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 …

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KB1QND: “Hands-free Driving Law” at Falmouth ARA, November 23, 2019

Henry Brown, K1WCC, writes on the Falmouth ARA Facebook page: 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]

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Lawmakers approve ban on drivers using hand-held cellphones

From WCVB: 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 …

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MA Distracted Driving Bill, Call to Action

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 …

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Hands-free Legislation, November 19, 2019, Additional Update

ADDITIONAL UPDATE: On Tue, Nov 19, 2019 at 1:36 PM Tom Walsh <> 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 …

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Update on Hands-Free MA Legislation, November 19, 2019

ARRL Section Manager Tom Walsh, K1TW, writes on Tuesday, November 19, 2019 at 12:54 AM: “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 …

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N1DG Appointed to NOAA/US Fish and Wildlife Service Community Group

Don Greenbaum, N1DG, of Duxbury, Massachusetts, has been appointed to the NOAA/US Fish and Wildlife Service Community Group. He will participate in meetings to discuss the development of the Monument Management Plan that will provide for effective direction over the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument (PRIMNM). He will serve as a citizen-at-large representative.  [Full story]

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MA Lawmakers Announce Surprise Agreement on Distracted Driving Legislation Boston — After several years and failed attempts, Massachusetts lawmakers have taken a major step toward enacting a law to restrict the use of handheld electronic devices by drivers. State Rep. Bill Straus and state Sen. Joe Boncore issued a statement late Friday (November 15, 2019) announcing the six-member conference committee had reached an agreement on the bill, although they did not reveal the text of the final compromise. […] In July, the committee appeared to have reached an impasse after Senate negotiators refused to sign off on details that House lawmakers thought had been resolved. Earlier that day, …

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Massachusetts Distracted Driving Legislation Stalled

WBZ/ CBS Boston reported House and Senate Democrats “failed to reach a compromise on long-discussed distracted driving legislation after a marathon session Wednesday [July 31, 2019], abandoning the issue about four hours after Senate President Karen Spilka said a resolution appeared imminent.” In its current form, the legislation–also known as the “handheld cellphone ban”–would exempt “federally-licensed 2-way radios” allowing for the unimpeded use of amateur radios in vehicles. [See also: Massachusetts Hands-free Mobile Device Legislation Update] Both branches held sessions open from Wednesday afternoon until after 12 a.m. Thursday in what was expected to be the last day before a …

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“Triple Play:” MA Hams Receive Amateur Radio Proclamations, Resolutions from House, Senate, and Governor

Massachusetts ARRL staff received copies of proclamations and resolutions congratulating the Amateur Radio community for its service to the Commonwealth, and for the upcoming annual Field Day exercise June 22-23, 2019.  The Massachusetts House of Representatives document “offers its sincerest congratulations to the American Radio Relay League in recognition of The ARRL Field Day and the Tireless Work of Amateur Radio Operators.” The document was signed by Robert A. DeLeo, Speaker of the House. The Massachusetts State Senate weighed in with a resolution, adopted May 9, 2019. “[The Senate] extends its appreciation to Amateur Radio operators as they celebrate Amateur …

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Driver Hand-Held Cellphone Ban Moves Closer To Becoming Law

BOSTON (AP), June 6 — A bill that would bar Massachusetts drivers from using hand-held cellphones behind the wheel has moved one step closer to becoming law. The Massachusetts Senate on Thursday voted unanimously to approve the bill that would also ramp up the collection of data on traffic stops around the state, after concerns were raised by minority legislators that a cellphone law could lead to more racial profiling. [Full story] See also: Massachusetts Hands-Free Mobile Device Legislation Update  

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Massachusetts Hands-free Mobile Device Legislation Update

Hands-free mobile device legislation moved one step closer to becoming law, passing in the Massachusetts House on May 16. But by all accounts Amateur Radio operation while driving will remain unaffected. Eastern Massachusetts section staff who have been in touch with legislative aides in both the House and Senate have learned the language that defines mobile devices will continue to exempt “federally-licensed 2-way radios.” “MGL Chapter 90 Section 13 provides for the use of a federally licensed 2-way radio while driving. The hands-free bill being considered (House Bill 3793) does not alter this provision,” according to a staffer in Rep. Ferrante’s office. …

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FCC Takes a New Tact in Combatting Unlicensed Radio Broadcasting

From the ARRL Letter, March 7, 2019: In what may be a first in the effort to crack down on unlicensed broadcasters, the United States has filed a civil action to stop a church-related pirate radio station from operating in Worcester, Massachusetts. The Massachusetts US Attorney’s Office is seeking an injunction to shut down the station, operating on 97.1 MHz. “This groundbreaking step, for an injunction to stop a pirate radio operator’s illegal activities, is part of our continued efforts to combat illegal broadcasting,” FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Rosemary Harold said this week. “As we work with our law enforcement …

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ARRL Leadership Talk at Billerica ARS Meeting, March 6, 2019

The Billerica Amateur Radio Society will feature presentations by Eastern Massachusetts ARRL Section Manager Tom Walsh, K1TW, and ARRL New England Vice Director, Mike Reisbeck, K1TWF, at its monthly meeting in Chelmsford on March 6, 2019 at 7 PM. Mike will discuss the ARRL Board of Directors meeting; Tom will describe the proposed hands-free cell bill now in the Massachusetts Legislature. Additional information and directions can be found on the club’s web site. [This talk was rescheduled to March when a dangerous ice storm forced cancellation of the original February meeting.]

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Proposed MA Legislation Seeks to Require “Hands-free” Cell Phone Use While Driving

UPDATE: Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker on Tuesday “proposed his most sweeping set of road safety rules yet, calling for Massachusetts to join 16 other states in requiring hands-free cell phone use while driving and proposing to allow police to stop motorists for not wearing a seat belt,” according to Boston’s PBS station, WGBH. Various pieces of “hands-free” cell phone legislation have been introduced in recent years by members of the State House and Senate and while some have included clear exemptions for Amateur Radio operators, others have been vague or non-existent on the matter. State Government Liaison Hank McCarl, …

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Massachusetts House Passes Resolution Proclaiming Amateur Radio Week

A resolution has been passed in the Massachusetts State House honoring Amateur Radio operators and proclaiming an “Amateur Radio Week” to coincide with Field Day. The resolution was introduced by Rep. Jonathan Hecht, who represents the 29th Middlesex District (Cambridge, Watertown).  It was signed on June 18, 2018 by Hecht, along with House Speaker Robert A. De Leo and House Clerk Steven T. James. The language of the House bill is identical to the text in the counterpart Senate resolution. Copies of the resolution have been mailed to ARRL Eastern and Western MA Section Managers Tom Walsh, K1TW and Ray …

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Massachusetts Senate Proclaims Amateur Radio Week

A Resolution has been received by the ARRL Eastern and Western MA Section Managers from Harriette L. Chandler (D-Worcester), President of the Massachusetts State Senate.  The Resolution, adopted on June 4, 2018, is entitled “Commemorating Amateur Radio Week and Honoring Amateur Radio  Operators as They Celebrate Field Day”:   WHEREAS,  Amateur Radio operators have made great contributions in developing world-wide radio communications; and   WHEREAS, over 13,500 Amateur Radio operators thrive in the Commonwealth, consistently displaying their value in public assistance; and   WHEREAS, Amateur Radio operators use their equipment and skills to unfailingly assist local and state officials in …

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MA Governor, Senate & House Issue Amateur Radio Proclamations

Proclamations have been sent to ARRL Eastern and Western MA Section Managers from the Massachusetts Governor’s Office, the State House of Representatives, and the MA Senate, respectively. These proclamations coincide with the annual ARRL Field Day event on June 24-25, 2017.

The proclamation from the Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts declares June 24th, 2017 to be Amateur Radio Day:


“WHERE AS, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has approximately 14,000 amateur radio operators, who continually demonstrate their value in public assistance;”

“Therefore, I, Charles D. Baker, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, do hereby proclaim June 24th, 2017 to be, Amateur Radio Day , and urge all the citizens of the Commonwealth to take cognizance of this event and participate fittingly in its observance”


A Resolution of the Massachusetts Senate states in part:


Senate Resolution Title: “Celebrating the National Amateur Radio Field Day of the American Radio Relay League”

Excerpt from the resolution: “WHEREAS, The American Radio Relay League Serves more than 725,000 Licensed Radio Amateurs in the United States and will hold its Annual Field Day on June 24 and June 25, 2017;”

“WHEREAS The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has approximately 13,000 Amateur Radio operators that dedicate their, time, equipment and knowledge to assist their communities and the American Radio Relay league has provided a free public communications service to the communities during disaster for more than 100 years;”

“RESOLVED, That the Massachusetts Senate hereby commends the American Radio Relay League’s National Amateur Radio Field Day;”

MA Governor proclamation 2017MA House proclamation 2017MA Senate proclamation 2017

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Gov. Baker and MA State Senate Give Amateur Radio Proclamations for Field Day Weekend

Massachusetts Coat of ArmsEastern and Western MA Section Managers Tom Walsh, K1TW and Ed Emco, W1KT were able to secure proclamations from the governor and the state senate proclaiming Field Day weekend as Amateur Radio weekend in Massachusetts.

Full size copies are available at these links:

Governor Baker’s Proclamation
MA State Senate Proclamation








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