Western Massachusetts ARRL

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

Ham Radio Saving A Life Locally!

On Tuesday, June 15, Alden Sumner Jones IV, KC1JWR, was hiking on the southern part of the Appalachian trail in Vermont (it’s also been reported as being on the Long Trail) with his cousins at around 12:30 PM. Alden started feeling light headed, his pulse was racing and the next thing he remembers is waking up with an EMT named Dave, from AMR out of Springfield, MA, who was hiking and saw Alden go down. Alden had suffered seizures. It was later determined that this was caused by low blood sugar. Dave attempted to call 911 on his cell phone. He could connect, but the 911 operator couldn’t understand him. At this point, Alden pulled out his HT ham radio, a BaoFeng.

He made contact through the K1FFK repeater. This repeater is located on Mt. Greylock on 146.91. The repeater is owned and maintained by the Northern Berkshire Amateur Radio Club. The initial call went out just before the Cycle 1 of the Western Massachusetts Traffic Net. Ron Wonderlick, AG1W, took the call. Alden initially asked if the 911 call went through. Ron began an eight hour process of acting as a relay between Alden, the emergency crews and various others.

The Traffic Net was truncated and the frequency was cleared by Peter Mattice, KD2JKV, who also stood by as a backup for Ron. KC1JPU, Matthew Sacco, was also monitoring and after a short consultation with Ron & Peter, proceeded to head to the staging area where the Fire and EMS crews were going to come from.

In Matthew’s own words, this what happened when he arrived at the staging area:

As I arrived at the staging point set up by the Fire Department, I met up with Fire Chief Scott Moore (95-C1) of the Wilmington Fire Department who was Incident Command. I told him how I heard about the incident and offered my services. I then got to work attempting to make contact with Ron over the 91. We were in a bit of a shadow as far as coverage went from the 91 and my first attempt to make contact with my HT was to no avail. I then went to my truck to try my mobile radio which also failed to open up the repeater. Running out of options, I went into my radio bag and was able to construct a roll up J-Pole out of some 450 ohm ladder line, a short length of coax, and male UHF connector. In that bag I keep some basic soldering equipment and a power inverter for the truck. Once it was constructed and tested, I grabbed my fishing pole from the back seat, put a weight on the end, and cast the weight into the highest branch I could find. I tied the J-Pole to the end of the line and reeled it up about 20' into the tree with the help of a barrel connector and about another 24' of coax. I tried that antenna plugged into the back of my mobile radio and we were up and running! I was then in contact with Net Control!

Now the struggle was to find the hiker. Alden’s (KC1JWR) status was communicated between the EMT on site through the ham radio and impromptu net set up through Ron (AG1W) and Matthew (KC1JPU). The information passed through the net was used to determine what type of rescue equipment would be necessary. Finding the location based on landmarks was proving too difficult. One of the people on site had a cell phone with a GPS unit and they were able to get a location in Google Maps Plus Code. That was converted into latitude and longitude. At this point, it was 4:30 in the afternoon.

On site were members of the Wilmington, VT Fire Department, Wardsboro, VT Fire Department, Deerfield Valley Ambulance, and Rescue Inc., all served through the ham radio net being operated on the K1FFK repeater.

Once the rescuers were getting close to Alden’s location, it was determined that they were not going to be able to get an ATV to the location for an evacuation. So, the determination was made to contact New York State Search and Rescue for a helicopter. Again, this need was relayed through the ham net. Almost all the communication, all day, was through the ham net, or, relayed to the phone by Ron (AG1W) or Peter (KD2JKV).

Meanwhile, Alden is conscious and spending time talking to the EMT and the rescuers about ham radio and how to get their licenses.

An area is cleared by another hiker as a place for the helicopter to lower it’s basket. The GPS coordinates are relayed through the ham net to the helicopter crew. The rescuers took Alden through the woods to the clearing and the helicopter arrived at around 7PM. While the rescuers were talking the helicopter in on their radios, they were having trouble making contact through their rubber duck antennas. So, Alden, who had a better antenna for his HT, lent it to the rescuers for better communication. Alden was initially flown to Woodford Mountain for evaluation and treatment. He was then flown to the hospital in Albany NY. During the flight, Alden again talked to the pilots and the other rescuers about ham radio.

During the rescue, one fire fighter from Wilmington was injured. This forced part of the team to stay the night with him in a shelter along the trail. He was brought out safely and is doing well. Alden is suffering from a number of injuries from the seizures, but he is also recovering.

Neil Van Dyke (N1TNC), the Search & Rescue Coordinator for the Vermont Dept. of Public Safety was the one who called in Search and Rescue. When asked about the event, Mr. Van Dyke said “Ham radio was a key part of the incident and played a major role in the rescue”. Alden said it even better, “Ham radio saved my life last night and I am very thankful for how everyone helped me.”

Well done to all involved in this event. Thank you for all you did for Alden Jones and for being great ham radio operators.

WMA ARES Looking for Volunteers for VHF Testing

The WMA ARES Section is in the process of conducting simplex communications testing on 6 and 2 meters within the section.

At this point, we are looking to test 6 meter communications between Hampden and Worcester counties and need a few volunteers with good 6 meter capabilities, particularly in the Southern Worcester County area. Time involved will be short .... approximately 15 minutes at your station's convenience.

Anyone wishing to participate can contact me directly on email at  k1yo@arrl.net.

Vy 73 and Thanks in advance,
Bob - K1YO
Section Emergency Coordinator

New Amateur Licensees - May 2020

Congratulations to the latest new hams of Western Massachusetts:

Leo A Koerner, KC1NBP
2128 Canaan Southfield Rd
Southfield, MA 01259-9767

Raoul Sevier, KC1MZS
4 Longfellow Way
Boylston, MA 01505-1444

Dewey Sasser, KC1NBG
1 Applewood Ln
Charlton, MA 01507-1649

Jennifer O Emhoff, KC1NAY
222 Burlingame Rd
Charlton, MA 01507-5202

Neil Powers, KC1NCH
383 Brigham St
Northborough, MA 01532-2321

Emily Huck, KC1NCD
383 Brigham St
Northborough, MA 01532-2321

Kyle Root, KC1NCN
33 Grow Ln
Princeton, MA 01541-2004

Michael F Pavone, KC1NCT
37 Campground Rd
West Boylston, MA 01583-1271

Dale A Winkler, KC1NCL
35 Tanglewood Dr
Milford, MA 01757-1060

Adrian M Winkler, KC1NAH
35 Tanglewood Dr
Milford, MA 01757-1060

Section Manager Report June 2020

Hello and welcome to June…I think? I think we can safely say this is one year we would just rather forget, but history will not allow that sadly. Years past we would be coming off a fun time in Dayton and thoughts turned to tents, good BBQ, radios, mosquitos, and GOOD fellowship with one another: that of course is Field Day. Sadly, that will not be the case this year. Most clubs have decided to fold their Field Day this year and maybe a couple will go on with guidelines. One thing I wanted to highlight is the Hampden County Radio Association lost their site due to the virus and a ham couple in Wilbraham stepped up and offered their 10-acre field for their event. How cool is that!

As you know I go out on Field Day and tour the sites. With the situation, I decided to stay home and I am going to bust out the solar panels and batteries and set up in my backyard. This is good as I will be practicing my own field deployment and may try out some antennas to see how they perform. I do plan on being on 3944 kHz Sunday morning at 0830 for the WMA Emergency Net and will take traffic to get you credit for that. I will also be on the Central MA 2M Traffic Net on the CMARA repeater at 9 pm on 146.97 to receive any there.

It was pleasing to see that the League has modified the rules regarding the Field Day rules regarding 1D stations and club scoring. I do know there was a lot of members asking the league for that to adapt to the virus situation this year. With that I do wish everyone will continue to participate and even try out something different, antennas, QRP, satellite, etc.

On the ARES front, Section Emergency Coordinator Bob Meneguzzo K1YO has been busy with establishing training, protocols, standards and testing. He was also conducting Zoom meeting to get updates regarding the virus and what areas are doing what. Fortunately, nothing escalated to where we were asked to assist with communications. Things are still progressing nicely and we are moving to a more solid program.

Since February, (maybe earlier?) I have been participating via ZOOM with other section managers throughout our country and we have been discussing various topics which is been useful in a more effective communications path to the League. Some of the things discussed were the Field Day rules, band planning, remote VE testing, etc. Of course, if there is anything to relay, I will certainly pass it along.

That about wraps it up for this month. Hope you have a great field day and stay safe and enjoy the weather.

Most 73 to you all!
Ray, KB1LRL

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