June/July 2023 Section News

+ Welcome to the June/July 2023 ARRL Eastern Massachusetts (EMA) section news

Visit <https://ema.arrl.org/> for frequent updates to the news


Wow! Summer is almost half over! The heat and humidity are here, and traffic to and on the Cape is at its peak. I hope you all have been able to stay cool — and dry — through the crazy weather we’ve had.



Members of the EMA section staff toured several Eastern Massachusetts Field Day sites on Saturday, June 24. Unfortunately, severe weather throughout the day limited how many sites they originally planned to visit. Nevertheless despite the weather, Tom K1TW and Phil K9HI who are both EMA Assistant Section Managers (ASM), did manage to visit Field Day club operations including:

– Wellesley Amateur Radio Society (WARS) in Needham MA;
– Boston Amateur Radio Club (BARC) in Westwood MA;
– New England Sci-Tech in Natick MA;
– PART of Westford in Concord MA;
– In addition, Tom K1TW also visited the Billerica Amateur Radio Society (BARS) in Billerica MA.

Phil and Tom carried copies of the Massachusetts Governor’s proclamation declaring June 24 as Amateur Radio Day in the state. Several great group photos of the club members with the state proclamations and our EMA staff members were also taken.

Tom and Phil were honored to represent part of the EMA section staff at these club events and are already looking forward to Field Day next year!



HABGab 2023 is a special STEM event for the ham radio community in the New England area and it is in partnership with the New England Weather Balloon Society and the Sci-Tech Amateur Radio Society. It features the launch of a high-altitude balloon equipped with three payloads, including amateur radio transmitters, a video transmitter, and science and engineering projects by students from the StratoScience Lab at New England Sci-Tech and the Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter Public School. The launch is scheduled for TOMORROW, Saturday, July 22.

A cross-band UHF/VHF repeater will allow for a 2 – 3-hour one-time event for hams around New England. All amateur radio operators are invited to contact the repeater during the balloon’s flight. Also on board will be a U4B pico tracker that is being evaluated by Eric Johnson, KC1OAV, in preparation for a circumnavigation flight to happen at a later date.

Full details are in the July 20, 2023 ARRL Letter (https://www.arrl.org/arrlletter?&issue=2023-07-20)



I hope everyone is getting on the air and racking up their VOTA (Volunteers on the Air) point scores. To help make things “interesting,” we’re having a section-wide competition. When the VOTA period is over and all the points are tabulated in the LoTW system, the one ARRL member of the EMA Section that has the highest VOTA point total will receive a W1AW coffee mug or their choice of ARRL merchandise of similar value.

Perhaps more exciting, the ARRL affiliated club that has the highest combined VOTA point total will receive a brand-new hardcover “Handbook 100 | The 100th edition of The ARRL Handbook for Radio Communications.” The winning club can do with this what they wish: hold a club raffle, give to a deserving new ham, donate to a library…

Club competition rules are simple:

Only ARRL affiliated clubs located in the Eastern MA section may apply.

Club’s entry is the sum of VOTA points of all club members. The intent is for clubs to motivate their members to work the year-long event and get point totals up. Clubs decide who is and is not a member of the club for purposes of this contest.

In January 2024, participating clubs will tally their members’ totals from the VOTA Leaderboard ( https://vota.arrl.org/leaderboard.php ) and send me an email with a spreadsheet listing your club’s participating members and each member’s VOTA total.

Are you enjoying the VOTA event? Have suggestions for your fellow hams? Or for the League? Please drop an email to Jon — N1ILZ at n1ilz@arrl.org.



The ARRL New England Division has created a prototype on-line troubleshooting web page for Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) troubleshooting. Hams who are having RFI issues can start to find and fix them at: https://nediv.arrl.org/rfi-troubleshooting-guide. Teams in all seven New England sections consisting of over 50 members are available to help use the guide. The team lead in EMA is Technical Coordinator Dan Brown, W1DAN. Teams received equipment and training at several events to assist them in this effort. A decision tree guides the user to investigate the RFI, complete an on-line form to document what they hear and contact the RFI team lead for their area for help if needed.

Investigations to date include solar energy systems, municipal lighting systems, plasma televisions, power line noise, switching power supplies and tool chargers. The team is actively developing additional tools for mapping power line RFI while mobile, based, in part, on the work of Jeff, W4DD, in Georgia.

The New England teams are working with others in Florida and California to continue building team capacity and experience. The Melbourne, Florida team recently received a grant to purchase the same equipment in use by the New England teams. Future plans include developing team capacity to train Division clubs and a video to enhance the use of the Division web pages. Two RFI forums are planned for the Marlborough HamXposition in late August. Check their web page for details.

The ARRL Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Committee is actively pacing this project and will evaluate creating a national program based on the results of the New England experience.



A hearty thank-you to all the EMA members who completed the ARRL Dues Survey. Headquarters has published the results (https://www.arrl.org/dues-survey) and is carefully considering what to do. Stay tuned to this column for updates.



The ad hoc group “Shortwave Modernization Coalition” petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to allow data communications on multiple bands within the HF 2 — 25 MHz range with up to 20 KW, including in bands immediately adjacent to spectrum allocated to the Amateur Radio Service. For more details, see https://nediv.arrl.org/2023/07/13/commercial-interests-petition-fcc-for-high-power-allocation-on-shortwave-spectrum/




The monthly MIT flea market (a.k.a. “Swapfest”) returned starting April 16, 2023. See <https://w1mx.mit.edu/flea-at-mit/> for more info.


The Northeast’s premier Amateur Radio convention, serving the ARRL New England Division, returns August 25-27, 2023. It’s not too late to make hotel reservations at the convention rate, but hurry!

Visit <https://hamxposition.org> for details and hotel reservation information.


Yes, Project “Big E” is back again for 2023 and doing another booth at the Big E this year. Changes will be made to how the booth will be arranged and presented to the public.

2023 dates are Friday, September 15 thru Sunday, October 1. Organizers have received a grant again this year, so they will reimburse you for admission and parking if you come staff the booth.

Last year was a lot of fun for everyone and we hope you will join again for another Big E.

Stay tuned to this section of the newsletter for updates as we get closer.



Section Traffic Manager — Marcia Forde, KW1U

Visit: <https://ema.arrl.org/national-traffic-system/>

The full complement of NTS net schedules may be found at:

NTS Net Schedules

Marcia’s latest report can be found at https://ema.arrl.org/massachusetts-stm-report-for-may-2023/


ARES NEWS Section Emergency Coordinator — Rob Macedo KD1CY

Visit: <https://ema.arrl.org/ares/>

News concerning ARES and Emergency Communications in the EMA section is updated regularly on our web site: <https://ema.arrl.org/ares/>.



I’m very much looking forward to HamXposition coming up at the end of August — I’ll there for all three days, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I hope to meet as many of you in person as I can. As your Section Manager, I want to hear from you: your thoughts, critiques, complaints — or even praise for something we’re doing right. What’s on your mind? Let me know via email to n1ilz@arrl.org.



Where to find stuff:

New England Division website: <https://nediv.arrl.org/>

Eastern MA Section website: <https://ema.arrl.org/>

Section Leadership: <https://ema.arrl.org/organization/#Section_Leadership>

Section Public Service List: <https://ema.arrl.org/eastern-ma-public-service-list/>

Section Speaker List: <https://ema.arrl.org/eastern-ma-club-speakers-list/>

To join EMA ARES visit: <https://secure.ema.arrl.org/qilan/ares/EMA/ARES_about>


This edition of the EMA section news was jointly produced by Tom K1TW, Assistant Section Manager; Rob K1UI, Assistant Director, New England Division; Phil K9HI, Assistant Section Manager, and Jon N1ILZ, Section Manager.


ARRL Eastern Massachusetts Section
Section Manager: Jon W McCombie, N1ILZ