The November, 2019, Section Newsletter is now available at https://ema.arrl.org/november-2019-section-news/.
The Whitman Amateur Radio Club will hold its Winterfest on January 18, 2020 from 9 AM until 1 PM at the Knights of Columbus Hall, Route 18, in Whitman. A VE testing session will be conducted at the event. Admission is $5; tables cost $15. Raffle prizes will be drawn at noon. Talk-in will be provided on the Whitman ARC repeater: 147.225Mhz+ PL67. For vendor information, call: 781-523-5010 or visit http://www.wa1npo.org/WF/WinterfestFlyer2020.pdf.
The National Weather Service in Boston/Norton Amateur Radio Station, WX1BOX, will once again be active for SKYWARN Recognition Day 2019. In addition, for the thirteenth straight year, the National Weather Service Gray, Maine Office will also be active under call-sign, WX1GYX. The Boston Amateur Radio Club will also be active as they have been over the past several years at the Blue Hill Observatory under call-sign WX1BHO from 9 AM-3 PM Saturday December 7th, 2019.
This will be the 20th year of SKYWARN Recognition Day and its anticipated that 80-100 NWS Forecast Offices will be participating once again this year. A Web link to information on SKYWARN Recognition Day can be seen at the following link:
WX1BOX will be monitoring the *NEW-ENG3* conference node 9123/IRLP 9123 system throughout the SRD event from 7 PM-12 AM Friday Evening 12/6/19 and from 7 AM-7 PM Saturday 12/7/19. Our HF station will be active on the various HF bands during the same time period. What bands/modes we operate on will be dependent on propagation and operator availability. We will attempt to announce the different HF frequencies will be on via our Facebook and Twitter feeds as well as on the DX Spotter/cluster system dxsummit.fi for people that wish to contact us on HF.
WX1BOX will also be on DMR. Timeframes and location on DMR will be determined and updated in the next update.[Full story]
A number of Eastern Massachusetts clubs are holding holiday dinners and informal parties in lieu of their December meetings.
The Middlesex ARC/Zola Center ARC will also converge on Sichuan’s Garden on December 10 for their annual holiday get-together.
On December 7, Wellesley Amateur Radio Society will gather with members of the New England Sci-Tech Amateur Radio Society (STARS) for a holiday gathering. They plan to invite members of the Natick High Robotics Team, the Olin Collegiate Amateur Radio Club and the Framingham Amateur Radio Association.
PART of Westford will hold its annual holiday dinner and gift swap on December 17 at the Yangtze River Restaurant in Littleton.
The Pentucket Radio Association has announced it will hold its annual Christmas Dinner on December 19 at the China Buffet in Methuen.
Algonquin Amateur Radio Association members will meet on December 12 for their annual club banquet at Linquine’s restaurant in Marlborough.
The Cape Ann Amateur Radio Association holds its Christmas Party at the club house in Gloucester on December 14 . According to CAARA’s W1WMM, “We need a group effort to help clean the main meeting room and tables before and after the party . We also need a group effort in the kitchen to heat and serve the meal.”
KB1NYT writes on the bcra-club list on December 1, 2019 at 8:12 PM:
Tomorrow night’s meeting is cancelled due to the weather.
The Bristol County Repeater Association and Fall River Amateur Radio Club will hold its monthly meeting on Monday, December 2, 2019 from 7 to 9 PM at the Stop and Shop, 816 Grand Army Highway, Somerset, MA in the Community Room (2nd floor).
(Enter on the Fall River side near the Dunkin Donuts in the store. The stairs and elevator will be on the right. Go left on second floor.)
“The biggest, a coastal storm event on October 16-17, 2019, resulted in widespread pockets of trees and wires down across the section. Hurricane force wind gusts were reported by Amateur Radio SKYWARN spotters along portions of the south coastal Massachusetts, Cape Cod and the Islands and even the North Shore of Massachusetts,” Rob writes.
Hundreds of damage photos were received by Amateur Radio operators and SKYWARN spotters. At the height of the storm, approximately 250,000 were without power in Massachusetts.
I am very happy to announce [the next December 4, 2019 Billerica Amateur Radio Society] meeting will showcase Terry Stader, KA8SCP, who will talk about Emergency Communications in Eastern Massachusetts. Many of you follow this topic and even volunteer for emergency comm drills. Past presentations about EmComm have been great attractions and I hope the turnout for Terry’s talk will gather a crowd.
Terry is the MEMA Region 1 RACES Officer, as well as an EMA ARES District Emergency Coordinator for Region 1 RACES. Does that sound like alphabet soup to you? Then come and learn what each organization does![Full story]
Eastern Massachusetts Section Manager Tom Walsh, K1TW, writes on the ARRL Members Only mailing list on November 21, 2019 at 7:09 PM:
The outpouring of concern statewide from the Amateur Radio Community regarding the impact of the Distracted Driving Law has gotten the attention of our Legislators on Beacon Hill in Boston. Ray, KB1LRL, and Tom, K1TW, wish to thank all the ARRL members in both Western and Eastern Massachusetts who communicated our concerns so effectively as a community to the Senators and Representatives and staff across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
This afternoon Tom Walsh, K1TW, Eastern Massachusetts Section Manager was contacted by the General Counsel of the Joint Committee on Transportation. After discussing these concerns, Ray and Tom were asked to convey the following guidance to our members in both Eastern and Western Massachusetts sections. This guidance is intended to assure everyone that the new law “permits use of a “federally licensed 2–way radio” provided that “1 hand remains on the steering wheel at all times.”. Clearly this is good news.
We are pleased to receive this opinion in writing which states “that a person may operate a motor vehicle while using a federally licensed 2–way radio or mobile telephone, except as provided in sections 8M, 12A and 13B, as long as 1 hand remains on the steering wheel at all times”.
This statement above appears in the first sentence of Section 13, of the Massachusetts General Laws as referenced in the final bill.
Below is the full text as received today from the General Counsel of the Joint Committee on Transportation. It is the best clarification we have in writing at this point that the law will not apply to a 2-way mobile radio operation.
Ray Lajoie, KB1LRL,
ARRL Section Manager Western Massachusetts
Tom Walsh, K1TW
ARRL Section Manager Eastern Massachusetts
COMMUNICATION RECEIVED FROM:
General Counsel of the Joint Committee on Transportation.
Thank you very much for the chance to speak earlier concerning H4203, the distracted driving legislation that is now before the Governor. It is the Committee’s view that the legislation does not alter, amend or limit existing language in section 13 of chapter 90 of the General Laws that expressly permits use of a “federally licensed 2–way radio” provided that “1 hand remains on the steering wheel at all times.” I have reproduced GL 90:13 below and highlighted the relevant provision.
Section 13: Safety precautions for proper operation and parking of vehicles and buses Section 13. No person, when operating a motor vehicle, shall permit to be on or in the vehicle or on or about his person anything which may interfere with or impede the proper operation of the vehicle or any equipment by which the vehicle is operator or controlled, except that a person may operate a motor vehicle while using a federally licensed 2–way radio or mobile telephone, except as provided in sections 8M, 12A and 13B, as long as 1 hand remains on the steering wheel at all times. No person having control or charge of a motor vehicle, except a person having control or charge of a police, fire or other emergency vehicle in the course of responding to an emergency or a person having control or charge of a motor vehicle while engaged in the delivery or acceptance of goods, wares or merchandise for which the vehicle’s engine power is necessary for the loading or unloading of such goods, wares or merchandise, shall allow such vehicle to stand in any way and remain unattended without stopping the engine of said vehicle, effectively setting the brakes thereof or making it fast, and locking and removing the key from the locking device and from the vehicle. Whenever a bus having a seating capacity of more than seven passengers, a truck weighing, unloaded, more than four thousand pounds, or a tractor, trailer, semi-trailer or combination thereof, shall be parked on a way, on a grade sufficient to cause such vehicle to move of its own momentum, and is left unattended by the operator, one pair of adequate wheel safety chock blocks shall be securely placed against the rear wheels of such vehicle so as to prevent movement thereof. The provisions of the preceding sentence shall not apply to a vehicle equipped with positive spring-loaded air parking brakes. No person shall drive any motor vehicle equipped with any television viewer, screen or other means of visually receiving a television broadcast which is located in the motor vehicle at any point forward of the back of the driver’s seat, or which is visible to the driver while operating such motor vehicle. Whoever operates a motorcycle on the ways of the commonwealth shall ride only upon the permanent and regular seat attached thereto, and he shall not carry any other person, nor allow any other person to ride, on such motorcycle unless it is designed to carry more than one person, in which case a passenger may ride upon the permanent and regular seat if such seat is designed for two persons, or upon another seat which is intended for a passenger and is firmly attached to the motorcycle to the rear of the operator if proper foot rests are provided for the passenger’s use, or upon a seat which is intended for a passenger and is firmly attached to the motorcycle in a side car. No person shall operate a motor vehicle, commonly known as a pick-up truck, nor shall the owner permit it to be operated, for a distance more than five-miles, in excess of five-miles per hour, with persons under twelve years of age in the body of such truck, unless such truck is part of an official parade, or has affixed to it a legal ”Owner Repair” or ”Farm” license plate or a pick-up truck engaged in farming activities. No person, except firefighters or garbage collectors, or operators of fire trucks or garbage trucks, or employees of public utility companies, acting pursuant to and during the course of their duties, or such other persons exempted by regulation from the application of this section or by limited application by special permit granted by the selectmen in a town or of the city council in a city, shall hang onto the outside of, or the rear-end of any vehicle, and no person on a pedacycle, motorcycle, roller skates, sled, or any similar device, shall hold fast or attach the device to any moving vehicle, and no operator of a motor vehicle shall knowingly permit any person to hang onto or ride on the outside or rear-end of the vehicle or streetcar, or allow any person on a pedacycle, motorcycle, roller skates, sled, or any similar device, to hold fast or attach the device to the motor vehicle operated on any highway. No person or persons, except firefighters acting pursuant to their official duties, or a person exempted by regulation from the application of this section or by application by special permit granted by the board of selectmen in a town or by the city council in a city, shall occupy a trailer or semi-trailer while such trailer or semi-trailer is being towed, pushed or drawn or is otherwise in motion upon any way. No person shall operate a motor vehicle while wearing headphones, unless said headphones are used for communication in connection with controlling the course or movement of said vehicle.
General Counsel Joint Committee on Transportation
State House Room 134 Boston, MA 02133
ARRL Eastern Massachusetts Section
Section Manager: Thomas D Walsh, K1TW
From the New England Sci-Tech Facebook page:
Members of Olin College‘s new amateur radio club visited New England Sci-Tech on Tuesday night, joining members of the Framingham Amateur Radio Association, Wellesley Amateur Radio Society and host group, Sci-Tech Amateur Radio Society (STARS), in a casual meet and greet. STARS members Nolan Palmer, KC1IEO, and Mindy Hull, KM1NDY, assisted the Olin students in testing their antennas out in the parking lot. We look forward to collaborating with all these fine clubs!
Our local State Rep. Dave Vieira, KB1QND, will be present at Saturday’s [November 23, 2019 Falmouth Amateur Radio Association] meeting to explain the new hands-free driving law about to be signed by Gov. Baker. It’s important that we understand this law as it’s currently written.[See also: MA Distracted Driving Bill, Call to Action]
The club thanks the Plymouth Municipal Airport for their many years of support for allowing the use of their facilities for monthly meetings and annual Field Day events.
BOSTON–Massachusetts drivers would no longer be able to use hand-held cellphones behind the wheel under a bill approved by state lawmakers.
The Senate voted 38-1 in favor of the bill Wednesday. The House approved it on a 153-1 vote Tuesday.
The legislation now heads to Republican Gov. Charlie Baker for his signature. Baker has expressed support for a ban on drivers using hand-held cellphones and filed a bill earlier this year that included similar language.
Baker’s press secretary said Wednesday that the governor will carefully review the legislation.
Hands-free cellphones would still be allowed. Massachusetts already bans texting while driving. The bill would impose fines of $100 for a first offense, $250 for a second offense and $500 for a subsequent offense.
The bill would also require the Registry of Motor Vehicles to collect data from traffic stops, including the driver’s age, race and gender without identifying the driver. [Full story]
The Nashoba Valley Amateur Radio Club’s November meeting will be […] Thursday, November 21st, at 7:30 PM at the Pepperell Community Center in Pepperell.
This month program will feature our annual “QSL sort” for the W1 QSL bureau. It’s personally my favorite meeting of the year. Grab some of your cards early, converse with other local hams, have some refreshments, and of course, sort a few cards! If you haven’t done this before and it sounds like a lot of work, you’ll find that this is actually the club’s most rewarding event. Pizza and soda follow when the sorting is finished.
Need directions? Click here and put your own address in box “A”.
Thanks and 73. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
978-772-2773 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Eastern MA Section Manager Tom Walsh, K1TW, and Western MA Section Manager Ray Lajoie, KB1LRL write:
Based on information we have recently received, it may be time to contact your State Representatives concerning the MA Distracted Driving Bill. Over the weekend, Ray, KB1LRL and Tom, K1TW posted on both the WMA and EMA websites the following news item:
Concerns are being raised across the sections asking what the impact this bill has on amateur radio in the state. Since the hands-free bills were first filed, Eastern Massachusetts ARRL State Government Liaison, Hank W4RIG, has been closely coordinating with Senator Bruce Tarr, who is the Massachusetts Senate Minority Leader and a radio amateur. Previously the Senator’s office reported to Hank that Amateur Radio operation would not be impacted by earlier versions of the bill.
With the hands-free bill finally clearing committee on the weekend and ready for a vote, I asked Hank to contact the Senators office once again. Hank reports he has been in touch with the staff at Senator Tarr’s office and with these most recent changes they can no longer confirm there will be no impact on amateur radio mobile operation.
My understanding is the problem results from the substitution in the final text from committee of “mobile electronic device” in place of “mobile telephone”. In the original wording, the definition of a mobile telephone in Massachusetts General Law specifically excludes amateur radios and citizen band radios. The definition in Massachusetts General Law of “mobile electronic device” does not contain any exclusion for amateur radios and citizen band radios.
Senator Tarr’s office said they are trying to correct this.
This may be an appropriate time to contact your Massachusetts Representative and Senator politely asking them to incorporate the same words to exclude amateur radio from the revised bill as was previously contained in the definition of mobile telephone.
This website will help you find contact information for your State Legislators if you do not already have it:
Ray Lajoie, KB1LRL (WMA Section Manager)
Tom Walsh K1TW (EMA Section Manager)
Tom Kinahan-N1CPE writes:
Thank you to all of the Amateur radio operators who supported and participated in Exercise 19-4. Below is a message from ARMY MARS headquarters that I have been asked to relay:
P 181700Z NOV 2019
FM NETC G3-5 CUOPS HQ ARMY MARS FHU AZ
TO UHXWWW/ALL MARS STATIONS
MSGID/GENADMIN/NETC G3-5 CUOPS HQ ARMY MARS FHU AZ/416//
SUBJ/OPERATIONS UPDATE – ENDEX//
POC/DAVID MCGINNIS/CTR/NETC G3-5 CUOPS HF-MARS/FT HUACHUCA, AZ/-//
GENTEXT/REMARKS/Effective 18 NOV 2359Z, COMEX 19-4 is concluded. Complete all pending actions,
recall all personnel and recover/rehab equipment. MARS members, please remind each other to
complete the After Action Survey at www.dodmars.org and pass this message along to your partners
in the Amateur Radio Service (ARS) along with our thanks for their support.
The -19 Series of exercises intentionally provided opportunities for MARS leaders and members
to adapt to new situations with increasing complexity and unknown variables. You were presented
with a variety of new tasks, information products, and coordination requirements. Anticipating
conditions in a real incident, you were not read-in-to new requirements prior to the exercise.
With no time to train up we required you to adapt existing Tactics, Techniques and Procedures.
We continue to see more resilience when you are faced with uncertainty. Expect more challenges
from us in 2020.
Looking into 2020, we ask all MARS members and ARS operators to continue working on long term
emergency power capabilities, long distance HF radio capabilities, and building one-on-one
relationships in your community. Continue to shift normal operations from day-time to night
time hours. Amateurs and MARS members operating in the ARS are encouraged to continue practicing
using the MIL-188-110 Serial PSK mode on the 60 Meters channels where it is permitted. This mode
is important because it provides a means of digital interoperability with government stations
that are not able to use ARS digital modes.
Thank you for all your good work in COMEX 19-4, and enjoy a well deserved rest over the holiday season.//
On Tue, Nov 19, 2019 at 1:36 PM Tom Walsh <email@example.com> writes:
I have an update from the Eastern Massachusetts ARRL State Government Liaison (SGL), Hank W4RIG. Hank reports he has been in touch with the staff at Senator Tarr’s office and they are not able to confirm there will be no impact on amateur radio mobile operation.
My understanding is the problem results from the substitution in the final text from committee of the words “mobile electronic device” in place of “mobile telephone”.
In the original wording, the definition of a mobile telephone in Massachusetts General Law specifically excludes amateur radios and citizen band radios. The definition of a “mobile electronic device” does not have this exclusion.
I decided to call my House Representative and Senator and ask the definition of mobile electronic device in the bill and General Laws include the amateur radio exclusion.
Senator Tarr’s office said they are also trying to correct this.
On December 7, 2019, and for the 17th consecutive year, [the Boston Amateur Radio Club] will once again participate in SKYWARN Recognition Day. SRD is a joint event supported by the ARRL and the National Weather Service where weather stations and weather buffs from across the country contact each other for fun and to promote the SKYWARN Program. Our station, WX1BHO, will be located at the summit of Great Blue Hill in Milton, MA. For several decades, hams have assisted the National Weather Service by providing real-time reports of severe weather and storm conditions. Although the NWS operates a network of 120 Doppler radars to track severe storms, at greater ranges weather radar has a difficult time sampling conditions close to the ground. The information radio operators located near a storm provide plays a key role in aiding forecasters.
Stations will exchange signal reports, location and a brief description of the current weather at their respective locations (“sunny,” “partly cloudy,” “windy,” etc.). BARC will be on the air from approximately 0900 to 1500 local time. The event itself is a great way in a low-key environment to make HF contacts and get your feet wet in the HF Spectrum. In past years we have endured all kinds of weather including warm and cold days, clear and cloudy days, and yes, even a blizzard.
Currently, we expect to be operating on 2, 20, and 40 meters. We may add other bands and modes including CW on 15 meters.
Access to the summit is gained by a 20-minute hike from the base of Great Blue Hill located on Route 138 next to the DCR Trailside Museum or (if you arrive early in the day) by car. Further information is available by contacting Mark Duff, KB1EKN, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Joe Chapman, NV1W, will be unable to hike up this year, but will coordinate those who wish to walk up. Contact him at email@example.com.
“Eastern Massachusetts ARRL State Government Liaison, Hank W4RIG, is working the issue [of hands-free legislation]. Hank is also President of the Cape Anne Amateur Radio Association (CAARA) in Gloucester.
“Since the hands-free bills were first filed, Hank has been closely coordinating with Senator Bruce Tarr, who is the Massachusetts Senate Minority Leader and a radio amateur. Previously the Senator’s office reported to Hank that Amateur Radio operation would not be impacted by earlier versions of the bill. I believe this was based on the Massachusetts General Laws which apply to all bills. The General Laws state that a ‘mobile telephone’ shall not include amateur radios.
“Over the weekend, we posted the following news item on our EMA web site https://ema.arrl.org/2019/11/16/ma-lawmakers-announce-surprise-agreement-on-distracted-driving-legislation/
“With the hands-free bill finally clearing committee on the weekend and ready for a vote, I asked Hank to contact the Senators office once again to confirm amateur radio operations were not affected. We are awaiting that confirmation. If Hank can get the confirmation or further clarification, I will post the information on https://ema.arrl.org/ .”