Featured

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

Featured

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 to 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

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

 

Featured

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

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

YOTA 2021 ISS Contact

I had the pleasure of serving as the ARISS contact moderator for the Youth On The Air (YOTA) 2021 Camp’s contact with the International Space Station (ISS) using Amateur Radio today. Young Hams spent the week at the Voice of America Bethany Relay Station in West Chester, OH engaging in a variety of Amateur Radio Activities. Ruth Willet, KM4LAO was the host for YOTA 2021 and provided an excellent pre-contact program. The West Chester Amateur Radio Association partnered with YOTA 2021 Camp group to help them with YOTA 2021 activities and their ISS contact. You can view a video of the YOTA 2021 Camp’s contact with astronaut Aki Hoshide, KE5DNI on the International Space Station (ISS) by clicking on the video above.

Working with a school or group to help young people make contact with an astronaut on the ISS using Amateur Radio is a great way to build a lasting relationship around Amateur Radio with young people and their teachers and mentors. In my role as an ARISS Mentor and Ground Station, I have had the pleasure to help with nine of these contacts around the world over the last several years. In every case, local Ham Radio clubs partnered with the school or group to provide STEM learning experiences based on Amateur Radio. Helping a school or group make contact with the astronaut on the ISS provides a memorable experience for everyone involved.

You can learn more about the ARISS contact program here or contact me at ab1oc@arrl.net.

Fred, AB1OC

Growing Amateur Radio through Mentoring

Radio Clubs as Mentors - GOTAs at Schools

Amateur Radio clubs and individual hams have always played an important role as Mentors for new and less experienced hams. There is probably no better time in our history to redouble our efforts in this area than now. I wanted to share a few thoughts and successful programs that I’ve been involved in to bring new people into Amateur Radio through mentoring.

Programs in Schools

Getting students on the air at Hudson Memorial School
Getting students on the air at Hudson Memorial School

Middle and High School faculty members are looking for practical STEM learning opportunities for their students. Amateur Radio can be the basis for many learning programs of this type. Wireless communications, satellites, electronics, computers, and many other STEM topics can be taught in a way that is grounded in Amateur Radio.

A great way to begin is to support career days or STEM learning events at local schools. Providing a hands-on opportunity at a school STEM club or Electronics club can also be a good way to develop a relationship with a local school.

Karen, KC1KBW - Facalty Member and STEM Education Leader at Bishop-Guertin H.S.
Karen, KC1KBW – Faculty Member and STEM Education Leader at Bishop-Guertin H.S.

It’s important to find a faculty member to work with to develop these programs. An interested teacher is an essential partner in developing and delivering quality educational experiences through Amateur Radio.

Teachers serve as important role models for their students. It’s a good idea to provide opportunities through classes and mentoring to teachers who are interested in earning their Amateur Radio licenses.

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

You might consider developing a STEM learning program around a hands-on Amateur Radio related activity. As an example, we’ve created a program around High-Altitude Balloons that carry Amateur Radio telemetry transmitters. We’ve worked with local teachers to develop 12 hours of classroom material covering the physics, weather science, wireless communications, and flight prediction modeling associated with weather balloons. We’ve delivered this program in 4 local schools and reached several hundred students. These programs have led to many students and their teachers becoming licensed hams.

Similar programs can be created around kit-building and related electronics activities, space and wireless communications, modern digital communications technology, and more.

Consider Supporting a Contact with an Astronaut on the ISS

Student Q&A with an Astronaut on the ISS via Amateur Radio
Student Q&A with an Astronaut on the ISS via Amateur Radio

One of the most effective ways to develop a relationship with a school is to work with a school to make a contact with an Astronaut on the ISS. The ARISS organization provides tools and support for arranging and holding these contacts. Schools work with a sponsoring Amateur Radio Club or group and are required to make a significant commitment to STEM learning related to Amateur Radio and Space Science in order to secure a Contact with an astronaut on the ISS. Working closely with a school provides a great opportunity to work with young people to develop an interest in Amateur Radio.

Treat Your Field Day as a Mentoring Opportunity

Mentoring at a GOTA Station
Mentoring at a GOTA Station

Field Day presents many opportunities for mentoring new and less experienced Hams. In addition to a Get On The Air (GOTA) station, it affords many opportunities to invite folks to learn about and participate in a broad range of station building and operating activities. You can read more about such opportunities here.

Help a Ham to Get On The Air

ARRL Rookie Roundup Ops
ARRL Rookie Roundup Ops – New Hams getting On The Air

Many new Hams earn a license and then find it difficult to find someone to Mentor them and help them to get started on the air. Barriers include Mic fright, difficulties getting an antenna up and gaining access to a radio that they can use, concerns that they don’t know how to make contacts on the air, etc. This is an area where clubs and individual hams can contribute a great deal. Invite a new ham to your station for an operating session. Sponsor an entry in the ARRL Rookie Roundup or a DX contest to introduce contesting.

ARRL Kids Day Event at AB1OC-AB1QB
ARRL Kids Day Event at AB1OC-AB1QB

Sponsoring an on-the-air event around ARRL Kids Day and similar events are also great ways to introduce young people to Amateur Radio.

Young People Experience Amatuer Radio at AB1OC-AB1QB
Young People Experience Amateur Radio at AB1OC-AB1QB

All it takes to create opportunities like these is for a club member or an individual ham to open their station for a day and secure the help and support of a few other friends to help put on an event. These activities are great fun and produce many cherished memories of the participant’s first experiences on the air.

Events like these often form the basis of strong mentoring relationships with new hams. This then leads to opportunities to help folks put their first station together and get on the air.

Summing it all up

The video above shares more about activities that Clubs and individual hams might consider to bring new people into Amateur Radio and help them develop and grow their skills. Amateur Radio can change lives for the better by providing lifelong learning opportunities, helping to develop valuable skills, and creating great friendships. I hope that you’ll consider how you can help.

Fred, AB1OC

Field Day as a Mentoring Opportunity

ARRL Field Day 2021

ARRL Field Day is upon us and I wanted to share some thoughts about the mentoring and learning opportunities that Field Day can provide. Many Clubs and other groups here in New England are planning in-person Field Day operations while practicing good COVID-19 safety procedures as we make progress on bringing COVID-19 under control in the US.

I’d like to encourage hams planning Field Day operations to consider opportunities to mentor new and experienced hams alike as part of their Field Day operations. Field Day provides us with a unique opportunity to provide mentoring and on-the-air amateur radio experiences for folks who are new to our hobby as well as those looking to learn and develop their skills.

Mentoring Through Field Day Station Building

Mentoring through Station Building
Mentoring through Station Building

One good way to mentor is to involve new and less experienced folks in the building of your Field Day station. This is a major draw for many new and less experienced hams as it affords them the opportunity to work alongside more experienced folks and gain hands-on experience with equipment that they may not have access to on their own.

Connor, KC1GGX Building a Field Day Network
Connor, KC1GGX Building a Field Day Network

Young people and many new hams have unique skills that they can contribute to your Field Day operation. One example that we have included here is to network our logging computers so we can execute passes and share log data among all of our stations as we operate. This involves setting up a Data Network at our Field Day operation.  Setting up a network is a great opportunity for young hams at Field Day to utilize their unique skills to contribute to your operation.

Mentoring through Top-Notch Operating Experiences

It is especially important to reward new folks who help you build your Field Day stations with some premium operating time on the stations that they contributed to building. This combination will likely result in a new ham coming back to your group to participate in other activities as they continue to learn.

Abby, AB1BY SO2R Digital at Field Day
Abby, AB1BY SO2R Digital at Field Day

Setting up digital stations at Field Day is another excellent way to provide quality operating experiences for new hams and especially for young people. Many folks who come to your Field Day operation will likely have excellent computer skills and the energy they bring will produce some impressive additions to your score. We have seen our digital teams at our Field Days match the score of some of the best CW operators in the world and demonstrate some advanced operating abilities during Field Day such as operating multiple stations at the same time.

Ryan, KC1KJS Operating 20m SSB at Field Day
Ryan, KC1KJS Operating 20m SSB at Field Day

There is almost nothing that we can do during Field Day that is more important than to provide a young ham or a less experienced ham with a top-notch on-air experience. It’s a good idea to reserve some operating time on your best stations and modes for new folks. Spending some time with someone less experienced to help them operate on 20m SSB on Saturday afternoon will create an interest level for a new ham that is hard to match any other way. More importantly, you will send the message that you and your group are committed to helping young people and new folks become accomplished hams through mentoring.

Your GOTA Station as a Skill Builder

Mentoring at a GOTA Station
Mentoring at a GOTA Station

Get On The Air Stations are the classic way that many Field Day groups provide on-the-air mentoring. It’s important to have an effective and patient mentor who is dedicated to your GOTA station and to creating a great on-air experience for the folks who operate your GOTA station. Also, consider involving your enthusiastic GOTA ops in additional activities along with your experienced operators on your other Field Day stations.

Mentoring While Passing Message Traffic

Message Passing at Field Day
Sterling, AK1K Mentoring folks on Message Traffic Handing at Field Day

Do you do handle Message Traffic at Field Day? This can be a great way to involve new hams with a Tech License in Field Day operations. An experienced mentor can easily help a group of new hams have a great time during a message traffic handling activity at Field Day. Encourage folks to bring their HTs and use them during this part of your operation.

Mentoring while Operating at Home

What if you are planning to operate from your home station for Field Day? You can invite a new ham or a family member or friend who is curious about amateur radio to your station during Field Day to operate along with you. Just be sure to practice good COVID-19 safety when doing this.

You may also find that working with new folks will enhance your enjoyment of Field Day as well as contribute to your operating contacts. A team operating experience with one person operating and another logging can be great fun. You can also take turns operating your home stations to create a memorable Field Day experience.

The Mentoring Centric Field Day Experience

Media Coverage of a mentoring-centric Field Day (click to play)

The video above shows an example of a mentoring-centric Field Day. We thank WMUR Channel 9 for covering Field Day. This puts Amateur Radio in a very positive light and lets hams around your group know that you are committed to helping new hams to learn and develop their skills through mentoring.

I hope that everyone has a safe and enjoyable Field Day!

73,

Fred, AB1OC

AB1OC Announces run for ARRL New England Division Director

Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC

NASHUA, NH: Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC, has announced his intention to run for the position of ARRL New England Division Director. Kemmerer has a long history of helping individuals to become licensed, learn new skills, and become active in the Amateur Radio Service. Fred has also served as President of the Nashua Area Radio Society, a club that has provided many hams licensing and development programs over the past six years.

“I believe that Amateur Radio clubs and interest groups play an essential role in bringing new hams into the Amateur Radio Service and in helping hams to develop new skills,” said Kemmerer. “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 upon Amateur Radio.”

Fred, AB1OC, also serves as an ARISS (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station) Mentor and Ground Station, helping schools around to world to 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,” said Kemmerer. “Amateur Radio provides a tremendous opportunity for youths to learn about technical topics and to develop valuable skills that they can use throughout their lives.”

Kemmerer has been an active amateur for over 10 years 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. We need to work across New England and the ARRL to grow our hobby and protect our spectrum by encouraging our hobby’s broad use.”

Fred, AB1OC, continues to devote 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 360 people to earn a license or upgrade over the past five years.” Kemmerer has created some innovative approaches to new ham development and getting hams on the air. “We created a very popular program called Ham Bootcamp, 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 480 participants from across the United States. “I hope to help clubs and individuals around New England and across the ARRL to develop successful programs to license and assist hams to get on the air and have fun in new activities,” he added.

Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC, is an electrical engineer by training and holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in EE. He has served in many business leadership roles, including Chief Technology Officer, VP of Strategy and Business Development for a large telecommunication equipment company, VP and General Manager of a large data networking and communication business, and a Project Leader at Bell Laboratories in the development of wireless and wired data communications technologies. Fred has also served on the FCC’s Technical Advisory Council where he assisted the FCC in developing public policy related to wireless and broadband communications. Fred holds an Amateur Extra license and has been quite active on the air logging over 100,000 contacts on the HF and higher bands over the past 10 1/2 years. You can read more about his background on LinkedIn here.

You can learn more about Fred, AB1OC’s campaign, and what he is hoping to accomplish as ARRL New England Division director at https://ab1oc-4-director.org.