December 2020 Section News



      Welcome to the Eastern Massachusetts ARRL section newsletter


To see all the monthly news, which is updated regularly, visit <>.


This is the “December 2020” Eastern Massachusetts ARRL Section newsletter.  On 12/31/2020 we ended the decade of the teens.



As you are reading this in 2021, we are now officially in the twenties.  What are our expectations for amateur radio?

I hope the service and hobby will grow faster than ever.  I hope ARRL will be a major factor in leading the way.  We have new leadership in Newington, CT and I am encouraged.

Those of us already immersed in amateur radio understand its value. The challenge is to expand that understanding to a wider audience.

We often focus on attracting young people to the hobby, with varying degrees of success.  I like to point to New England Sci-tech in Natick as a leader in engaging families and young people in the hobby.

There is an open EMA field appointment for an EMA Section Youth Coordinator (SYC). I have been thinking why limit the focus to youth only?  NE Sci-tech encourages both young people and families.

I have been discussing ideas with others on how to expand our appeal to people of all ages.  Maybe we should have a field position of section mentor for new hams of all ages?  Thoughts welcome.

Often, we promote our individual interest, (e.g., DX, Radio Sport, Public Service, CW, etc.), expecting others will feel the same as we do.  When this is not the case, have we lost a potential ham?

A different approach might be to relate amateur radio activities to activities the public at large enjoys and show how amateur radio is relevant to that today. In other words, focus on what the public likes first and then introduce how amateur radio is a natural complement to furthering that enjoyment.

Some simple examples of where public interest and radio are a natural fit include: Hiking and Trail Friendly Radio; Camping and “Parks On The Air” (POTA); RVing and mobile operations; Science and Ham-SCI; Weather and SKYWARN; Volunteering and Public Service; etc. The above list is quite expandable. Radio fits well into much of what the public already enjoys. We just need to create the proper excitement and narratives.

What are your ideas?  Email me at



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. See <>.



Kayla Creamer, W2IRY, is stepping down as our section Public Information Coordinator (PIC) after serving us for several years.  Her help has been invaluable.  A few years ago, she produced a set of Boxboro Convention video recordings, and then followed that up by working with the Christian Science Monitor to help with the arrangements that ultimately led to the wonderful video created about ham radio in Eastern Massachusetts.  Kayla has also volunteered her time to support the Billerica ARS in many ways which she plans to continue.  Kayla was instrumental in launching our EMA section Facebook page. We all wish her well going forward and thank her as a section for a job well done.

Staff Openings

If you have public relations experience and would like to be considered for the open PIC staff appointment, please contact me at  Likewise, we have numerous openings at the local level for field appointments as an EMA Public Information Officer (PIO).

As mentioned earlier, the position of Section Youth Coordinator (SYC) also remains unfilled.



00:00-01:00 UTC Mondays

19:00-20:00 EST Sundays

Kudos to Pi, K1RV, and the gang at the K1USN Radio Club for initiating the one-hour weekly Slow Speed Test (SST) every Sunday evening at 7 PM EST. For those who prefer a more leisurely CW pace or are new CW operators this just might be what you’re looking for!


WA1ZMS Transmission to Commemorate Fessenden Christmas Eve Broadcast

As he has done each December for the past few years, Brian Justin, WA1ZMS, of Forest, Virginia, transmitted a program on 486 kHz, under authority of his FCC Part 5 Experimental License WI2XLQ, to commemorate wireless pioneer Reginald Fessenden’s accomplishments. Justin transmitted at around 1800 UTC on December 24. Fessenden claimed to have made his first voice — and music — broadcast on Christmas Eve in 1906 from Brant Rock, Massachusetts, although his account is disputed. 



12/30/2020 – The FCC has agreed with ARRL and other commenters that its proposed $50 fee for certain amateur radio applications was “too high to account for the minimal staff involvement in these applications.” In a Report and Order (R&O), released on December 29, 2020, the FCC scaled back to $35 the fee for a new license application, a Special Temporary Authority (STA) request, a rule waiver request, a license renewal application, and a vanity call sign application. All fees are per application. There will be no fee for administrative updates, such as a change of mailing or email address.


FCC to Require Email Address on Applications Starting on June 29, 2021

Effective on June 29, 2021, amateur radio licensees and candidates must provide the FCC with an email address on all applications. If no email address is included, the FCC may dismiss the application as “defective.”

More at:


ARRL Sponsored On-line Amateur Radio Exams

If you can’t find an in-person exam session in your area or feel unsafe attending one, don’t panic. You can be tested via one of the many remote video-supervised sessions online.

Remote video exam sessions are conducted using an online video conferencing platform, like Zoom, and a web-based examination system with on-screen tests.

Video-supervised online exam sessions are not restricted by location because the exams are administered online. Therefore, there aren’t any online sessions specific to a state nor would an exam candidate be limited to testing only with a team in their state. An examinee can pick any team offering online exam sessions and examiners can participate from different areas of the country.

The online exam-taking process is more complicated and takes more time than the in-person exams. The examinee must read, agree to, and follow the specific Volunteer Examiner (VE) team’s requirements and instructions and have the needed technology in order to take a video-supervised online exam.

For more information, check out this informative YouTube video produced by Dave Casler, KE0OG, at <> or visit the ARRL’s website at: <>.



ARES Report – Section Emergency Coordinator, Rob Macedo KD1CY

SKYWARN activations occurred four times this past month for significant storm systems, including two winter storms and two heavy rain and high wind events—one overlapping 2020 SKYWARN Recognition Day (SRD).  Several hundred critical reports were received during these storms.

WX1BOX, the Amateur Radio station at NWS Boston/Norton office, was on the air for several hours making contacts for SKYWARN Recognition Day.  In addition, NWS Norton Warning Coordination Meteorologist Glenn Field, KB1GHX, collected snowfall reports on the Paxton and Westford repeaters.  It was the only time the WX1BOX station was utilized in 2020 due to COVID restrictions, and kept a 16-year streak of SRD operations at NWS intact. Also, several amateurs operated from their homes during SRD.

Eastern MA ARES is planning to hold a winter exercise for the late January 2020-early February 2021 timeframe. We are also working on a series of workshops for Eastern Massachusetts ARES members for delivery during the winter months.

Finally, we are monitoring the potential need for communications support for COVID-19 vaccination clinics for partner agencies as the COVID-19 vaccine becomes more readily available in the spring of 2021.

Stay tuned to for details on these items during 2021.



NTS Report – Section Traffic Manager (STM), Marcia Forde KW1U

(See the full report at: <>

November was a busy month. Following the ARES Academy in October our traffic handlers put out over 400 radiograms to participants of that event, getting experience in originating third party messages. Great job all!

With the help of the above our nets saw a big increase in traffic handled on the nets. Now we are into the holidays and we’re beginning to see some holiday greetings. I encourage all to keep that momentum going and originate some of these to friends and families. It’s something different from a card or email and might even spread word about amateur radio.

Thanks to message handling training given by Peter KC1HHO, manager of EM2MN, we now have two new Official Relay Stations (ARRL Field Service ORS appointment). Thanks to Bernie KC1MSN and Steve KC1NBI for a job well done.

To all those new hams on 2 meters, we hope to see you on the HF bands as you upgrade to General and/or Extra class. You are always welcome on the Mass Rhode Island Phone Net on 3978 kHz at 5 PM on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. If anyone wants to try CW check us out on MARI CW net at 7 PM nightly on 3565. If conditions are such that the skip is long and folks don’t hear each other, we move to 1810 Khz. Even if unable to transmit there, give a listen.

A reminder that we have a new email group on If you haven’t signed up already search for MA-NTS. The group is also for any communications, questions, comments, discussion regarding message handling and net operation, anything of interest to the group.

I wish all you good folks the best of the holiday season with wishes for a happy and healthy 2021.

Marcia, KW1U.



Much more NTS news and detail on the various NTS nets along with the Public Service Honor (PSHR) roll listing for the month may be found at: <>




Eric, W1RVY, is manager of 1RN Cycle 4, the evening CW net. Eric reports the November net had 55 sessions that handled a total of 110 pieces of traffic and a total of 147 check-ins for the month.


No report this month.


Division website (NEW):  <>

Section website: <>

Section Facebook page: <>

Section Leadership: <>

Section Public Service List: <>

Section Speaker List: <>

To join EMA ARES visit <>



An easy way to support the ARRL.  Information taken from

Those who use Amazon for online purchases can automatically donate to ARRL by opting to use AmazonSmile and designating American Radio Relay League (ARRL) as their charity of choice. The AmazonSmile Foundation donates 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible AmazonSmile items to whichever charity you choose. Product and Marketing Specialist Jackie Ferreira, KB1PWB, reports that the benefit of AmazonSmile to ARRL for 2018 was $8,676, up from $8,022 in 2017. Family and friends can select ARRL as their charity of choice too. There is no difference between Amazon and AmazonSmile in terms of making purchases.


Happy 2021.  Stay well.  See you on the bands. 73 de Tom, K1TW and Phil, K9HI.


This monthly section news has been jointly produced by Phil, K9HI, Assistant Section Manager and Tom, K1TW, Section Manager.



ARRL Eastern Massachusetts Section

Section Manager: Thomas D Walsh, K1TW