We have established launch windows and begun final launch preparations for our High-Altitude Balloon 4 (HAB-4) launch. We’ve made some modifications to our HAB platform to improve its cold temperature performance and we’ve determined the Balloon and flight path parameters for the upcoming flight. HAB-4 will carry an APRS transmitter and can be tracked using aprs.fi. You can read more about HAB-4 flight preparations via the link that follows.
The Nashua Area Radio Society will again be hosting an Amateur Radio Exposition for Young People as part of NEAR-Fest in Deerfield, NH on October 12th and 13th.
You can see more about what we are planning via the link above. Activities will include multiple GOTA Stations, a Kit Build, a Fox Hunt, Morse Code, and other hands-on activities. We will also be operating a Special Event Station as N1T.
NEAR-Fest along with several NARS members are also sponsoring a matching fundraising project as part of this event. Check it out!
The Nashua Area Radio Society put together a successful Amateur Radio Youth Exposition at the New England Amateur Radio Convention at Boxboro this year. Our exposition features over ten displays with hands-on activities…
Anita AB1QB and I are continuing to work along with the Nashua Area Radio Society to encourage young people to become licensed and join the Amateur Radio Service.
The Nashua Area Radio Society recently hosted an Amateur Radio Exposition for Young People at the New England Amateur Radio Convention in Boxboro, MA. Our event featured Remote HF and Satellite GOTA stations, a kit build, and many other hands-on activities which were part of the over ten displays at the event.
You can read more and see photos from our Youth Expo via the link above. We will be holding another Amateur Radio Youth Expo as part of NETT at NEAR-Fest in Deerfield, NH in October. We hope to see some of our local friends there.
Anita and I have been working to grow the Amateur Radio Service through our work at the Nashua Area Radio Society. The Nashua Area Radio Society is a 501c(3) public charity whose mission is to:
- Encourage and help people to become licensed and active in the Amateur Radio Service
- Spark Interest among Young People in STEM Education and Careers through Ham Radio
- Provide training and mentoring to enable our members to improve their technical and operating skills and to be prepared to assist in times of emergency
- Sponsor on-air operating activities so that our members may practice and fully develop their operating skills and have fun with Ham Radio!
The Nashua Area Radio Society has created many programs designed to provide STEM learning experiences and training through Amateur Radio. Some of these include:
- High-Altitude Balloon Projects in Local Schools
- Electronics Kit Building Projects for Young People
- Amateur Radio License Training Class scholarships for young people
- Amateur Radio Expositions at Hamfests and in public places for Young People
- Emergency Communications Training through our Field Day and other activities
- Supporting Local Schools with ARISS Crew Contacts and other Amateur Radio activities
To carry out our mission, we have formed close relationships with several schools. This helps us develop and deliver effective, high-quality programs that bring learning through Amateur Radio to young people. You can read more about what we’re doing via the link at the top of the page.
We provide many of these services either free of charge or at a very modest cost. We count on the generosity of our members, friends, and the Amateur Radio community to raise funds to support our work.
We hope that our readers will consider supporting our work at the Nashua Area Radio Society by using Amazon Smile and designating us as your favorite charity and/or by making a donation to our current fundraising campaign (click on the badge below).
On behalf of the many young people and others that we help, thank you very much for your interest and support. We will continue to work hard to provide learning opportunities for young people through Amateur Radio and to continue to make the Amateur Radio Service the best it can be to benefit everyone.
Quite a few Nashua Area Radio Society members have been working on a display to get young people and potential new Hams interested in Amateur Radio. Our display will be part of the New England Amateur Radio Convention in Boxboro, MA on September 8th and 9th. We are also planning a similar display for NEAR-Fest at Deerfield Fairgrounds, NH later in the fall. You can see more about our planned display and the associated hands-on activities via the following link.
I want to share some information about an Amateur Radio event that we will be doing at the Boxboro, MA Ham Radio Convention in September. Our display and hands-on activities provide an introduction to Amateur Radio for young people and include information and a chance to try Amateur Radio activities such as:
- Satellite Communications including a Computer Controlled Satellite GOTA Station
- Remotely Operating an HF Station Over The Internet – another GOTA activity
- Fox Hunting
- High-Altitude Balloons which carry Amateur Radio
- Emergency Communications and Field Day including a GoKit GOTA
- Learning Morse Code
- Kits, Kit Building, and Computers
- How To Get Licensed
- And much more
You can read more about our plans for the event via the link above.
We’ve been working with Steve Elliot, K1EL to develop an inexpensive kit building project to include as part of our displays. We will be including a new kit building activity in as part of our display. Builders can purchase the Morse Trainer Kit shown above for $20 and build it at the show. We will provide soldering equipment and kit building mentors to help builders complete their kit. The package includes batteries and a printed manual. We will have these kits available for walk-up purchase at the show on both Saturday and Sunday.
I am also planning to provide forum presentation on the following topics on Saturday at Boxboro:
- Creating Successful Youth Outreach Projects
- Portable Satellite Station Design, Operation, and Planning for an upcoming ISS Crew Contact
- STEM Learning for Young People via High Altitude Balloons Carrying Amateur Radio
You can view the Boxboro Forum schedule here.
I hope to see folks who follow our Blog at the New England at the Boxboro Convention. If you can make it, stop by our display or visit us in the forums and say “hello”.
We are planning the third launch of our High-Altitude Balloon (HAB-3) this Sunday, June 3rd between 10 am and 11 am ET. We will be launching locally from the Hollis-Brookline HS here in Hollis, NH. Checkout the link below to learn more about our HAB projects and how to track our HAB from anywhere in the world while it is in flight. You can also see live stream video froun our launch and recovery via the N1FD Facebook Page.
We have been working with Hudson Memorial School near Nashua, NH to prepare for a possible ISS crew contact. The ARISS folks work with schools and their Ham Radio helpers to prepare for these contacts. ARISS provides recommendations for ground station equipment to help ensure a good experience for the students. The ground station recommendations provide a solid set of specifications to support communications with the ISS on the 2m band. The recommendations include things such as:
- A requirement to build both a primary and a backup ground station
- Radio and power specifications (a 200W amp is recommended)
- Antenna specifications including recommendations to provide for switchable LHCP and RHCP
- Computer controlled azimuth/elevation positioning of antennas to track the ISS
- Use of a receive preamplifier at the antenna
We have recently completed construction and testing of our Portable Satellite Station 3.0 which was built specifically to meet the primary station requirements for our ISS contact.
Our plan is to add some upgrades to our Portable Satellite Station 2.0 to create a Portable 2.1 Station which meets the backup station requirements. These upgrades will include:
- Use of an Icom IC-910H Transceiver
- The addition of a second Green Heron RT-21 Az/El Rotator Controller and Raspberry Pi Interface
- Upgrade of our M2 Antenna Systems LEO Pack Antennas to include switchable LHCP and RHCP polarity
- The addition of another second set of M2 Antenna Systems S3 Sequencers and PTT switching to control the receive preamplifiers at the 2.0 antennas
- An Elecraft W2 Wattmeter
- Power supplies and power distribution for the Transceiver, Amplifier, and Accessories
All of the equipment needed to upgrade our 2.0 Portable Station to 2.1 is either here or will arrive shortly. Here’s some more information on the planned equipment.
The Icom IC-910H was Icom’s flagship Transceiver for Satellite work before the IC-9100 was released. It’s a very nice satellite radio! Dave, K1DLM graciously lent us his IC-910H for use in our backup station.
We already have a Green Heron Az/El Rotator controller setup for the Yaesu Rotator system on the 2.0 Antenna Tower and we will be reusing it for the 2.1 station.
We are also planning to build a second Raspberry Pi Rotator Interface for it.
M2 Antenna Systems recently added a new 2M polarity switch, the PS-2MCP8A, designed for use with the 2M antenna in their LEO Pack which we are using in our 2.0 Antenna System. We will be installing this relay as well as a PS-70CM polarity switch relay for the LEO pack’s 70cm antenna as part of the 2.1 Antena System upgrade.
We will add another DXEngineering EC-4 BCD Control Console to control the polarity switching relays on the upgraded antennas.
The final new component in our 2.0 to 2.1 upgrade is the addition of a 200W RM ITALY LA 250 power amplifier. We have opted for the version of this amplifier with the cooling fans. The unit is very well made and we are anxious to see how it performs on the air.
Some of our readers might be wondering what we are planning to do with all of Portable Satellite Ground Station equipment in the long run? We plan on keeping the 1.0 Portable Station for grid square activations and demonstrations. Its simple, battery-powered approach and small antenna make it ideal for this sort of work.
The upgraded 2.0 Portable Station with its enhanced polarity switching will become our transportable station for License Class and Field Day use. It will be converted at the end of 2018 to use our Icom IC-9100 Transceiver that is currently part of the 3.0 station.
We plan to use the Portable 3.0 Station through the year (2018) to support the planned ARISS contact, Field Day, and some demonstrations at local Ham Fests and schools. Once these are complete, we plan to permanently install it here at our QTH and it will become our main satellite ground station at our home QTH.
You can view all of the articles about our Portable Satellite Stations via the links below.
- A Portable Satellite Station Part 1 – A Simple Station for AO-85
- A Portable Satellite Station Part 2 – 2.0 Station Goals and Antenna System
- A Portable Satellite Station Part 3 – Station Radio and Supporting Equipment
- A Portable Satellite Station Part 4 – 2.0 Station First Contacts!
- A Portable Satellite Station Part 5 – Plans for Our 3.0 Station
- A Portable Satellite Station Part 6 – 3.0 Station Initial Contacts
- Raspberry Pi Satellite Rotator Interface
- PTT Router for Satellite Station 3.0
We will begin construction of the 2.1 upgraded station once a few remaining components arrive here. We plan to share some more about the construction and initial testing of our 2.1 Portable Station here.
We have been working with Hudson Memorial School to help them secure and prepare for an ISS Crew Contact. We are hoping to support their ISS Crew Contact using an upgraded version of our Portable Satellite Ground Station. A school in Raleigh, North Carolina had their ISS Crew Contact today and I decided to record the downlink from the ISS to test our backup Portable 2.0 ISS/Satellite Ground Station.
The video above is a capture of the school’s contact. It was very easy to receive the ISS downlink on our portable backup ground station. I heard the downlink a few seconds before the ISS came up on the horizon and the audio was solid for the duration of the contact. We can only hear the astronaut’s side of the contact as we cannot receive the school’s uplink from Raleigh, NC. The ISS pass began here in New Hampshire part way through the school’s session so we did not hear the first few questions.
Update on Portable ISS/Sat Station 3.0
Work on our upgraded primary Portable 3.0 Station which includes a larger antenna system using switchable circular polarity is progressing well. The portable tower, upgraded rotator system, and the new, larger 2m and 70cm circularly polarized antennas are complete. We are just waiting for a few additional components to arrive here and the upgraded portable ground station should be ready for its first test at our Technician License Class later this month.
More on Today’s ISS Crew Contact
You can see a live stream of the ISS Contact from the school above. There is a great deal of planning which goes into an ISS Crew Contact such as this. We are working closely with Hudson Memorial School on their project and their school is also beginning a High-Altitude Balloon Project with us in a few weeks.
The ISS Crew Contact today was exciting to listen too and we are looking forward to being able to share this experience with Hudson Memorial School in the near future.
The HAB team members in NARS have created a five-session curriculum to teach physics, atmospheric science, and radio technology that we use as part of our HABlaunches. The last session is the most fun of all – analyzing the telemetry data from our HAB’s flight to see what the students can learn from it.
We got together with the students who did our HAB-2 launch this week to analyze the data from the flight and to preview some of the videos that HAB-2 captured during its flight. You can read more about what we learned from the flight data on the Nashua Area Radio Society website via the link above
We flew our High-Altitude Balloon for the second time this past weekend. Our second High-Altitude Balloon Flight (HAB-2) was part of a STEM learning project that we did with STEM club students at Bishop-Guertin High School in Nashua, NH. The students did all of the flight prep and launched HAB-2 at approximately 11 am ET from a school in Winchester, NH. Parents, teachers and local students joined us for the launch as did several members of our HAB team.
Our students prepared, launched, and tracked HAB-2 this past weekend. Their HAB made it to almost 118,000 ft! You can read more about the launch and the flight on the Nashua Area Radio Society’s website via the link above.