Two BIG E Volunteers Needed for September 20, 2022

Larry Krainson, W1AST, writes on the Project Big E mailing list:

Through a scheduling error, the Big E booth is in need of at least 2 more people for the first session tomorrow/Tuesday, Sept 20th for 9:30 am through 4:00 pm.

IF you are available for all or even part of that time slot, please email Larry, W1AST immediately at

Thank you!

New Section Managers Workshop—One SM’s Impressions

Phil Duggan, N1EP
Phil Duggan, N1EP, Maine Section Manager

By Phil Duggan, N1EP

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!

New England Division Receives ARDC RFI Equipment Grant

ARDC has approved a request for RFI hunting equipment for each of the seven sections in the New England Division.  The funds should be received in the next few weeks and orders placed for the equipment soon after.  Included is both an antenna set and an HF/VHF/UHF transceiver with a spectrum scope.  Distribution to each section will accompany training on the equipment.  In addition, some high-end equipment will remain in the custody of the Division for sharing when needed in addition to any the ARRL Lab will provide on loan.  Any questions can be directed to Rob, k1UI, Assistant New England Director, Spectrum Protection and Use.

Chowdercon 2022, September 17, 2022, Portsmouth, NH

Carl Achin, WA1ZCQ, writes on the NEQRP mailing list:

The 3rd Saturday in September has been traditionally reserved for decades for our Annual Celebration of the end-of-Summer / beginning-of-Fall known as “Chowdercon” in the Low-Power Radio Community here in New England.

Why is it called Chowdercon?

Here’s the skinny on the Event, name, and the time of year. 

Years ago, back in the mid to late 1980s (circa 1987) a small group of Amateur Radio field operators got together on Four Tree Island at the end of summer just to have, lunch, talk, and, operate on an Island surrounded by SALTWATER. (Being on saltwater enhances RF propagation tremendously!) Four Tree Island is a beautiful location in the heart of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and was an easy place for all to get to, no matter where they lived in New England. The gathering had just a few people through the years. 

In the summer of 2006, it was decided to give this gathering a name. It was always a crisp fall-feeling day on-or-around this time of year, and in the New England seacoast tradition, it was decided to partake in some hot clam chowder at the Main Gazebo on Four Tree Island while gathering and operating. That was the KICK-OFF to the event and it was dubbed, “Chowdercon.” Yes, the clam chowder was replaced years later with Lunch at “Geno’s Sandwich Shop,” just a five minute walk from the Island. It sure made things easier and Geno’s had lobster rolls too! Yummy!!! 🙂 Also, a farewell banquet supper was added at the famous “Warren’s Lobster House” after our time on the island. And in later years we added a BREAKFAST gathering before the arrival on the Island at “The Golden Egg.” 

Okay, last year our breakfast place shutdown due to the Coronavirus and lack of business, so the breakfast was scrubbed. This year, Geno’s is closed for the weekend for a short vacation, so, we don’t have a lunch location (that is until next year). 🙂 To keep the TRADITION going strong, and to have EVEN MORE TIME on Four Tree Island, this year (2022) will be a breakfast/lunch “brown-bag” event. Please bring whatever you’d like for the times you are on the Island. The STARTING TIME will be 8AM to begin gathering on Four Tree. I’ll be bringing a few, egg, cheese, bacon, English-muffin breakfast sandwiches and some orange juice and coffee from Demoulas Market Basket which we go by on our way to the Island. Also will pickup a sub sandwich and a drink while at the supermarket for a lunch treat. YOU can do what ever you’d like, perhaps making something at home for a nutritional meal while on the Island, or, connecting up with me at 7 AM (on 146.52 direct) and shopping with me at Demoulas Supermarket. It’s just a few miles from the Island.

The setup of stations will be as usual, and there are lots of rooftop-covered-picnic-tables on the Island for your operating spot and socializing/eating/discussions. If you don’t have a Field-Op Station with Jack-pole and wire antenna, NO PROBLEM, many of us will have stations setup and YOU can watch and even operate if so desired.

At around 4PM we break-down stations, antennas, and pack-up to depart, BUT before that is the Annual QRP vs. QRPp “TUG-OF-WAR” which is a fun tradition on the Island. Don’t worry, we are all getting older, and this is not a KILLER SPORTS GAME. It’s a fun time for pictures and creating wonderful memories. Go over some of the past pictures of the Chowdercon Experience at the following URL:

AND, if a full day on the Island isn’t enough for YOU, we have a FANTASTIC Farewell Banquet at Warren’s Lobster House just a 5 minute drive away from Four Tree. It’s a meal you’ll remember for a lifetime. Warren’s menu is extensive and they have a HUGE Salad Bar which adds to the Farewell Banquet experience. With all the fraternal camaraderie of the event, I’m sure you’ll want to put Chowdercon on your ANNUAL things-to-do Calendar Schedule EVERY YEAR on the Equinox weekend (3rd SATURDAY in September).

Come join-in on the, fun, excitement, learning, and memory-making gathering known as CHOWDERCON. You won’t regret it.

ALSO, QRP Afield (CQAF) is in-progress while we are on Four Tree Island. It’s fun to do some CW QSO’s in this long-running on-air NEQRP Sprint/Contest.

*** Chowdercon 2022 ***
PLACE: Portsmouth, NH – Four Tree Island
TIME: KICKING OFF AT 8AM THROUGH 4:30PM, and then heading over to WARREN’S for our annual Farewell Banquet Supper (4:45PM through 6:30PM+)
* COMMUNICATIONS: The National Simplex Frequency (146.52 direct), bring a fully charged H/T for close-in directions and other get-together comms.

Directions from YOUR QTH:
*(NOTE: Enter your starting point in the “A” window.)


*** P.S. – This is a FAMILY ORIENTED EVENT, so, bring the family, kids, and, grab a picnic table on the Island for your very own central hangout point. REMEMBER, Four Tree Island IS AN ISLAND SURROUNDED BY SALTWATER, SO, IT GETS COOL AND THERE IS ALWAYS A BREEZE. BRING A WINDBREAKER AND SOME WARM LAYERS! Also, if you have any games, horseshoes, darts, bean-bag toss, kites, or other family activities, bring them along. It’s always fun to fly kites, etcetera while on the Island. Got several QRP kits, small Field-Op rigs??? BRING THEM ALONG AND SHOW OTHERS (i.e. – SHOW-‘N-TELL). Let’s make sure that,
*** “The Excitement Is Building …” ***

Nutmeg Hamfest & Connecticut State Convention, October 9, 2022

Nutmeg Hamfest pageThe Nutmeg Hamfest is Back!
October 9th, 2022.

Great New Location:

Best Western Hotel
201 Washington Ave (US Route 5)
North Haven, CT 06473

In addition to our forums (see our Web Site) we’ll have several all-day demos for your enjoyment.

CT ARES Region 4 will bring their fully-equipped communications trailer, and welcome you to take a look inside.

POTA gurus Dave, NZ1J, and Shawn, KC1NQE, will have a station set up and look forward to answering your questions and offering tips ‘n’ tricks.

James AB1DQ will display his famous cigar-box construction products and offer some ideas for your own projects.

We’re proud to once again host the ARRL Connecticut Section Convention, too.

Don’t miss Southern New England’s Biggest and Best Hamfest.

Attention Vendors: We still have a few inside tables available. Plenty of room for tailgating, too.

All the details are on our website.

ARRL Foundation Grants $270,000 to Amateur Radio Clubs

ARRL Foundation logo

From ARRL Club News:

The new ARRL Foundation Club Grant Program, funded by a generous grant from Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC), has awarded $270,000 to radio clubs that participated in the first round of applications.

The Club Grant Program, introduced earlier this year, includes $500,000 to be awarded to radio clubs with projects that will have the most impact on amateur radio, the community, and the future of radio technology. The grants will fund transformative projects that encourage the growth of active amateur radio operators and training opportunities, education programs for student groups and schools, and club revitalization. A second round of applications to award the program’s remaining funding opened on September 7, 2022. The deadline for submitting an application is November 4th at 7PM Eastern time.

Twenty-four clubs were notified on Monday, August 29, that they are receiving grants. The ARRL Foundation received 128 applications in the first round, with requests totaling $1.74 million. The selection committee noted that it was difficult work deciding from many high-quality grant proposals, considering the finite available funds. Radio clubs that did not receive grants in the first round may revise and resubmit applications in the second round.

The ARRL Foundation, established in 1973 by ARRL The National Association for Amateur Radio®, administers the Club Grant Program. ARRL has long recognized that it is in the best interest of amateur radio to encourage and support amateur radio clubs. Clubs historically have recruited, licensed, and trained new radio amateurs and have provided the community setting for them to continue their education and training.

The new Club Grant Program will help clubs more easily provide and expand their important services. More information about the program can be found on the ARRL Foundation website, at

The following clubs, in no particular order, were awarded grants:

Club Name Town State
Heritage High School Amateur Radio Club Brentwood CA
Newport County Radio Club Newport RI
Bristol County Repeater Association Tiverton RI
Holmesburg Amateur Radio Club Philadelphia PA
Quaboag Valley Amateur Radio Club Warren MA
Amateur Radio Club at Kansas State University Manhattan KS
Meriden Amateur Radio Club Wallingford CT
Anchorage Amateur Radio Club Anchorage AK
Andrew Johnson Amateur Radio Club Greeneville TN
Cape Ann Amateur Radio Association Gloucester MA
Yavapai Amateur Radio Club Prescott AZ
Cave City High School Amateur Radio Club Cave City AR
Fauquier County 4-H Ham Radio Club Warrenton VA
All Things Amateur Radio Association Carroll OH
Forsyth Amateur Radio Club Inc Winston Salem NC
Sunset Empire Amateur Radio Club Astoria OR
Barnstable Amateur Radio Club South Dennis MA
Orange County Amateur Radio Club Cornwall NY
Daleville Area Amateur Radio Service Daleville AL
Lake Washington Ham Club Kirkland WA
Radio Association of Western New York West Seneca NY
Prairie Dog Amateur Radio Club Childress TX
West Chester Amateur Radio Association West Chester OH
Gloucester County Amateur Radio Club Pitman NJ


Preparations Continue As the Start of Project BIG E Approaches

With just two days left before the start of The BIG E fair in West Springfield, MA, Amateur Radio preparations for Project BIG E have kicked into high gear.

The combined ham radio booth and ARISS space contact depend on the efforts of many Amateur Radio volunteers drawn from across New England and Eastern New York. The booth alone will be staffed twelve hours every day from September 16 until October 2. With two shifts of four hams per day, that’s over 800 person-hours.

“I’m happy to report as of the morning of September 13 we are fully staffed,” according Project BIG E Coordinator Larry Krainson, W1AST. Krainson is also President of the Hampden County Radio Association, one of the booth’s primary sponsors.

Larry Krainson has been coordinating weekly Zoom calls with other volunteers since June to plan the layout of the booth and coordinate the many moving parts involved with this ambitious project. Western MA ARRL Section Manager Ray Lajoie, AA1SE, is providing much assistance with the booth setup. 

Project BIG E Sponsor and Club Recognition


The BIG E Space Chat is an ARISS contact that will take place in The BIG E Arena in the September 27-29 timeframe. The exact date and time won’t be known until a decision is made by NASA approximately a week before the event. 

A number of other organizations—both local as well as international—will play critical roles in ensuring a successful contact with the International Space Station from The BIG E venue.

BIG E Space Chat partners


ARISS Mentor Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC, is providing overall coordination between ARISS and the science education program component provided by New England Sci-Tech in Natick, MA. Ray Lajoie, AA1SE, is responsible for pre-contact programming as well as the stage audio-video setup at The BIG E Arena, a performance venue that can accommodate up to 3,000 people with additional capacity for folks to stand. The covered stage is 40- by 80 feet  with arena grade public address and video displays.

A 45-minute pre-contact program will feature inspirational videos about the ISS, space, and previous contacts; introductory remarks from Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC, ARISS Mentor; Gene Cassidy, CEO of the Eastern States Exposition; David Minster, NA2AA, ARRL CEO; and Bob Phinney K5TEC, President of New England Sci-Tech.

Phil Temples, K9HI, and Barbara Irby, KC1KGS, are involved with the Amateur Radio promotion for the event.  Phil and Barbara are working with The BIG E marketing team to coordinate web content, press releases, and plans for radio and television interviews of the space station contact. 

Amateur Radio operators who present a valid FCC license at the gate will be granted free admission along with three of their guests on the day of the space station contact. It’s hoped that hundreds of amateurs will turn out to witness the lucky dozen students as they make a once-in-a-lifetime contact with an astronaut in space.


Youth at New England Sci-TechYouth at New England Sci-TechPerhaps the most important component of The BIG E Space Chat is Bob Phinney’s STEM learning and makerspace center, New England Sci-Tech (NEST), in Natick, MA.

NEST is providing a world-class STEM learning experience for students across New England—including the dozen or so lucky youths who have been selected to participate in The BIG E Space Chat. 

In-person and virtual activities are being conducted over a 12-month period. They include:

• Building and launching a beginner level model rocket
• Building and launching air-powered rockets and planes
• Earning an FCC amateur radio Technician license
• Participating in a basic electronics course
• Participating in Public Telescope Nights
• A field trip program that introduces real-world science
• Participation in space science educational activities at the BIG E
• Participation in an optional Cubes-in-Space® Program that will introduce students to real-world science

The Big E, formerly known as The Eastern States Exposition, is billed as “New England’s Great State Fair.” It is the largest agricultural event on the eastern seaboard and the sixth-largest fair in the nation. In 2021, the Big E had 1.5 million visitors, and over 1.6 million visitors in 2019.

ARRL Board of Directors Meeting, July 15-16, 2022

From the ARRL Facebook page:

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:

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.


N1ILZ To Become Eastern MA Section Manager Effective January 1, 2023

ARRL logovia

Tom Walsh, K1TW, writes:

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.


Tom K1TW

Merrimack Valley Amateur Radio Association

Jay Taft K1EHZ writes:


I write to introduce a new organization intended to support ARES®-related activities.

ARES® is a program of the ARRL®. It is not an entity that can own property or collect and spend money.

For these reasons many ARES® groups around the country started clubs that can own property and transact business to support ARES® activities.  Hillsborough County and Greater Manchester NH ARES® leaders have formed such a club.

Merrimack Valley Amateur Radio Association, callsign N1MVA, is a New Hampshire nonprofit charitable corporation. We are also applying to the IRS for 501(c)3 status.

Our main goals are

  • enhancing emergency communication infrastructure through fundraising
  • developing operator communication skills by supporting community events.

For example, a current MVARA project is a collaboration with the New England Digital Emergency Communications Network to connect two DMR repeaters with microwave links, as backup for internet connections, making DMR more resilient for emergency communications. This is a pilot project to demonstrate proof-of-concept before applying for funding for a larger deployment.

We also hope to expand the small microwave network among served agencies in Manchester, NH to Nashua and Concord. External funding for this project would also be the subject of an grant proposal.

We seek members interested in these kinds of activities.  Applicants need not be ARES® members nor reside in New Hampshire’s Merrimack Valley Region. ARRL® membership is encouraged so we can become an ARRL® affiliate club.

Those who join MVARA by December 31, 2022 will be designated Charter Members.

The membership application can be found on our website –

Questions or comments may be directed to me at