Many thanks to Mark (K8LSB) who shares the following announcement: Sharing POTA/SOTA with the Public Greetings POTA/SOTA activators, This year the Big E (exposition)—a “combined” state fair for the six New England states (CT MA, ME, NH, RI, VT)—will run for 17 days: from September 16 to October 2. In the past, 1.5 million people […] [Full story]
Betsey Doane, K1EIC, writes:
In the early 1990s, Larry Buck, K1HEJ, Luck Hurder, formerly KY1T (now WA4STO) and Betsey Doane, K1EIC, decided to make a plan for demonstrating Amateur radio at The BIG E. So we embarked on getting computer/modem accounts to communicate. And that we did.
There were literally loads of messages passed back and forth to plan the event. Larry was in charge of communicating with the exhibition leaders to be sure we would comply with all requirements.
We recruited many volunteers and opened our first booth which provided lots of Amateur radio information, good conversation among the visitors and hams attending, a full traffic handling area using 2 meter FM and packet and an HF station which we used as we could. Remember, there was no Windows OS, no small computers, and no RMS. But packet was extremely popular at that time. The CT N1DCS and later N4GAA packet nodes were among the largest, if not the largest in the country handling thousands of messages. The W1EDH, K1EIC and W1HAD nodes also assisted in the relay of traffic.
The young people who came up enjoyed writing messages to their families and friends. Thoroughly also enjoyed using the key to write their name as instructed by the chart provided. They had fun, the adults
enjoyed it and so did we.
We did this event every year for close to 25 years adding what we could with the constraints at the fair. Volunteers came from Connecticut, Western Mass and, I think, Rhode Island. We knew we had to staff it fully so there were backups planned.
Connecticut operators are proud to have been an exhibitor at The BIG E for so many years. We were well received. We are truly excited that so many New England amateurs and radio clubs are participating in this year’s BIG E exhibit, and that our New England Division Director, Vice Director, and Assistant Directors are helping to organize The BIG E Space Chat.
Amateur Radio will be on public display like never before at The BIG E in West Springfield, MA from September 16 – October 2, 2022. Over a million people will visit the Fair over the 17-day period. We need ham radio “Goodwill Ambassadors” to staff the booth and promote our hobby-service to the public and potential licensees.
Who: Amateurs like you who enjoy interacting with the public
What: You’ll be demonstrating ham radio contacts and sharing Amateur Radio information with the public (talking points will be provided)
Two shifts per day, 9:30 AM – 4:00 PM (first session) and 3:30 PM -10:00 PM (second session) on some days
- September 16 (Military Appreciation Day), second session, 1-2 more people needed
- September 17 (Maine Day), second session, 2 more
- September 19, first session, 2 more
- September 20 (Rhode Island Day), first and second sessions, 3-4 more
- September 22 (Massachusetts Day), second session, 2 more
- September 24 (Vermont Day), first and second sessions
- September 25, second session
- September 26, first and second sessions
- September 28, first and second sessions
- September 29, first and second sessions
- September 30, first and second sessions
- October 1, first and second sessions
- October 2, first and second sessions
Where: Booth #103 inside Door 6 of the Better Living Center
How:—Sign up via the following link, which will list currently-available sessions:
SEE YOU THERE!
New England Sci-Tech, a STEM education center and makerspace in Natick, MA, is running a 12-month space science program for students in New England in grades 4-12. Amateur radio is part of this effort; in the last week of September 2022 (NASA determines the date and time 10 days out), students enrolled will have the opportunity to speak to an astronaut on the International Space Station (ISS) as part of an ARISS (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station) contact (“The BIG E Space Chat”). ARISS coordinators partner with educational groups in programs that involve education around space technology and research, as well as wireless technology and communication and radio science.
Some of the Space Science Education Program courses that have already started at New England Sci-Tech include:
- Amateur radio Technician level classes
- Model Rocketry Workshops
- Introduction to Morse code classes
- Introductory Mathematics for Modeling Rocket Flight
Upcoming classes/offerings include:
- Introduction to Basic Electronics
- Introduction to Arduino Electronics
- Air Powered Rockets
- Public Telescope Nights
The “Space Chat” will be held in the Arena at The Big E Exposition in W. Springfield, MA and those in attendance will learn more about the Space Science Club, background on amateur radio and ARISS and be able to listen in on the questions that the students ask the astronauts during the ~10-minute window during which the 2-way conversation is possible with the ISS.
I’ve been quite busy the last few months with a combination of ARRL Board work, New England Division projects, Mentoring, and some time on the air. I am pleased to report good progress on many fronts. Here’s more about what I’ve been up to.
Mike Walters, W8ZY, and I, as part of an ARRL Foundation Committee, put together the application and decision process for the ARRL Foundation Club Grant program and rolled it out. Thanks to a generous donation by ARDC, the ARRL Foundation is making $500,000 available to Amateur Radio Clubs.
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 response to the first round of this program has been tremendous. We received 127 applications for Club Grants! The first round of grants will be awarded by the end of the summer, and the second tranche of applications and awards will commence in the late summer/early fall.
Board Projects and Meetings
I am working along with other ARRL Board Members and leaders as part of several ARRL Board Committees. First, I am a member of the Administration and Finance Committee, where I am chairing a subcommittee that is looking at ways to grow ARRL membership and increase active participation in Amateur Radio.
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). I am working closely with Marcia Forde, KW1U, and other traffic handlers to create a plan for NTS 2.0. We are planning a series of briefings for Traffic Handlers here in New England as well as across other ARRL divisions on the NTS 2.0 project.
Finally, I have been appointed to be 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.
Anita, AB1QB, and I had a great time during Field Day, visiting clubs all over New England. We covered about 1,000 miles during a three-day tour on Field Day weekend. I especially enjoyed meeting folks in person during Field Day and seeing what everyone was doing. It was great to see all of the different ways that clubs across New England approached Field Day. Anita took many great photos during our tour, and you can view those and read more about our Field Day travels here. We operated as AB1OC/M from the mobile HF station in our truck during the trip and had a ton of fun on the air as well.
Assistant Director Teams
Phil Temples, K9HI, and I continued working with our division Assistant Directors as they continued to set up their teams and began sharing information and projects across our division.
- 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
A great deal of good work is getting accomplished by our Assistant Directors, and each team has projects underway that will benefit hams across New England. Our second quarter 2022 newsletter features articles about what our ADs are doing.
BIG E Space Chat
New England school students will be making live radio contact with an astronaut on the International Space Station from The BIG E during the week of September 26th – September 29th. The “BIG E Space Chat” is part of a program 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.
Folks are also planning an Amateur Radio booth at The BIG E, and you can learn more about that project and how your club can be part of it here.
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 and 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 DVA team member)
We held our second Cabinet Meeting on April 16th (see what was discussed here). Our next Cabinet Meeting is scheduled for August 13th. 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.
We held our second Town Hall Meeting on June 15th. Attendance was excellent again, with over 140 in attendance. 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 November.
We held an ARRL Forum at Spring NEAR-Fest in Deerfield, NH, where we provided an update 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.
We also attended the Dayton Hamvention, where we helped to staff the ARRL Clubs booth and answer questions about the ARRL Foundation Club Grant program.
I am also planning to host an ARRL Forum at HamXposition in Marlborough, MA. HamXposition will take place on August 26th – 28th. You can see the schedule for the ARRL forum and session hosted by our division ADs here.
Licensing, Mentoring, and Youth
I have continued work on Licensing and Mentoring programs. We taught weekend Technician, General, and Extra License classes this spring and helped 19 hams earn their license or an upgrade.
We also held a spring Ham Bootcamp program, which helps hams across the country to learn how to use their Amateur Radio License to operate, put stations together, and get on the air. We added additional Ham Bootcamp training on getting started in Emergency Communications activities thanks to help from Stu Solomon, W1SHS, and Cory Golob, KU1U’s Emergency Communications and Public Service Activities Team.
AB1OC Amateur Radio Activities
I’ve enjoyed some operating time in the ARRL June VHF Contest and the new ARRL International Digital DX Contest. We also operated as K2K New Hampshire during the 2022 13 Colonies Special Event. We have received hundreds of QSL requests from our K2K operations, and we are working through those now. Finally, the 6m Band has been pretty good this year, and I am enjoying some operating time on 6m on most days as well.
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,
New England school students will be making live radio contact with an astronaut on the International Space Station from The BIG E during the week of September 26th – October 1st. The “BIG E Space Chat” is part of a program to promote Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) educational activities and Amateur Radio learning activities for young people.
New England Sci-Tech is sponsoring a 12-month STEM education program free of charge to all students grades 4 through 12 and Scouts in New England as part of the contact program. The program will provide hands-on learning about Space Science, Radio Communications, Electronics, Satellites, Rocketry, Astronomy, Amateur Radio, and more. Ten students participating in the Sci-Tech educational program will be chosen to make contact and chat live with an astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS) from the BIG E.
The contact and the associated educational program are a result of 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), Black Helicopter Creative LLC, the New England Division of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), and local Amateur Radio organizations.
Execution planning has been underway for some time, and we are pleased to announce the addition of Ray Lajoie AA1SE, ARRL Western Massachusetts Section Manager, to the contact leadership team. Ray will be responsible for working with the BIG E team and our content production partner Black Helicopter to set up, test, and facilitate the development and delivery of a pre-contact program.
Ray joins and rounds out the existing BIG E space chat planning team consisting of:
- Bob Phinney K5TEC – Education Planning and Execution
- Phil Temples K9HI – Publicity and Promotion
- Ray Lajoie AA1SE – Venue and Program Planning and Execution
- Fred Kemmerer AB1OC – ARISS Mentor
The BIG E planning team is being assisted by Dylann Keaney, President of Black Helicopter Creative LLC, Barbara Irby, KC1KGS, Dan Norman, N0HF, and Larry Krainson, W1AST, in planning what expect will be a major Amateur Radio event in New England. You can learn more about the BIG E space chat here.
Fred Kemmerer AB1OC
ARRL New England Division Director
Larry Krainson, W1AST, writes:
A few months ago, Project Big E applied for two possible grants. Aaron, KF1G, completed the application process and submitted it. From what we had been reading, we wouldn’t know any results until July.
Early Friday evening on the 17th of June, Aaron called me and told me the news. When I checked my email, I saw an email with the same info. The check will arrive in a few weeks.
This is exactly what the project needs right now, because a few people had a few hundred dollars for out of pocket expenses to make the project work and move forward. Now we’ll be able to re-reimburse them AND help the clubs and participants by refunding both parking and ticket expenses as well as taking care of other expenses the project has coming up.
This is SUPER EXCITING NEWS!
Spread the news to your clubs and sign up for a session or a day.
OR, if you are signing up as a club, contact Larry, W1AST, to block off that session or day at W1AST@arrl.net.