Tag Archives: Satellite

Dayton Hamvention 2016

Fred, AB1OC and I just returned from the 2016 Hamvention in Dayton, OH.

Our first day in Dayton was spent at Contest University – this was our 5th year in attendance but each year we learn more from the contesting experts. This year, we attended two presentations from Frank Donovan, W3LPL on operating techniques for the declining solar cycle and on 80m and 160m antennas.   We also heard a talk from Val NV9L from Ham Nation on Log Analysis tools and another session on SO2R (Single Operator 2 Radio) Operating.

Slide from W3LPL Contest University Presentation
Slide from W3LPL Contest University Presentation

Friday was the first day of the Hamvention and we spent most of the day visiting all the vendor exhibits.   We visited the Icom booth, where we looked at the new Icom 7851. It has an incredible display as well as one of the best receivers on the market.

Icom 7851 Display on Large Screen TV
Icom 7851 Display on Large Screen TV

We also saw the new KX2 Transceiver at the Elecraft booth. It is even smaller than the KX3 and is perfect for SOTA and other portable operations. I would expect to hear some NPOTA activations using this radio.

Elecraft KX2 on right, next to a KX3
Elecraft KX2 on right, next to a KX3

Friday evening was the Top Band dinner where we learned all about “Top Band Disease” from Larry “Tree” Tyree N6TR.   Hams with this disease are nocturnal, love the bottom of the sunspot cycle. They are constantly improving their 160m antennas – when you upgrade your receive antenna, then there are people who can’t hear you, so then you need to improve your transmit antenna – and the cycle continues…  The DX Alarm Clock is perfect for those with Top Band Disease!

Top Band Dinner Presentation
Top Band Dinner Presentation

After the dinner, we were treated to a concert from the Spurious Emissions Band (N0AX, KX9X, K4RO, W4PA), with hits like “On The Cover of the NCJ” and “Sittin on the Edge of the Band”. They were so funny! You can watch their performances on YouTube http://bit.ly/DaytonSpurs2016.

The Spurious Emissions Band
The Spurious Emissions Band Performs at Dayton

On Saturday, Fred, AB1OC and I presented our Station Building talk to around 250 people as part of the Dayton Contest Forum. It was a great honor to be selected to speak there by Doug Grant K1DG, who has organized the Contest Forum for many years.

Fred, AB1OC, Speaks at the Dayton Contest Forum
Fred, AB1OC, Speaks at the Dayton Contest Forum

We also continued to tour the vendor booths, visiting Club Member Bill Barber, NE1B, at the DMR-MARC booth.

Bill Barber, NE1B at the DMR-MARC Booth
Bill Barber, NE1B at the DMR-MARC Booth

After that, we stopped by Gordon West’s Ham Instructor booth where we spoke to him about the success of the Club’s License classes.  Here is a picture of Gordon, WB6NOA, and Fred sharing the secrets of how the Hilbert Transform and the Flux Capacitor make Single Sideband and Time Travel Possible.

Fred, AB1OC with Gordon West, WB6NOA
Fred, AB1OC with Gordon West, WB6NOA

We also visited the AMSAT booth, where we met Burns Fisher,  W2BFJ,  who now lives in Brookline, NH and is moving to Hollis.    They had a cube sat on display – you can see how small it is below.  It’s amazing that AMSAT builds and arranges to launch them into orbit so that we can make QSOs through them!

Anita, AB1QB with a Cube Sat
Anita, AB1QB with a Cube Sat

Fred could not resist a visit to Begali Keys where we purchased a neat travel key. It should be great for operating mobile and for Field Day.

Begali Travel Key
Begali Travel Key

On Sunday, we headed back to New Hampshire, sad that the weekend had come to an end but full of great memories from the trip.

Anita, AB1QB

Huh? 2 meter QSO into Canada!

Ok, this is slightly misleading but it’s true.  I had a QSO with a Canadian station over 200 miles away on 2 meters. From my car none the less!

You may wonder how this was done. I had some help from above that’s how. I discovered that on the International Space Station (ISS) is this cool thing called a digipeater.  Now I’m no pro at this but I will attempt to explain in hopes that someone else can enjoy getting their toes wet in Amateur Satellite opportunities.

To start, here is an eQSL card of my from my first QSO of this nature:

ISS Packet Contact QSL

Note the mode on this card. It’s packet. The digipeater on the ISS relays APRS messages.  This was all foreign to me prior to this contact. I discovered all of this by accident while I was monitoring the ISS frequencies for voice and SSTV. APRS transmissions were pouring out of my radio. Curiosity got me to research the sounds and ultimately steered me towards giving it a go.

Although I already had all the parts and pieces to start my way I lacked the knowledge of what to do. It took some figuring out, but I now have a simple and relatively low-cost way of working some satellites. Unlike voice mode, you do not need a directional antenna to do packet through the ISS. I use my mobile radio in my car, an omnidirectional antenna, a USB SignaLink sound card and an inexpensive Windows tablet pc. I downloaded UISS and AGW packet engine (both are free).  I think I blew a brain fuse or two figuring out how it all goes together, but in the end, it works.

The uplink and downlink frequency for this is the same: 145.825

Go ahead, tune in and listen while the ISS is over your location.  There are many websites and smart phone apps to give you the pass schedule.

If you are interested in this and want help getting started on this for yourself then feel free to shoot me an e-mail [email protected]

Hope to hear you on the air!

Curtis (KB1RTQ)

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

Hashtags: #ARRLFD #N1FD

The Nashua Area Radio Club is Number 1 Field Day Again!

We got up to some great news this morning. The Nashua Area Radio Club is once again Number 1 Field Day!!

2016 ARRL Field Day Results - 7A Category
2016 Results – 7A Category

We are the Top Club in our Category (7A) for 2016 with a final score of 9,292. The next closest club was W6TRW with a score of 5,610. You can see all the 2016 results on the ARRL score page. For a more detailed breakdown of our score for 2016, check out our Field Day page.

Congratulations to everyone who helped to make our 2016 operation a success! Also, a special thank you to our planning team –

Our 2016 Field Day Planning Team
Our Planning Team
Field Day Presentation
Mike, K1WVO Helping To Deliver Our Field Day Presentation During Our Club Meeting
Field Day Presentation
Presentation At Our Club Meeting

We certainly have many great memories from our 2016 Operation. I spent some time today looking at the photos from our 2016 Operation and the video from our 2016 Operation again. I picked out some photos to share here –

40m V-Beam
Our 40m V-Beam

Our setup was well planned and the execution was top-notch!

CW Row
CW/6m Row With One Of Two Of Our Towers And Beams
20m CW Op
20m CW Station
DATV Station Equipment
SSB Stations and Digital ATV Station on 70 cm
Satellite Station Equipment
LEO Satellite Station

Many folks in our club pulled together to build our setup and we operated hard during Field Day.

Mike, KU1V Operating During Field Day 2016
Mike, KU1V Operating
40m CW Op
Ed, K2TE Operating 40m CW
20m CW Op
Bill, NJ1H Operating 20m CW
20m SSB Op
Jamey, KC1ENX, Operating 20m SSB
75m-15m SSB Op, AB1BY
Abby, KC1FFX Operating on 75m SSB
40m SSB Ops
Brian, AB1ZO Operating on 40m SSB
Jeff, WA1HCO Operating On 6m During Field Day 2016
Jeff, WA1HCO Operating On 6m
Field Day Fun
Field Day Fun 2016
Field Day Feast!
Merle, W1MSI Provided Us With A  Feast!

We also helped to introduce folks to Amateur Radio via our GOTA Station.

Field Day GOTA Station
Our GOTA Station Provided By Wayne, KB1HYL

It’s fun to think about all the great things that went on during Field Day this year.

Our 2016 Highlights Video

Looking forward to our 2017 Field Day operation!!!

Fred, AB1OC

Hashtag: #ARRLFD