Scouts on Long Island Contact the ISS via Amateur Radio

Matinecock District Scout ISS Contact

Matinecock District Scout ISS Contact

I once again had the pleasure to help a group of young people make contact with an Astronaut on the International Space Station this past week.

NASA Astronaut Kjell Lindgren

NASA Astronaut Kjell Lindgren

Scouts from the Matinecock District made a contact with Astronaut Kjell Lindgren, KO5MOS on the International Space Station on Saturday, June 4th, 2022.  You can watch and listen to the contact on YouTube by clicking below.  The actual contact begins at about 40:35 into the video.

The Scouts’ contact lasted for approximately 10 minutes. The Scouts asked and Kjell answered 18 of their 20 questions and there was time at the end of the contact for “Thank Yous”.  Here are the questions that the Scouts asked:

1. What do you have to study after HS in order to have a career as an Astronaut?
2. Could the ISS ever be self-sustaining and not need care packages of food/water/oxygen from Earth?
3. Are ISS teams only picked based on skills or does NASA try to match personalities as well?
4. How does the ISS stay safe from all the “space junk” floating around the Earth?
5. Do you only do experiments in your field of expertise on the ISS or because of limited resources do you find yourself assisting others doing things you’re not as comfortable with?
6. Is automated piloting better than manual piloting in terms of flight controls and docking?
7. What one thing did you do as a young adult that you felt was your first significant step to becoming an astronaut?
8. I’ve heard being in space can change your taste buds. Have you created any interesting or creative recipes to make space food taste better?
9. How do they supply the ISS with constant oxygen?
10. We saw a video of a gorilla suit prank on the ISS a few months ago. Have there been any other funny pranks?
11. What jobs do you have to do on the ship?
12. Do the astronauts get to bring something from home with them to space?
13. I’ve heard astronauts from different countries will trade food. What country has the most popular dish on the ISS?
14. In your personal opinion, what is the best and least good thing about being on the ISS?
15. Can you swim in space when you’re floating?
16. Can you feel the effects being in space has on your body? If so, what’s it like?
17. Can you yo-yo upside down in space?
18. Does the ISS have technology installed that could capture Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP)like the US Navy has recently? Have you seen anything up there that you can’t explain?
19. What does it feel like to go to space?
20. I read that there was once water on Mars. Where did all the water go?
AB1OC ARISS Ground Station Operations

AB1OC ARISS Ground Station Operations

This contact was made in a Telebridge format using my Ground Station here in New Hampshire, USA. The linkup with the Scouts on Long Island was via a Zoom conference call. You can learn more about our ground station here.
ARISS Ground Station

ARISS Ground Station

Helping young people make contact with astronauts on the ISS using Amateur Radio is great fun. My work with ARISS is near the top of my list in terms of the most rewarding work that I do with Amateur Radio.

Best and 73,

Fred, AB1OC

Scouts in Australia Contact the ISS via Amateur Radio

Scout Making Contact with the ISS

Scouts in Victoria, Australia Making Contact with the ISS at VicJam

I once again had the pleasure to help a group of young people make contact with an Astronaut on the International Space Station this past week. The Scouts were participating in a Jamboree in Victoria, Australia. You can learn more about the event, called VicJam, here.

Astronaut Mark VandeHei, KG5GNP

Astronaut Mark VandeHei, KG5GNP

The Scouts made contact with Astronaut Mark VandeHei, KG5GNP this past Tuesday, January 4th, 2022. You can watch and listen to the contact on YouTube by clicking below. The actual contact begins at about 8:25 into the video.

The Scout’s contact lasted for approximately 10 minutes. The Scouts asked and Mark answered all of their questions and there was time at the end of the contact for “Thank You’s” and “Good Wishes”. Here are the questions that the Scouts asked:

  1. What 3 things do you miss from Earth? My Mum worked on a ship and missed; sleeping with the window open, the smell of cut grass, and the sound of rain on the roof.
  2. What do you have to do to become an astronaut?
  3. What would happen if someone were seriously ill on the ISS, and what would you do?
  4. How do you prepare and eat your meals while up in the space station?
  5. What is it like to float around in no gravity without friction?
  6. How does it feel going from zero gravity in space back to earth’s gravity? Does it hurt??
  7. What is the scariest thing to happen to you whilst you have been in space?
  8. How do you shower and go to the toilet in space?
  9. After being in the space station for so many months, how does it feel to experience planet Earth and nature again with all your senses, especially smell?
  10. How do the seasons affect the veggie production system on the ISS? How often do you get to eat fresh food?
  11. Did you always want to be an astronaut and how did you make it happen?
  12. Why do people go into space and how long is an average mission?
  13. How did you feel when you first learned of your selection to go to space and has this been a life-long ambition for you?
  14. Can you share some of the science that was worked on in space that we can now see on earth?
  15. Is there sound or much noise in space?
  16. Multiple nations have had space stations each bestowed with a specific name – Russia had Mir, NASA had Skylab, and China Tiangong-1. As a truly international effort and the largest man-made object in space, does the ISS have a Nickname, or is there a name that the astronauts use for the individual components?
  17. What energy supply do you use to power the station. If nuclear, what type of reactor do you use? If solar, how many solar panels do you use, and what is their power density?
ARISS Ground Station

ARISS Ground Station

This contact was made in a Telebridge format using my Ground Station here in New Hampshire, USA. The linkup with the Scouts in Australia was via a telephone connection using a phone patch in my shack. You can learn more about our ground station here.

AB1OC ARISS Ground Station Operations

AB1OC ARISS Ground Station Operations

Helping young people make contact with astronauts on the ISS using Amateur Radio is great fun. My work with ARISS is near the top of my list in terms of the most rewarding work that I do with Amateur Radio.

Best and 73,

Fred, AB1OC

Importance of Amateur Radio in Schools

Amatuer Radio in Schools - Satellite Contact at Sussex County Charter School for Technology

Satellite Contact at Sussex County Charter School for Technology

It is vitally important that we make efforts to bring Amateur Radio to young people in schools and other venues. When we spend time bringing Amateur Radio to young people, we accomplish two important things. First, we have the potential to change a young person’s life for the better by involving them in Amateur Radio, a hobby and a service that inspires a lifetime of STEM learning and often leads to lifelong careers in Science or Engineering.

Secondly, our work in schools is one of the very best ways that we can make the general public aware of the positive benefits that Amateur Radio provides to their kids and to the general public…

Source: Importance of Amateur Radio in Schools

In my role as an ARISS Program Mentor, I recently had the pleasure of spending a week with Sussex County Charter School for Technology students and teachers to help teachers there to deliver their summer Radio Camp.

The summer Radio Camp was a STEM education program that the school developed in support of their upcoming contact with an astronaut on the International Space Station (ISS). Members of the local Sussex County Amateur Radio Club teamed with the teachers at the school to deliver a 5-day program grounded in STEM learning through Amateur Radio.

You can read more about the activities that we did at the week-long summer Radio Camp via the link above.

Fred, AB1OC

YOTA 2021 ISS Contact

International Space Station (ISS)

International Space Station (ISS)

I had the pleasure of serving as the ARISS contact moderator for the Youth On The Air (YOTA) 2021 Camp’s contact with the International Space Station (ISS) using Amateur Radio today. Young Hams spent the week at the Voice of America Bethany Relay Station in West Chester, OH engaging in a variety of Amateur Radio Activities…

Source: YOTA 2021 ISS Contact

You can view the video of YOTA 2021 Camp’s contact with astronaut Aki Hoshide, KE5DNI via the link above.

Fred, AB1OC

Field Day as a Mentoring Opportunity

ARRL Field Day is upon us and I wanted to share some thoughts about the mentoring and learning opportunities that Field Day can provide. Many Clubs and other groups here in New England are planning…

Source: Field Day as a Mentoring Opportunity

Field Day provides clubs and groups with a great opportunity to engage and mentor new and less experienced hams. I wanted to share some thoughts and ideas on how we can make mentoring a part of our Field Day activities. You can read more about some successful mentoring activities that have worked well as part of Field Day operations that we’ve been involved in via the link above.

I hope to Work many of our readers during Field Day 2021!

Fred, AB1OC

Plans for Field Day 2021 – Nashua Area Radio Society

We are holding an in-person Field Day operation at Keyes Memorial Park in Milford, NH. Here’s some more on our plans for Field Day 2021. We’d like to invite you to join us…

Source: Plans for Field Day 2021 – Nashua Area Radio Society

I’d like to invite our friends here on our Blog to visit us during Field Day on Saturday, June 26th, and Sunday, June 27th. We will be at Keyes Memorial Park in Milford, NH.

Testing Our Field Day Satellite Station

Testing Our Field Day Satellite Station

We will have a Tower up with a Triband Yagi and we’ll have our computer-controlled portable satellite station at Field Day.

6m LFA Antenna for Field Day

6m LFA Antenna for Field Day

We’ll also have a new LFA Yagi for the 6m Band. We will be a 4A station with a total of 5 Transmitters on the air. Our stations will be equipped for SSB Phone, CW, and FT8/FT4 Digital modes.

We’ll also be doing training sessions on Satellite Operations, FT8 Digital on 6m, and Fox Hunting at 12:30 pm on Saturday, June 26th. If you have an HT, bring it and you can use it to hunt our foxes. We’ll also have HTs available for folks to use for Fox Hunting.

You can read more about what we are planning and find directions to get to our Field Day site here. I hope that we’ll see some of our followers at Field Day!

Fred, AB1OC

Helping Amateur Radio Grow

Fred, AB1OC Helping a School Make Contact with an Astronaut on the ISS

Helping a School Make Contact with an Astronaut on the ISS

As many of you know, I have been dedicating much of my time over the last 6 years to helping folks to get into Amateur Radio, to learn new skills through our hobby, and to experience the joy and sense of accomplishment that Amateur Radio brings. I hope to further this effort in the position of New England Director in the ARRL…

Source: Helping Amateur Radio Grow – Nashua Area Radio Society

Several friends and supporters have approached me about running for the position of New England Division Director in the ARRL. Directors serve on the Board of Directors of the ARRL for a Term of 3 years and are elected by the members of the ARRL in the Director’s Division. In our case, this encompasses ARRL members in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

After much consultation with friends, the NARS Executive Committee, my wife Anita, and others who have played major roles in the ARRL, I have decided to take on this challenge by running this fall. I am doing this, in part, to try to help Clubs and Hams here in New England and across the ARRL to grow participation in the Amateur Radio Service and to benefit from the many learning opportunities that it provides.

You can read more about what I am hoping to accomplish as New England Division Director of the ARRL via the link above.

Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC

A 6m DX Opening to Remember

6m EU Opening - PSKReporter

6m Opening to Europe – PSKReporter Snapshot

Every now and then we get a really good opening to Europe on the 6m Band from here in New England, USA. This past Friday, June 4 2021 presented us with just such an opening. This particular one may well be the best one that I have ever seen. The opening began early in the day on Friday and was still going strong late into the afternoon. As you can see from the PSKReporter snapshot above, the band was solidly open to most of Western Europe and evening into the Middle East.

6m EU Opening - WSJT-X Snapshot

WSJT-X Snapshot During 6m Opening

There were so many strong signals from DX stations in Europe, it was difficult to decide which station to call next! I was able to work the opening for most of the day on Friday and was rewarded with over 130 DX contacts into Europe. In addition, I was able to Work 3 new DXCCs and over 40 new Grids (over 30 of these Grids have confirmed on LoTW already)!

6m EU Opening - JTAlert Snapshot

JTAlert Snapshot Helps To Work New Grids

We use the JTAlert application along with WSJT-X and DXLab Suite. JTAlert helped to identify stations in new Grids that we had not Worked before in the flood of activity on the 6m Band during this opening. At times, there were 4 or 5 different stations in new Grids being decode at once!

AB1OC 6m Grids as of June 2021

AB1OC 6m Grids as of June 2021

The 6m Es season has been very good so far this year with great propagation and lots of activity. Let hope that this continues well into the end of the summer here in New England. We are especially hoping for good 6m openings during Field Day later this month.

Fred, AB1OC

Satellite Passes During Field Day 2021

Field Day 2021 Satellite Passes in FN42

Field Day 2021 Satellite Passes in FN42

We had some time over the weekend so we ran some Satellite Pass Predictions for Field Day 2021 for our Grid Square which is FN42. As you can see, we are going to have a lot of fun working satellite during Field Day! Field Day rules limit us to a single FM EasySat contact using but we can work as many contacts via Linear Transponder Satellites as we wish

Field Day Satellite Station

Field Day Satellite Station

We recently set up and tested our Portable Satellite Ground station here at our QTH and it’s working great! It has produced some good DX contacts into Europe from New Hampshire, USA during the past week.

You can read more about our Portable Satellite Station test here.

Fred, AB1OC

Field Day Satellite Station for 2021 – Setup and Test in Hollis

The Nashua Area Radio Society will be using our portable Satellite Station this year at Summer Field Day. A number of members got together recently to assemble and test our Computer-Controlled Portable Satellite Station for Field Day. Here are some pictures of our Field Day Satellite Station Test…

Source: Field Day Satellite Station for 2021 – Setup and Test in Hollis

Several members of the Nashua Area Radio Society got together to set up and test our Portable Satellite Station for Field Day 2021. Our station is a computer-controlled one and enables us to work FM and Linear Satellites using phone mode and CW.

The setup uses an M2 Antenna Systems LEO Pack Antenna System on a Glen Martin Aluminum Tower that is set up to be portable. Feedlines use 100 ft lengths for LMR-400uF and LMR-600uF coax cable for the 2m and 70cm bands. The rotator is an Alfa-SPID Az/El unit. The antenna system also uses coax-powered preamplifiers from Advanced Receiver Research. The station uses an IC-9700 Transceiver, a Green Heron RT-21 Az/El Rotator Controller, and a MacBook Air Laptop running MacDoppler and MacLogger DX.

This setup is an updated version of the portable satellite station that we built for an ISS Crew Contact that a local school did with us some time ago.

You can see how the portable station goes together in the article above. You can learn more about the design and construction of our Portable Sation from the series of articles that begins here. We hope to work some of our readers on the birds during Field Day this year!

Fred, AB1OC