things to try to revitalize the section a bit more.

My “Help Wanted” list grew a little bit as I was made aware that my newest ASM Cory Goodall AC1AZ is being transferred to Arkansas for the military and will be leaving in November. Please join me in thanking him for his service to the section and more importantly, thank him for his service to the country. Best of luck to you.

Speaking of help wanted, our webmaster, Gil WK1H has created a list of open positions that I am looking to fill. It is my plan to get an active, involved group in place especially in ARES. I still feel my efforts are not being heard or this section enjoys the deafening roar of silence. I cannot do all this alone. Please spread the word or consider joining in.

You should be if not already be getting ballots for the upcoming NE Division Director election. Please make your selection and send it in by Nov.16

I hope to see you and talk to you during my upcoming club visits.

73,
Ray KB1LRL