Category Archives: Newsletter

Nashua Area Radio Society Newsletter Articles. You can find an archive of our Newsletters on our website.

Member Spotlight – Jamey, KC1ENX

I am very new to Amateur Radio and came into the hobby almost by accident. A few years ago I had been looking into better communication while out hiking after myself and Abby (AB1BY) were separated from the rest of our hiking party coming down Mount Washington.  We ended up coming down in the dark – with headlamps – and were okay, but we were frustrated that we could not let the rest of our party know we were oka but just slow.

I started searching the web trying to learn more about FRS/GMRS, CB radio and anything else that might work. During my search the Nashua Area Radio Club website came up and they had a licensing class coming up… the rest is history!

Speaking of history, let me tell you a little about myself that is non-ham related. I have worked as a tennis professional for the past 25 or so years. I am the current Director of Junior Development at the Longfellow Tennis & Health Club in Wayland, MA. We have one of the largest junior programs in the north east US and I truly love my job! I also work as a National Trainer for the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and travel to other clubs around the country to help educate other pros on the teachings of junior tennis.

KC1ENX, KC1FFX, and AB1BYI have two harmonics, Connor, KC1FFX and Abby, AB1BY. Both are licensed amateur radio operators. The three of us have not yet been able to convince my XYL, Gretchen, to get licensed… but, we keep trying!

KC1ENX, KC1FFX, and AB1BY

Outside of tennis and Ham Radio, I enjoy hiking, camping, kayaking (even when not rescuing HABs), canoeing and pretty much any other outdoor activities. I also have a love for motorcycling, but can no longer ride due to an inner ear disease which affects my balance. I have ridden in a few Iron Butt (Minute Man 1000) rides – think of a big, long distance scavenger hunt! One year I rode over 1300 miles in 24 hours. I loved riding and would ride rain or shine for many years. Both kids also enjoyed many adventures on the bike!

 

As far as my interests in Amateur Radio I have many. I could be diagnosed with Ham Radio ADD. There is just too much to learn and enjoy in the hobby! I really enjoy working mobile HF on my Icom 7100 and Tar Heel II antenna. I also enjoy contesting – especially on a good station like at Fred’s AB1OC and Anita’s AB1QB QTH. My favorite activity is portable operations. I have enjoyed Summits on the Air, Parks on the Air and sometimes just getting out with the kids and throwing up an antenna and operating. I am learning new things about this hobby every day.

As a new Ham, I am always curious to learn more about this great hobby and I consider myself very lucky for having found the Nashua Area Radio Society. I’m honestly not sure I would still be on the air if it weren’t for the all of the club’s activities and enthusiastic members.

Jamey, KC1ENX

Abby, AB1BY Interview on Ham Nation

One of our own, Abby AB1BY appeared on Ham Nation on Wednesday, October 25th. The show including Abby’s interview was streamed live over the Internet. Gordon West, WB6NOA, interviewed Abby. You can view Abby’s Interview (about 3:22 in from the beginning) below:

Abby was quite a hit during her Ham Nation debut. The chatroom activity associated with her segment was off the charts! Gordon has invited Abby back to do a monthly segment on Ham Nation. Stay tuned!

Fred, AB1OC

HAB-2 Sets Altitude Record!

We flew our High-Altitude Balloon for the second time this past weekend. Our second High-Altitude Balloon Flight (HAB-2) was part of a STEM learning project that we did with STEM club students at Bishop-Guertin High School in Nashua, NH. The students did all of the flight prep and launched HAB-2 at approximately 11 am ET from a school in Winchester, NH. Parents, teachers and local students joined us for the launch as did several members of our HAB team.

High-Altitude Balloon 2 Actual Flight Path
High-Altitude Balloon 2 Actual Flight Path

Our students and many Hams were able to track HAB-2 during its flight via APRS. HAB-2’s actual flight path prediction matched our modeling quite well.

High-Altitude Balloon 2 Predicted Flight Path
High-Altitude Balloon 2 Predicted Flight Path

The direction and shape of the path were almost the same as what our model predicted but the flight took longer and went higher than we expected.

High-Altitude Balloon Altitude Record
High-Altitude Balloon 2’s Balloon Burst Altitude

We broke our previous altitude record by A LOT! The balloon burst west of Rochester, NH at just short of 118,000 ft! HAB-2’s final altitude was about 400 ft higher than the last APRS burst shown above. This is more the 25,000 ft higher than our last flight!

HAB-2 Water Landing in Maine
HAB-2 Water Landing in Maine

HAB-2 landed in a pond in Maine. Our floatation system worked well – it kept most of the electronics dry and prevented HAB-2 from sinking.

HAB-2's Water Recovery in Maine
HAB-2’s Water Recovery in Maine

Fortunately, Jamey, KC1ENX and Curtis, N1CMD had Jamey’s kayak and were able to retrieve HAB-2. The equipment was wet but appears to be in good working condition. We have all of the telemetry data from HAB-2’s flight.

Due to a glitch at launch, the platform flew on its side for the entire flight and the cameras shut off early due to some unusually cold conditions (-70° F) that HAB-2 encountered during its flight. We did get some video from the first 50 minutes of the flight. More pictures and video to come later.

Our students will be getting together later this week to analyze the data from HAB-2’s flight. We are also planning an Amateur Radio open house for them on Sunday, Nov. 12th at our QTH.

Congratulations to our students and to our HAB Team for another successful flight!

 Fred, AB1OC

Radio Signals don’t Travel in Straight Lines by Onno VK6FLAB

Reposted by Layne, AE1N

The other day a friend of mine asked a really silly question. How come when I point my YAGI at a direction for a station using the great circle, the signal is there but weak, but when I point it in a different direction, say 20 degrees away from the great circle, the signal improves?   Being a good little Amateur, I responded with the logical explanation. Well, two things come to mind, one being that you’re not pointing where you think you’re pointing, that is, North on your antenna isn’t North in reality, so when you point at the other station, it’s not actually where you’re pointing, and when you adjust, the antenna ends up in the correct direction.

Another explanation I came up with is that the pattern of their YAGI isn’t what they expect. There might be local factors that influence the pattern, putting weird distortions into their foot-print and making for “interesting” nulls where there should be a signal, and vice-versa. That, in turn, started a whole conversation about directions and where stations are.

Leaving aside the difference between long-path and short-path, which I should probably talk about at some point, an antenna should get a signal from the direction in which you point it, right?   So, what if I told you that the antenna was, in fact, pointing correctly and there were no distortions in the antenna pattern, what then?

Turns out that the Ionosphere isn’t uniform – who’d have predicted that – in case you’re wondering, that’s a joke – the Ionosphere isn’t uniform, it takes in many and varied influences, from the earth’s magnetic field to heating by the sun, to solar storms, coronal mass ejections, and any number of factors that we as a species are only just beginning to discover.   If you imagine for a moment a radio-wave coming up from your antenna, bouncing against the Ionosphere, back to earth, then bouncing back up, then doing the same thing again, you’ll quickly understand that because the Ionosphere is variable, the height and angles at which this bouncing is occurring varies along the path.

But here’s a shocker, who said that the signal had to bounce up and down vertically, what if the same variability of the Ionosphere height caused a signal to bounce in some other weird direction, like at an angle, or sideways. Would the path of the signal from your station to the other end follow a great circle line?   Turns out that this silly question wasn’t silly at all and I learned something unexpected, my radio signal isn’t a straight line, something which I confess, did come as a surprise, but now, looking back, seems pretty obvious.   I love silly questions, they often turn into an opportunity to learn.

Onno VK6FLAB