All posts by Fred Kemmerer

Nashua Area Radio Society President. I enjoy station building, contesting and helping new folks to join and have fun with our hobby.

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

SSTV Images from the ISS – Cosmonautics Day Event

The Amatuer Radio gear on the International Space Station (ISS) supports digital and SSTV modes as well as FM voice communications. The astronauts onboard periodically fire up the SSTV system and transmit images to commemorate milestones in space travel. The following is an example of receiving one of these images using our Portable Satellite Station 3.0

ARISS Russia recently sent SSTV images to commemorate Cosmonautics Day. The recent SSTV activation sent a sent of 12 images over a 1 week period. We were able to receive the full set using our Portable Satellite Ground Station. You can view each of the images in the gallery below.

Cosmonautics Day Event - ARISS SSTV Image 1 of 12Cosmonautics Day Event -  ARISS SSTV Image 2 of 12Cosmonautics Day Event -  ARISS SSTV Image 3 of 12Cosmonautics Day Event -  ARISS SSTV Image 4 of 12Cosmonautics Day Event -  ARISS SSTV Image 5 of 12Cosmonautics Day Event -  ARISS SSTV Image 6 of 12Cosmonautics Day Event -  ARISS SSTV Image 7 of 12Cosmonautics Day Event -  ARISS SSTV Image 8 of 12Cosmonautics Day Event -  ARISS SSTV Image 9 of 12Cosmonautics Day Event -  ARISS SSTV Image 10 of 12Cosmonautics Day Event -  ARISS SSTV Image 11 of 12Cosmonautics Day Event -  ARISS SSTV Image 12 of 12

Receiving these images is not difficult. All that is needed is a sound card connected to a radio which can receive transmissions from the ISS and the MMSSTV software to decode to images. You can read more about how to do this here.

Its a lot of fun to collect SSTV images from the ISS and we are looking forward to the next set of SSTV transmissions from the ISS.

Fred, AB1OC

HAB 3 Update

HAB 3 Update:  We have been working with four schools this winter and spring in preparation for the HAB 3 launch in the next few weeks.  The schools are:

  • Hudson Memorial School, Hudson, NH
  • World Academy, Nashua, NH
  • Bishop Guertin High School, Nashua, NH
  • Merrimack High School, Merrimack, NH
HMS Students on the air during HAB Session
HMS Students on the air during HAB Session

HAB Instruction

Hudson Memorial School and World Academy are new to the HAB program – we have been giving weekly sessions to the students on the science behind the HAB.  This year, we added a new topic to the curriculum, Space Communications which has proved to be popular.

World Academy Students in HAB Program
World Academy Students in HAB Program

Advanced HAB Program

The other 2 schools, Bishop Guertin High School and Merrimack High School have been through the HAB curriculum in the past.  We have developed a new program involving kit building and CW that has proven to be very popular.

We have hosted kit builds with both schools to build the Pixie 40 m QRP kit.  There was great interest from both schools in the kit build and all kits were built successfully.

Bishop Guertin High School Students building Pixie Kit
Bishop Guertin High School Students building Pixie Kit

The 2nd part of the activity is a CW competition.  Teams of 2 students compete in a competition at each school.  They use their Pixie kits with Keys connected to send a message to their teammate.  The team that copies the CW most accurately in the least time wins the prize, which is an Oscilloscope kit and another Pixie kit.  We have held the competition with the students from Merrimack High School and it was a great success and all students, teachers and NARS members who elmered them had a great time!

MHS Morse Code Competition Winners
Merrimack High School Morse Code Competition Winners

We also helped 3 students from Merrimack and Bishop Guertin High Schools to earn their Tech Licenses during our Spring Tech License Class.

HAB 3 Launch Plans

 

HAB-1 Launch!
HAB-1 Launch!

The HAB 3 Launch will happen on a Saturday or Sunday over the next few weeks.  We are watching the jet stream and launch predictions and will schedule it on a day where the conditions look good.  Stay tuned to the website for more info when the date is scheduled.

Field Day Plans 2018

ARRL Field Day 2018 will be held on June 23 – 24 this year.  Our Field Day plans are starting to shape up.  We have 4 co-chairpersons this year:

Field Day Plans

We had finalized selecting the site, which is the Hudson Memorial School.

Field Day site at Hudson Memorial School
Field Day site at Hudson Memorial School

We plan to operate in the 10A category.  We will be adding 3 digital stations to get to the 10A.

Digital Field Day Station
Digital Field Day Station

Field Day Planning Meeting

Join us at our first Field Day Planning meeting on May 7th at 7:00 pm at the Nashua Public Library.  We can use many volunteers to put up towers, operate CW, put up Wire Antennas and much more.  Hope to see you there!