11/18/2022—Jon McCombie, N1ILZ, will become Section Manager (SM) of the ARRL Eastern Massachusetts Section on January 1, 2023. McCombie, of Eastham, was the only nominee to submit a petition to run for office when the nomination period closed in early September. As the sole nominee, he has been declared elected.
This past year, McCombie has been Assistant SM to Tom Walsh, K1TW, who has been the SM of the Eastern Massachusetts Section for the last 8 years. Walsh, of Bedford, decided not to run for a fifth 2-year term of office.
There were no balloted elections during this fall season’s SM election cycle. The following incumbent SMs ran unopposed, and they were declared reelected, beginning their new 2-year terms of office on January 1: Cecil Higgins, AC0HA (Missouri); Matt Anderson, KA0BOJ (Nebraska); Jim Mezey, W2KFV (New York City-Long Island); Rocco Conte, WU2M (Northern New York); Marc Tarplee, N4UFP (South Carolina); Tom Preiser, N2XW (Southern New Jersey); Michael Douglas, W4MDD (West Central Florida), and Joe Shupienis, W3BC (Western Pennsylvania).
Thanks to ARRL Field Organization Supervisor Steve Ewald, WV1X, for information contained in this story.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
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,
The weather cooperated beautifully for the ARRL Headquarters’ Connecticut Open House and Picnic on Saturday, October 29. ARRL CEO David Minster, NA2AA, reported that the event was well-attended. He estimated that around 130 Connecticut amateurs came to the picnic.
In addition to supplying tasty hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill, the staff hosted an outdoor display of Ham Aid Kits used for disaster response. Books and items were on sale in the lobby area. The Maxim Memorial Station, W1AW, was on full display for people to visit and operate. Every W1AW visitor was issued an attractive certificate.
The third of three 2022 New England Division Town Hall meeting presentations held on October 19 was, once again, well attended.
Director Kemmerer, Vice Director Temples and the division’s four assistant directors described their recent activities and accomplishments, including the ARRL Club Grant Program and The BIG E Space Chat. In addition, the six panelists fielded questions on a variety of topics, including: the status of Technician license band enhancement with the FCC; digital symbol rate rules; efforts to revamp NTS (“NTS 2.0”); ARRL membership renewals, and new ham recruitment.
The agenda (in PDF format) can be viewed, below; as well as the entire video presentation.
ARRL New England Division Town Hall 2022-10-19 video recording
Phil Temples K9HI, our Assistant Directors, and I will hold our next New England Division Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday, October 19th, at 7 pm EST. The purpose of the meeting will be to provide you with an ARRL update, get your thoughts on what we should be focusing on, and answer any questions you might have about the ARRL and what we are doing on behalf of ARRL members here in New England.
We plan to spend a good deal of our time together answering your questions. If you’d like to send us a question in advance, you can do so via an email to email@example.com, or you can just plan to ask your questions during the Town Hall Meeting.
We will hold our Town Hall Meeting via a Zoom Webinar. You can get your personal link to join the Town Hall Meeting via the following link (paste the link in your browser to register) –
I joined 21 other new section managers from around the country in Connecticut September 17-18 to participate in the New Section Manager Workshop. This was the first in-person SM workshop that the ARRL has conducted since the pandemic began.
Mike Walter’s, W8ZY, ARRL Field Services Manager, Steve Ewald, WV1X, Field Organization Team Supervisor, and many other ARRL staff did an amazing job organizing and running the event, which included many presentations aimed at assisting section managers to effectively lead their sections, as well as a tour of ARRL headquarters in Newington. We not only visited the main admin building with tours by Josh Johnson, KE5MHV, Director of Emergency Management, Steve Goodgame, K5ATA, Education and Learning Department Manager, and others explaining the various departments and services, but also included a tour of the famous Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Station W1AW and many of us had the opportunity to operate as W1AW.
I really enjoyed calling CQ as W1AW on 40 meters. It was an instant pileup! A few hams told me that they had been waiting for years to work the League’s famous call sign, and I had a qso with a ham in my home state of Maine.
The lessons I learned during this workshop are excellent and I plan to put many of them to use in Maine. One thing that shocked me was the fact that Connecticut, the home state of ARRL, does not currently have a section manager. Hopefully someone from one of the many clubs in that state will step up and fill that role soon, so that the New England Division team can be complete.
I would be remiss if I didn’t give a special shoutout to Steve Ewald, who has been an invaluable resource for me and many other section managers. He gets things done. He was recently recognized for 40 years as a staff member at ARRL HQ. Thank you Steve!
The ARRL Board of Directors gathered for its Second Annual Meeting on July 15 – 16, 2022, in Windsor, Connecticut. Read more about the highlights from the meeting here: https://bit.ly/3TS8BFf
This photo shows roughly one-third of the attendees. Front row, L-R Dir. Jairam, Dir. Zygielbaum, Dir. Kemmerer, Dir. Ritz, Dir. Mcintyre, Dir. Boehner. Back row, L-R VD Vizcarrondo, VD Propper, VD Temples, VD Tharp, VD Marcin, and VD Morine.
I am very pleased to add my congratulations to Jon Mc Combie, N1ILZ.
ARRL announced [on September 9] that Jon, N1ILZ, will assume the role of ARRL Section Manager for Eastern Massachusetts beginning January 1. There should be a formal announcement from ARRL in the coming few days.
Jon brings a great enthusiasm and level of experience to the job, and I couldn’t be happier than to leave Jon at the helm when my term ends in just a few months. Please join me in wishing Jon great success.
I will of course help Jon through the transition so he will be ready. Give him great support.
I thank you all for the support I received the last eight years.