OCTOBER 2020: EASTERN MASSACHUSETTS (EMA) SECTION NEWS
Welcome to the Eastern Massachusetts ARRL section newsletter
To see all the monthly news, which is updated regularly, visit <https://ema.arrl.org/>.
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HAM OPERATOR PLATE RENEWAL PROBLEMS AT MA REGISTRY OF MOTOR VEHICLES
All Massachusetts hams with Ham Radio passenger special plates must renew their plate registration by the last day of November. Eastern MA ARRL staff are receiving reports of license plate renewal problems when attempting to use the online system. Apparently, the Registry of Motor Vehicles’ computer system doesn’t recognize the “slash” representing the “lightning bolt” icon. For example, the call sign WX1XXX is actually coded in the system as “WX1/XXX”; KX1X is “KX1/X.”
Renewal by phone DOES appear to work when you input the phone ID code listed on the application.
Another ARRL member adds, “I found that Registry services at AAA offices can overcome the issue. One must be a AAA member, and an appointment is necessary.”
This latest problem is in addition to the fact that MA RMV cannot process new Ham Radio Plate applications.
MD DOCKET 20-270 – AMATEUR RADIO LICENSE FEE
Amateur radio licensees would pay a $50 fee for each amateur radio license application if the FCC adopts rules it proposed this past August. Included in the FCC’s fee proposal are applications for new licenses, renewal and upgrades to existing licenses, and vanity call sign requests. Excluded are applications for administrative updates, such as changes of address, and annual regulatory fees.
The FCC proposal is contained in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in MD Docket 20-270, which was adopted to implement portions of the “Repack Airwaves Yielding Better Access for Users of Modern Services Act” of 2018 — the so-called “Ray Baum’s Act.” The fees Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was published in the October 15, 2020 Federal Register <https://tinyurl.com/yyk8f2yp>. The deadline for comments is November 16, 2020, and the Reply comment deadline is November 30, 2020.
If you’ve never sent in comments in response to an FCC NPRM, COMMENT ON THIS ONE! You will find many helpful suggestions on how to comment, and what to include in your individual comments at: <https://nediv.arrl.org/fcc-proposal-to-reinstate-amateur-radio-service-fees-talking-points/>.
The League has also posted this helpful guide for filing comments on NPRMs, at <http://www.arrl.org/arrl-guide-to-filing-comments-with-fcc>.
BILLERICA ARS (BARS) VE TEAM TO BEGIN ONLINE VE TESTING SOON
The VE Team associated with BARS is working closely with the ARRL VEC to train their VEs to give online exams. Recently, the team has been holding outdoor exams in Chelmsford. According to team VE Liaison Bruce, W1LUS, he expects enough VEs will be trained so they may begin online testing by the end of November or early December.
NEWS FROM EMA.ARRL.ORG
Each day on the section web site we bring you news and information from Eastern Massachusetts and beyond. Visit https://ema.arrl.org for the latest.
Here’s a brief selection of the stories from October 2020:
POTA Activation, Hopkinton State Park, October 25, 2020 https://ema.arrl.org/2020/10/24/pota-activation-hopkinton-state-park-october-25-2020/
New England Digital Swap Net, October 24, 2020 https://ema.arrl.org/2020/10/23/new-england-digital-swap-net-october-24-2020/
KC1NEF to Activate Boston (Bunker Hill) National Historic Park, October 21, 2020 https://ema.arrl.org/2020/10/19/kc1nef-to-activate-boston-bunker-hill-national-historic-park-october-21-2020/
Tech-In-A-Day Course & VE Session, Gardner, January-February, 2021 https://ema.arrl.org/2020/10/17/tech-in-a-day-course-ve-session-gardner-january-february-2021/
NJ1Q: “ARRL Headquarters W1AW Station Tour,” Billerica ARS Online Meeting, November 4, 2020 https://ema.arrl.org/2020/10/14/nj1q-arrl-headquarters-w1aw-station-tour-billerica-ars-online-meeting-november-4-2020/
Sci-Tech ARS, Wellesley ARS Members Participate in Summits On The Air Event from Mt. Wachusett, October 10, 2020 https://ema.arrl.org/2020/10/13/sci-tech-ars-wellesley-ars-members-participate-in-summits-on-the-air-event-from-mt-wachusett-october-10-2020/
Fortieth Anniversary of the MS Prinsedam Rescue at Sea https://ema.arrl.org/2020/10/11/fortieth-anniversary-of-the-ms-prinsedam-rescue-at-sea/
EASTERN MASSACHUSETTS ARES
Amateur Radio SKYWARN spotters reported downed trees and wires, trees down on homes and even direct structural damage from wind gusts over hurricane force when Southern New England was hit by a derecho on October 7. Over 250,000 were left without power in Massachusetts. The derecho also caused an EF0 Tornado in Millis, Massachusetts. Storm damage photos can be seen on the WX1BOX Facebook page.
Eastern Massachusetts ARES will hold a Simulated Emergency Test (SET) on November 14 in coordination with a national Red Cross exercise. We will post details during the first week in November on the Eastern Massachusetts ARES website.
Norfolk County ARES has been holding regular digital nets on NBEMS and has been working on Winlink express messaging to build up their digital communications capabilities in coordination with Cape Cod ARES.
EASTERN MASSACHUSETTS NTS
From Marcia, KW1U Section Traffic manager
Greetings all. We’re well into fall. The weather is changing, the leaves are turning beautiful colors and we have apparently entered a new sunspot cycle, hopefully signaling improved band conditions.
We in NTS are privileged this month to participate in an interoperability exercise with MARS, the Military Auxiliary Radio System. ICS-213 messages are being injected into NTS nets and the Digital Traffic System, requesting recipients to call Chief of MARS to confirm delivery. The exercise focuses in part on success of delivery and time of transit. Instructions for this exercise were sent out to MA traffic handlers. We expect to see more of these exercises in the future.
The traffic nets continue to thrive. EM2MN Net Manager Peter, KC1HHO, reports two new participants in his training program. Colleen, KC1NOS, and Brendan, KC1NEF, are both progressing toward the goal of becoming Official Relay Stations. Not only has Loren, N1IQI, been contributing to traffic for the net but Bob, KC1KVY, has set an example for sending out “Thank You” radiograms confirming contacts made on the HF bands. HHTN NM Joe, W1HAI, reports that with the addition of the Mt Greylock repeater to the linked network, traffic between Eastern and Western Mass has been readily flowing. Thanks to Peter, KD2JKV, folks in Eastern Mass are able to access the Western Mass nets on the Mt. Greylock repeater via Echolink. These nets operate daily at 1300 and 1630 local and can be accessed via the K1FFK repeater link.
More detail on the various nets and NTS operators may be found at <https://ema.arrl.org/2020/10/13/massachusetts-traffic-report-for-september-2020/>.
FIRST REGION NET (1RN) REPORT (CW)
Eric, W1RVY, is manager of 1RN Cycle 4, the evening CW net. Eric reports the September net had 59 sessions that handled a total of 145 pieces of traffic and a total of 188 check-ins for the month.
FIRST REGION NET (FRN) REPORT (SSB)
Betsey, K1EIC, is manager of FRN, the daytime phone net. Report will be included in next section news.
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It is snowing hard in parts of EMA on October 30 as I write this! This may not be news for folks in WMA or Northern New England, but it is pretty weird for Metro Boston to have snow so early. 2020 continues!
Please remember to send us your section news items each month.
Stay well, stay safe, and warm up your radios for the suddenly alive new solar cycle. Amateur radio is a most fascinating adventure.
This 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