“Town Meeting” PR Efforts Gain Ground

Seal of the Commonwealth of MassachusettsA representative from the Governor’s office has reached out to the Amateur Radio community in the wake of last week’s perceived “snubbing” of Amateur Radio emergency communications efforts in comments made by the Governor in a televised “Town Meeting.”

According to Eastern MA Section Emergency Coordinator Rob Macedo, KD1CY, Pam Hickman from the Governor’s Office of External Relations telephoned Macedo yesterday. “Hickman stated the Governor’s Office would like to the ‘make the situation right,'” explained KD1CY.
Macedo told Hickman that he and the ARRL/ARES leadership are seeking a “short visit” with the Governor so that they might “describe Amateur Radio and its benefits to the community.” KD1CY says he’d like to use the opportunity to push for an Amateur Radio proclamation during the June, 2006 timeframe, which coincides with the ARRL’s annual Field Day operating event.

“I gave a brief description of Amateur Radio and what we do and tried to give her a flavor of our organization,” noted Macedo. “Hickman has requested pamphlets and information be sent to her office. I will begin working on that as one of my highest priorities.”

KD1CY expects to have a package consisting of ARES/ARRL pamphlets, sample articles from the ARES E-newsletters, a writeup on the Whittenton Pond Dam operation, and other relevant materials sent to Hickman no later than Friday.

“Depending on time constraints, I may also provide a brief, high-level PowerPoint presentation, leveraging material used from the MEMT meetings where we’ve discussed ARES and RACES.”

In a related development, District Emergency Coordinator Steve Schwarm, W3EVE contacted his state representative regarding the Governor’s comments in the Town Meeting program. “[Steve’s] representative sent a response, saying he was going to be contacting the Governor’s office,” reports Macedo. “This is the first I’ve heard of a state rep getting involved with making contact as well.”

“Quiet On Beacon Hill”

MA Statehouse“Everything is quiet on the Hill.” This, according to MA State Government Liaison Shawn O’Donnell, K3HI, in a recent email to Section Manager Mike Neilsen, W1MPN.

“As of the beginning of 2005, the Massachusetts State Legislature has begun a new session. Any bills that did not become law by the end of 2004 have expired, including last year’s H-3919 on cell phones and driving.”

Please visit http://sgl.ema.arrl.org for the latest news on legislative matters impacting Amateur Radio in Massachusetts.

Cell Phone Ban Provision Passes in Massachusetts Senate Committee

MA StatehouseShawn O’Donnell, K3HI, EMA State Government Liaison writes:

On Monday, June 28, the Senate Long-Term Debt and Capital Expenditures Committee passed a transportation bond bill, H4771, that includes a provision to ban the use of hand-held cell phones while driving. This bill does not appear to be a direct threat to mobile amateur operation, but we should keep an eye on the bill to make sure it isn’t amended to make things worse.

The bill bans the use of hand-held cell phones, only. Cell phone use with a headset will still be legal, and the bill says nothing about two-way radio systems.

Last year, several House committees approved a cell phone ban in bill H3919, but that bill has been stuck in the House Ways & Means committee since last July.

H4771 now goes to the Senate Ways & Means Committee for review. This bill originated in the House and is undergoing review in the Senate, so it is still a few steps away from becoming law. See the “Ham’s guide to legislation” at http://www.userstudy.com/ARRL/Guide_to_MA_legislation.pdf . We’re currently in the “Three readings” stage in the Senate, in the middle row of the diagram.

The cell phone ban, along with a primary-enforcement seat belt law, were attached to a finance bill by the Long Term Debt committee. Given the controversial nature of the seat belt and cell phone laws, it is possible that either or both provisions will be eliminated from the bill as it passes through other committees. Also, the House will have to approve the amendments, since it passed a different version of the bill.

The provision attached to H4771 uses the same language as H3919 (typos and all,) minus the passage in H3919 that would have made it illegal for junior drivers to use any type of cell phone.

For more information, including text of the bill and tips on contacting your representatives on Beacon Hill, visit http://sgl.ema.arrl.org/.


Shawn O’Donnell K3HI
ARRL EMASS State Government Liaison

Town of Framingham To Proclaim June 20-27 “Amateur Radio Week”

Framingham ARA logoDick Marshall, K1KTK writes on FraminghamARA-L@fara.org:

“The Selectmen of the Town of Framingham will issue a Proclamation proclaiming June 20-27 as Amateur Radio Week in Framingham. They will present this Proclamation to us on Thursday evening, June 17 at 7:00 PM at the Selectmen’s Meeting in Town Hall.

“It would be nice to have a good turnout for this presentation. It should take only 10 or 15 minutes, depending on how talkative they will be.”

N1IV Nominated for Phil McGan PR Award

Jim Duarte, N1IVJim Duarte, N1IV, has been nominated for the ARRL’s prestigious Philip J. McGan Memorial Silver Antenna Award. The McGan award is given annually to the individual who demonstrates volunteer public relations success on behalf of Amateur Radio at the local, state or national level, and will live up to the high standard of achievement exemplified by the late Philip J. McGan.

[I am pleased that the Sturdy Memorial Hospital ARC has nominated Jim Duarte, N1IV for this prestigious award. Jim has been a superb and consistent performer in the area of public relations on behalf of SMH ARC. He currently serves as Eastern Massachusetts Public Information Coordinator. Jim was instrumental in our securing this year’s Massachusetts Amateur Radio Day proclamation.

As a friend and former co-worker of Phil McGan, I can think of no better candidate deserving of this honor than N1IV. -K9HI]

Field Day 2003 Tour Results

The EMA FD Homepage now has the staff/leadership tour list and map. Our Tourists were, in rough rank of mileage,

  • Mike Raisbeck K1TWF NEDiv-Vice
  • Mike Neilsen W1MPN SEC & Acting DEC Essex
  • Phil Temples K9HI EMA Section Manager
  • Steve Schwarm W3EVE DEC-Norfolk & No.Bristol
  • Mark Duff KB1EKN DEC-Metro
  • Steve Telsey N1BDA DEC-Middlesex
  • Frank O\’Laughlin WQ1O DEC-Cape/Isles

Phil K9HI and Mike W1MPN carried the two copies of the Proclamation with them. Expect picture links to appear on EMA ARRL, ARES, and FD pages soon.

Our ARRL Staff resident at a FD site included (with some overlap(*))

  • Mike Ardai N1IST (BM)
  • Greg Richardson N1QLS (TC)
  • Jim Duarte N1IV (PIC)
  • Stane Laine WA1ECF (ASM)
  • Mike Goldberg K1LJN (OOC)
  • Frank Murphy N1DHW (ACC) *
  • Bob Salow WA1IDA (ASM)
  • Mark Duff KB1EKN DEC-Metro *
  • Frank O\’Laughlin WQ1O DEC-Cape/Isles *
  • Steve Telsey N1BDA DEC-Middlesex *
  • Rob Macedo KD1CY DEC-South Coast; SKYWARN Coordiantor

See the tour list and map for more details.

Amateur Radio Day Proclamation

FCC sealI am pleased to announce that Governor Mitt Romney has declared June 28, 2003 “Amateur Radio Day” in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Governor Romney granted the proclamation today, in recognition of the more than 13,000 Massachusetts “Communications Volunteers” that give of their time and expertise in disaster situations and during public service events, statewide. Phil Temples – K9HI, asked that we request this proclamation of the Governor to coincide with Field Day 2003, our annual emergency preparedness exercise. [Please see picture of EMa leadership and State RACES Radio Officer accepting proclamation at the EMa Section Website.

I’d like to thank Phil for his encouragement and advice, Mike Neilsen – W1MPN for his input and data, Shawn O’Donnell – K3HI for his experience with Government Relations and Tom Kinahan – N1CPE forproviding a means to get the information into the Governor’s Office. We’d also like to sincerely thank Peter Judge, M.E.M.A. Public Information Officer, for delivering the request and press releases to the State House and Senator Cheryl Jacques for helping to push this proclamation through the proper channels. Congratulations to all those Massachusetts “Hams” that have worked very hard to give us the reputation that made this proclamation a reality. Enjoy your Field Day with a deserved sense of accomplishment!

Thanks and 73,

Jim Duarte – N1IV
ARRL Public Information Coordinator
Eastern Mass Section

Amateur Radio Day!

Mass. Amateur Radio Day Proclamation team
Clockwise, L-R: N1IV, K3HI, N1CPE, W1MPN, K9HI

June 11, 2003 – Boston, MA – Governor Mitt Romney issued a proclamation declaring June 28, 2003, “Amateur Radio Day” this morning. The Governor made this proclamation in recognition of the more than 13,000 amateur radio operators in the Commonwealth. These volunteers play a valuable role in Emergency Communications, National Weather Service “Severe Weather” spotting and Public Service in the Commonwealth. They are involved with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, several Massachusetts branches of the American Red Cross and other important served agencies.

Phil Temples – K9HI, ARRL Eastern Massachusetts Section Manager, charged his newly appointed Public Information Coordinator with the task of requesting this of the Governor. Jim Duarte – N1IV, in conjunction with Shawn O’Donnell – K3HI, the ARRL State Government Liaison and Tom Kinahan – N1CPE, Massachusetts State RACES Radio Officer, petitioned the Governor with a letter and several press releases. The press releases outlined amateur radio involvement in many recent disaster situations, severe weather incidents and public service events including the Boston Marathon. Tom, with the help of Peter Judge, MEMA Public Information Officer, delivered the package of information to the Governor’s Office. Mike Neilsen – W1MPN and Rob Macedo – KD1CY wrote press releases regarding specific recent involvement within our state.

Congratulations to all those Massachusetts “Hams” that have worked very hard to give us the reputation that made this proclamation a reality. Enjoy your Field Day with a deserved sense of accomplishment! We’d like to invite all the clubs in Massachusetts to celebrate this Proclamation and get the word out to the public about Amateur Radio. All our affiliated clubs are welcome to use the information in their Field Day press releases and any other PR efforts.

Mass. Amateur Radio Day Proclamation document

We would like to express our sincere thanks to Governor Romney and his staff for generating this proclamation and Senator Cheryl Jacques for assisting with getting the paperwork pushed through. We know that there are more than 13,000 amateur radio volunteers in this state and we’re certain they appreciate the recognition you’ve shown them. We would also like to thank Tom Kinahan and Peter Judge for their spirit of cooperation in assisting the ARRL Eastern Massachusetts Section staff with this very worthwhile project.

SGL Site On-line

Massachusetts State HouseA new web site has been added under the ema.arrl.org family of web sites. Thanks to Shawn O’Donnell, K3HI, MA’s State Government Liaison, PRB-1 type material and other content has been placed under https://sgl.ema.arrl.org.

This site’s reference material has already been utilized by one other non-MA group that is currently attempting to pass PRB-1 type legislation in their state.

[The MA State Government Liaison appointment is a “dual appointment” for both the EMA and WMA ARRL sections.]

Bridgewater Town of Selectmen Proclaim “MARA Day”

The Massasoit Amateur Radio Association was recognized by the Bridgewater Town of Selectman in a special proclamation on March 20.  Noting the club’s “technical and communications expertise” to the emergency management department, police, and fire departments, they declared March 20, 2001 as “MARA Day.”

image of Bridgewater Town of Selectmen Proclaim "MARA Day"