Western Massachusetts ARRL

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

146.94 Mt.Tom Repeater Skywarn and ARES Net Control Stations

Regularly Scheduled ARES and Information Nets

The 146.94 pl -127.3 Mt.Tom repeater has been experiencing technical problems.  These problems appear to be more noticeable generally to the South and East of the Mt.Tom repeater location. Please note that stations generally North and West seem to be operating normally at this time.The tech folks at MTARA are aware of these problems and are working to fix them. Due to circumstances beyond their control, it may be some time before these problems can be alleviated.

In the interim, ARES net control stations that are having difficulty at this time with the repeater it is suggested that they transmit  their nets on: 443.200 pl +127.3. During those nets if you encounter stations whose signals are not making the repeater suggest that they (a) up their power, (b) if portable move their position, (c) to try to change to 443.200 MHz pl +127.3.

 
If we determine that the above options are not adequate, we may have consider moving the nets to 147.000 MHz pl +127.3 Granville repeater until repairs on the .94 have been completed.

Skywarn Nets

Because most amateurs in this area are accustomed to tuning to 146.94 MHZ pl.-127.3 in times of severe weather emergencies to submit Skywarn criteria reports we will to continue to use that frequency. The .94 Skywarn NCS will advise any station that cannot make the repeater to try 147.000MHz pl+127.3 Granville repeater.  A backup Skywarn NCS will be assigned to 147.000 MHz at all times during that event to monitor and take Skywarn criteria reports and pass them on to NWS via Whats App. The NCS on the .94 can view those Whats App reports so they may aviod duplicity.

73,

Richard Laviolette 
KC1AEO
ARES District Emergency Coordinator
Hampden and Hampshire County, MA

Boston Marathon Amateur Radio Effort Cancelled

We hope this email again finds you, your friends, and your family safe and in good health in this time of extraordinary challenge.

The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) has announced that the 124th Boston Marathon will be held as a virtual event, following Boston Mayor Martin Walsh’s cancellation of the marathon as a mass participation road running event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Full details can be found in the official statement on the BAA website:
https://www.baa.org/124th-boston-marathon-be-held-virtually

We want to thank everyone who has worked so hard to prepare for this race. Our volunteers have always gone above and beyond and this year has been no exception. When the race was first delayed, almost universally we got feedback that you’d be there for the race whatever the date, whatever the format.

We expect that volunteer registration for 2021 will follow a similar schedule and process as past years. You can expect to hear from us once registration opens, most probably in January, 2021. If there are any changes we become aware of that you need to know ahead of that date, we will be sure to communicate with you.
As always, we welcome your correspondence and questions on volunteering to our general mailbox: contact@hamradioboston.org.

Thank you, and 73,

Boston Marathon Communications Committee
contact@hamradioboston.org

Temporary Rule Waivers Announced for 2020 ARRL Field Day

This was posted today to the ARRL HQ website.  Original posting can be seen here.  We're reposting it here as this is exciting information for all amateur radio operators looking at participating in Field Day this year.

With one month to go before 2020 ARRL Field Day, June 27 – 28, the ARRL Programs and Services Committee (PSC) has adopted two temporary rule waivers for the event: 

1)      For Field Day 2020 only, Class D stations may work all other Field Day stations, including other Class D stations, for points. 

Field Day rule 4.6 defines Class D stations as “Home stations,” including stations operating from permanent or licensed station locations using commercial power. Class D stations ordinarily may only count contacts made with Class A, B, C, E, and F Field Day stations, but the temporary rule waiver for 2020 allows Class D stations to count contacts with other Class D stations for QSO credit. 

2)      In addition, for 2020 only, an aggregate club score will be published, which will be the sum of all individual entries indicating a specific club (similar to the aggregate score totals used in ARRL affiliated club competitions). 

Ordinarily, club names are only published in the results for Class A and Class F entries, but the temporary rule waiver for 2020 allows participants from any Class to optionally include a single club name with their submitted results following Field Day. 

For example, if Podunk Hollow Radio Club members Becky, W1BXY, and Hiram, W1AW, both participate in 2020 Field Day — Hiram from his Class D home station, and Becky from her Class C mobile station — both can include the radio club’s name when reporting their individual results. The published results listing will include individual scores for Hiram and Becky, plus a combined score for all entries identified as Podunk Hollow Radio Club. 

The temporary rule waivers were adopted by the PSC on May 27, 2020. 

ARRL Field Day is one of the biggest events on the amateur radio calendar, with over 36,000 participants in 2019, including entries from 3,113 radio clubs and emergency operations centers. In most years, Field Day is also the largest annual demonstration of ham radio, because many radio clubs organize their participation in public places such as parks and schools. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many radio clubs have made decisions to cancel their group participation in ARRL Field Day this year due to public health recommendations and/or requirements, or to significantly modify their participation for safe social distancing practices. The temporary rule waivers allow greater flexibility in recognizing the value of individual and club participation regardless of entry class. 

ARRL is contacting logging program developers about the temporary rule waivers so developers can release updated versions of their software prior to Field Day weekend. Participants are reminded that the preferred method of submitting entries after Field Day is via the web applet. The ARRL Field Day rules include instructions for submitting entries after the event. Entries must be submitted or postmarked by Tuesday, July 28, 2020. 

The ARRL Field Day web page includes a series of articles with ideas and advice for adapting participation this year.

FCARC Meeting on JS8Call Important For WMA ARES

This month's Franklin County Amateur Radio Club meeting will be held online via Zoom due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The meeting will be on Monday May 11 at 7 PM.  All are welcome to attend this online meeting.
 
FCARC President Aaron Addison KF1G will presenting on JS8Call.  JS8Call is a digital mode built on the popular FT8 protocol, however, it instead offers real-time, keyboard-to-keyboard messaging as well as store-and-forward capabilties and other similar features.  
 
Parts of this presentation has been developed as a part of a training that Aaron has been working on with Section Emergency Coordinator Bob Meneguzzo K1YO.  The training is intended to be a part of a series to help WMA ARES members communicate in a variety of ways.  Digital communications has proven extremely useful in emergency communications scenarios for transporting bulk data such as summaries of weather and infrastructure reports.  All WMA amateurs are welcome to join the meeting and learn about JS8Call, especially those involved with WMA ARES.
 
Use this information to join the meeting via Zoom:

https://umass-amherst.zoom.us/j/94979495039?pwd=bGtiUVEyZ0pJb0Yvb2lUbmtxRHpjZz09

Meeting ID: 949 7949 5039
Password: 226283

More details on the meeting are available on the KF1G's personal website.

HCRA Health and Welfare Net

The Hampden County Radio Association will be conducting a Health and Welfare Net beginning on Tuesday May 5. The net will take place every Tuesday and Friday morning at 11:00 AM. We will continue the net for as long as there is support or need. The purpose of the net is to inform colleagues and friends of your health and welfare as well as to check on people you have not heard from recently due to social distancing. The net is open to all licensed amateurs regardless of affiliation and we encourage you to check in.

The HCRA Health and Welfare Net will be held on the Holyoke Soldier’s Home W1BR repeater on a frequency of 146.715 Mhz, PL of 100.0 and negative offset. This repeater was chosen to honor the memory of the veterans from the Soldiers Home who have passed from the corona virus. If anyone would like to become a Net Control Station on a rotating basis or even for only 1 time, perhaps to honor the memory of a family member or friend, please email: AA1WH@arrl.net

Additional information is available on HCRA's website.

New Amateur Licensees - April 2020

Congratulations to the latest new hams of Western Massachusetts:

Gene Howard, KC1MYI
11 Park Rd
Sunderland, MA 01375-9567

Kerry K Reynolds, KC1MYA
30 Taft St
Northbridge, MA 01534-1286

Matthew Caola, KC1MYD
460 Walnut St
Shrewsbury, MA 01545-4816

Mark H English, KC1MZB
88 Whitins Rd
Sutton, MA 01590-2733

 

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

New England QSO Party

The New England QSO Party will be held on May 2nd and 3rd.  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!

CMARA Breakfast Net Helping Fellow Hams

The Central MA Amateur Radio Association has recently started up a new Breakfast Net.  The net runs on their W1BIM repeater system every day at 9 AM local as well as on 80m on 3982 kHz at 10 AM local.

The purpose of the Breakfast Net is twofold.  First is to reach out to all hams in the area and keep us socially connected during these times of physical isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic and enjoy some easy-going conversation.  The second is to check in and see if anyone needs help during these times, with special attention towards older folks whom are more at risk from the virus.  In many cases, the net arranges for others that are already going to be out and about to help get groceries or other supplies and deliver them to those more at risk.

All are welcome to check in on either the repeater or the HF versions of the net.  See you there!