This has been a busy few months for Ham Fests and Conventions in New England – Fred, AB1OC, and I have attended Hamfests in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. The first one we visited was HAM-CON in Vermont on February 25th. Vice Director Phil Temples, K9HI, and Assistant Director Cory Golob, KU1U, also attended HAM-CON. It was great to meet so many Vermont Ham Radio operators at the event! Fred gave a presentation on Building and Operating a Mobile HF Station and an ARRL Forum and both were well received.
We traveled to Lewiston, ME, to attend the ARRL Maine State Convention on March 24th and 25th. It was great to spend time with Cory Golob, KU1U, and Section Manager Phil Duggan, N1EP, along with the many folks we spoke to at the convention. Fred and Phil Duggan presented an ARRL Forum and we gave a new 100th Anniversary ARRL Handbook away to an ARRL Member. Fred also presented awards to Jerry Burns, K1GUP, for over 50 years of service as the Net Manager for the Maine Seagull Net, and to Cory Golob, KU1U, for his service as New England Assistant Director for Emergency Communications and Public Service.
We attended NEAR-Fest in Deerfield, NH on April 28 and 29. Fred, AB1OC, did another ARRL Forum here and we helped out at the NH ARRL Section table. The highlight of the weekend was the educational RFI training session that was given by Assistant Director Rob Leiden, K1UI, to RFI team members from several New England sections. We also gave away a 100th Anniversary ARRL Handbook to a lucky ARRL member.
ARRL Membership Drive
We have been giving away ARRL Handbooks to ARRL members at hamfests in order to promote ARRL membership in New England. Through the ARRL Club Commission program, your club can receive $15 for each new member application you submit and $5 for each renewal. ARRL Affiliate clubs are encouraged to hold quarterly membership drives at their meetings. All you need to do is bring the membership forms to your meetings, give a brief presentation to explain the benefits of ARRL membership and collect the forms and payments once they are completed. Send it all into the ARRL and you will receive a rebate check. All of the details and resources (forms and slide decks) to make this process simple for you and your club can be found at https://nediv.arrl.org/clubcomm/.
Field Day Plans
Fred, AB1OC, and I are putting together our plan to visit as many clubs as we can for Field Day 2023 on Friday, June 23rd – Sunday, June 25th. Please contact me at AB1QB@arrl.net if you would like us to visit your Field Day site.
I 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.
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.
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 email@example.com.
The Nashua Area Radio Society will be giving license classes for all levels this fall. The classes will be online via Zoom web conferencing and will include an online exam session at the end of the class. Here is the schedule:
Technician Class: Saturday and Sunday, September 17th and 18th
General Class: Saturday and Sunday, October 22nd and 23rd
Extra Class: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday November 11th, 12th, and 13th
New England Division Director Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC and Assistant Director Anita, AB1QB traveled 900 miles over the Field Day weekend to visit many clubs in New England. Here is a summary of their travels:
Thursday, June 23rd – Meriden Amateur Radio Club
We were invited to celebrate 75 years of ARRL Affiliation with the Meriden Amateur Radio Club. An ARRL plaque recognizing MARC’s 75 Years of ARRL club affiliation will be awarded to club president Ed Snyder, W1YSM, from New England Division Director Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC, and Vice Director Phil Temples, K9HI. Former Section Manager Betsey Doane, K1EIC, also spoke to the group. The event was well attended by members and town dignitaries including Honorable Mayor William Dickinson and Fire Chief Joseph Czentnar.
Friday, June 24th – Rhode Island and Connecticut
Blackstone Valley Amateur Radio Club
Our first stop on Friday was at Chopmist Hill in Scituate, RI to visit the Blackstone Valley Amateur Radio Club. We had a nice chat with Mike, K1ETA, Lee, K1LRS, Byron, K1CYQ, Jim, K1GND, and Wayne, KA1VRF, who were starting to setup their Field Day Station. We learned about the history of the Chopmist Hill site, which was used as a listening post during World War 2, due to its favorable conditions for radio reception.
Newport County Radio Club
Our next stop was at Glen Park in Portsmouth, RI to visit the Newport County Radio Club‘s Field Day site. This was a great site and the hard-working Field Day crew had already put up 4 towers with antennas by the time we arrived at 1:30 pm.
We also enjoyed chatting with Nancy, KC1NEK, Paul, K1YBE, and Willy, W1LY about the Club’s field day plans and their activities and educational programs.
Saturday June 25th – Massachusetts and New Hampshire
Hampden County Radio Association
Our first stop Saturday morning was at the Hampden County Radio Association field day site at School Street Park in Agawam, MA. HCRA president Larry, W1AST along with Najm, AB1ZA, Chris, W1TRK, Marc, K8LSB, and Bud, W2BUD were working hard to set up Field Day before the 2 pm start.
Contoocook Valley Radio Club
Our next stop was the Contoocook Valley Radio Club at AF1T and W1MKY’s QTH in Henniker, NH. We enjoyed chatting with Dale, Mickie, and the Contoocook Valley members and tour their site, including their incredible antenna farm! Pictured above are Ed, K2ECR, Claire, KC1PGW, Fred, AB1OC, Mickie, W1MKY, Chris, AC1EO, Bob, KB1QV, CVRC President Wolf, KA1VOU, Dale, AF1T, Allen, NS1O and Nathan, Art, K1BX, and Bill, AA1BF.
We made the Field Day journey in our mobile HF station. We enjoyed operating the station during Field Day with AB1OC on the mic and AB1QB logging.
Our next stop was at the Concord Rod and Gun Club in Concord, NH, where the PART of Westford, MA club held their Field Day. It was great to visit with our friends at PART! Pictured above are Gene, KB4HAH, Fred, AB1OC, Geoff, W1GCF, and Rick, W1RAG in the Clubhouse.
We also spent some time at the GOTA station visiting with Andy, KB1OIQ.
Nashua Area Radio Society
Next stop was to visit the Nashua Area Radio Society, our home radio club, at the Hudson Memorial School in Hudson, NH. It was great to visit with the members who came out for Field Day, including, Jamey, AC1DC, Lee, KC1GKJ, Vince, KD2TMJ, Joe, AC1LN, Mike, W1TKO, John, W2ID, Fred, AB1OC, Aron, W1AKI, John, W1SMN, and Rick, KB1RGB.
Sunday June 26th – New Hampshire and Maine
Port City Amateur Radio Club
Our first stop on Sunday was at the top of Stratham Hill in Stratham, NH – the Field Day site for the Port City Amateur Radio Club. This club had a great antenna farm, taking advantage of the large tower at the top of the hill. We also had the pleasure of meeting Brayden, KC1KUG, who is getting ready to be part of a youth team at WRTC next year in Italy. We also got to chat with the other members at the site including, Derek, KB1LXX, David, W1DWF, Carl WA3UEN, Gerry, W1VE, Rory, W1ENR, Mark, K1RX, Steve, KC1ILT, William, KB1YJ, Richard, N1AA, Dennis, KC1LLB, Joe, K1JEK, and Barry, KB1VX.
Great Bay Radio Association
Our next stop was the Great Bay Radio Association‘s Field Day site at Garrison Hill Park in Dover, NH. We were greeted by Les, KC1EOT, who had put together a great Public Information Table.
We enjoyed meeting members of the club including Jeff, N1XUQ, Les, KC1EOT, David, N1DOU, Winona, KC1ECM, and Mike, N1AMD.
Wireless Society of Southern Maine
Our last stop was at Wassamki Springs Campground in Scarborough, Maine, the Field Day Site of the Wireless Society of Southern Maine. This was a great site and club members were busy making the last contacts before the Field Day operations ended. We enjoyed touring their site and meeting members Eric, N1RXR, Waylon, KC1HJN, Jason, W1SFS, Tim, KB1HNZ, Stefania, K1GJY, Peter, KC1HBM, and James, KB1SDK.
Field Day Journey
Over the weekend we drove a total of around 1000 miles – you can see our trip below.
We have been very much looking forward to visiting Field Day sites around New England this year. It was great to see everyone face-to-face and see the many ways that folks approach Field Day. We very much enjoyed talking with folks about their club and their Field Day experiences.
Are you a newly licensed Technician, or a General or Extra and have never been on the air or built a station? Are you a prospective ham but would like to learn more about Amateur Radio activities? Are you an experienced Ham who would like to help your club enhance its mentoring programs? The Nashua Area Radio Society will be holding another online Ham Bootcamp on Saturday, May 14th, 2022 from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm Eastern time. Ham Bootcamp will be held via Zoom web conferencing.
The morning sessions will be focused on VHF and UHF activities for all license classes and the afternoon sessions will focus on building and operating an HF station.