Tag Archives: Youth Outreach

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.

NETT: N1T QSL Card
NETT N1T QSL Card

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.

NETT: HF GOTA
HF GOTA

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,  Matt, N1ZGN, 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

HAB 3 Update

HAB 3 Update:  We have been working with four schools this winter and spring in preparation for the HAB 3 launch in the next few weeks.  The schools are:

  • Hudson Memorial School, Hudson, NH
  • World Academy, Nashua, NH
  • Bishop Guertin High School, Nashua, NH
  • Merrimack High School, Merrimack, NH
HMS Students on the air during HAB Session
HMS Students on the air during HAB Session

HAB Instruction

Hudson Memorial School and World Academy are new to the HAB program – we have been giving weekly sessions to the students on the science behind the HAB.  This year, we added a new topic to the curriculum, Space Communications which has proved to be popular.

World Academy Students in HAB Program
World Academy Students in HAB Program

Advanced HAB Program

The other 2 schools, Bishop Guertin High School and Merrimack High School have been through the HAB curriculum in the past.  We have developed a new program involving kit building and CW that has proven to be very popular.

We have hosted kit builds with both schools to build the Pixie 40 m QRP kit.  There was great interest from both schools in the kit build and all kits were built successfully.

Bishop Guertin High School Students building Pixie Kit
Bishop Guertin High School Students building Pixie Kit

The 2nd part of the activity is a CW competition.  Teams of 2 students compete in a competition at each school.  They use their Pixie kits with Keys connected to send a message to their teammate.  The team that copies the CW most accurately in the least time wins the prize, which is an Oscilloscope kit and another Pixie kit.  We have held the competition with the students from Merrimack High School and it was a great success and all students, teachers and NARS members who elmered them had a great time!

MHS Morse Code Competition Winners
Merrimack High School Morse Code Competition Winners

We also helped 3 students from Merrimack and Bishop Guertin High Schools to earn their Tech Licenses during our Spring Tech License Class.

HAB 3 Launch Plans

 

HAB-1 Launch!
HAB-1 Launch!

The HAB 3 Launch will happen on a Saturday or Sunday over the next few weeks.  We are watching the jet stream and launch predictions and will schedule it on a day where the conditions look good.  Stay tuned to the website for more info when the date is scheduled.

HAB School Kit Builds

We have started our HAB-3 program and we are working with 4 schools who will be part of the launch.  Two of the schools, Bishop Guertin High School and Merrimack High School have been through the preparation sessions before.  To expand their involvement with STEM activities, the Nashua Area Radio Society has hosted kits builds at both schools.

Fred, AB1OC Elmers the BGHS Kit BuildersFred, AB1OC Elmers the BGHS Kit Builders

The first kit build was held earlier this month with 6 students from Bishop Guertin High School.  They built the 40 meter Pixie Kit QRP radio, the same one the NARS built a year or so ago.

Tech Night Suggestions
Pixie Kit

The students did a great job once they learned to solder and enjoyed the kit build.

Bishop Guertin Students Build the Pixie Kit
Bishop Guertin Students Build the Pixie Kit

The students are also learning morse code and there will be a morse competition in future sessions at both schools, using the Pixie kits built by the students.

Merrimack High School Students build the Pixie kit
Merrimack High School Students build the Pixie kit

Last Friday,  5 club members were Elmers to 18 students at Merrimack High School, who also built the PIXIE kit.  Thanks to Bill, AB1AV, Niece, KA1ULN, Mike, K1WVO, Jamey, AC1DC , Tom, AB1NS, and Fred, AB1OC for helping the kids to have a successful kit build.

Merrimack High School Students Building the Pixie Kit
Merrimack High School Students Building the Pixie Kit

All of the teachers and students had a great time and learned a lot during the kit build.  They are looking forward to the morse code competition.

Anita, AB1QB

State of the Nashua Area Radio Society

I wanted to take a moment to recap some of the many great memories from 2017 and outline our 2018 plans.

We updated our Constitution and By-Laws and became the Nashua Area Radio Society this year. These changes reaffirm and strengthen our commitment to education, skills development, and STEM learning through Amateur Radio.

2017 Highlights

We have created a successful youth outreach and STEM education through our High-Altitude Balloon program with local schools.

High-Altitude Balloon Altitude Record
High-Altitude Balloon 2 Launch Team

We also continued our ARRL Kids Day and other programs which introduce young people and new Hams to Amateur Radio and help them to get on the air and have fun.

ARRL Kids Day 2018
ARRL Kids Day Event

To date, we have helped over 130 folks to become licensed or to earn upgraded Amateur Radio Licenses.

Fall 2017 Tech License Class Students

Our members continued to give the gift of Morse Code by teaching CW Classes and hosting a CW Practice Net.

Our CW Class Instructors
Our CW Class Instructors

We have sponsored many operating activities this past year. Our Summits On The Air activations were a lot of fun.

Our Mt Washington SOTA activation

We also continued to update and expand our Field Day Operation in 2017 with the addition of a third tower, a new satellite station, and a remote SDR operating setup.

Field Day 2017 - New Remote Tower
Field Day 2017 – New Remote Tower
 We competed in contests and led the way in special events such as 13 Colonies where our operators earned both Top Club and Top State honors in 2017.
2017 Thirteen Colonies Top Club Plaque
2017 Thirteen Colonies Top Club Plaque

We initiated Fox Hunting activities to help our members build their Radio Direction Finding Skills.

The Large Fox in its Lair
The Large Fox in its Lair

And our members continued to be recognized for their skills and contributions to Amateur Radio.

AB1BY Interview on Ham Nation
AB1BY Interview on Ham Nation

We re-introduced our monthly breakfasts at local diners and eateries…

Breakfast at Joey's Diner
Breakfast at Joey’s Diner

and we started a second weekly net using a local 2m/70cm repeater system.

Nashua Area Radio Society Repeater Net Check-ins
Nashua Area Radio Society Repeater Net Check-ins

We had many memorable programs at our membership meetings and some really cool Tech Nights!

Nashua Area Radio Club "Tech Night" Group 2
Nashua Area Radio Club “Tech Night” at the KC1XX Contest Station

We increased our presence on social media in 2017 and we are now active on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest. We also began live streaming video from many of our events.

Live stream of Abby, AB1BY running a pileup during our Kid’s Day event (play and right-click to unmute)

Our website content grew tremendously in 2018. We now have a total of 325+ member articles about all things Amateur Radio and 2,100+ posts in our forums. Our website, n1fd.org, enjoys a growing worldwide following with the Amateur Radio Community.

Worldwide n1fd.org Visitors in 2017
Worldwide n1fd.org Visitors in 2017

The Nashua Area Radio Society has accomplished a great deal in 2017 and we grew to over 160 members this past year. There are probably many other activities and special moments that we enjoyed in 2017 – there are just too many to list them all here.

Looking Ahead To 2018

What's Ahead in 2018?
What’s Ahead in 2018?

Given all that we’ve done and accomplished together, its pretty challenging to top 2017 in 2018. Our Executive Committee has been working on a set of goals and plans for 2018 and we wanted to share some of what we are planning.

First, we will continue to improve and build upon what is working. This includes all of the projects and activities outlined above. Our focus will remain centered on encouraging education, skill building, and STEM learning through Amateur Radio. Our planned activities for 2018 include:

  • Continuing our license classes in the spring and fall of 2018 (Technician, General, and Extra for a total of 6 classes)
  • Developing our library of Amateur Radio Skill development and learning material through our Tech Night Program
  • Expanding our STEM outreach to young people through our High-Altitude Balloon Program and related GOTA programs in schools and other public places
  • Continuing our involvement and support for ARRL Kid’s Day, ARRL Rookie Roundups, and the 13 Colonies Special Event
  • Introducing a new program tailored for Ham Fests where we will provide a unique, hands-on Amateur Radio experience tailored for young people and prospective Hams
  • Hosting a fresh series of operating activities as well as our old favorites. Plans include activating All Things OTA (POTAs, SOTAs, and IOTAs). We are also looking at some NARS competitions around these activities.
  • Continuing to chase our multiplying Foxes throughout 2018 to build our Radio Direction Finding Skills
  • A 2018 Field Day EMCOM activity which will be bigger and better than ever!
  • Our Repeater and HF Nets will continue as will our monthly breakfast
  • Some  new Public Service/Emergency Communications activities for 2018

We are also planning to complete our path to becoming a Federal 501c(3) non-profit. This will increase our ability to raise funds to support our many educational activities.

On behalf of the entire Executive Committee, I’d like to thank all of our members and friends for their hard work and contributions to making the Nashua Area Radio Society the wonderful organization that it is. Together, we are making tremendous contributions to young people’s and Amateur Radio operator’s education and skills development.

Together, let’s make 2018 the best year ever!

Fred, AB1OC
President
Nashua Area Radio Society