March 6, 2024 BARS Meeting – Bruce Blain, K1BG – ARRL Club Coordinator Role and Suggestions For Our Club

It is with great pleasure that I announce Bruce Blain, K1BG, as our Guest Speaker for our hybrid Club Meeting on Wednesday March 6 at the Chelmsford Bible Church. Bruce is the ARRL Eastern Mass Club Coordinator. He was first introduced to amateur radio by his neighbor Jim Payne, W1GPN, when he was 4 years old. He was first licensed as WN1KBG in 1968 (Canton, MA) and upgraded to WA1KBG. He earned a BSEE from Northeastern University in 1976, and became K1BG in 1977.

Bruce is past president of the Norwood Amateur Radio Club and is a founding member and past Vice President of the Nashoba
Valley Amateur Radio Club where he currently serves as a member of the board. He is also a member of the First Operators Club, CW Ops, the Yankee Clipper Contest Club, and the Radio Club of America. Bruce has been a member of the ARRL for over 50 years.

He has been “advising” CW Academy classes for the past 4 years, where he is currently a “youth academy” advisor. Attracting and
mentoring young people and supporting local radio clubs are areas that Bruce is passionate about.

His first experience with Amateur Radio came in 1958 (at the age of 4) when Jim W1GPN (SK) showed his dad his hamshack while he was quietly sitting in the background. He was first licensed in 1968 as WN1KBG, and became WA1KBG in 1969. His callsign changed to K1BG in 1977.

During the two years he lived in England, he was G4WJQ and he also operated as VP2V/K1BG.

In late 2013 he had a quick QSO with Shin, JA1NUT. He later read his page (, where
he says the following:

“My worry about CW operation in ham radio is that they won’t converse with this mode any longer. But CW seems to have become only a tool to make as many contacts as possible. CW is nowadays a kind of game. It has become a meaningless symbol system for games. It is not just an argument between rag chewing and contesting/DXing. It is concerning about the essence of this mode.”

Shin’s few sentences had a profound effect on him. When he first got into ham radio, it was all about making contacts and SPEAKING with people. Over time, it morphed into DXing and contesting, and not much else. He says, “Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with DXing or contesting. It’s just that there was so much more that I was missing. Conversational CW, where I get to really make friends and get to know the people I am communicating with.”

The upshot of this is that his code speed has improved way beyond what he thought possible (after 46 years in Amateur Radio at the time, apparently an old dog can still learn new tricks). He has converted both amps to QSK (he gets it now). And he’s made a lot of friends that he never knew. For him, conversational CW (good old rag chewing) has taken a great hobby and made it better. Shin is 100% right, and if you take the time to read this, he hopes you will give it a try. CU SN. And thank you Shin!

We will announce the link to join the Zoom meeting before the meeting, but it will be posted to the BARS email list and should not be shared outside our Club. Are you on the email list? If not, please send an email to and then simply
reply to the robot response from the server and you will be subscribed.

Observing our Zoom meeting requires only a web browser and headphones/speakers. You do not need a webcam or microphone
unless you want to speak or be seen.

Before our meeting date, please go to and see if it will function for you. If you have problems, we can try to assist – feel free to ask questions on the BARS email list.

I am looking forward to “seeing” many of you on Wednesday 3/6 here at 1900.

Doug, N1WRN
President, Billerica Amateur Radio Society

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