Western Massachusetts ARRL

A local section of the American Radio Relay League, the National Association for Amateur Radio™

ARRL CEO Howard, WB2ITX, to operate W1AW on May 13

Edit 5/3: This event has been cancelled due to potential conflict of interests and a possible violation of FCC Part 97 rules. For more details, check this post on the ARRL Headquarters website.

Below is a press release from ARRL Headquarters announcing a special event involving ARRL CEO Howard Michel, WB2ITX, and a chance to talk to Howard on the air from Maxim Memorial Station W1AW. All hams that so desire should please feel free to make a contact with Howard while he's operating W1AW.

Newington, CT – April 29, 2019 – ­­To help members of the amateur radio community get to know Howard Michel, WB2ITX, the relatively new chief executive officer of the American Radio Relay League, a little better, the organizers of the “ICQ Amateur / Ham Radio Podcast” are putting on an event that will give ham radio operators the opportunity to chat with him in a very natural setting for all hams – on the air! Michel will be at ARRL’s Maxim Memorial Station W1AW on Monday afternoon, May 13, at 2 p.mEDT, operating on 20 meters (around the 14.250 MHz frequency on SSB) and will be ready to talk to anyone who wants to “work” him.

Also, to commemorate this event, ARRL is creating a special QSL Card for those who connect with Michel via Maxim Memorial Station W1AW. Organizers hope that this card will become a prized part of most hams' collections.

Michel was a guest on the March 31 episode of the “ICQ Amateur / Ham Radio Podcast” (https://www.icqpodcast.com/download-the-show/2019/3/31/icq-podcast-episode-290-arrl-ceo-howard-michael-wb2itx) when the show’s organizers came up with this idea.

“While interviewing Howard about his management vision for the League, it hit me that hams need to see the new CEO as another ham operator in addition to being the CEO of the ARRL. Our ham metaphor of ‘working’ another ham is a humorous way to engage hams from the US and internationally to ‘put the CEO to work’ on the air at W1AW,” said Frank Howell, K4FMH, ARRL Delta Division Assistant Director and a presenter of the podcast.

“Working” Michel via this event will be a very special event for hams around the world, predict the event organizers. Martin Butler, M1MRB & W9ICQ, said, “This event will attract significant international attention, especially from the UK and Europe due to the ICQ Podcast's reach.”

Colin Butler, M6BOY publisher of the podcast, added, “There are quite a number of ARRL members in the UK so this outreach ‘across the Pond’ is something we can easily get behind to promote.”

The “ICQ Amateur / Ham Radio Podcast” is a free fortnightly radio talk style podcast for amateur / ham radio operators by amateur / ham radio operators. Each episode features a review of the current news, a discussion of a technical feature and the hobby in general, and interactions with listeners from around the world

NEAR-Fest Spring 2019

The Spring 2019 edition of the New England Amateur Radio Festival will be May 3 - 4, 2018.

The NEAR-Fest is an international event run by and for all radio hobbyists and enthusiasts, including hams”, short-wave listeners, scanner buffs, vintage/antique radio fans, etc. NEAR-Fest is held twice annually, spring and fall, rain or shine, at the Deerfield Fairgrounds, Deerfield NH beginning on Friday at 0900 and ending Saturday at 1500 hours.

Admission is $10. Persons under 18 and over 80 are admitted free of charge upon presentation of government-issued ID. Inside parking is available for $10 and includes a “reasonable amount of flea market selling space” for PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS selling their own personal property. Commercial vendors must register and pay applicable fees. If you are wondering if you are a “commercial vendor” you probably are. One complimentary inside commercial space is available for clubs, estates and other “non-profit organizations” on an “as available” basis.

Overnight camping, trailer and RV hookups are available. Three food vendors provide meals and snacks at reasonable prices. The Deerfield Community Church ladies serve up a breakfast that has to be consumed to be believed. Angelino’s offers hamburgers, steak, sausage submarines and other great “fair food” specialities and Patty’s Polish Kitchen menu features wonderful “Mitteleuropa” cuisine. No one goes hungry at NEAR-Fest.

The program of activities and events at NEAR-Fest is extensive; a huge outdoor electronic flea market, three buildings full of commercial vendors, forums, technical seminars and symposia, demonstrations, exhibits, displays, licensing examinations, special events radio stations, a “jam session”, good food, fellowship, fun and general mishigoss. NEAR-Fest is the largest event of its kind in the Northeast and has once been described as the “Woodstock of Amateur Radio”.

We look forward to seeing you at NEAR-Fest.

Message from WMA Section Emergency Coordinator K1YO

Hello, fellow Western Massachusetts Radio Amateurs !!

I’m sending this email to both introduce myself and to update you on my plans to revitalize the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) program within our Section. My name is Bob Meneguzzo, K1YO, from Southwick MA, and I’m your new Section Emergency Coordinator (SEC) for the five counties that comprise the WMA Section.

For many of us, a large part of Amateur Radio’s appeal is the potential it offers to serve our respective communities using the communications and technical skills we’ve developed while engaging in its wide-ranging activities. Frequently, segments on the media or in publications reflect what seems to be an increasing incidence of hazardous situations where amateur radio has played an important role in preserving the health and welfare of the public. This is entirely due to the skill and dedication of those amateurs involved. We need to ensure that these efforts are effective, with an eye to continuous improvement through practice and the application of new developing technologies available to us.

Various agencies also depend upon our assistance during emergencies, and the requirements they ask of us have grown significantly in recent times. So we will need to comply with their changing needs while at the same time keeping ourselves proficient at our technical and communications skills.

Here are the ARRL’s comment on the changes to the current ARES program membership:

"Previously, participation in ARES was open to all interested Amateur Radio operators. The only requirements were a valid FCC license and an interest in serving. There were no requirements for ARES participants to be trained and no skill sets were specified. In contrast, many of the partner agencies that ARES serves have mandated and structured training programs where all participants receive the same training and, when activated, or assigned to serve an agency in the field would be qualified to assume any position to which they were assigned.

Therefore, changes have been made to resolve this issue identified by our partners about the inconsistent training required of ARES participants. Under this policy, a national standard for qualification in ARES is instituted to address the needs of our partners. Training is expected to be phased in over time and will be required for all ARES participants. Such training will be measurable and recognized across a broad spectrum of the country by served partners."

The ARES program has been developing in line with this; it recognizes the need for compliance by addressing several key aspects … Organization, Training, Qualification and Credentialing.

Effective Organization is the base requirement and it needs to take place at the County level through the efforts of the named Emergency Coordinators (ECs) and their Assistants who have key knowledge of their local resources and government agencies.

Training needs to be provided regularly in the form of drills and exercises that emulate emergency situations, but also falls under the Qualification aspect through courses such as ARRL’s EC-001 and FEMA offerings available to individual ARES members.

Credentialing is increasingly required by agencies we assist … and is essential for those amateurs deployed with or embedded in the operations of these entities.

My activities as SEC obviously need to focus on these areas, but I recognize that not all of us want to take a role in ARES that might consume too much of our time. As our Section Manager notes, ARES ‘should not be a job’ for anyone. But I feel that we must offer everyone an opportunity to participate at a level they would be comfortable with. To accomplish this I’d like to establish another level of ARES participation for the WMA Section: Local Reserve.

The Local Reserve group members would not be expected to do anything besides participate in net operations (normally or during an activation) although they might be asked to provide weather or damage reports for their local neighborhood if requested by their Emergency Coordinator. This is similar to the ARRL Level 1 Member described below although they would not be field or agency deployed for anything. Training requirements (minimal) are the same as Level 1 also.

Following are the current ARES Membership Levels ….

Level 1 — This is the primary level for those who choose a non-leadership role as well as those new to Amateur Radio or emergency communications. This introductory training is conducted by the local ARES group to meet their needs and those of their served agency or partners. This training could be formal or informal, and would introduce the ARES participant to the fundamentals of emergency communications and provide instruction on how participants are to conduct themselves while serving in the field or otherwise activated. Participants may elect to remain at this level, or any level, based upon the extent of their desired ARES involvement.

Level 2 — To qualify for this level, participants shall have completed the following courses: ARRL’s EC-001 Introduction to Amateur Radio Emergency Communications (a no-cost program) and FEMA IS-100, IS-200, IS-700, and IS-800. Participants are also encouraged to take advantage of training opportunities available through partners to enhance their knowledge and skill set.

Level 3 — This level of training prepares ARES participants to take on leadership positions such as EC, ADEC, DEC, ASEC, and SEC, and other designated positions in the ARES program. Participants are required to complete ARRL’s EC-016, Emergency Communications for Management, when available along with FEMA Professional Development Series of courses IS-120, IS-230, IS-240, IS-241, IS-242, IS-244, and IS-288 the Role of voluntary Organizations in Emergency Management. Participants also are encouraged to complete the FEMA courses IS-300, and IS-400 should they be available locally.

So we see here that there is a broad set of choices of participation in ARES … that hopefully will meet the commitment levels of many of us. You can participate minimally, or continue your development to higher levels should you choose to do so!

I sincerely hope that you will consider becoming a part of ARES if you are not already a member and to help make this a team that we can be truly proud of in our service to our communities!

With that said, there is ONE very important thing I need to ask of you: to register for new membership on our WMA ARES website or login as a member to update your existing one. Please sign-in if you have not done so in 2018 or later. I am trying to clean up our membership database and there are a LOT of folks that have shown no Log-In activity prior to 2018 (or never!).

To register for, renew, or update your WMA ARES membership, choose Emergency Communications from the main menu of this website, scroll down to the ARES Membership line in the document to register or Login.

Thank you for your time today -- I hope to meet up with you at your club meetings and will keep you posted via the WMA ARES website on my progress at the many tasks ahead.

I am in 95% LISTEN mode right now … if you have comments, questions or suggestions please do not hesitate to contact me. I sincerely appreciate your inputs,

Very 73,
Bob Meneguzzo – K1YO
Section Emergency Coordinator

New England QSO Party

The New England QSO Party will be held on May 4th and 5th.  Now's your chance to be the sought after stations instead of the other way around!

The NEQP is a great time to check out antenna systems and offers a moderately paced opportunity to work new states and countries. You'll find a wide variety of participants, from newcomers to experienced contesters, all interested in making contacts with New England stations.

We're working to make sure that all of the New England counties are active again this year and would appreciate your help. Get on for at least an hour or two and join in on the fun. Please let me know if you can put in any time at all so we can work on activity from the rarest counties. Will you be QRV? Let us know by email which county you'll be on from.

Oh yes, the NEQP is also lots of fun when mobile. Every time you cross a county line the action starts over again. It's amazing what a 100w radio and mobile whip can do.

The QSO Party is 20 hours long overall, in two sections with a civilized break for sleep Saturday night. It goes from 4pm Saturday until 1am Sunday, then 9am Sunday until 8pm Sunday. Operate on CW, SSB and digital modes on 80-40-20-15-10 meters. For each QSO you'll give your callsign, a signal report and your county/state. Top scorers can earn a plaque and everyone who makes 25 QSOs and sends in a log will get a certificate.

The full NEQP rules are here. Hope to hear you on the air during the contest!

Ham Radio @ IEEE International Microwave Symposium Seeks Volunteers, June 2-7, 2019

Re-post of news originally from the EMA ARRL website:

Volunteer form:   HamRadio @ IEEE IMS 2019

Boston area amateurs have been requested to provide an Amateur Radio presence at the IEEE International Microwave Symposium in Boston, June 2-7, 2019 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in Boston’s Seaport District.

Local amateurs will equip and staff an ARRL booth in the trade show area of the conference stocked with ARRL books and literature for display and raffle. It is hoped the booth will also feature a remote radio capable of HF, VHF, and UHF and satellite capability.  Conference attendees can ask questions about how to get involved in ham radio, either as a hobby or as a vehicle for student learning.

Although the conference site is well-served by public transportation, event coordinators are exploring the possibility of complementary (or reduced) parking rates for volunteers. In addition, the conference organizers have scheduled an “Amateur Radio Social” Tuesday, June 4 at 6:30 PM featuring keynote speaker Howard Michel, WB2ITX, ARRL Chief Executive Officer.

If you would like to be involved in this high-profile event, please register at: Ham Radio @ IEEE IMS 2019.

Groton Road Race

Ralph Swick, KD1SM writes the following in the March, 2019 issue of NVARC “Signal”. Although Groton is actually in the EMA ARRL section, many individuals from the eastern part of the WMA ARRL section have historically helped with this event:

Sunday, April 28 will be the 28th running of the Groton Road race. The Groton Police Department and the Race Committee are again formally requesting support from the Amateur Radio community for logistics and safety communications for this high-profile event. The Groton Road Race has been a major event for Amateur Radio in North Central Massachusetts. [The Nashoba Valley Amateur Radio Club] has been coordinating the ham participation since the second year of the event. Many NVARC members are 26-year (soon to be 27-year) veterans. Those of you who have joined us in past years know that the runners sincerely appreciate our presence. Many say so as they run past. This event is so large that Police Departments from several other communities come to assist the Groton PD. Part of our role is to provide the communications from the Groton Police to these out-of-town officers who come to help with the event. 

Contributing to the public good is one of the reasons Amateur Radio exists. Our public service events are a key opportunity for us to show our colors, volunteer our skills and equipment, and demonstrate why it is in the public’s interest to continue to allocate precious RF spectrum to our the Amateur Radio service. The Groton Road Race is a low-stress event and a great way to gain more experience with the public service aspect of Amateur Radio. Please consider joining us on the 28th. If you are interested in helping at events like this but are unsure of what is expected of you or what equipment you may need, please do not hesitate to ask Ralph KD1SM, Stan KD1LE, or John KK1X. You can also find detailed information about the operations in previous years at <https://www.n1nc.org>.

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

New Amateur Licensees - March 2019

Western MA ARRL

Congratulations to the latest new hams of Western Massachusetts:

Leon G Szafran, KC1LCZ
16 Hunters Greene Cir
Agawam, MA 01001-3663

Harold R Lemieux, KC1LCH
25 Paige Hill Rd
Brimfield, MA 01010-9776

Tobias Haenel, AC1HI
PO Box 485
Monson, MA 01057-0485

Matthew J Merchand, KC1LBD
1226 S Main St
Apt 2
Palmer, MA 01069-1891

Kerry L Baird, KC1LCF
213 Eden Trl
Bernardston, MA 01337-9582

Nicholas A Maloney, KC1LCD
68 Oakman St
Turners Falls, MA 01376-2016

Michael Grajales, KC1LDZ
16 West St
Millbury, MA 01527-2622

Michael E Milionis, KC1LBJ
47 Bacon Hill Rd
Spencer, MA 01562-3117

Jonathan M Schoen, KC1LFJ
62 Grove St
Upton, MA 01568-1338

Sarah E Underwood, KC1LFL
22 Windsor Ridge Dr
Whitinsville, MA 01588-2047

Joshua E Mccullough, KC1LCW
100 Lakewood St
Worcester, MA 01603-2056

Abraham S Walters, KC1LBG
161 Cedar St
Apt 2
Milford, MA 01757-5135

Framingham Ham Flea

The Framingham Amateur Radio Association will be holding its spring flea market and exams at the Keefe Technical School at 750 Winter Street in Framingham, MA.  The flea market is very popular among hams in both the Eastern MA and the eastern portions of the Western MA ARRL sections.

The hamfest will be held on Sunday, April 7, 2019 from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM.  General admission is $5 (kids under 12 are free) and includes a chance at door prizes including a new 2m/440 HT.

For those how wish to get licensed or upgrade information on license exams, contact Jim W1EQW at 508-904-6188.

Vendors may reserve 6 foot tables for $20 in advance or $25 at the door.  Vendors may arrive at 7:30 AM for setup.  For information on tables, email Andy KC1DMM or call him at 508-310-5913 before 9 pm, or use the online table reservation form.

Talk in will be on the the club's 2M repeater system: 147.15+ (pl 100.0).

The flea market's official flyer can be viewed here.

WMA Section Manager Ray Lajoie KB1LRL is planning on attending the hamfest.