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.

Portable Satellite Station 3.0 Initial Contacts

With the construction of our portable satellite station 3.0 complete, we’ve been looking forward to an opportunity to test the new setup. We chose the Nashua Area Radio Society’s recent…

Portable Satellite Station 3.0 Antenna System
Portable Satellite Station 3.0 Antenna System

Source: A Portable Satellite Station Part 6 – 3.0 Station Initial Contacts | Our HAM Station

Our next generation portable satellite station is complete and we tested it during our recent Tech License Class. We discovered a minor issue which was easily sorted out. The new antenna system includes switchable circular polarity and has performed really performs well during the first 50 or so contacts made using the 3.0 station. You can read more about the new station and the initial tests via the link above.

Fred, AB1OC

ARRL Requests Expanded HF Privileges for Technician Licensees

ARRL has asked the FCC to expand HF privileges for Technician licensees to include limited phone privileges on 75, 40, and 15 meters, plus RTTY and digital mode privileges on 80, 40, 15, and 10 meters. The FCC has not yet invited public comment on the proposals, which stem from recommendations put forth by the ARRL Board of Directors’ Entry-Level License Committee, which explored various initiatives and gauged member opinions in 2016 and 2017.

Source: ARRL Requests Expanded HF Privileges for Technician Licensees

It looks like the ARRL got this one right on the mark. Expanding Technician Class License privileges to include digital and SSB phone options on more of the HF bands is just what we need to make the first level Amateur Radio License more fun, a better learning experience, and a more effective bridge to upgrading to General Class privileges. Well done ARRL!

Fred, AB1OC

PTT Router for Satellite Station 3.0

Source: PTT Router for Satellite Station 3.0 | Our HAM Station

Our Portable Satellite Station antenna system uses a pair of Advanced Receiver Research Remote preamplifiers at the antennas to boost weak signals. These preamps have RF sensing and switching to protect…

PTT Router Front Panel
PTT Router Front Panel

Our Portable Satellite Station 3.0 is coming together and has been tested thanks to help from several NARS members. Part of the project is to improve the sequencing system which manages antenna mounted preamplifiers. These improvements involved the design and construction of a simple Push To Talk (PTT) router. The article above explains the design, construction, and integration of this PTT Routing devices. It was a great homebrew addition to our Portable Satellite Station setup.

Fred (AB1OC)

ISS Crew Contact

We have been working with Hudson Memorial School to help them secure and prepare for an ISS Crew Contact. We are hoping to support their ISS Crew Contact using an upgraded version of our Portable Satellite Ground Station. A school in Raleigh, North Carolina had their ISS Crew Contact today and I decided to record the downlink from the ISS to test our backup Portable 2.0 ISS/Satellite Ground Station.

The video above is a capture of the school’s contact. It was very easy to receive the ISS downlink on our portable backup ground station. I heard the downlink a few seconds before the ISS came up on the horizon and the audio was solid for the duration of the contact. We can only hear the astronaut’s side of the contact as we cannot receive the school’s uplink from Raleigh, NC. The ISS pass began here in New Hampshire part way through the school’s session so we did not hear the first few questions.

Update on Portable ISS/Sat Station 3.0

Portable ISS/Sat Station 3.0 Antenna System
Portable ISS/Sat Station 3.0 Antenna System

Work on our upgraded primary Portable 3.0 Station which includes a larger antenna system using switchable circular polarity is progressing well. The portable tower, upgraded rotator system, and the new, larger 2m and 70cm circularly polarized antennas are complete.  We are just waiting for a few additional components to arrive here and the upgraded portable ground station should be ready for its first test at our Technician License Class later this month.

More on Today’s ISS Crew Contact

You can see a live stream of the ISS Contact from the school above. There is a great deal of planning which goes into an ISS Crew Contact such as this. We are working closely with Hudson Memorial School on their project and their school is also beginning a High-Altitude Balloon Project with us in a few weeks.

The ISS Crew Contact today was exciting to listen too and we are looking forward to being able to share this experience with Hudson Memorial School in the near future.

Fred, AB1OC