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Sights from the New England Tech Trek (NETT) at NEAR-Fest

We have been doing Amateur Radio open house activities as part of our High-Altitude Balloon projects and Kids Day for some time now. These events help young people to learn about and have fun with Amateur Radio and help us to create a STEM learning experience based upon Amateur Radio.

ARRL Kids Day 2018
ARRL Kids Day 2018

Earlier this year, we began working on a project to scale our open house activities up to become an activity that we could host at local Ham Fests. We wanted to expand the scope of this activity to appeal to young people and all Hams to provide an opportunity to learn about Amateur Radio and to showcase some of the modern, “high-tech” aspects of the Amateur Radio Service. This project was debuted at the NETT event at NEAR-Fest.

Young People at NETT
Young People at NETT

Concurrently, Bill Barber, NE1B who is a Nashua Area Radio Society (NARS) member began working on a youth outreach event for the NEAR-Fest event held in Deerfield, NH. We got together with Bill, the NEAR-Fest leadership, and others to create the New England Tech Trek (NETT) at NEAR-Fest. We held our first NETT event earlier this month.

NETT Banner
NETT Banner at the Display Entrance

NARS contributed 10 displays to the initial NETT event including:

We were able to secure the N1T Special Event callsign for the event and we used it to make over 450 contacts on a combination of the four GOTA stations that we had at NETT. We should have our NETT Special Event QSL cards back from our printer shortly.

NETT: N1T QSL Card
NETT N1T QSL Card

Our GOTA Stations were among the most popular elements at NETT. Burns, WB1FJ ran our satellite GOTA station. He even managed to create a pileup or two as N1T on the birds!

NETT: Satellite GOTA
Satellite GOTA

Quite a few folks made satellite contacts using N1T .  Also, the satellite station antennas which were located outside the display building were interesting to many folks.

NETT: Satellite Antennas
Satellite Antennas

Our Remote HF GOTA Stations featured FlexRadio Maestros and a nice DXing and Station Building Display. Dave, K1DLM and myself, AB1OC made our stations available to support the two HF GOTA setups and NETT.

NETT: HF GOTA
HF GOTA

Ira, KC1EMJ helped several young folks to make their first HF contacts and Abby, AB1BY anchored our special event N1T station using the second setup.

NETT: N1T Special Event Station
N1T Special Event Station

The SDR-based remote stations and our Satellite GOTA helped us to demonstrate some of the “Hi-Tech” aspects of Amateur Radio to young people and to all Hams who attended NEAR-Fest. We live streamed our GOTA activities to Facebook so that the folks who worked us could see our operation in real-time.


Tony, KC1DXL hosted our display on High Altitude Balloons (HAB) carrying Amateur Radio. The HAB display got lots of interest from the folks who attended NETT.

NETT: High Altitude Balloon Display
High Altitude Balloon Display

Jamey, AC1DC and Connor, KC1GGX put together our displays on Fox Hunting, Morse Code, and portable operating. Their displays provided a great introduction to these activities.

NETT: Fox Hunting Display
Fox Hunting Display

Anita, AB1QB and Tom, AB1NS created a nice display on kit building and Raspberry Pi projects in Amateur Radio. This display was a popular one as well.

NETT: Kits and Computers Display
Kits and Computers Display

Bill, NE1B also engaged several other groups who provided displays at NETT. The Robotics and Drone  were among other popular displays.

NETT: Robots 1
Robots Display at NETT

The following photo archive contains some pictures from the event. There are many good memories there.

NETT BannerNETT: N1T QSL CardYoung People at NETTNETT: N1T Special Event StationNETT: HF GOTANETT: Satellite DisplayNETT: Satellite GOTANETT: Satellite AntennasNETT: Mobile HF N1TNETT: Kits and Computers DisplayNETT: Fox Hunting DisplayNETT: High Altitude Balloon DisplayNETT: Robots 1NETT: Robots 2NETT: NWS HAB DisplayNETT: Field Day - EMCOM DIsplay

Many, many members of NARS contributed a great deal of time and energy to making this project a success and I’d like to thank everyone who helped us!! I’d especially like to thank Hamilton, K1HMS,  Matt, N1ZGN, Mike, K1WVO, Craig, N1SFT, Charlie, AB1ZN, Bob, W1OLD, and Dave, K1DLM for their help with this event.  Without everyone’s support, the NETT event and our presence there would not have been possible. We are looking forward to replicating the most popular elements from our  displays at out Ham Fest events going forward.

Fred, AB1OC

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2 thoughts on “Sights from the New England Tech Trek (NETT) at NEAR-Fest”

  1. What a great shot in the arm for Near-fest! Excellent way to get the traditional hamfest gathering into the 21st century, especially when it comes to cultivating new hams. Suggestion for next year: work in some folks from the maker community to broaden the appeal.

    73 de Ed

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