On May 6, members and friends of the HAB (High-Altitude Balloon) Project gathered at Anita (AB1QB) and Fred’s (AB1OC) QTH for an open house to introduce the students participating in our project to amateur radio and the HAB itself. The weather wasn’t exactly cooperating with us, as rain was in the forecast. In fact, this was supposed to be the week before our actual launch so we could do some prep work with the kids. Fate had other ideas for the launch, however, as it was postponed due to more rain and has been since rescheduled to June 3.
Among the students there, we had representation from Merrimack High School, Bishop Guertin High School, and our independent group of which Abby (KC1FFX) and Connor (KC1GGX) made up 2/3 of the students.
Beginning around 9 am, we crowded into the kitchen to have Fred introduce the agenda for the day.
After showing off the HAB, the components, and explaining what everything did and how it was interconnected, we broke off into three teams. The first would tour the illustrious shack, the second would get a primer on antennas and towers in the backyard, and the third would brave the elements and go on a foxhunt.
After each group was able to accomplish all three activities, we then invited the kids to make some QSOs in the shack and/or make some QSOs with Fred and Anita’s amateur satellite station v2.0. (I, myself, had made my first two satellite QSOs earlier that morning. A VERY cool station, indeed). A few were definitely nervous and mic shy, but most stepped up and seemed truly amazed (bewildered) that they could talk to some random person in some random corner of the globe.
By about 2 pm, there seemed to be expressions of fatigue on the young faces, and it seemed a natural time to conclude the day. All in all, it seemed the kids truly were excited about amateur radio and the HAB. We look forward to working with them in future phases of our HAB project and hope this is something that many of these freshmen can turn into a serious senior science project when they’re looking ahead towards graduation in a few years. (And perhaps, we’ll get some of them licensed too!)
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