Tag Archives: NPOTA

Saint-Gaudens NHS – Mobile HF Trial Run For Our NPOTA Activation

National Park Service Anniversary Mobile HF - Aron W1AKI and Merle W1MSI At Saint-Gardens NHS
Aron W1AKI and Merle W1MSI At Saint-Gardens NHS

The Nation Parks On The Air (NPOTA) program was created by the ARRL to commemorate the National Park Service Anniversary (100th). Aron W1AKI, Merle W1MSI and Fred AB1OC made a trip to Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in NH this past week. Our goals were to seek permission for a Club National Parks On The Air (NPOTAActivation at the park as well as to see the site and do a brief trial activation. I am happy to report that we achieved all of these goals and also activate the park using our Mobile HF station!

National Park Service Anniversary - N1FD NPOTA Presentation
N1FD NPOTA Presentation (click on the picture to see our presentation)

Aron and Fred put together a presentation which we shared with the head ranger, Greg Schwarz at the park. Our goal was to create an understanding of who we were, why we want to Activate Saint-Gaudens NHS, what our activation would involve and how we would relate to the National Park Service Anniversary celebration this year. We had a very good meeting with Greg and we secured permission for multiple activations of the park over the summer months. We will share more about what we are planning to do and the dates for our activations at our next club meeting.

National Park Service anniversary - Aspen House, Built abut 1817
Aspet House, Built About 1817

The park grounds are very beautiful and will be absolutely stunning in the summer time!

National Park Service Anniversary - Garden With Bronze Monument
Garden With Bronze Monument

Saint-Gaudens was one of America’s greatest sculptors and some of his works and their history are nicely set in the building and gardens which make up the park. There is plenty to see and do in the park.

National Park Service Anniversary - Open Meadow In The Park
Open Meadow In The Park

The park has a large, open meadow which is surrounded by trees. The meadow is partly used for overflow parking and should offer a good area for us to use a mobile station plus a portable station when our club activates the park. We will be allowed to use a small generator and put up a small screened shelter to protect us from sun or rain while we operate. We were also invited to set up a table to share information about our club and about Amateur Radio in the area of the park which is frequented by visitors. The park hosts open air concerts most Sundays during the summer months. Greg indicated that about 200-400 visitors attend the summer concerts. He felt that this would be a good time for us to activate the park as there would be many visitors in the park for these concerts.

Mobile HF - N1FD On The Air In NS-60
N1FD On The Air In NS-60

Greg also allowed us to park in the meadow and activate the park as part of the National Park Service Anniversary celebration. Aron W1AKI, Merle W1MSI and Fred AB1OC did a brief trial activation to get an idea of what propagation would be like in the park. We used Fred’s Mobile HF Station for the activation and we operated as N1FD on the 20m and 40m bands for about 45 minutes. If the trial run is any indication, we are going to have a lot of fun when our club does the real activation in the summer. In 45 minutes of operating, we  gave 80+ happy Amateurs NPOTA NS-60 on a combination of the 20m and 40m bands. We were easily able to work stations in all regions of the US and we put 29 states and 4 DXCC’s into the log during our brief activation. We had folks in Alaska, Portugal, Poland and Canada call in and we had a good pileup for the entire time that we operated. We  were using a paper log for the trial run and we had a hard time writing fast enough to get the QSOs into the log!

We hope that you’ll join us for one of our Saint-Gaudens activations during the summer!

Aron, W1AKI
Merle, W1MSI
Fred, AB1OC

2016 NEQP Report from N1FD/M

We operated as N1FD/m (Mobile HF) in the New England QSO Party (NEQP) this past weekend. We began our operation on Saturday afternoon on the Massachusetts – New Hampshire State line where we activated two counties and two states.

N1FD/m (Mobile HF) New England QSO Party Multi-Op Team
N1FD/m NEQP Multi-Op Team

We entered the 2016 NEQP Contest in the High Power Multi-Op Mobile HF Category. We operated using SSB phone mode mostly on the 20m and 40m bands. Wayne AG1A, Jamey KC1ENX, and Fred AB1OC were the operators. We took turns operating, driving and navigating. We used Fred, AB1OC’s mobile HF station in his truck.

Mobile HF QSO Party - CQ NEQP from N1FD/m
CQ NEQP from N1FD/m

We operated Saturday and Sunday for nearly the entire contest period. We spent most of our time calling CQ and we had several nice pile-ups to work.

Mobile HF QSO Party - Counties Activated by N1FD/m in the 2016 NEQP
Counties Activated by N1FD/m in the 2016 NEQP

The map above shows the counties in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont that we activated during the contest. Anita, AB1QB helped us to create a route of counties to activate which included some of the more rare counties in Vermont and New Hampshire.

Mobile HF QSO Party - Operating On a County Line in Vermont
Operating On a County Line in Vermont

We tried to focus on activations where we could be in two counties as once. These activations produced some nice pile-ups for us to work.

Mobile HF QSO Party - Operating On a County Line in NH
Operating On a County Line in NH

We parked on county lines with 2 wheels of N1FD/m in one county and 2 wheels in another. This gave us two QSO points (one for each county) for each contact that we made.

Mobile HF NPOTA Activation - Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller NHP in Vermont
NPOTA Activation – Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller NHP in Vermont

We also activated two National Parks along our route as part of ARRL’s NPOTA program. We activated Saint-Gaudens NHS (NS60) in New Hampshire and Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller NHP (HP26) in Vermont. The HP26 activation produced the best response – we made about 50 contacts while we were there.

Mobile HF QSO Party - Solar Weather for NEQP 2016
Solar Weather for NEQP 2016

We had a few challenges along the way. We had some antenna related problems with our Mobile HF setup to deal with. Fortunately, we had some spare parts with us and we adjusted our operating style to overcome them. We also had to operate through a major solar event on Sunday. This made contacts very difficult but we still logged over 235 QSOs that day in spite of the conditions.

Mobile HF QSO Party - Wayne, AG1A Operating in NEQP 2016
Wayne, AG1A Operating in NEQP 2016

All in all, we had a great time in the contest. We logged a total of 631 QSOs and we worked 58 Multipliers. Our claimed score was 36,598 – not bad given that this was our first entry as a mobile and our first time in NEQP. We worked 43 of 50 states and we had quite a few stations from Canada and Europe call in to answer our CQs.

There was some discussion on the way home about the Maine and New Hampshire QSO parties which will be held later this year. We hope to be N1FD/m again in one or more of those as well.

The N1FD/m Multi-op Team,

Fred (AB1OC)
Wayne (AG1A)
Jamey (KC1ENX)

Activating Saint-Gaudens National Historical Site

We will have two club events in Cornish, NH to activate the Saint-Gaudens National Historical Site as part of the ARRL National Parks On The Air (NPOTA) program celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.  The dates are:

  • July 10, 2016.
  • August 7, 2016.

This should give more club members a chance to operate, more HAMs a chance to make a QSO with Sullivan County, and more of the world to hear what a treasure we have in New Hampshire’s only National Park!

The park has a lot to see, and we hope that you will bring along friends and family members — even if they are not (yet!) HAMs.

The artist’s studio, his wife’s gardens, and their house (originally built as an inn in the early 1800s) should be open.  (Tickets for the house tour are free and first-come, first-served, although its hours are slightly limited on these Sundays.)  Sculpture by the artist is displayed on the grounds and in the studio.

For anyone who wants to take a break and explore the woods, there are two short nature trails (0.25mi and 1.5mi) for anyone who wants to take a break away from the radios.

This is one of only a couple of National Parks dedicated to the arts, and they have an Artist-in-Residence program, so we hope to get a chance to see and talk to a working sculptor.

The park’s new bronze cast of Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ famous 12′ statue of Abraham Lincoln will be on permanent display.  This picture of the original sculpture will give you an idea of what a monumental work of art it is:

ASG-Standing-Lincoln-finished-clay-Cornish-1886

As an added attraction, the park has concerts in July and August, following a tradition set by Augustus Saint-Gaudens.  There is no fee for them beyond the park entrance fee.  The concerts for our operating days are:

  • July 10Ensemble Amphion – Music from the Court of Henry VIII
  • August 7 – Creek River String Band – Blue Grass Music from Appalachia

The concerts will be near the studio and house, and we will be operating from the far end of the field, so there won’t be any risk of us inadvertently transmitting music and incurring the wrath of the FCC.

Concert

There are more pictures, and information on the operating conditions in the park, in the article about our trial run.

The town of Cornish also has 4 covered bridges, one of which is a National Civil Engineering Landmark.  However, not all of Cornish has been blessed with advanced Civil Engineering projects, and the NPS points out that most GPS devices and mapping software will send you over rough dirt roads to get there, so be sure to follow the directions on their website instead!

We will meet at the park to set up at 11:00 am, at the far end of the meadow/overflow parking area, away from the buildings.  The entrance to this is on the left, and it is the first part of the park that you will see as you approach it using the paved road.  The paved parking area is shortly after that, on the right.

There is no food service at the park, so we suggest packing a picnic lunch or stopping en route to eat or pick up food.  And even though Cornish is much further from the equator than Nashua, it is summer and it will be warm, so be sure to bring enough fluid to keep yourself hydrated.

Entrance to the park is $7 for those 16 and older, and there are season passes for a carload of up to 4 adults for $30.  Senior, Active Military and other special passes are available.

Aron W1AKI

2016 – A Record Year for Nashua Area Radio Club On The Air Operations?

The first half of 2016 is behind us and I believe that we are well on our way to a record year as far as contacts made by our club. Among other things, I have had the fun of being the QSL manager for our club as well as for the New Hampshire stations (K2K) for the 13 Colonies Special Event.

Members of our club have made a total of 13,787 contacts so far this year using a combination of the N1FD call sign and K2K New Hampshire. All of these contacts represent a great effort on the part of our members. For me, the real story here is about the fun we’ve had together on the air and the great progress that many of our newest members have made in developing their operating skills along the way.

Learning About Contesting

ARRL Rookie Roundup SSB - A First Contest
ARRL Rookie Roundup SSB – A First Contest

Our first major on the air operation was the ARRL Rookie Roundup  SSB Contest in April. This contest is for Amateurs who have been licensed for 3 years or less and it’s a great opportunity to try contesting and to learn HF operating skills.

ARRL Rookie Roundup SSB - A First Contest
ARRL Rookie Roundup SSB – A First Contest

We entered using our club call sign, N1FD in the multi-op category and took first place! More importantly, many of our recently licensed members got a chance to get on the air and begin developing their operating skills. The group made 280 QSOs and had a lot of fun. You can read more about this operation here on our Blog.

Mobile Contesting

New England QSO Party Mobile Ops
New England QSO Party Mobile Ops

We got a chance to try contesting from a mobile as part of the 2016 New England QSO Party (NEQP). Several of us got together for a weekend of activating counties and having fun as part of this contest. We operated as N1FD/M and the contest gave us a chance to develop and hone our SSB contesting skills further.

NEQP Contest Operations
NEQP Contest Operations

In addition to many county line activations in MA, NH, and VT, we also activated two National Parks. In spite of difficult band conditions, we made 631 QSOs and had a great time. You can read more about this operation here.

Field Day

Learning To Operate Through Satellites
Learning To Operate Through Satellites

Next came our 2016 Field Day operation. We tried several new things as part of Field Day this year. One of these was LEO Satellite operations. Several club members got together to build a great LEO Satellite Station and several of us made our first Satellite contacts while testing it prior to Field Day.

2016 Nashua Area Radio Club Field Day
2016 Nashua Area Radio Club Field Day

June and July represented a Tsunami of Amateur Radio operating for several of us. This period began with the best Field Day operation that I have ever been part of. We built quite a station and had a great time using it to operate during Field Day 2016.

2016 Field Day - Many Members Came Out
2016 Field Day – Many Members Came Out

We had a great turn out for Field Day this year with a mix of newer folks who were experiencing their first Field Day and the seasoned veterans in our club who have done Field Day many times before. The camaraderie and the learning were fantastic!

2016 Field Day - We Continued Practicing and Building Our Operating Skills
2016 Field Day – We Continued Practicing and Building Our Operating Skills

Many of our members operated during our 2016 Field Day operation and our diligence paid off. We increased both our score and the number of contacts (2,464) made by a significant amount over last year and had a great time doing it!

Our 2016 Field Day Highlights Video

The video above has some highlights from our 2016 Field Day operation. You can read more about it on our Field Day page and here on our Blog.

Thirteen Colonies Special Event

13 Colonies Special Event - K2K New Hampshire QSL
13 Colonies Special Event – K2K New Hampshire QSL

Next came the 13 Colonies Special Event. I am the manager for the New Hampshire Colony which operates under the K2K call sign each year. The K2K operating team was made up entirely of Nashua Area Radio Club members this year. This event produces huge pileups and it really challenges one’s operating skills.

13 Colonies - A Chance To Operate in a Large Special Event
13 Colonies – A Chance To Operate in a Large Special Event This

We operated using a combination of SSB Phone, Digital, and CW and the club members made a total of 9,719 contacts!

13 Colonies 2016 - K2K NH Top Club
13 Colonies 2016 – N1FD Top Club Certificate

This was more than enough to make the Nashua Area Radio Club the Top Club in the event! We used the 2016 event to further develop our operating skills as well as provide opportunities for new Amateurs to have fun on the air and make contacts.

National Parks On The Air (NPOTA)

Activating Saint-Gaudens NHS NPOTA - Operating Portable on 20m
Activating Saint-Gaudens NHS – Operating Portable on 20m

Our most recent operation was the Activation of Saint-Gaudens NHS as part of the ARRL’s NPOTA program. Aron Insinga, W1AKI, and his XYL Merle, W1MSI have been working on this project for some time and it was great to see it come together to result in a very successful activation. You can learn more about Saint-Gaudens and out plans to activate it here on our Blog.

Activating Saint-Gaudens NHS as part of NPOTA
Activating Saint-Gaudens NHS as part of NPOTA

We activated Saint-Gaudens on Sunday, July 10th with two stations – a 20m portable station using an Inverted-V antenna and 100W and a mobile station on 40m running 500w.

Activating Saint-Gaudens NHS NPOTA - Operating Mobile on 40m
Activating Saint-Gaudens NHS – Operating Mobile on 40m

We again had a good mix of experienced operators and newer folks from our club. It was especially great to see how well some of the newer folks have come along in terms of their operating skills. The group made a total of 528 QSOs in a little over 4 hours and had a great time doing it! We are all looking forward to our second planned NPOTA activation later this summer on August 7th.

There have been some other, smaller operations too such as our trial run earlier this year at Saint-Gaudens NHS and as part of our training sessions which proceeded several of these operations.

Final Thoughts

Highlights From Nashua Area Radio Club’s 2016 Activities

I must say that I don’t think I have ever seen a group of Amateur Radio Club members do so much operating on the air within such a short period of time. Check out the video above for, In particular, I believe that some of our newer members are well on their way to becoming world-class operators if they keep going the way they are. Anita, AB1QB and I find it particularly rewarding to have the chance to be part of helping our club to grow and to build our skills. It has been truly a privilege to be part of the Nashua Area Radio Club team.

73,

Fred, AB1OC

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