An Important Choice – Please Cast Your Vote for ARRL New England Division Director

I believe that Amateur Radio and the ARRL are at a crossroads. Issues such as the need to bring new people of all ages into Amateur Radio and get them active have become urgent.

Fred, AB1OC Helping a School Make Contact with an Astronaut on the ISS via Amateur Radio
Fred, AB1OC Helping a School Make Contact with an Astronaut on the ISS via Amateur Radio

We also need to do a much better job at building public awareness and support for Amateur Radio as a means to protect our rights as hams and our spectrum. One important way that we can do this is through work to support Amateur Radio-based STEM education in schools.

It is simply not enough to acknowledge the problems we face and suggest ideas on how we might address them. We need a Director that has a demonstrated track record of solving problems and getting results.

About the AB1OC TeamAbout the AB1OC Team

We need a director who can take on a broad range of issues. Doing this requires a team approach and a Director who can collaborate with ARRL members across our Division to get things done. To this end, I have assembled a team of leaders across the New England Division who are actively helping me to develop well-thought-out positions on important issues facing the ARRL and Amateurs across New England.

I believe that a dual approach that includes working both within the ARRL to solve problems and with clubs and ARRL members in the New England Division to create effective Amateur Radio programs is the best way to address the issues that the ARRL and Amateur Radio are facing. My plans to implement this approach include a combination of improved communications with New England ARRL Members, outreach to ARRL Directors and Leaders, and the appointment of Assistant Directors within my first 100 days as your Director.

If you have any questions or thoughts on what your next Director needs to focus on, I can be reached at ab1oc@arrl.net.

Ballots for ARRL New England Division Director have been mailed to ARRL New England members and you should have received your ballot by now. Ballots are due back to ARRL HQ by November 19th. Please take the time to return your ballot so your vote counts in this important election. The last Director election was decided by only a few votes so your vote is very important.

Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC

Our Second Town Hall Meeting

FeaturedAB1OC Town Hall Meeting #2

I held a second Town Hall Meeting earlier this week with Hams in New England. I was joined by Phil Temples, K9HI, and Rob Leiden, K1UI from my team. After a brief introduction, I spent the evening answering questions.

We recorded the second Town Hall Meeting and I wanted to share it with our readers here. I would welcome the opportunity to hear your views and answer any additional questions that you might have. You can reach me at ab1oc@arrl.net.

Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC


ARRL New England Division Director Candidates Forum at Northeast HamXpostion

The three candidates who are running to become the next New England Division Director participated in a Candidates Forum at the Northeast HamXpostion in Marlborough, MA recently. The Candidate Forum was moderated by Don Arthur, K1DCA. Thanks to Jim Palmer, KB1KQW for recording and producing the video of the Candidate Forum.

Don asked a series of thoughtful questions that enabled those present to learn what each candidate was about and how they planned to take the ARRL and the Amateur Radio Service forward into the future. The candidates did not know what Don’s questions would be in advance.

I hope that you will take the time to watch the video to learn about my plans as your Director.

New England ARRL members will be sent their ballots by mail on October 1st. Ballots are due back to due back at ARRL HQ no later than 12:00 pm on November 19th.

Fred, AB1OC

Our First Town Hall


I held the first of what I hope will be many Town Hall Meetings with Hams in New England last evening.

Town Hall Panel
Town Hall Panel

I was joined by a panel of Hams who are supporting my campaign and who are helping me to develop plans for the work I will do as ARRL New England Division Director.

After a brief introduction, we spent the evening answering questions from the folks who joined us for the Town Hall.

We recorded the Town Hall Meeting and I wanted to share it with our readers here. I would welcome the opportunity to hear your views and answer any additional questions that you might have. You can reach me at ab1oc@arrl.net.

Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC

Programs Helping Hams and Young People to Develop Skills and Get on The Air

FeaturedDX Experience on the HF Bands

I have had the pleasure to work collaborate with my club and others to create programs to get new people and young people started in Amateur Radio. I’ve been sharing information about these programs with clubs across New England and around the US to provide ideas and inspiration for Amateur Radio clubs to add similar mentoring and Ham Development programs to their activities.

Teaching Amateur Radio License Classes
Teaching Amateur Radio License Classes

Teaching License Classes is a passion of mine. Along with the Nashua Area Radio Society, we’ve provided 7-8 License Training Classes to help folks earn Technician, General, and Extra class licenses each year. Our classes include 1 or 2 classes each year devoted solely to school students who want to earn their Technician License. We do this so that we can teach the Technician Class material in a format suitable for middle school and high school students.

Ham Bootcamp - Getting New Hams On The Air
Ham Bootcamp – Getting New Hams On The Air

I have led the creation of programs such as Ham Bootcamp and Tech Night to provide training and skills development to enable Hams to get on the air and develop new skills.

Students Launch a High-Altitude Balloon carrying Amateur Radio
Students Launch a High-Altitude Balloon carrying Amateur Radio

I believe that that work to support STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) learning in schools through Amateur is an important way to help the next generation of young people to join the Amateur Radio Service and enhance their lives. Kits Builds, High-Altitude Balloons, and other Amateur Radio activities can provide practical applications and support for STEM learning programs that many schools are working to deliver.

Fred, AB1OC Helping a School Make Contact with an Astronaut on the ISS via Amateur Radio
Fred, AB1OC Helping a School Make Contact with an Astronaut on the ISS via Amateur Radio

Through my work as a mentor and ground station in the ARISS program, I’ve been able to help schools and other youth groups around the world to experience and learn about Amateur Radio and use it to communicate with astronauts on the Internation Space Station.

ARRL Rookie Roundup – Introducing contesting to young people and new Hams

I believe that it’s also very important to introduce new hams and young hams to the Amateur Radio activities that many of us enjoy. We routinely make our station here available to new Hams and young people so they can participate in on-air actives. A favorite activity is the ARRL Rookie Roundup – a contest experience that the ARRL sponsors for new Hams to try out and learn about Radiosport.

I’ve been sharing a presentation with clubs and other groups about these and other programs to encourage folks to provide mentoring and new Ham development opportunities.

I recently met with the K1USN Radio Club in Braintree, MA to share this information. The folks there recorded my presentation and have given permission to share it here so that others might benefit from the information that it contains. The K1USN Radio Club is a great example of a group of Hams that are working to provide mentoring and new Ham development programs. Here’s where you can find more about them:

Also, you can download a copy of the presentation in PDF form here.

I hope that our readers will consider creating programs to help bring new people into the Amateur Radio Service and mentor all Hams to help them to develop new skills and enjoy Amateur Radio.

Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC


Creating a Strong Future for Amateur Radio as ARRL New England Division Director

Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC
Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC

Hello. I am Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC, and I am hoping to become your ARRL New England Division Director. I have a long history of helping people to become licensed, learn new skills, and become active in the Amateur Radio Service. I have also served as the President of the Nashua Area Radio Society, a club that has provided many hams licensing and development programs over the past six years.

Like most Hams, I love Ham Radio and all that it enables. As your Director, I will work hard to protect our hobby and I will work hard to create and promote activities and programs which will maximize our ability to participate in and enjoy Amateur Radio.

Amateur Radio changes people’s lives for the better. It certainly has had a huge positive impact on my life and I want to become Director so that I may work with clubs and individual Hams across New England to help them to bring positive life experiences through Amateur Radio to more people in our division and across the ARRL.

What I Want To Accomplish as New England Director

There is much that needs to be done to create a strong future for Amateur Radio and the ARRL. The following are some of the major goals that I plan to focus on as Director:

  • Bring new people into Amateur Radio by working collaboratively with clubs across New England and the ARRL
  • Create opportunities for STEM learning in schools and colleges through Amateur Radio
  • Create positive public and agency awareness and support for Amateur Radio to protect our spectrum and our rights
  • Ensure effective, open, 2-way communications between the ARRL and its members
  • Establish the New England Division as a leader in providing world-class Amateur Radio programs

It is also very important that we create an environment within New England and the ARRL that promotes and protects on-air activities such as DXing and Contesting that so many Hams (including this one) enjoy. To this end, I will work closely with our DX Advisory Committee and Contest Advisory Committee members to promote and expand Amateur Radio operating activities.

We need a Director who is CollaborativeInnovative, and Action-Oriented to accomplish these and other important goals. I believe that I can bring the right Amateur Radio and professional experience and collaborative leadership skills to accomplish these goals and more. I hope that you will support me as your choice to fulfill this important mission.

Action-Oriented Leadership

It is important that we take immediate action on issues that are important to ARRL members. To this end, I have published a plan for my first 100 days as ARRL New England Division Director that includes specific actions to improve 2-way communications between the ARRL and New England members. My plans include outreach to members of the ARRL Board and Senior Leadership to find common ground to take action on issues that matter to ARRL members. I also plan to appoint several Assistant Directors to focus on promoting programs in important areas such as:

  • New Ham Development
  • Youth Outreach
  • Emergency Communications, and Public Service
  • Spectrum Use and Protection

You can see the details of my plans at elect.ab1oc.org/first-100-days.

Walking the Talk

I believe that Amateur Radio clubs play an essential role in bringing new hams into the Amateur Radio Service and in helping hams to develop new skills.

AB1OC ARISS Ground Station
Helping a school contact an Astronaut on the ISS via Amateur Radio

I serve as an ARISS (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station) Mentor and Ground Station, helping schools around the world participate in STEM learning based upon Amateur Radio. I will help groups and individuals in New England to create projects and programs to bring Amateur Radio to young people across the division. Amateur Radio provides a tremendous opportunity for young people to learn about technical topics and to develop valuable skills that they can use throughout their lives.

Fred, AB1OC with Students at Bishop-Guertin H.S. as they prepare to Launch a High-Altitude Balloon
Working with students at Bishop-Guertin H.S. to Launch a High-Altitude Balloon Carrying Amateur Radio

I continue to spend time in local schools teaching classes and providing activities that bring STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) learning opportunities to students through Amateur Radio. In addition to inspiring young people to pursue STEM careers by becoming Hams, this work also serves to improve the public’s understanding of the importance and value that Amateur Radio provides.

I am devoting considerable time and energy to license new hams and help all hams to upgrade their licenses and get on the air. I’ve had the pleasure to lead a team of hams who have taught license classes, enabling over 350 people to earn a license or upgrade over the past five years. I have worked with a team of folks to create some innovative approaches to new ham development and getting hams on the air. We created a very popular program called Ham Bootcamp. Ham Bootcamp is designed to help both new and experienced hams get on the air, build their stations, and participate in new operating activities. The last Ham Bootcamp drew over 450 participants from across the United States.

As New England Division Director, I will work with clubs and individuals in New England to help them expand their role as mentors and create a world-class environment for learning based on Amateur Radio.

I Need Your Support

There are currently three candidates for the position of ARRL New England Director. Ballots for the election will be mailed to all New England ARRL Members on October 1st.

I am asking you for your help and your vote in making our plans a reality to benefit Amateur Radio folks across New England and the ARRL.

If you are not already an ARRL Member, please consider joining the ARRL and participating in the upcoming New England Director election. You can become an ARRL member here.

Your vote means a great deal to the future of Amateur Radio.

Additional Information

I have been widely endorsed by members of the Amateur Radio community for my work. You can see what Hams such as Dr. Bob Heil, K9EID, Gordon West, WB6NOA, and others are saying about their support for me as ARRL New England Division Director at elect.ab1oc.org/endorsements.

You can learn more about what I am hoping to accomplish as ARRL New England Division director at elect.ab1oc.org.

I welcome everyone’s comments and questions. You can reach me at ab1oc@arrl.net.

About Me

I am an active amateur with a broad range of Amateur Radio interests. I enjoy many aspects of the hobby, including DXing, contesting, EmCom activities and Field Day, satellites, station building, and weak signal operating on the VHF and higher bands. One of Amateur Radio’s most important strengths is its tremendous diversity and range of interests and activities.

I am an electrical engineer by training and I hold bachelor’s and master’s degrees in EE. I have served in many business leadership roles, including VP and General Manager of a large data networking and communication business, VP of Strategy and Business Development for a large telecommunication equipment company, as a Chief Technology Officer, and as Project Leader at Bell Laboratories in the development of wireless and wired data communications technologies. I have also served on the FCC’s Technical Advisory Council where I assisted the FCC in developing public policy related to wireless and broadband communications. I hold an Amateur Extra license and have been quite active on the air logging over 100,000 contacts on the HF and higher bands. You can read more about my professional background on LinkedIn here.

Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC

Importance of Amateur Radio in Schools

Satellite Contact at School

It is vitally important that we make efforts to bring Amateur Radio to young people in schools and other venues. When we spend time bringing Amateur Radio to young people, we accomplish two important things. First, we have the potential to change a young person’s life for the better by involving them in Amateur Radio, a hobby and a service that inspires a lifetime of STEM learning and often leads to lifelong careers in Science or Engineering.

Secondly, our work in schools is one of the very best ways that we can make the general public aware of the positive benefits that Amateur Radio provides to their kids and to the general public.

Supporting STEM Learning At Sussex County Charter School for Technology

In my role as an ARISS Program Mentor, I recently had the pleasure of spending a week with Sussex County Charter School for Technology (a charter school in NJ) students and teachers to help teachers there to deliver their summer Radio Camp.

The summer Radio Camp was a STEM education program that the school developed in support of their upcoming contact with an astronaut on the International Space Station (ISS). Members of the local Sussex County Amateur Radio Club teamed with the teachers at the school to deliver a 5-day program grounded in STEM learning through Amateur Radio.

DX Experience on the HF Bands
Hosting DX Contact Experience on the HF

Radio camp activities included many hands-on Amateur Radio activities such as making DX contacts on the HF radio bands, building electrical circuits, practicing morse code, a Fox hunt, building and operating a portable HF station, flying a radio-controlled drone, and more.

Satellite Contact at School
Satellite Contact at Sussex County Charter School for Technology

The students and their teachers also learned about how they can make contacts with other Amateur Radio operators through satellites in space.

The student’s parents joined them on the last day of Radio Camp to learn about Amateur Radio and the activities that their kids had done with the school during the week.

Building Public Awareness and Support for Amateur Radio

Helping Hudson Memorial School students to talk to an astronaut on the ISS
Helping Hudson Memorial School students to talk to an astronaut on the ISS

The photo above was taken during an event that I had the great pleasure to help a local school with a little while back. As President of the Nashua Area Radio Society, I led efforts to help Hudson Memorial School, a public middle school here in New Hampshire, to prepare for and make contact with an astronaut on the International Space Station using Amateur Radio. The photo was taken just before the school’s contact began. The school’s principal is explaining Amateur Radio and the positive impact that it has had in his school to hundreds of parents, teachers, school board members, and public visitors. Imagine the impact on public support that we had as part of this project.

These are the sorts of activities that I want to work on and encourage with Clubs and Hams here in New England as director. I also believe that the ARRL can do much more to promote and encourage projects like this to create public awareness and support for Amateur Radio.

Hams, Clubs, and the ARRL have a much greater potential to generate positive public support for Amateur Radio including for legislation to protect our rights and our spectrum through work with young people in schools than we have by lobbying alone.

Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC


Our First 100 Days as Director

Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC
Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC

Every executive leadership role that I have held has come with an understanding that I would have 100 days to take actions that demonstrate my ability to do the job and my commitment to address important issues that ARRL members here in New England care about. I believe that anyone that is chosen to be your New England Director should be making this sort of commitment.

The following actions will be completed during the first 100 days after becoming your ARRL New England Director:

  • I will complete a round of proactive ARRL Leadership and Board Outreach discussions– I will reach out to all ARRL Directors, all Vice Directors, the President, First and Second VPs, and our CEO to try to understand what they feel needs to be done to improve the Amateur Radio Service and the ARRL’s role in it. I will also attempt to find common ground and build consensus on concrete actions that we can take in support of ARRL member needs. I will partner with our Vice Director to complete these conversations.
  • I will take concrete steps to improve Communications and Collaboration within the New England Division– I will schedule quarterly New England Cabinet meetings via Zoom. Invitees will include New England Section Managers and their field volunteer staff, Club Presidents, and Individual Hams in the division who are thought leaders. New England representatives on the Contest Advisory Committee and the DX Advisory Committee would be included as well.
    • I will put a process in place to leverage the nediv.arrl.org website for regular postings and communications about ARRL activities and issues. We will augment this with a groups.io to seek input from New England Division Members. I will ask our Vice Director to monitor the input we are getting, summarize it, and ensure that it is proactively shared and acted upon as part of the New England Cabinet process.
    • I will appoint an initial set of Assistant Directors (see below) and ask them to proactively post updates on the work they are doing to promote their focus areas across New England and highlight work being done by clubs and individuals who are contributing successful programs in their focus areas. I will also ask the Section Managers to post regular updates on the work that they are doing within their sections.
    • We will publish a quarterly summary of ARRL New England Division activities and disseminate this information to the ARRL Board and Leadership team.
    • I will ask our Vice Director to lead the establishment of the 2-way communication processes described above and manage their execution. Together, our Vice Director and I will work to create a focus for Improved Communications among New England ARRL Stakeholders and ARRL Leadership.
  • I will Appoint the following initial set of Assistant Directors– These people do not replace comparable functions within the ARRL Field Organization. Rather, they will be chartered to promote, support, and encourage the efforts of New England Section Managers, Club Leaders, and Individual Leaders in their focus areas. We will ask them to do this by creating an environment that proactively promotes and encourages sharing of successful ideas and programs. Assistant Directors will also encourage their groups to collaborate to develop new programs and enhancements to existing programs to further improve their focus areas. These leaders will also play an important role by creating an environment to coordinate work efforts to solve problems and improve Amateur Radio participation in their areas across New England. The folks I will choose will include members of the ARRL Field Staff, Club Presidents, and individual Hams who have demonstrated a passionate interest in promoting and working to improve the Amateur Radio Service in the respective areas as well as a demonstrated commitment to working hard at listening to their stakeholders and acting on what they learn. I will engage in a regular process with our Assistant Directors to understand what they are hearing, what they are doing to promote progress and coordinate efforts to solve problems in their areas, and what they need me and the ARRL to do to help them.
    • Assistant Director, Focus for Mentoring and Ham Development
    • Assistant Director, Focus for Youth Outreach and STEM Learning through Amateur Radio
    • Assistant Director, Focus for Promotion of Emergency Communications and Public Service Activities and Programs
    • Assistant Director, Focus on Promoting Use of and Protecting our Spectrum

We will be creating additional Assistant Director roles to address issues as we go forward.

  • I will continue to demonstrate our commitment to supporting Amateur Radio Clubs and Groups– I have been doing work to open channels of communications with clubs across the region. This will become a key continuing effort going forward. I am personally committing to attend club meetings and other Amateur Radio gatherings (target 6 or more per quarter) leading up to and continuing AFTER the election to continue to create a focus on the important role that clubs play in taking the Amateur Radio Service forward.

Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC