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
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 E, New 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.
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.
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.
Please get in touch with Mike Walters at firstname.lastname@example.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 –
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 email@example.com.
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.
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