Western Massachusetts ARRL

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

NEAR-Fest and the Road Ahead

Dear Friends of NEAR-Fest:
 
Now that NEAR-Fest XXVII and XXVIII have been cancelled there are some important issues with which we must deal.....
 
First, this is going to be a major hit on our treasury because, notwithstanding the reason we are being canceled, we have contracts that need to be honored. 2019 was, as you may remember, was plagued with wet weather for both May and October. Attendance was down and so are our cash reserves. Consequently, the hard facts are that we need to raise some new capital starting this Fall if NEAR-Fest is to survive. 
 
In order to do this beginning soon we will be selling advance admission tickets for NEAR-Fest XXIX ($10.00) and inside parking passes ($10.00) either at Ham Radio Outlet in Salem NH and Ross Hochstrasser’s Clock Shop, 40 Walnut Street, Whitman MA as well as by mail to Michael Crestohl, W1RC, 316 Atlantic Avenue, Marblehead MA 01945 with a check or money order and a SASE. 
 
The exciting thing about the advance tickets are that all purchasers of advance tickets will be entered in a special prize drawing for either a Xiegu G90 HF SDR Transceiver (value $425.00) or a Yaesu FT-891 HF Mobile Transceiver (value $559.00). Winner does NOT have to be present to win. 
 
We are going to offer a special “VIP Pass” to NEAR-Fest for those who really want to see us through this difficult and trying time. It will be good for the person to whom it was issued for life, allow that person and the occupants of their vehicle (up to four people) and the vehicle to enter at 8:00 AM on Friday morning. Cost of this VIP Pass is $250.00 and is available by mail only.
 
Additionally, the cost of admission at the Fairgrounds will be increased to $15.00. This added $5.00 is to help alleviate the cost of not having NEAR-Fest XXVII but advance ticket buyers will be able to save this $5.00 per ticket surcharge.  I cannot tell you at this time if this $5.00 surcharge will be permanent. Once we are financially comfortable again we will decide whether or not to restore the cost to $10.00. 
 
In the event that the May 2021 event cannot be held any tickets or passes purchased will be valid and honored at the next NEAR-Fest so no one will lose.
 
We are asking our association and clubs if they can help us sell advance tickets to their members. The procedure will be simple and straightforward. Clubs would determine how many tickets and parking passes their members want, collect the money, send the list with this information along with a check payable to NEAR-Fest to us. We would take care of making sure that the prize draw stubs are properly filled in and put in the prize barrel for the drawing in July. After that takes place we would ensure they are kept safe so they can be put in the prize barrel at NEAR-Fest in May.  The tickets would be sent to the club for distribution to the members. Members should be informed that they are buying admission tickets for our fall event. They are not buying a raffle ticket. However there is no limit on the number of tickets anyone may purchase. Drawing will take place at NEAR-Fest XXIX in May 2021. 
 
Secondly, clubs who have already applied for the 2020 Association and Club Early Entry passes will not have to reapply again in January 2021. 
 
With your help we will survive this horrific nightmare.
 
73,
Mister Mike

Phil Temples, K9HI, Appointed as New England Division Vice Director

ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, has appointed Phil Temples, K9HI, of Watertown, Massachusetts, as New England Division Vice Director. He succeeds Mike Raisbeck, K1TWF, who was elected earlier this year as ARRL First Vice President. President Roderick made the appointment after consulting with New England Director Fred Hopengarten, K1VR, and the region's Section Managers. 

"I want to thank all of those who forwarded their recommendations to Director Hopengarten," Temples said. "Mike Raisbeck left some big shoes to fill. I look forward to working with Fred, and to advise and assist him with various tasks and board committee assignments. One task I'm especially eager to tackle is launching a New England Division website."

An ARRL Life Member, Temples has been licensed for 50 years, initially as WN9EAY in Indiana. He has written articles for QST and contributed articles for the ARRL website. He also recently co-authored a chapter in the Amateur Radio Public Service Handbook.

Temples served three terms as Eastern Massachusetts Section Manager and now is an Assistant SM and an Assistant New England Division Director. He's also held ARRL field appointments as Affiliated Club Coordinator and Public Information Officer and currently serves as program chair for the ARRL New England Division Convention.

Temples has been active in MARS, the National Traffic System, and as an Emergency Coordinator, and he enjoys CW. He holds a degree in electrical engineering from Purdue University.

Temples has actively promoted instruction and licensing and is a Volunteer Examiner under the ARRL, W5YI, and Greater Los Angeles ARG Volunteer Examiner Coordinators. He's currently involved with New England Amateur Radio, Inc. in administering remote exam sessions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Temples is employed at Boston College as a computer systems administrator.

New Amateur Licensees June, July and August 2020

Congratulations to the latest new hams of Western Massachusetts:

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

Gail Parsloe, KC1NFF
382 Northampton Rd
Apt A
Amherst, MA 01002-2558

Jacob P Morin, KC1NHF
68 Monson Rd
Wales, MA 01081-9714

Alexander N Habermann, KC1NHG
1 Berkshire Sq
Apt 410
Adams, MA 01220-1304

James Javorsky, KC1NJJ
480 Teel Rd
Winchendon, MA 01475-2143

Joseph Quinn, KC1NHV
7 Bradish Farm Rd
Upton, MA 01568-1021

Shridhar Ambady, KC1NIX
16 Seward St
Worcester, MA 01604-2838

Robert Laird, KC1NHX
68 Vaughn Hill Rd
Bolton, MA 01740-1011

Paul Probst, KC1NDV
31 Woodland Rd
Southborough, MA 01772-1813

Reed G Probst, KC1NDW
31 Woodland Rd
Southborough, MA 01772-1813

Frederick J Probst, KC1NDZ
31 Woodland Rd
Southborough, MA 01772-1813

Manuel J Pino, KC1NMN
128 Channell Dr
Agawam, MA 01001-3508

Keen Sung, KC1NOI
608 S Pleasant St
Amherst, MA 01002-2544

Timothy Riley, KC1NOD
PO Box 1422
Easthampton, MA 01027-5422

Thomas A Boido, KC1NMC
3 Cheryl Ln
Southampton, MA 01073-9593

Keith A Korbut, KC1NJU
16 Saffron Cir
Springfield, MA 01129-1513

Chris N Whittier, KC1NNB
PO Box 453
Ashburnham, MA 01430-0453

Jeffrey A Roy, KC1NMZ
56 Hastings Rd
Ashburnham, MA 01430-1112

John W Hedly, KC1NMI
4 Whitman Bailey Dr
Auburn, MA 01501-3368

Korina Paliyannis, KC1NLJ
PO Box 418
Charlton, MA 01507-0418

Andrew T Detsikas, KC1NLT
30 Ross St
Clinton, MA 01510-1309

Tim Barnes, KC1NRP
235 E Pleasant St
Amherst, MA 01002-1557

George F Russell, KC1NSR
112 Worcester Providence Tpke
Millbury, MA 01527-2500

Richard M Chandler, KC1NQK
31 Valentine Rd
Northborough, MA 01532-1338

Stav Zeliger, KC1NRU
19 Eli Whitney St
Westborough, MA 01581-3536

Section Manager Report September 2020

Hi Gang, we are now rounding the corner into September. I will admit it was a hot summer.

With the arrival of September comes the opening of some clubs starting up their meeting's. I'm sure most, if not all will be virtual for now. Just as a reminder the WMA website now has resources to aid in various aspects of your club. The links are below:

For speakers:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1qLesHfit7-elLKXI-e8sQfpiKtNLCmyTirWFdALmRWE/edit#gid=1857305376

For new hams: 
https://wma.arrl.org/western-massachusetts-section-mentoring-program.html

Nets to try out: (let's keep it up to date!)
https://wma.arrl.org/media/files/netlisting/WMA_Ham_Nets.pdf

Note: I do know the COVID Breakfast nets are now suspended. Hopefully they will no longer have to be used.

These are resources for you. Please keep them up to date and accurate please. Contact myself or the webmaster to get changes made.

The summer I have been busy setting up and learning some digital modes to support ARES. This is part to help Bob K1YO in testing capabilities and what works best in the area. The other is I am building a versatile EMCOMM station with a FT 991-a I just bought (nice rig by the way!). Things are moving along and what I am learning will hopefully provide someone interested in digital EMCOM technical assistance. Anyone is welcome to participate and encouraged to do so.

This month I am going to do a shoutout to the Mohawk Club in Gardner. They have spent the summer in getting their repeater groomed and set up with Fusion and DMR. They actually used part of it to do a demonstration on Zoom. It was quite informative. The other thing they are doing is one person has stepped up and will be doing a CW ops course aside from the usual one which fills up quickly. I will be participating in it to see if I can start using it on the air. This is a great example of a club that was struggling and with a committed group of members, is coming up with ideas to increase participation, activity, and add membership. I am looking forward to see the results from their efforts. Great job all!

When your club has their meetings, drop me an invite so I can pay a visit and say hi.
That's all for this month. Like they said in the seventies.."Keep on Truckin'"!

Best 73,
Ray, KB1LRL

 

ARRL Hires Paul Z. Gilbert, KE5ZW, as Director of Emergency Management

Originally posted on the ARRL HQ website:

As another step in ARRL’s increased focus on strengthening its emergency communications capabilities and long-standing working relationships with federal and state agencies and private emergency response organizations, ARRL has hired Paul Z. Gilbert, KE5ZW, of Cedar Park, Texas, as its first Director of Emergency Management.

Gilbert brings more than 30 years of experience in public service in both his professional and amateur radio endeavors. Beginning with his appointment as Emergency Coordinator in 1987, he has held multiple positions in the ARRL Field Organization. Currently in his second term as South Texas Section Manager, he has also served for more than a decade as the West Gulf Division’s Assistant Director for Public Service, acting as liaison between Division leadership and local, state, and federal emergency management organizations.

Professionally, Gilbert most recently was Radio Officer, HQ Staff, for the Texas State Guard, where for the past 6 years he has been responsible for planning and implementation of the organization’s communications capabilities. Previously he was a Public Safety Radio Coordinator for a Texas agency, charged with overseeing that organization’s large-scale disaster communications response and identifying and eliminating in-state interoperability issues.

Gilbert, who has an Amateur Extra-class license, is a member of Army MARS, and holds numerous DHS certifications, including COML, COMT, COMT Instructor, and AUXCOM Communicator. He is a member of the FEMA Regional Emergency Communications Coordination Working Group (RECCWG), a graduate of the FEMA Emergency Management Institute’s Exercise Design Course, and was a founding member of the Texas Division of Emergency Management Communications Coordination Group.

In his new role, Gilbert will manage a team responsible for supporting ARRL Emergency Communications (EmComm) programs and services, including the Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES®) and National Traffic System (NTS), as well as lead the continued modernization of those programs in consonance with the future emergency communications needs of the public and ARRL’s key partners.

HamXposition First Postponed, Now Going Virtual

Hello All,

Large indoor gatherings such as our convention are currently prohibited by Massachusetts state law. This is highly unlikely to change by November.  Unfortunately, we will not be able to hold a physical convention this year.

However, we do plan some virtual activities, all free.  We are currently working on the details for these and will keep you posted as they develop:

We plan to the operate the W1A special event station over the weekend of October 31st - November 1st. To avoid a conflict with the November Sweepstakes, we moved this to one week earlier. W1A will be operated from the operator's home stations.  Dennis, W1UE, is coordinating the schedule.  If you would like to be a W1A operator, please contact W1UE by email at w1ue@hamxposition.org.  For those who would like to work W1A, we will be posting the operating schedule once it is ready.  Note that this will give regular attendees the unique opportunity to work W1A (something which would have been more difficult for many to do operating portable from a hotel room).

We will also be hosting a Saturday evening virtual banquet on November 7th, featuring a guest speaker. There will be no charge for this event.  Order your favorite take-out or delivery, pull up a chair to your screen and join your friends for an interesting presentation.  After the talk, virtual break-out rooms will be available for you to converse with your "table".

The Nashua Area Radio Club will be running an online version of the "Ham Boot Camp". This is a multisession program for hams young and old to learn about the various activities they can do with their license.  Details to follow.

Eastern Mass ARES will be running online versions of their training sessions. Details to follow.

From the entire HamXposition committee, we wish you good health, be safe, and we look forward to seeing everyone in person at our 2021 convention on July 23-24-25, 2021.

73,
Bob - K1IW
Chairman, HamXposition 2020

Section Manager Report August 2020

Hello, I am taking the day and finding “cool” things to do in different variations. Mostly to avoid turning into a well-done turkey! Hi-hi. Just remember, winter will be back!

One thing I wish to do is to keep in touch despite the fact we are pretty much confined and no meetings going on. Clubs, send me meeting invites so I can say hi and listen to the local gossip. The other thing I wish to gather is when clubs or people have VE sessions to let me know. I do get inquiries about who and when a session is coming up. If there is nothing going on, we ought to look at getting some testing done. Now that some things have loosened up Covid-wise there may be some options now available, even outdoors. Alaska and Hawaii have been doing remote testing for some time and other sections have looked at and adopted their own sessions which are VE and socially compliant. I am certainly open to ideas and comments. Remote VE may be the wave of the future way beyond this pandemic.

ARES has been plugging along. There is planning and training still going on and things may have bogged down a little bit. Understandable the times have been challenging as well as the heat now and who knows what is next. It’s like we are waiting for another shoe to drop. I have been using my time to set up WinLink and VARA on my base and portables to help Bob K1YO and learn this myself and have been tinkering with things to be better prepared “just in case”. Training and practice is the key and if anything else, it is expanding your knowledge in Ham Radio. I would encourage you consider helping us out in ARES and take part in the trainings and other activities. Share your skills and hobby to others. Foxhunting is not ARES but can be valuable in certain situations. Hiking to the top of a hill, making a quickie antenna and making contacts at 5 watts, again, has value. We need to get enthusiastic and active to inspire others to get exited about all that radio has to offer. Don’t be the one that says “nah, not me. Someone else will do it” Those someone elses are fading into silence!

That’s enough jibber-jabber for now. Enjoy the summer the best you can. Get On The AIR!

Best 73,
Ray, KB1LRL

 

MARS Announces HF Skills Exercise

As part of a Nationwide HF Skills Exercise for MARS Members and Amateur Radio Operators the Chief of ARMY MARS and the Chief of Air force MARS have announced an exercise for July 20-24, 2020.

Amateur Radio Operators are encouraged to participate in Daily 60 Meter Nets on Channel 1 (5330.5 KHz USB Dial) at 1200 and 2000 local times (Noon and 8pm Eastern time).

Amateur Radio stations will be asked for real life Infrastructure failure issues, and possibly other information to be relayed to MARS stations on that channel. Reports of no issues are just as important as reports of any issues. Be prepared to provide information to help the MARS station determine your FIPS code. Your Zip code is the easiest way to communicate that.

Please join us, and have some fun!

See the ARRL Website story on this for more details:
http://www.arrl.org/news/mars-announces-hf-skills-exercise

Tom Kinahan N1CPE
ARMY MARS Region One Executive Officer-Software/Automation Officer

Fall NEAR-Fest Cancelled

Many radio amateurs and hobbyists in the Northeast already know that the Deerfield Fair Association voted reluctantly but overwhelmingly to cancel the 2020 Fair at a special meeting on Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020.

Ben, KB1NZN, and I are members and were at the meeting.  We both voted for cancellation and totally agree with the decision of the Deerfield Fair Association membership who voted 105 to 5 in favor of cancelling the Fair.  There was not one good reason put forth during the discussion in favor of holding the Fair this year.

Especially in these unprecedented times our first responsibility must be to the health and well-being of our volunteer staff, exhibitors, attendees, fairgrounds staff and the local area residents who graciously welcome us twice a year to their community.  We cannot betray this trust.

Furthermore there is no possible way we can realistically maintain the six foot “social distancing” separation especially in the flea market, commercial buildings, forums and VE examination rooms.  This is required whenever possible by the NH Governor’s Special Covid-19 Task Force.

Consequently, as a result, we have no option except to cancel NEAR-Fest XXVIII.

However the good news is that NEAR-Fest XXIX is already scheduled for Friday April 30th and Saturday May 1st 2021 and NEAR-Fest XXX for October 12th and 13th 2021.

We will be selling advance tickets starting in the Fall.  For advance ticket buyers the cost of admission will remain at $10.00 per person.   However starting next Spring the price of admission at the gate will be $15.00. Inside parking and camping fees will remain the same.  I will post additional information about advance ticket sales in the Fall.

We know this isn’t going to be a popular decision but with the Fair cancelling I think we would create some ill-will in the area if we show up ten days later.  This may affect us later down the road.  I am sure many of the locals are relieved to know we are staying away this time.....

Also attendance would surely be very low and we would probably lose money.  Lat’s wait six more months and return in style when it is safe.

73,
Michael Crestohl, aka “MisterMike”, W1RC
Benevolent Dictator,
New England Amateur Radio Festival, Inc.

Section Manager Report July 2020

Webmaster note: The section manager's report this month has been delayed a few days as I was away on vacation.  Sorry for the delay!

Hello everyone! As I sat down with my coffee and read my emails, I got one that announced October’s Near-Fest has been cancelled. That’s one weekend I hope it pours out. I won’t feel so bad. I’m sure you will all agree this Covid-19 has put a big hurt on a lot of things and will for some time to follow. Hamvention is still on for November, at least for now.

I believe by now everyone has finished up with their Field Day activities. I was going to set up an ‘E’ station in the yard but mother nature decided to throw a couple of curve balls on that. I hope your operation went well. This can also inspire some different operating practices for if and when we get back together as a group again. Set up something unique and see how it works. There may be something that you find to be easier, more effective, inspiring, maybe inventive. If nothing else it would be a cool conversation piece!

As you have likely seen, we had a hiking rescue involving Ham Radio, both as victim and operations. This did end well as the victim will recover. His location was challenging as it was tough to find him and turned into a six-hour operation. The operators who assisted did a fine job in the efforts and those that contributed and compiled the reporting did an excellent job.

ARES has been getting re-established and has been coming together for some time. We are still in a need to get volunteers to fill certain posts and be an active part in the ongoing process. We are now gearing up for digital training on Winlink. There is a need for a few hams with digital savvy in each county to aid in getting this off the ground.  Anyone who wishes to participate can contact Bob, K1YO at k1yo@comcast.net.

Now that July 1 is here, it is now time for the 13 Colonies special event that runs through July 7. This is a fun radio activity and a certificate is involved. For further information go to http://www.13colonies.us/

That should do it for now. I will close with the message to encourage continued activity  with local clubs, regions, sections. Even if it’s just a Zoom meeting. Get involved, stay involved!

Most 73 to you all!
Ray, KB1LRL