Western Massachusetts ARRL

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

FCARC Offering General Licensing Class

The Franklin County Amateur Radio Club is offering a General Class licensing course for those looking to upgrade from Technician Class amateur radio licenses.

Keep in mind that the General Class license question pool will be updated on July 1 of this year, so if you've been studying with the current question pool, now is a good time to get licensed before the question pool changes.

The course will cost $15 and will start on March 25 and will run Monday and Wednesday evenings from 6 PM to 9 PM for three weeks (for a total of six sessions). The classes will be held at the Greenfield Community College.

Please use the web sign up form to register for this course.

Best of luck to all of FCARC's students!

Registration Now Open for ARRL's New EC-001 Course

ARRL’s Lifelong Learning Department is excited to announce the launch of the recently revised Introduction to Emergency Communications (EC-001) course. As part of this new initiative, the course has been updated, beta-tested by a group of course mentors, and transferred into a new online learning platform.

With the closing of the Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium (CTDLC) in mid-2018, EC-001 lost its virtual home and was taken offline. At that point ARRL’s Emergency Preparedness staff started working with the new Lifelong Learning team to explore short and long-term alternatives for offering the course. After a period of careful evaluation and review, the decision was made to move the course from the previous Moodle platform to a more modern Learning Management System called Canvas, which will be used while the new Lifelong Learning Initiative program is being developed. The EC-001 course will eventually become part of this new, comprehensive online learning environment.

EC-001 is designed to provide basic knowledge and tools for any emergency communications volunteer. We hope this course will be the starting point for you in your service to your community as radio amateurs and inspire you to think outside the box and look at new and useful ways the radio amateur can lend a hand to the public that has given us the trust of our spectrum of skills. With the online format, students can access the course at any time from anywhere during a 9-week period, so you may work according to your own schedule.

“We’re very excited to be able to offer Introduction to Emergency Communications EC-001 once again” states Kris Bickell, ARRL Lifelong Learning Manager. “The Emergency Preparedness staff at ARRL has been incredibly helpful while we’ve worked together to get the course back up and running. And the input from previous EC-001 mentors has been an invaluable part of the testing phase. The timing is right to put the course back online.”

As in the past, students will be able to register and take the course entirely online. The Canvas platform is also mobile-responsive, meaning that students can view the course materials, interact with fellow students, and complete assignments from any mobile device.

Each course will run for nine (9) weeks, with a group of up to 30 students who will be supported by an experienced mentor. There will be no cost for the course, although students must meet certain pre-requisites to be eligible to participate, which are listed on the registration page.

To view the 2019 course schedule and to register: http://www.arrl.org/online-course-registration

HCRA Renews SSC Qualification

Hampden County Radio Association

Congrats to the Hampden County Radio Association for once again has achieving ARRL Special Service Club designation.

SSCs are clubs that go above and beyond for their communities and for Amateur Radio. They are the leaders in their Amateur Radio communities who provide active training classes, publicity programs and actively pursue technical projects and operating activities.

Keep up the excellent work, HCRA!

73,
Gil Hayes WK1H
WMA Affiliated Club Coordinator

MTARA Annual Hamfest

The Mount Tom Amateur Repeater Association is holding its annual Amateur Radio and Electronics Hamfest on Saturday, March 9, 2019 at the Castle of Knights, 1599 Memorial Drive in Chicopee. All amateurs and those interested are invited!

Admission is $5 for adults and children 12 and under are free. Doors open at 6:30 AM for vendors only and 8:30 AM for general admission.

The hamfest will feature:

  • A snack bar serving hot and cold beverages, hot dogs, burgers and the like.
  • Several raffles (tickets $1 each or 6 for $5)
  • An amateur radio license exam session will be run at 10:30 AM. Candidates must obtain a FCC Registration Number (FRN) and pre-register on the Pioneer Valley VE Team's website prior to the exam.

Those wishing to reserve a table for selling, please contact Brian Mullarney N1FI. Mail-in registration is also available using the form in the official MTARA Hamfest flyer.

Talk-in for the hamfest will be on the W1TOM repeater (146.940 MHz, PL 127.3).

In connection with the MTARA Hamfest, the Hampden County Radio Association is presently selling tickets for their annual raffle. There will only be 250 tickets sold for HCRA's raffle at $10 each. The raffle will be for brand new Icom IC-7300 transceiver. The raffle winner will be drawn at the MTARA Hamfest.

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

New England Vintage Electronics Expo 2

The New England Antique Radio Club will hold its New England Vintage Electronics Expo 2 on Sunday, March 3, 2019 from 8 AM to 4 PM at the Courtyard Marriott Event Center, 2200 Southwood Drive, Nashua, New Hampshire. Billed as “the East Coast’s largest antique radio and vintage electronics show and flea market, the event features over a hundred indoor tables and more than sixty vendors. Adult admission is $10; spouses, and children under 18 are admitted free. Flea market admission is free from 11 AM to 1 PM. Onsite parking is free. For more information, see http://www.nearc.net/swapmeetinfo.htm.

Post courtesy of the Eastern Massachusetts ARRL website.

Volunteers Still Needed for 2019 Boston Marathon

The Boston Marathon Communications Committee is currently at 250 out of our goal of 350 volunteer registrations for this year's Boston Marathon. Registration is scheduled to close on February 6th (we have requested an extension on this, but there's no guarantee the BAA will grant it) so there isn't much time left. 

If you're interested in volunteering, please register today. You can sign up at https://www.baa.org/races/boston-marathon/volunteer/volunteer-registration. Please share this note with your ham friends / organizations that may be interested.

Any questions can be directed at contact@HamRadioBoston.org.

Local Communities Looking for RACES Officers

A few months ago, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency conducted a survey for all local community emergency management directors across the Commonwealth. The survey was specifically about the use of amateur radio and RACES locally within their community, whether they have an appointed RACES Officer, and if not, if they would like to find one.

The Radio Amateurs Civil Emergency Service (RACES) is a radio service using amateur stations for emergency management communications during periods of local, regional or national emergencies. RACES is defined in law in Part 97.407 of the FCC rules. In the event the U.S. President ever needed to silence the regular Amateur Radio Service by invoking the War Powers Act of 1941, only RACES appointed stations could continue to operate and assist their appointed served agencies. Requirements for RACES varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction but will include possession of a FCC amateur radio license.

As a result of this survey, the list of communities below are interested in locating an amateur radio operator to serve as their RACES Officer. If you are interested in any of these appointments, please inquire with that community's emergency management director. It is also highly recommended to discuss the matter with MEMA Regional RACES Officer which services that local community's county. We might be able to recommend you based on whatever previous amateur radio EmComm or other public service you've done that we're aware of. We may also be able to give you additional insight into the role in that community.

The MEMA Regional RACES Officers are:
Region 1: Terry Stader KA8SCP
Region 2: Mike Leger N1YLQ
Region 3: Frank Morrisino K1LMY
Region 4: Gil Hayes WK1H

Communities looking for RACES Officers:

  • MEMA Region 1 (Suffolk, Middlesex and Essex Counties)
    • Belmont
    • Manchester-by-the-Sea
    • Nahant
    • North Reading
    • Revere
  • MEMA Region 2 (Norfolk, Bristol, Plymouth, Barnstable, Dukes and Nantucket Counties)
    • Barnstable
    • Chilmark
    • East Bridgewater
    • Edgartown
    • Marshfield
    • Rochester
    • Somerset
    • Yarmouth
  • MEMA Region 3 (Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire and Berkshire Counties)
    • Chesterfield
    • Colrain
    • Huntington
    • Russell
    • Sandisfield
    • South Hadley
    • Stockbridge
    • Washington
    • West Springfield
  • MEMA Region 4 (Worcester County)
    • Ashburnham
    • Fitchburg
    • Grafton
    • Royalston
    • Sterling
    • Sturbridge
    • Sutton
    • West Boylston
    • West Brookfield

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

Proposed MA Legislation Seeks to Require “Hands-free” Cell Phone Use While Driving

This news was originally written and posted on the Eastern MA ARRL website.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker on Tuesday “proposed his most sweeping set of road safety rules yet, calling for Massachusetts to join 16 other states in requiring hands-free cell phone use while driving and proposing to allow police to stop motorists for not wearing a seat belt,” according to Boston’s PBS station, WGBH.

Various pieces of “hands-free” cell phone legislation have been introduced in recent years by members of the State House and Senate and while some have included clear exemptions for Amateur Radio operators, others have been vague or non-existent on the matter.

Eastern MA State Government Liaison Hank McCarl, W4RIG, quickly alerted ARRL section and division leadership about the proposed legislation. 

McCarl reports he has already spoken with his State Senator’s office legislative assistant about the ARRL’s concerns regarding the wording of proposed legislation on hand held cell phones while driving. They “will keep a close eye on the wording of that legislation and let us know if there seems to be any problems for our mobile operations as licensed amateurs in community service or training,” McCarl said.

ARRL Headquarters Regulatory Information Manager Dan Henderson, N1NC was also notified of the proposed legislation by Eastern MA Section Manager Tom Walsh, K1TW.

Details about Baker’s proposed hands-free cell phone and other road safety rules can be found at <https://www.wgbh.org/news/local-news/2019/01/22/baker-proposes-hand-free-cell-phone-driving-bill>.

Boston Marathon Volunteer Registration Now Open

On behalf of the BAA Amateur Radio Communications Committee, we want to wish you a Happy New Year. It’s hard to believe that 2018 has come to a close and we are heading into 2019, and with the new year also comes the 123rd running of the Boston Marathon. 

Today, January 3rd, 2019, volunteer registration will open for the marathon which is taking place this year on Monday, April 15, 2019. The sign-up process will be the same as last year and will provide you with a direct link once registration is open. Please be on the lookout for an email from the BAA, and we will also be asking for everybody’s assistance in getting the word out about volunteering to help with recruitment.

Click here to register as a volunteer for the 2019 Boston Marathon. The registration deadline is Wednesday, February 6, 2019.

If you have any questions about the upcoming volunteer registration period, or the 2019 Marathon generally, please get in touch anytime. Volunteering at the Marathon is a big job, and we appreciate the time and effort everyone puts into it. We’re happy to do what we can to make your work more comfortable or effective.

We look forward to seeing everyone again soon.

Thank you, and 73,
Matthew Forman, K6MCF
for the Boston Marathon Communications Committee
contact@hamradioboston.org