This is a drive-able mountain – you are welcome to drive or hike. There are a parking lot and picnic area a short distance from the top where we will be setting up. The peak is a short hike from the parking area. This activity should appear to anyone who wants to work portable operations – you do not have to take part in SOTA/POTA/VHF contest – you can come and operate and have fun.
Fred, AB1OC will be bringing the portable satellite station. I will have my mobile HF station (IC-7100), a couple of HTs with the 2m/70cm Elk Antenna and tape measure yagis, and the Elecraft KX2 as well. I can’t use them all at the same time and would be very happy to share!
I will also be bringing my grill if you want to bring anything to grill up during the day.
Here is a map to the parking area on Mt. Kearsarge (you can also hike to the summit from this location):
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.
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.