The September, 2022 Eastern MA Section Newsletter is now available at https://ema.arrl.org/september-2022-section-news/.
West Springfield, MA—The BIG E Space Chat was an unqualified success. Many hours of planning and effort went into making the ISS contact a reality.
Thirteen young STEM students who are taking space science workshops at New England Sci-Tech in Natick, Mass., were given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity on Tuesday, September 27, 2022 to ask questions of International Space Station pilot Bob Hines, KI5RQT, orbiting 260 miles above the earth via a ground station in Belgium. Held in The BIG E Arena, a large entertainment venue, the event garnered much news and television coverage at the fair which attracts 1.5 million people during its 17-day run. It was an out of this world experience for the students from across New England.
Following several informative videos, hundreds of people who gathered in the arena, along with a national audience watching via YouTube live stream, heard from: Gene Cassidy, Eastern States Exposition CEO; David Minster, ARRL CEO; Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC; and Bob Phinney, K5TEC. The pre-contact show was choreographed down to the minute in order to assure a smooth transition leading to the contact itself.
At approximately 2:30 PM ET, the audience heard astronaut Bob Hines, KI5RQT, reply to the ARISS ground station, ON4ISS:
“Oscar November Four India Sierra Sierra, this is Oscar Romeo Four India Sierra Sierra. Over.”
Over a dozen questions were asked by the youths and answered.
“The space station has to be flying over one of our ground stations… this one happened to be in Belgium,” said Bob Phinney, President of New England Sci-Tech. He told Springfield Channel 22 News, “The time had to be perfect. So the students got exactly ten minutes to get up and talk.”
“All the new opportunities that there are about new discoveries, new planets, and even new life,” said 11-year-old Harish Sathishkaumar.
Jack Warren told 22 News, “What fascinates me the most is the unknown…. There is just so much to learn!”
“The best thing about this work is that we probably changed one or two lives today,” said Fred Kemmerer. “The biggest takeaway from this momentous day; always to reach for the stars.”
The following day, Bob Hines tweeted the following message from the ISS:
The BIG E Space Chat team consisted, in part, of:
- ARRL New England Division Director Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC
- New England Sci-Tech member Barbara Irby, KC1KGS
- Assistant Director Anita Kemmerer, AB1QB
- Western MA Section Manager Ray Lajoie, AA1SE
- New England Sci-Tech President Bob Phinney, K5TEC
- Vice Director Phil Temples, K9HI
Third-parties involved in making the effort a success included: the production company Black Helicopter, Limited; the BIG E Marketing team, and Eastern States Exposition CEO Gene Cassidy; NASA; and Amateur Radio on the International Space Station.
Several ARRL Headquarters staff from Newington, Connecticut attended the event including: ARRL CEO David Minster, NA2AA; Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1W, Director of Public Relations and Innovation; and Steve Goodgame, K5ATA, ARRL Education and Learning Manager.
At the conclusion of the contact, the youths were presented with certificates confirming their contact with Bob Hines aboard the ISS, signed by David Minster, NA2AA; Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC; and Bob Phinney, K5TEC.
Along with “Space Chat,” NESci-Tech is conducting a 12-month educational space science program that includes:
- Amateur Radio License Course
- Model Rocketry workshops
- Air-Powered Rocketry
- Introduction to Basic Electronics
- Introduction to Arduinos Electronics
- Public Telescope Nights
- Morse Code Introduction
- Elementary Mathematics for Modeling Rocket Flight
You can learn more about New England Sci-Tech’s educational space science program by visiting their website.
A recording of the pre-contact show and ARISS space station contact can be viewed on the NESci-Tech YouTube channel at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdxnD8uF8t0.
Rob Macedo, KD1CY, writes on the SKYWARN_Announce list:
The Amateur Radio VoIP Hurricane Net and Hurricane Watch Net will be active for Major Hurricane Ian and impacts on Florida. Details on their net activation plans can be seen at the following links:
VoIP Hurricane Net:
Hurricane Watch Net:
For any SKYWARN Spotters and Amateur Radio Operators in our region who may have friends and family in the affected area and have the ability to provide surface weather or damage reports, pictures and videos, reports can be provided over these nets with pictures and videos provided to WX1BOX Facebook and Twitter feeds or to the email address email@example.com
We hope everyone in the affected area of Florida stays safe as major Hurricane Ian approaches.
Robert Macedo (KD1CY)
ARES SKYWARN Coordinator
Eastern Massachusetts ARES Section Emergency Coordinator
Home Phone #: (508) 994-1875
Home/Data #: (508) 997-4503
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) – Thirteen New England students will make live radio contact with Astronaut Bob Hines on the International Space Station as it orbiting 260 miles above the earth on Tuesday at The Big E.
Fred Kemmerer, director of the New England division of the American Radio Relay League and Amateur Radio on the International Space Station mentor, spoke to Western Mass News about the out-of-this-world experience and how other fairgoers can experience the event. [video]
Dave Tipping, NZ1J, writes on the ctfoxhunter list on September 24, 2022:
We’ll have a live Fox Hunt on Sunday (September 25, 2022) from 9:30 am until 11:00 am. The transmitters will be hidden within 3.2 miles of the Wallingford Senior Center (238 Washington St, Wallingford). This will be a 32 square mile search area; our usual hunts cover 40 square miles. The search area will be a perfect circle.
We’ll be using these three frequencies:
There will be a 2 watt signal continuously on 146.565 MHz. It will make a short beep every three seconds and will ID in Morse Code every minute.
The 10 mW transmitter is on 147.475 MHz and will beep every three seconds and will ID in Morse Code every minute.
The 1 mW transmitter is on 146.290 MHz and beeps every three seconds.
There is no central starting location. Other Fox Hunters can be contacted on the W1NRG repeater 147.360 with PL 162.2
It was a rainy day to be at the Big E but four of the Barnstable’s (Cape Cod) club members enjoyed their day of meeting with the public and operating FT-8 via Remote Ham Radio and 70 cm FM on the D-Star HT and Icom transceiver. It helped that 10 meters and 15 meters were open and stations from Indonesia to Saudi Arabia and all over Europe got into the log.
Larry, W1AST, was there to greet us in the AM and got us started. Many thanks go out to Larry and his support team for organizing the amateur radio demonstration booth at the event.
Amateur radio at the Big E will also host the “Space Chat” the afternoon of 9/27 with hams and their families getting in free that day (bring a copy of your license).
On September 25, [the Greater Bridgeport Amateur Radio Club] is hosting its annual picnic at Putnam Memorial Park in Bethel, CT. Putnam Memorial Park is a state park so along with conducting our business meeting, we’ll be activating park K-1707. Members, family, and friends are invited.
We will have radios setup for the activation. If you would like to bring yours, you are welcome to. Activating a park is a lot of fun and a great learning opportunity. Those who are unlicensed and wish to operate will have an opportunity to get on the air!
While there are picnic tables, it would be a good idea to bring a chair.
We’ll provide sandwiches from a local deli. Snacks, and water will be provided.
Activation: Noon until we wrap up
153 Putnam Park Road
Bethel, CT 06801
Coming from the Fairfield area and Route 15.
Take exit 44 and head north on route 58 (Black Rock Turnpike)
Continue on 58 North for about 12.5 miles and the entrance will be on the right just past the pond.
Putnam Memorial Park is split by route 58 and the signs will lead you to the west side of the park (visitors center and museam), simply continue north for another quarter mile and you’ll see the pond on the right. Attached is a map and entrance photos.
We’ll listen to simplex – 146.52 as it is unlikely you’ll be able to hit our repeater while en route.
We hope to see you there!
– GBARC Officers
The Wireless Society of Southern Maine is sponsoring the Maine QSO Party to “encourage Maine stations to expand their knowledge of DX propagation on the HF and MF bands, improve their operating skills, and improve station capability by creating a competition in which W/VE, and DX stations have the incentive to work Maine.”
Contest Period: 1200 UTC Saturday, September 24 to 1200 UTC Sunday, September 25, 2022.
Full details can be found at http://www.ws1sm.com/MEQP.html.
In the ARRL Puerto Rico Section, Public Information Coordinator (PIC) Angel L. Santana-Diaz, WP3GW, who lives in Trujillo Alto, reported a widespread blackout as the hurricane made landfall on the island. Still, he explained, there were ham radio repeaters that remained on the air with amateurs sharing reports of damage, including downed trees and power poles, and roofs ripped from homes. ARRL Member Pedro S. Labayen, KP4DKE, of Utuado, was mentioned in a Miami Herald article for reporting the significant damage to his rural and mountainous region of the island.
The NHC has issued advisories for Hurricane Fiona and Tropical Storm Gaston. Marine warnings are also in effect for the Caribbean and the Southwest Atlantic. As of 2:00 PM EDT (1800 UTC) on Thursday, September 22, the NHC reported that Hurricane Fiona is forecast to pass just west of Bermuda by late Thursday evening, approach Nova Scotia on Friday, and move across Nova Scotia and into the Gulf of St. Lawrence on Saturday. Fiona is a category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 130 mph (215 km/h) with higher gusts.
In advance of the hurricane, the Radio Society of Bermuda activated their Emergency Measures Organization (EMO) on Wednesday, September 21, at 1:43 PM ET and plans to have 14 active amateurs monitoring the hurricane network. Plans are to use local repeaters, unless there’s a power loss, then they’ll switch to simplex. They’re currently monitoring 14.283 MHz and will continue to monitor that frequency.
The HWN will be activated on Thursday, September 22, at 5:00 PM EDT/AST (2100 UTC) on the primary frequency of 14.325 MHz. Activation for the 40-meter net on 7.268 MHz will be at 7:00 PM EDT/AST (2300 UTC). The net will be on 20 meters for as long as propagation will allow and will remain active on 40 meters until it’s no longer required, or propagation goes away.
However, should Hurricane Fiona make direct landfall, operations will resume on Friday, September 23, at 9:00 AM EDT/AST (1300 UTC) to assist with post-storm reports and any outgoing health and welfare traffic, which would be directed toward SATERN.
HWN Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, offered some suggestions for amateur radio operators contacting the net.
“We look for reporting stations that can provide us with any measured or estimated weather information that we can relay directly to the forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Such weather information we look for is maximum sustained winds, wind gusts, wind direction, barometric pressure, and rainfall amount — how much over x-amount of time, storm surge, and damage,” Graves said. “Also, should you have any outgoing health and welfare traffic before, during, or after this event, we are happy to assist as we work closely with the Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network.”
Graves also said, as a reminder, the HWN is available to provide backup communications to official agencies, such as Emergency Operations Centers, American Red Cross officials, and storm shelters in the affected area. They also collect and forward significant damage assessment data to government and non-government officials.
Amateur radio operators who want to monitor or participate in the hurricane nets should visit these two useful and informative links:
Special thanks to HWN Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, and ARRL PIC Angel L. Santana-Diaz, WP3GW for information in this article.
From The Berlin (NH) Sun Online:
GORHAM — At the end of August, when cyclists gathered at the Mt. Washington Auto Road to race to the summit of the Northeast’s highest peak, a group of amateur radio enthusiasts also brought their skills to the mountain to assist with communications during the race and sharpen their emergency radio skills.
Radio operators from New Hampshire and New England Amateur Radio Clubs took park at the 49th annual Mount Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb on Aug. 20, sponsored by the Tin Mountain Conservation Center of Jackson.
They were joined by members from Central New Hampshire, Mount Washington Valley, Vermont and Massachusetts Amateur Radio Emergency Service units. [Full story]