You can learn more about our HAB projects here on our website and you can view a video about our first two HAB launches above.
High-Altitude Balloon Launch Site and Weather
The weather and Jetstream conditions look good for our HAB-3 launch! The jet stream has been unusually tranquil the past couple of weeks and this is going to enable us to launch locally from the High-School here in Hollis, NH. Nashua Area Radio Society members and friends are invited to join us for our launch.
We have been working with students at the Hudson Memorial School and World Academy here in NH. The students and their teachers will handle HAB-3 launch preparations and the launch. Launch preparations will begin on site at 9:00 am ET.
The weather forecast looks great for our launch on Sunday with mostly sunny skies and moderate winds. These conditions should enable us to capture some spectacular video from HAB-3 during its flight! We are also planning to live-stream video from our HAB-3 launch and recovery to the Nashua Area Radio Society Facebook page.
Tracking Our HAB
I wanted to share some information about tracking our HAB as it flies. Our balloon will carry’s a GPS receiver and a 2m APRS Transmitter.
The onboard APRS transmitter will operate on the Amateur Radio standard terrestrial APRS frequency of 144.390 MHz and will transmit our HAB’s position, heading, speed, altitude and other telemetry data every minute during HAB-3’s flight. The transmitter is battery-powered and generates a 250 mW signal into a dipole antenna suspended from HAB’-2s flight platform. HAB-3 will use N1FD-11 as its call sign.
Based upon online HAB flight prediction calculators that we have been using, we expect the HAB’s flight to last a little more than 2 1/2 hours. The HAB should reach an altitude of over 110,000 ft before the balloon bursts and the parachute on the flight platform brings HAB-3 back to the ground at a safe speed. The above predictions will likely somewhat different from HAB-3’s actual flight path. Based upon the predictions, HAB-3 will be traveling approximately 25 km between its takeoff point and landing near Devens, MA.
Aprs.fi will store and display a copy of all of the APRS AX.25 packets transmitted by HAB-3 during its flight. Of particular interest to the STEM element of the flight will be the Balloon’s data on atmospheric temperature and pressure conditions at different altitudes.
All you need to track HAB-3 during its flight is Internet access and a web browser. Just click on one of the aprs.fi links here to see HAB-3’s current location and altitude. If you have an APRS ground station, you may also be able to receive HAB-3’s telemetry directly during the flight.
Field Day is an Emergency Communication Preparedness, Communications Training, STEM Learning, and fun activity all rolled up into one event! Field Day 2018 is rapidly approaching and we’ve been working for over a month now to plan our 2018 operation. Field Day at the Nashua Area Radio Society is a major undertaking so we decided to share the Chairperson role among three members:
It takes a great deal of support from our members to put together an operation at the level we do it at NARS. We’ve had many NARS members volunteer as Team Leaders to plan and pull together the many elements of our upcoming Field Day. Many, many thanks to all of our Team Leaders and to everyone who is contributing to support Field Day 2018!
Field Day 2018 Plans & Goals
We began our planning by setting some goals for our operation. Field Day at NARS centers around being a learning experience for all involved with a special focus on getting new members, new Hams, and young people on the air.
It will also provide an opportunity to test the space communications ground station that we are building to support an ISS Crew Contact with the students at Hudson Memorial School in the fall.
We always like to incorporate new elements into our setup each year. This year we’ll be increasing the scope of our Software Defined Radio Setup and using it to add more Digital Stations.
We are planning a 10 Alpha station for our 2018 operation. With the additional Get On The Air Station (GOTA), free VHF station on 6m and the additional satellite ground station and 2m/70cm GoKit for Talk-in and Messaging use, we will have a total of 14 transmitters on the air at Field Day 2018! Here’s the planned breakdown for station bands and mode:
SSB Stations – on 40m, 20m, 15m, and 10m/75m
CW Stations – on 40m, 20m, and 15m/10m/75m
Digital Stations – on 40m, 20m, and 15m/10m/75m
Free VHF Station – on 6m (all modes)
Satellite Station – on 2m/70cm/23cm (all modes)
GOTA Station – on 15m/10m/75m SSB
Talk-in/Messaging Station – on 2m/70cm FM
Our GOTA will also use our Software Defined Radio system and share antennas with the Digital Stations. This approach provides an easy to understand and high-tech view radio equipment and SSB voice operations on the HF bands.
We will again be in the Alphacategory using off-grid power via generators. We will also have a solar/battery setup that we will use to make some contacts.
Antennas are a large part of any Field Day station and NARS brings a lot of top-notch equipment. We are planning to put up three towers again this year and all three will have yagi antennas for 20m/15m/10m along with wire antennas for 80m and 40m.
The setup of our antenna farm is a good example of one of the many learning opportunities at Field Day. Hamilton, K1HMS, and Jamey, AC1DC have been conducting Antenna Parties to give members a chance to learn how to build, setup, and tune our antennas. We’ll also be providing extensive training and information about all aspects of setup and how to operate during our June 5th Membership and June 12th Tech Night Meetings.
Learning to operate is another important aspect of Field Day. It’s a lot of fun for folks who are new to Field Day or to a particular operating mode such as CW or Digital to team up with a more experienced operator to operate as a Team. Doing this for your first hour of operating time will help you get up to speed on how to use a station to operate. You can also help out the more experienced operator by helping to capture call signs and exchanges and to log contacts.
Food, Fun, and Videotape at Field Day…
Valerie Merchant has again volunteered to provide food for us during our operation. Valerie did a great job with this last year and we are very happy to have her do this again this year. THANK YOU, Valerie!
Also, Desmond WK1V will be bringing his drone again this year. Desmond took some amazing aerial video of our 2017 operation. Check out the video which follows.
Our 2017 Field Day Highlights Video
Important: Sign Up & Don’t Miss These Meetings
Our Field Day sign-up for Station Setup/Takedown, Operating, and Mealsis available in our Members Forum on n1fd.org (don’t forget to log in to our website to view this link). Take a minute to follow the previous link and sign-up to be part of Field Day 2018! If you are not a member or are having trouble accessing the sign-up, please contact us at [email protected] and we’ll answer your questions and help you to sign up.
Also, we’d like to see as many members as possible attend our June 5th Membership and June 12th Tech Night Meetings. We will be sharing lots of information and how-to material and training between these two meeting. Please try to attend both to learn and take full advantage of the fun at Field Day. You don’t have to be an old hand or even have ever participated in Field Day before to have a lot of fun. Just try to make it out to these meeting and we’ll get you up to speed and help you to participate!
Bring Your Family & Invite Your Friends
Field Day is also a great opportunity to showcase Amateur Radio to the general public. We set up and staff a Public Information tent as a starting point for visitors to learn about the Nashua Area Radio Society and what we are doing on-site. We will provide tours of the site, a chance to Get On The Air at our GOTA station, demos of the equipment we are using, and much more! Please bring your family and invite your friends to come out to Hudson Memorial School in Hudson, NHany time between 2 pm Saturday, June 23rd and 2 pm Sunday, June 24th and visit our site. Here are some direction to our site (click below or refresh your browser if you don’t see the map) –
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Bill, NE1B also engaged several other groups who provided displays at NETT. The Robotics and Drone were among other popular displays.
The following photo archive contains some pictures from the event. There are many good memories there.
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, 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.