Ham Bootcamp Held on November 5, 2022

Ham Bootcamp

October 2020 QST Cover Ham Radio BootcampI have been busy with Mentoring and Ham Development Activities with my local club, the Nashua Area Radio Society.  On November 5th, we held another successful Ham Bootcamp, which was attended by new hams, inactive hams, and prospective hams from all over the US  – we even had some DX attendees from Canada and India.   Ham Bootcamp is a one-day online program to help hams gain the skills to build a station and get on the air.  We have some great instructors from the ARRL New England Division: Jamey Finchum, AC1DC; Abby Finchum, AB1BY; Stu Solomon, W1SHS; Burns Fisher, WB1FJ; Aron Insinga, W1AKI, and Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC, for their dedication to mentoring new hams.

Ham Bootcamp started out small and has grown to allow us to help many hams all over the world and even a few DX.  We started out by hosting the graduates of our license classes in our home and helped them to get on the air, did a demo of satellite contacts, held a small repeater net, put up an antenna, and demonstrated portable operating and built a small station on our dining room table.  We also met students at our local Ham Radio Outlet, and walked them through the choices of equipment they might want to purchase for their first station.

After a few small bootcamps, we were invited to do a Ham Bootcamp for New England Hams at the 2019 Northeast HamXposition, where we hosted close to 70 students.

Bootcamp Session: Jamey, AC1DC, Shows Boot-campers How To Build an HF Station at the 2019 HamXposition

Then the pandemic hit and we moved our license classes online.  We decided to move Ham Bootcamp online as well and were able to serve a much larger audience.  We had around 450 students sign up for our first online bootcamp from all over the US and Canada.  We have continued to provide the online version of Ham Bootcamp twice per year and to date have served close to 1,000 hams.  

Below is the agenda for our most recent bootcamp.  The morning sessions focus on activities for Technicians and the afternoon sessions focus on activities for Generals and above.   All of the topics provide the basics to help new hams to get started in the many activities in Amateur Radio.  We have improved the agenda with each successive bootcamp and now use breakout rooms to allow students to choose between multiple sessions.  We have replaced the in-person shopping trip with a Virtual Shopping trip, which is a follow-on activity for the boot-campers, where we visit multiple retailers’ and manufacturers’ websites online.

Ham Bootcamp Agenda

We held the most recent bootcamp on November 5th and had over 100 people register. Through programs like this we can help the many inactive amateur radio licensees become active in the hobby.   This is a great way that clubs can help new or inactive hams to get on the air.  

Mentoring and Ham Development Working Group Meetings

The most recent meeting of the Mentoring and Ham Development and the Youth Outreach and STEM Learning groups was held on October 12th.  We had two guest speakers.  Mike Walters, W8ZY, spoke to the group about ARRL programs for club leaders, the Club Grant Program, the Club Development Webinar Series, and the Club Commission Program.  Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC, spoke to the group about how your club can work with a school on an ARISS contact with an astronaut on the space station including a recap of the recent BIG E Space Chat.  You can watch the recording of the session on the Mentoring and Ham Development page: https://nediv.arrl.org/mentoring-and-new-ham-development/.

Our next meeting will be held on December 15th starting at 7:00 pm Eastern Time.  We would like to hear about your mentoring projects.  To get the Zoom link, join the ne-ham-dev Groups.io group or contact me at ab1qb@nediv.arrl.org.



Anita Kemmerer, AB1QB

Assistant Director, Mentoring and Ham Development

Barnstable (MA) ARC Honored for Sixty-Five Years as ARRL Affiliated Club

The Barnstable Amateur Radio Club on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, received a commemorative plaque from the ARRL board of directors for sixty-five years of ARRL club affiliation at its November 7 meeting.  BARC President Norm Caitlin, WA1NLG, accepted the plaque and certificate from Division Director Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC. 

BARC has conducted licensing classes and its members serve as volunteer examiners. They have also provided communications support for a number of public service events, including the Cape Cod Marathon, Falmouth Road Race, MS and Alzheimer’s walks, SKYWARN nets, ARES exercises and JOTA events.

Congratulations to the Barnstable Amateur Radio Club on this momentous achievement. 

MVARA Intro to Mesh Training Session

Jay Taft, K1EHZ, writes:

The Merrimack Valley Amateur Radio Association invites you to a presentation about the basics of mesh networking on Wednesday, November 16th at 7:00pm. Below is the information to join the meeting.
We will cover topics from planning a network link with a propagation model to installing a link between DMR sites on Crotched Mt and South Uncanoonuc Mt in southern New Hampshire.
Bandwidth permitting we’ll do as much live online as we can.  A pdf of presentation material can be found on the MVARA web site here:
Feel free to distribute this invitation.  The session will be recorded for later viewing.
— Jay Taft K1EHZ
Categories All

Director’s Update for 3Q-2022

Fall has gone by very quickly for me. I have been busy with ARRL Board work, New England Division projects, attending Ham Fests, Mentoring and Licensing work, and a 6m Antenna Project. I am pleased to report good progress on all fronts. Here’s more about what I’ve been up to.

BIG E Space Chat

BIG E Space Chat Students and Speakers
BIG E Space Chat Students and Speakers

New England school students made live radio contact with an astronaut on the International Space Station from The BIG E on September 27th. You can view a video of the contact below. This and other videos made by folks who attend Space Chat were viewed more than 3,000 times by people worldwide.

The “BIG E Space Chat” is part of a project to promote Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) educational activities and Amateur Radio learning activities for young people. We brokered the creation of this project through a partnership between The BIG ENew England Sci-Tech (a STEM education group in New England),  Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS), and Black Helicopter Creative LLC.

We received quite a bit of television and newspaper coverage for our contact as well. Here’s an example of some of the TV coverage that aired on New England stations –


In addition to inspiring the young people who participated in Space Chat, we were able to help to make the public aware of the value that Amateur Radio brings to young people. I want to thank the many folks here in New England and the great people at the BIG E for making this project possible.

You can learn more about the BIG E Space Chat project here.

Club Grants

Mike Walters, W8ZY, and I worked with a team to select and award the first round of grants as part of the ARRL Foundation Club Grant program. We received a total of 128 grant applications totaling over $1.7M! We awarded a total of $270K to 24 Radio Clubs in the United States. 

ARRL Club Grant Program at a glance:

  • Clubs do not need to be ARRL-affiliated clubs to submit proposals
  • Looking to fund projects that create significant impact beyond the applying club: transformative impact on Amateur Radio; create public awareness and support for Amateur Radio; educational and training impact.
  • Examples of projects include, but are not limited to: get-on-the-air projects; ham training and skills development through mentoring; STEM and STEAM learning through Amateur Radio; station resources for use by the ham community; emergency communications and public service projects that emphasize training; club revitalization projects.

The second round of grants will be awarded early in 2023.

Board Projects and Meetings

National Traffic System 2.0 Project

I’m also leading a subcommittee within the Emergency Communications and Field Service Committee that is working on a plan to create the next generation of the National Traffic System (NTS). We are in the process of holding a series of briefings for Traffic Handlers across all ARRL divisions on the NTS 2.0 project. The briefings will be completed in December. We have signed up a total of 35 volunteers to help us work through the details of implementing the NTS 2.0 program. We are planning a kickoff meeting for the volunteers and I expect that the Implementation Teams will begin their work by the end of this year.

The ARRL has initiated a routine Traffic Origination program as part of NTS 2.0. The first messages were sent in October to all Section Managers, STMs, Directors, Vice Directors, the ARRL CEO, President, and first and second Vice Presidents.

NTS 2.0 Project - ARRL Routine Traffic Origination
NTS 2.0 Project – ARRL Routine Traffic Origination

The purpose of this program is to provide information about our work on the NTS 2.0 program as it rolls out and to measure the performance of the National Traffic System.

ARRL Club Development Webinar Series

Mike Walters, W8ZY, Steve Goodgame, K5ATA, and I are working on a program to create a series of webinars for clubs to help them develop skills and solve problems. This webinar series will kick off in 2023 and will feature presentations by ARRL members on the following topics.

ARRL Club Development Webinar Series
ARRL Club Development Webinar Series

Please get in touch with Mike Walters at mwalters@arrl.org if you are interested in helping us to produce content for the new Club Webinar Series.

Additional Board Committee Work

My work as chair of an Administration and Finance Subcommittee that is looking at ways to grow ARRL membership and increase active participation in Amateur Radio is nearly complete. The subcommittee will be sharing our final recommendations with the Administration and Finance Committee later this year and with the ARRL Board in January.

Finally, I have been serving as one of the ARRL Board members on the newly formed Investment Management Committee. The Investment Management Committee provides oversight of ARRL’s external investment manager and advises ARRL’s Administration and Finance Committee and the Board of Directors on investment policies and portfolio management. We have been working on procedures and processes that govern our oversight work with our outside investment manager.

Assistant Director Teams

Our Division Assistant Directors have all held several meetings with their working groups this quarter. In addition, the Spectrum Protection team has received a generous grant from ARDC to equip RFI Teams in each New England Section with direction-finding radios and antennas to enable them to assist Hams across New England in resolving interference problems. Our Assistant Directors and their working group areas follow –

  • Cory Golob, KU1U – Assistant Director, Emergency Communications and Public Service Activities
  • Rob Leiden, K1UI – Assistant Director, Spectrum Protection and Use
  • Anita Kemmerer, AB1QB – Assistant Director, Mentoring and Ham Development
  • Dan Norman, N0HF – Assistant Director, Youth Outreach and STEM Learning

Each team has projects underway that will benefit hams across New England. This newsletter features articles about what our Assistant Directors are doing.

Communications, Club Meetings, and Hamfests

We continued with our work to improve communications this quarter. There are three parts to our activities in this area:

  • Quarterly Division Cabinet Meetings with Club Presidents, Section Managers, Field Staff Members, and other leaders
  • Triannual (every 4 months) Division Town Hall Meetings with all ARRL Members in New England
  • Frequent attendance at Club Meetings (at least 6 times a quarter for each New England Division leadership team member) 

We held our third Town Hall Meeting on October 19th. We provided an update on ARRL and New England Division activities and answered questions from the folks who attended. You can see what was discussed, including a recording of the event, here. We are planning to hold our next Town Hall Meeting in February 2023.

We held an ARRL Forum at Fall NEAR-Fest in Deerfield, NH, where we updated folks on ARRL and New England Division projects and answered questions. We joined Peter Stohrer K1PJS at NEAR-Fest to talk with folks and answer questions.

Our next Cabinet Meeting is scheduled for Saturday, December 17th. We are inviting members of the HQ Staff to these meetings so that they can share information on what they are doing and receive feedback directly from division leaders.

Here’s a summary of the many events and communications activities that we’ve participated in and hosted this year –

New England Division Events & Communications 2022 YTD
New England Division 2022 Events & Communications

The New Division Team has been attending club meetings to stay in touch with what clubs are doing and to hear feedback and concerns from folks. We each try to attend at least six club meetings every quarter. If you’d like one of us to visit your club’s meeting, don’t hesitate to contact me at ab1oc@arrl.org.

AB1OC Amateur Radio Activities

I’ve been working on an upgrade to the 6m antenna system at our QTH. The project consists of adding a total of 12 new 6m antennas along with tower-mounted preamplifiers. We are putting up three fixed stacks of 3-element Loop Fed Array (LFA) yagis and a new 7-element LFA yagi on our main tower. The project is just being completed, and I have been making Meteor Scatter contacts on 6m with the new antennas. You can read more about the project here.

US West Stack of LFA Yagis & Large LFA Yagi on Mast
US West Stack of LFA Yagis & Large LFA Yagi on Mast

I hope to see you soon at a Hamfest, Club Meeting, Town Hall Meeting, Cabinet Meeting, or some other event in the near future. All the Best, and 73,

Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC
ARRL New England Division Director
Email: ab1oc@arrl.org