Tag Archives: Education and Training

Countdown to Field Day 2018

The Nashua Area Radio Society will again be participating in the ARRL Field Day event this weekend. We have a long history of participation in Field Day and you can read more about some of our previous Field Day operations here.

Team Operating at Field Day
Team Operating at Field Day

Field Day is about training and emergency preparedness, learning about new communications technology, and having fun!

Field Day Digital Station
Field Day Digital Station

We will be a 10A station this year with three towers and several high-performance wire antennas. You can read more about our Field Day 2018 plans here.

Field Day 2017 - New Remote Tower
60 ft Tower at Fiel Day

Our Field Day will be held at the Hudson Memorial School in Hudson, NH an will also feature an Amateur Radio Open House activity the students and parents that were part of our High Altitude Balloon Project 3. We will be supporting an ISS Crew Contact at Hudson Memorial School in November and we will have the primary ground station on-site at Field Day for satellite operations and testing. We are counting down to the beginning of our Field Day Operations –

Field Day operations have begun! Come out to the Hudson Memorial School and join us!


NARS members can still sign-up to operate or to be part of the setup teams at Field Day. Just log in to our website and follow the link to our online signup.

All Amateurs and the general public are welcome to visit our Field Day operation on Saturday or Sunday, June 23rd or 24th.  Click on the white space below to see a map of our Field Day location. See you at Field Day!


HAB-3 To Launch On Sunday – How To Track Our High-Altitude Balloon

We are planning the third launch of our High-Altitude Balloon (HAB-3) this Sunday, June 3rd between 10 am and 11 am ET. We will be launching locally from the Hollis-Brookline HS here in Hollis, NH. Read on to learn more about our HAB projects and how to track our HAB while it is in flight.

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.

HAB Launch
HAB 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.

HAB Launch Weather
HAB-3 Launch Weather

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.

HAB Flight Platform
HAB Flight Platform

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.

HAB-2 Flight Track on aprs.fi
HAB-2 Flight Track on aprs.fi

HAB-3’s APRS packets will be picked up by ground-based Digipeaters and iGates and will be relayed to aprs.fi where the HAB’s current location and flight path can be tracked.  You can click on the link in the previous line to see HAB-3’s current location and flight track.

HAB-3 Flight Path Prediction
HAB-3 Flight Path Prediction

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.

HAB APRS Packet Information
HAB APRS Packet Information

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.

We will post updates on launch plans and the flight in the Youth Forum on our website.

T minus 2 days and counting until HAB-3 launches….

We have launched! Your can Track HAB-3 on apris.fi using the call sign N1FD-11.

Fred, AB1OC

Field Day 2018 is Almost Here!

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:

2018 Field Day Team Leaders
Team Leaders

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

Our Goals for Field Day 2018
Our 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.

2018 Field Day Site Layout at Hudson Memorial School
2018 Field Day Site Layout at Hudson Memorial School

Our new site at Hudson Memorial School in Hudson, NH gives us the opportunity to experience Field Day at a new site. Our 2018 operation will double as our Open House for our High-Altitude Balloon program schools.

Space Communications Ground Station
Space Communications Ground Station

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.

Station Plans

High Tech SDR System at Field Day
High Tech SDR System

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.

Field Day Digital Station
Field Day Digital Station

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
Field Day SDR-Based GOTA Station
SDR-Based GOTA Station

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.

Generator Power at Field Day
Generator Power

We will again be in the Alpha category using off-grid power via generators. We will also have a solar/battery setup that we will use to make some contacts.

Antenna Plans

60 ft Digital Tower
60 ft Digital Tower

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.

40m V-Beam High-Performance Wire Antenna
40m V-Beam High-Performance Wire Antenna

The 40m V-Beam wire antenna will be back for SSB and it has been optimized both electrically and mechanically.

Learning Opportunities

Setting up a Tower at Field Day
Setting up a Tower at Field Day

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.

Team Operating at Field Day
Team Operating at Field Day

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…

A Feast at Field Day
A Feast 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!

WK1V's Video Drone
WK1V’s Video Drone

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 Meals is 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.

Field Day Station Training
Field Day Station Elements and Training

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 Public Info Tent
Public Info Tent – Videos, Information, and a Talk-in/Messaging Station

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, NH any 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) –


See you at Field Day 2018!!

Fred, AB1OC

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.


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.


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,  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