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Maine's Governor is Now KB1NXP:

from The ARRL Letter, Vol 25, No 36 on September 8, 2006
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Maine's Governor is Now KB1NXP:

Maine Gov John E. Baldacci may now be the only sitting state chief executive holding an Amateur Radio license. Following up on an effort begun a few years ago, Baldacci took and passed his Technician license test September 6, and the FCC issued his new call sign, KB1NXP, the following day. Bill Crowley, K1NIT, is the liaison for the ARRL VEC volunteer examiner team that administered Baldacci's Amateur Radio license examination.

"We heard that he was interested in getting his license," Crowley told ARRL. "So I talked to a couple of other people in the Augusta Amateur Radio Association and said, 'You know, we're the guys who could do this. We're right here, right in his backyard, and I think we ought to help him get a license.'"

Crowley said Baldacci expressed initial interest in becoming licensed after learning of the Amateur Radio response following the 1998 ice storm that devastated a wide area of the Northeast. At the time, Baldacci was representing Maine's Second District in the US House. He renewed his interest in 2003, shortly after becoming Maine's governor, promising to add the goal of getting his ticket to his to-do list and seeking the encouragement and help of Maine's hams to achieve it.

Former Maine State Treasurer Rod Scribner, KA1RFD -- a longtime radio amateur and instructor -- was recruited to help make it happen. "Rod went up there once a week, very early in the morning, and tutored him -- went through all the material," Crowley recounted. But the pressures of office compelled Baldacci to put the project on a back burner.

During that lull, Crowley says he occasionally used his back channels at the Department of Public Safety, where he works, to relay messages via Baldacci's security guards to remind the governor the Augusta club was still eager to give him his ham radio test. "It got to be a standing joke," he said.

Crowley had an opportunity to deliver the message firsthand in July when he greeted the Baldacci during an official occasion. "I said, 'You know, we've got to get this going,'" he recalled telling the governor. Baldacci asked Crowley to call his office and set up an appointment.

Baldacci was a little concerned at that point that he might be behind the curve since the Technician question pool had changed since he'd worked with Scribner, Crowley said. But he assured the governor that the club members could get him back up to speed in short order.

Over coffee early on September 6, Scribner, Crowley and the other members of the VE team -- Don Smith, AE1Q, and Tom Bailey, KB1EKY -- reviewed the current Technician material. "Then, he sat down and took the test and did very well," Crowley said.

Baldacci got a taste of Amateur Radio in 2003, when he checked into the 75-meter Maine Sea Gull Net during a visit with members of the Ellsworth Amateur Wireless Association and other amateurs. On that occasion, the governor assured the gathering that the Maine Emergency Management Agency depends on Amateur Radio to support the statewide communications system and said Maine would rely on Amateur Radio volunteers if primary telecommunication systems go down.

Now, historic Blaine House in Maine's capital of Augusta could become the only governor's residence to start sporting Amateur Radio antennas. Perhaps because Maine's motto is Dirigo -- I lead, Crowley hopes Baldacci will serve as a trendsetter among his gubernatorial colleagues across the US. In this instance, the old saying from the world of politics, "As Maine goes, so goes the nation," still may apply.


The ARRL Letter Vol. 25, No. 36 September 8, 2006

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
Maine's Governor is Now KB1NXP:  
by WB4AEJ on September 11, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Why don't they give an email address so that some of us can send him a congratulation note?

This is great.


Fred, WB4AEJ
RE: Maine's Governor is Now KB1NXP:  
by WB4AEJ on September 12, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I went to the state Web site and found his governor's address. I sent him a congratulations note. He responded with a very nice 'Thank You' email that was very complimentary of the folks in the ham radio community.
I'm glad that not all governors are like that other one (was that in MA or somewhere else?). Politicians should be aware of the value of amateur radio in the community. Clearly this governor is.

Fred, WB4AEJ
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