Western Massachusetts ARRL

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

WMA Mentoring Guide (Re)Published

On Sunday, January 12, 2020, ARRL New England Division Director Fred Hopengarten K1VR held a division cabinet meeting for all ARRL affiliated club presidents and other section officials.  During the meeting WMA Section Manager Ray Lajoie KB1LRL,  Technical Coordinator Greg Algieri WA1JAR, Technical Specialist Paul Topolski W1SEX and Technical Specialist Bob Meneguzzo K1YO presented a new ham mentoring program.

Our section's Technical Specialist Team has put together a mentoring guide which is intended to be downloaded by whoever needs it and can edit it specific to their club or group.  This should be given to a person that has passed their test to provide basic information, club and contact information so they do not seem lost when they leave the room.  Hopefully it will introduce them to an Elmer (Mentor) to aid in getting started.

We had some initial setbacks with the initial documentation, but the latest and greatest is now released.  The guide has been added to the website's main navigation above by going to What We Do > Technical Guidance > WMA Mentoring Program.  Please feel free to download it and distribute it to whomever it may help!

KD2JKV Appointed as Assistant Section Manager

Please join us in welcoming Peter Mattice KD1JKV as our newest Assistant Section Manager!

Peter is involved with many things in the hobby, including serving in multiple roles within ARES, within NTS, and he also hosts his own broadcast radio show and podcast dedicated to ham radio.

Peter will be serving mostly as a representative for the section staff within the Northwestern most parts of the section.

Congrats again, Peter, and welcome aboard!

Section Manager Report March 2020

Hello Western Mass.  I’m sure by now we are starting to come out of hibernation and thinking warm thoughts which is what I hope to be a warm, sunny season coming up.

First of all, join me in welcoming Peter Mattice, KD2JKV to a new position as Assistant Section Manager.  Peter is currently one of the WMA Assistant Section Traffic Managers and will continue with that role as well.  Peter will be concentrating on the northwest corner and Berkshire county which I find to be a real challenge to get out there.  He also does a radio show and podcast dedicated to ham radio called Ham On! which is broadcasted on WTBR in Pittsfield every Wednesday at 9:00 AM.  I was a recent guest on his show and had fun with it!  Welcome Peter!

Hamfest’s are warming up! I was at the Marlboro hamfest and as usual was a great time. My next one is at Mt. Tom hamfest for Saturday, March 7th. With that will also be representatives for ARES and RACES for our section so stop by and say howdy!

On a personal note, a number of members are aware of my career change to a commercial truck driver. As of Jan 15, I did receive my Class A drivers license and have been looking for a position. The vast majority of local companies failed to respond to my applications except one. I will be driving over the road which will keep me out of state quite a bit. This will limit my appearances somewhat for a while and my intent is to keep an open line of communication. With any luck, I can still attend field day and Boxboro. (Oh, wait, HamExposition!) I need to see how things are with time. There is some great momentum going on and want to see it blossom.

For those who are not aware, Grant, KC1KCE has set up a Facebook account for our section. All are welcome to post club and public service events and other information as well. This is also linked to this website so when items like my report goes on this site, it populates to Facebook. This is to expand our information pipeline to get news and events out more. Thanks, Grant, for the stellar effort!

As you know, our Section has initiated a Mentoring program which ran into a little snag in the brochure we introduced. It has now been revised and approved and you will see it on the website for all to download and modify as needed for your club or event. I would love to get some feedback as to what you did and if this has a positive impact on the new ham.

Our resident Near-Fest creator, Mr. Mike W1RC came up with an idea where he created an email and with some of our members help, emailed 99.9% of the states police departments to educate them on ham radio exemption to give them clarity and to ensure with the distracted driving law which is now in effect. A number of departments replied with appreciation that they received the information. Keep in mind, if you are pulled over and you get a ticket, just take it and bring it up to the court. I do not anticipate a problem, but just in case. Thanks to all who assisted in the effort in getting the word out.

Boy, I had a mouthful to report this month! Please keep spreading the word according to Amateur Radio! Thank you all for a wonderful month.


33rd Annual MTARA Hamfest

The Mount Tom Amateur Repeater Association is holding its annual Amateur Radio and Electronics Hamfest on Saturday, March 7, 2020 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).

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

KB1LRL Featured on Tomorrow's Ham On! Show

Every Wednesday at 9:00 AM, Peter Mattice KD2JKV hosts his show / podcast on Pittsfield Community Radio WTBR 89.7 FM called Ham on!

Tomorrow morning's show (February 12), Peter will be talking with Western MA Section Manager Ray Lajoie KB1LRL. In particular, they will be talking about the secton's new mentoring program that Ray and section's technical staff is starting, as well as ARES in within the section and other happenings.  You can listen live on wtbrfm.com.  Past recordings of Ham on! are also available at https://anchor.fm/peter0190.

Peter is also one of our section's Assistant Section Traffic Manager and is highly involved in the local amateur radio community in many ways in the section.

Please tune in for Peter and Ray's show tomorrow!

More Boston Marathon Ham Radio Volunteers Needed

The Boston Marathon Communications Committee is currently at 240 out of our goal of 350 volunteer registrations for this year's Boston Marathon. Registration was scheduled to close on February 7th -- the BAA has granted us an extension until February 17th
If you're interested in volunteering, please register today. You can sign up at http://register.hamradioboston.org. Please share this note with your ham friends / organizations that may be interested.
Feel free to send me an email if you have any questions. You can also email contact@hamradioboston.org to contact the entire committee.
Thanks and 73,
Matt Brennan NM1B
Finish Segment Coordinator

New WMA Club Presenters List Published

I'm happy to report that, with the help of many others, I've compiled a list of known good club presenters and topics.  The purpose of the list is to help clubs in the section in selecting and asking people to come to their club meetings to speak and present on a variety of interesting topics.

The list can be viewed by going to What We Do > Clubs > WMA Club Presenters List in the main navigation menu above.

If anyone has any additions or changes for the list, please let me know.  Otherwise, I'd like to thank everyone that helped me putting this together, and especially everyone that elected to be on this list.

Thanks and 73,
Gil Hayes WK1H
WMA ARRL Affiliated Club Coordinator

New Amateur Licensees - January 2020

Congratulations to the latest new hams of Western Massachusetts:

Vincent J Melling, KC1MOH
88 Rick Dr
Florence, MA 01062-1046

David R Archambault, KC1MKY
44 Cottage Ave
Southampton, MA 01073-9538

Michael J Gregoire, KC1MOI
10 Brentwood Dr
Wilbraham, MA 01095-2504

Pranee Ngaokaeo, KC1MMA
3 Themeli Ct
North Oxford, MA 01537-1026

Section Manager Report February 2020

Hello Western Ma. As I write this, reports are that Puxatawney Phil did not see his shadow. Early spring? Let's see!

January 12 I met with other division officials with Fred K1VR in Springfield and Paul W1SEX, Bob K1YO, Aaron KC1CXX and myself introduced our mentoring program which included the distribution of our guide to give to people just getting their license which can be customized to their local area to provide club, and contact information. This was met with very good reviews and was well received. I also traveled to Newington on the 23rd with it and it received the same rave reviews. Unfortunately, there were some copyright protection issues with the original copy that we published here on the website, so until we edit some things to resolve that we had to remove it. I am now looking into a different structure to this and my intention is to bring back an elmering/mentoring program to get our new hams started and on the air. Hang in there.

Now that February has come upon us, our thoughts turn to Hamfest's starting with Marlboro which is Feb 15. I will be there with my goodies. It is a shame that Framingham has stopped their hamfest. It was a good one and can only hope it comes back. Mount Tom ARA Hamfest is around the corner and I plan on being there as well. As some of you know, I am in the midst of a career change and the new job I get may pull me in a different direction. Speaking of hamfests, most, if not all are aware of the change to what we used to call Boxboro which has now moved to Marlboro at the Best Western for July 24-26. The word that I have been hearing is this is a very positive change as it can accommodate a lot more there to the point that a national convention can occur there. My wish to this is it will bring back vendors that have drifted away from us over recent years.

January also is the time the League board gets together for their regular board meeting and at this time the board minutes have not been approved and released as yet. Two things of note is the departure of Howard WB2ITX. The board did not elect him and Barry Shelly N1VXY is back in as interim. There is no detail about why this all came about hopefully whatever the reasons are, it's in the best interest for the league and the members. The good thing that came out of it is our Vice Director Mike Raisbeck K1TWF was elected First Vice President for the league. Bad for us is now there is a vacancy for the Vice Director which will be BIG shoes to fill and good for the league that they now have a respected voice with a bunch of years to his credit.

That's enough razzle-dazzle for now. I hope everyone has a great February and hope to see you in my travels.


Algonquin ARC Hamfest

The Algonquin Amateur Radio Club will be holding its annual hamfest at 1Lt Charles W. Whitcomb Middle School at 25 Union St. in Marlborough, MA.  The hamfest 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 Saturday, February 15, 2020 from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM.  General admission is $5 and includes a chance at the $200 Cash Door Prize.

An amateur radio exam session will be run at the hamfest at 9:00 AM for those how wish to get licensed or upgrade.

Vendors may reserve 6 foot tables at the hamfest at $15 each if purchased by February 7, 2018 ($20.00 each accepted at the door if space is available).  Vendors may arrive at 6:30 AM for setup.  For more information or to reserve a table, contact Tim Ikeda KA1OS at 1-508-919-6136 before 9:00 PM or email fleamarket@n1em.org.  A mail in order form is also available on the bottom of the hamfest's official flyer.

Talk in will be on the MMRA Marlboro repeater system: 147.27+ (pl 146.2).

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

Hope to see you there!