NEAR-Fest XXIX May 2021 Deerfield NH Cancelled!

Dear Friends of NEAR-Fest…..

I am sure that just about everyone knew this was coming but this makes it is official.

Given the current Coronavirus situation with new cases reported every day at astronomical levels (on January 8th there were 7,110 in Mass. alone) and the fact that the vaccination process is running behind schedule we have decided that April 30th/May 1st 2021 is far too soon to hold NEAR-Fest XXIX and guarantee that it will safe for all.  Consequently I have this day notified the Deerfield Fair Association that we have decided to cancel it.

This decision was not taken lightly but it is also a no brainer.  There are no options.  As you know this is the third NEAR – Fest that had to be cancelled because of Covid-19.  The good news is that NEAR-Fest XXX is scheduled for October 15th and 16th, 2021 and, for the first time since this started, I am fully confident this will be our grand “NEAR-Fest Homecoming!”

Advance tickets and parking passes that were sold for NEAR- Fest XXIX will be valid for NEAR-Fest-XXX.  However anyone wanting a full refund may have it.  Email w1rc@near-fest.com for details. 

For more information visit http://forum.near-fest.com/index.php?topic=1522.0

73 and see you all on October 15th

Mister Mike, W1RC
Benevolent Dictator
New England Amateur Radio Festival, Inc.

Section Manager Report January 2021

Hello everyone and Happy New Year! I guess we can all agree we won’t regret 2020 going bye-bye. But a new chapter opens up and we can all hope our dreams, plans, hopes can be realized without much resistance. Myself, I cannot complain, I made some pretty good achievements last year. I learned CW finally and now I need to hone it more so I can get on the air with it. Also, a new career and some home improvements. I’ve been a busy boy!

I do want to apologize as I forgot to announce a new staff member to our ranks. Mike DeChristopher N1TA has become our new Assistant Section Manager. Mike has a background in contesting and once had the position as ARRL contest manager in Newington. He is also a member of HCRA. He will be overseeing the western end of the state and he will be a great addition to our staff. Welcome aboard, Mike!

And as usual we still have some holes to fill in our staffing. Maybe it is a New Year’s resolution to become part of it. Shoot me an email to see what is available. Both Myself and ARES are seeking people to join.

As you are aware the latest scuttlebutt for discussion is the new license fees coming up. The FCC dropped the price down to $35 instead of $50. There were over 190,000 comments sent to the FCC and it did have some impact but not ideally what we want. You can see the R&O at this link. Thanks to all who sent in the comments.

As mentioned last month, our website has a new look and feel having been moved to a new system. We are now looking at incorporating our ARES membership database into our new website, so it is all managed from a single system, making it easier for everyone. Stay tuned on more announcements and instructions about that!

With the new year is also a big time for contesting as there are a number of big ones for the next two months, starting with Straight Key Night tonight. Also the RTTY Roundup this weekend. This is a great way to fatten up your log and maybe get that elusive award you are looking for. It is also a good way to hone skills that you are new to or to dust off your equipment and get back into it. I am just a casual contester which is fine with me, but there are others that really get into it to test their skills and beat scores, etc. Whatever works for you, get into it and enjoy yourselves. Share your experience with your fellow club members.

I hope you all have a productive and prosperous new year and make the best of it! Let’s be hopeful that at least some of the hamfests come back!

Best 73,
Ray KB1LRL

Boston Marathon Volunteer 2021 Update

Boston Marathon Communications Committee writes:

We hope you are all safe and healthy. We also hope you are having an enjoyable holiday season despite the impacts of COVID-19. We wanted to provide you a short update on 2021 Boston Marathon plans in light of today’s public statement from the BAA.

The BAA statement can be seen here: https://www.baa.org/2021-boston-marathon-updates 

Our team has been engaged with the BAA at both the Organizing Committee and Medical Committee levels regarding the 2021 Boston Marathon. We have also been meeting as an Amateur Radio Communications Committee over the course of the Fall to be ready for a potential Boston Marathon event in the Fall of 2021 and attempt to review some of the issues of past marathons more proactively and address them given the delay in a potential race to the Fall of 2021. 

Given the uncertainties brought about by the recent surge in COVID-19 along with how quickly a vaccine can propagate to the general populace, the BAA has pushed back their decision on a Fall race date to early 2021.

We will continue to update you as things change regarding a potential 2021 Boston Marathon race and what changes that might entail in light of the COVID-19 impacts. When the BAA is once again able to resume the Boston Marathon, we hope to see you again as part of the Amateur Radio Volunteers, presuming it is safe for you in your personal situation.  

We will keep you posted as updates occur and attempt to get updates out as appropriate in coordination with the BAA. Thanks to all for their continued support of the BAA and the Boston Marathon.

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

A Message from the WMA ARES Section Emergency Coordinator

WMA ARES

So, 2020 is finally winding down! This year has certainly been a challenge across a broad spectrum of events, interests, and areas…. and the continuing development of the Western Massachusetts ARES Section has borne its share of difficulties driven by the pandemic.  As Amateur Radio operators, communications is woven into our fabric just by the nature of what we do. This is even more important relative to the ARES organization – it’s our primary charter and mission.

I’d be derelict of duty if I didn’t acknowledge that communications from leadership to members of our community is critically important. This pandemic has wrought quite some havoc in my trying to visit individual clubs to solicit inputs and let them know what the planned direction of our Section currently is.  You are all aware that we are in the process of rebuilding a dormant ARES Section. Reasons for the past decline are varied … but we are on the way back though we’ve surely been hampered by setbacks in personal contact, staffing, and other unexpected obstacles.

Several folks have asked for a brief overview of what’s been done and what else is coming so I’d like to take this opportunity for a quick update.  You may have noticed that we have a new Section website that has just recently come out of construction. It’s the same url … wma.arrl.org … but has been totally rebuilt on another web hosting service to allow us better control and functionality. A thankful shout out to Aaron – KF1G, Gil – WK1H, and Grant – KC1KCE for all their work in accomplishing this.  Under the Emergency Communications menu there is an option for new members to submit a request to join us. Doing this sends an email to an administrator and me and allows the user to be added to a new members group and redirected to a place where they can assign themselves a password. This will allow entry into the main profile system where we collect important information regarding their capabilities and interests.  We are also going to generate a communication asking current members to follow a similar process which will allow us to update our (sometimes ancient) information.

This was a primary concern for me … you need accurate member information to be able to assess the needs and interests of our Section and to enable accurate interfacing with municipalities and agencies that may require our assistance in various ways. That being said, I’m sure you’d like a glimpse of what’s to come. Here are some of the key activities underway currently:

  • Continue website development to include sections covering technical, public service events calendars, and team-building with agencies served.
  • Develop a new and effective Notification System for Activations of all types.
  • Update our WMA Emergency Plan document to reflect staffing and any organizational and procedural changes.
  • Implement a drive for new membership and renewed participation from existing members … provide services that will enhance their efforts in Emergency Communications and technical topics to help grow their capabilities in amateur radio overall.
  • Enhance our current VHF / UHF net activities … add practice nets across the Section with a focus on emulated EmComm situations, and setup mentoring for interested parties to become Net Control Stations (NCS).
  • Establish a Section – wide Digital HF net enabling messaging across counties if needed by served agencies.
  • Form a Steering Committee comprised of internal (ARES) and external representation to evaluate our capabilities and provide guidance in developing new goals and objectives focused on our members’ and agencies’ needs.
  • We are developing, with the assistance of our ARRL Technical Specialists and volunteer technical ‘consultants’, a program of technical training sessions (Zoom and/or document based) to enhance the skills of new and existing members.  Typical topics considered are:
    •  Soldering, Cable Fabrication, Simple Antenna Design, Construction and Testing
    • Introductory and NCS net training
    • Go-kit needs and assembly
    • Portable Power Sources
    • Radio Testing with basic tools – DVM, Oscilloscope, Antenna Analyzer
    • Digital Modes Introduction / review with hands – on : NBEMS, JS8Call and WinLink
    • … others to be determined with YOUR inputs!

I sincerely hope you will consider joining us or renewing your previous interest in ARES. I am very interested in what would be valuable to you specifically on your journey through Amateur Radio.

Please feel free to offer your suggestions to any of our leadership team or  contact me directly with comments and ideas.

We’re well on the way to reviving a substantial and valuable organization that can provide important assistance to our communities and agencies. We need you to help make this a reality. Please give this your thought and consideration

With sincere wishes for a Safe, Blessed and Happy Holiday Season …

Vy 73,
Bob Meneguzzo – K1YO
k1yo@arrl.net
ARES Western Massachusetts Section Emergency Coordinator

Newcomers Roundtable Net Starting on the NoBARC Repeater

North Berkshire Amateur Radio Club (NoBARC) is once again starting their Newcomers Roundtable on the Mt. Greylock Repeater.

Specifically, the net is to provide a forum for new ham radio operators to ask questions, learn how to operate in a net environment, and meet hams that have been around for a while with plenty of experience and advise to share.

The net is held on the first Sunday of the month and if proven popular may also be held on the third Sunday as well.

The net meets at 6:00 PM local time. The net meets on the Mt. Greylock repeater, 146.91/-600, 162.2 CTCSS. Also you can connect with Echolink at K1FFK-R. For more information contact Net Manager Dave Foley W1TTT.

New Amateur Licensees October and November 2020

Congratulations to the latest new hams of Western Massachusetts:

Kimberly Lane, KC1NYK
500 Riverglade Dr
Apt E
Amherst, MA 01002-3673

Noah R Loebel, KC1NXU
77 S Maple St
Hadley, MA 01035-9736

Michael D Laferriere, KC1OCA
21 Ely Rd
Monson, MA 01057-9580

Alan R Seidner, KC1OCT
82 Thayer Rd
Greenfield, MA 01301-9630

David M Bellew, KC1OBX
95 Shawna St
Fitchburg, MA 01420-3683

Wayne D Nasiatka, KC1NYQ
123 Bickford Hill Rd
Gardner, MA 01440-2344

Sean M Walsh, KC1OCM
129 Sunny Rd
Lunenburg, MA 01462

Robert B Campbell, KC1OAB
308 Oxford St N
Auburn, MA 01501-1121

Robert V Aldenberg, KC1OAR
399 Whitney St
Northborough, MA 01532-1100

Danian Zheng, KC1OBV
1 Elizabeth Dr
Westborough, MA 01581-3833

Harrison Zheng, KC1OBZ
1 Elizabeth Dr
Westborough, MA 01581-3833

Moises Rodriguez, KC1OAY
124 Houghton St
Worcester, MA 01604-3938

Stephen Frasier, KC1OFO
10 Wildflower Dr
Amherst, MA 01002-3427

Jeffrey Smolen, KC1OEL
114 Cedar St
Sturbridge, MA 01566-1356

Lindsey A Gilman, KC1OFY
133 Glenview St
Upton, MA 01568-1219

Bren A Phillips, KC1OFZ
133 Glenview St
Upton, MA 01568-1219

Thomas Caraceni, KC1ODZ
25 Granite St
Apt 3R
Webster, MA 01570-2455

David Silva, KC1OCW
52 Country Club Blvd
Apt 112
Worcester, MA 01605-1509

Steven C Price, KC1ODA
39 Gibbs St
Worcester, MA 01607-1457

Section Manager Report December 2020

Hello once again. Sorry I’m a little late as the new job is putting a different spin on my weekdays.

As we near the end of 2020 it certainly places a lot of “what-ifs” to the new year, so many thing’s that will drive our livelihoods and our lives, My wish is to find normalcy in all facets of it, as I’m sure you all do as well.

I attended a Zoom meeting with the Hampden County Radio Association along with fellow invitees Fred, K1VR, our New England Division Director and Vice-Director Phil, K9HI. This was actually their virtual Holiday party. Fred gave us some information and fielded some questions from the group. It was a fun time and appreciate Fred and Phil for joining in.

Here is a little bit of breaking news. We are working on a new website and this is actually going to combine the crusty, dusty ARES website into our new website which is under a new host. The revamp also will remove the singular owner/admin and place it with a group that will share control and adapt to personnel changes as years go on. This will also be a huge improvement on how ARES is accessed. It will be much easier to apply, report, and maintain databases. Huge thanks go to Gil WK1H, Grant KC1KCE, and Aaron, KF1G for their collective web talents for putting it together. Also, thanks to Bob K1YO for instigating this! Hi-hi. Stay tuned, more to follow.

I hope that everyone has a safe, healthy, fabulous Holiday season in the best possible way. Take some time and warm up your shack and get on the air for a while.

Stay well and 73!
Ray KB1LRL

HCRA Remote Licensing Class Starting February 2021

The Hampden County Radio Association will be running an Online Technician Licensing Class starting this February.  The classes will be conducted over Zoom.

The class will run weekly for 5 weeks on Wednesday evenings from 7 PM to 9 PM.  The class will start on February 3 and conclude on March 3.

For more details or to register for the class, please see the sign up form on the HCRA website.

Please spread the word!

SKYWARN Recognition Day (SRD) 2020

Hello to all..

**We hope all SKYWARN Spotters and Amateur Radio Operators had a very Happy Thanksgiving. On behalf of the NWS Boston/Norton forecasters and the entire WX1BOX Amateur Radio Team, we are fortunate to have such a strong and vibrant program with the support of all of you in the field and we appreciate another tremendous of year of service in weather spotting for the community particularly given the COVID19 pandemic and its impacts to everyone in our community. Thanks for all you do for us and the community!**

**SKYWARN Recognition Day 2020 will occur this year but modified due to COVID19 and the fact NWS offices are not allowed to have volunteer Amateur Radio Operators at any NWS office due to COVID. In addition, a social media component will be added to engage non-Amateur Radio SKYWARN Spotters more with 2020’SRD. This initial announcement gives information on 2020’SRD and the plan for further updates.**
Due to COVID19, typical WX1BOX Amateur Radio Operations will not occur at NWS Boston/Norton. The WX1BOX Amateur Radio team will be operating remotely via their home stations. In addition, the Boston Amateur Radio Club has cancelled their operations from Blue Hill for 2020. The NWS Gray Maine office cannot be active at the office due to the same restrictions on volunteers at NWS offices nationwide but will likely have some form of SRD operation for 2020.

For WX1BOX Amateur Radio operations, we will cover the typical SKYWARN repeaters on VHF/UHF as well as simplex and be on HF via the various remote home stations along with our WX1BOX social media pages. In addition, contacts with other Amateur Radio SKYWARN stations will count towards NWS certificates. Further, there will be a social media component to engage non-Amateur Radio and Amateur Radio SKYWARN spotter alike. The current set of information is available and additional information will be made available on the SKYWARN Recognition Day (SRD) web site via the following link:
https://www.weather.gov/crh/skywarnrecognition

There is also a SKYWARN Recognition Day (SRD) Facebook group open to all SKYWARN Spotters and Amateur Radio Operators. The Facebook group link is listed below:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/skywarnrecognitionday

On the web, the following link on the WX1BOX home page will feature all SRD updates for WX1BOX operations as well as social media efforts that can include SKYWARN Spotters and Amateur Radio Operators alike:
http://wx1box.org/2020/11/27/srd20/

We are working through the details of the VHF/UHF repeater and simplex schedule. It will likely be similar to prior years but there could be some changes based on remote operator availability and how their home station can cover the area repeaters and simplex. The schedule will be published in another update issued over the weekend.

The VoIP Operations on the *WX_TALK* Echolink conference node: 7203/IRLP 9219 system will still take place for 2020’SRD. An update on the stations participating will also be posted in the next SRD update for this weekend.

The next update on SRD’2020 operations will be posted no later than Sunday Evening 11/29/20. Thanks to all for their continued support of the NWS Boston/Norton SKYWARN program!

Respectfully Submitted,

Robert Macedo (KD1CY)
ARES SKYWARN Coordinator
Eastern Massachusetts ARES Section Emergency Coordinator
Home Phone #: (508) 994-1875 (After 6 PM)
Home/Data #: (508) 997-4503 (After 6 PM)
Work Phone #: 508-346-2929 (8 AM-5 PM)
Email Address: rmacedo@rcn.com
http://ares.ema.arrl.org
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