Preparations Continue As the Start of Project BIG E Approaches

With just two days left before the start of The BIG E fair in West Springfield, MA, Amateur Radio preparations for Project BIG E have kicked into high gear.

The combined ham radio booth and ARISS space contact depend on the efforts of many Amateur Radio volunteers drawn from across New England and Eastern New York. The booth alone will be staffed twelve hours every day from September 16 until October 2. With two shifts of four hams per day, that’s over 800 person-hours.

“I’m happy to report as of the morning of September 13 we are fully staffed,” according Project BIG E Coordinator Larry Krainson, W1AST. Krainson is also President of the Hampden County Radio Association, one of the booth’s primary sponsors.

Larry Krainson has been coordinating weekly Zoom calls with other volunteers since June to plan the layout of the booth and coordinate the many moving parts involved with this ambitious project. Western MA ARRL Section Manager Ray Lajoie, AA1SE, is providing much assistance with the booth setup. 

Project BIG E Sponsor and Club Recognition


The BIG E Space Chat is an ARISS contact that will take place in The BIG E Arena in the September 27-29 timeframe. The exact date and time won’t be known until a decision is made by NASA approximately a week before the event. 

A number of other organizations—both local as well as international—will play critical roles in ensuring a successful contact with the International Space Station from The BIG E venue.

BIG E Space Chat partners


ARISS Mentor Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC, is providing overall coordination between ARISS and the science education program component provided by New England Sci-Tech in Natick, MA. Ray Lajoie, AA1SE, is responsible for pre-contact programming as well as the stage audio-video setup at The BIG E Arena, a performance venue that can accommodate up to 3,000 people with additional capacity for folks to stand. The covered stage is 40- by 80 feet  with arena grade public address and video displays.

A 45-minute pre-contact program will feature inspirational videos about the ISS, space, and previous contacts; introductory remarks from Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC, ARISS Mentor; Gene Cassidy, CEO of the Eastern States Exposition; David Minster, NA2AA, ARRL CEO; and Bob Phinney K5TEC, President of New England Sci-Tech.

Phil Temples, K9HI, and Barbara Irby, KC1KGS, are involved with the Amateur Radio promotion for the event.  Phil and Barbara are working with The BIG E marketing team to coordinate web content, press releases, and plans for radio and television interviews of the space station contact. 

Amateur Radio operators who present a valid FCC license at the gate will be granted free admission along with three of their guests on the day of the space station contact. It’s hoped that hundreds of amateurs will turn out to witness the lucky dozen students as they make a once-in-a-lifetime contact with an astronaut in space.


Youth at New England Sci-TechYouth at New England Sci-TechPerhaps the most important component of The BIG E Space Chat is Bob Phinney’s STEM learning and makerspace center, New England Sci-Tech (NEST), in Natick, MA.

NEST is providing a world-class STEM learning experience for students across New England—including the dozen or so lucky youths who have been selected to participate in The BIG E Space Chat. 

In-person and virtual activities are being conducted over a 12-month period. They include:

• Building and launching a beginner level model rocket
• Building and launching air-powered rockets and planes
• Earning an FCC amateur radio Technician license
• Participating in a basic electronics course
• Participating in Public Telescope Nights
• A field trip program that introduces real-world science
• Participation in space science educational activities at the BIG E
• Participation in an optional Cubes-in-Space® Program that will introduce students to real-world science

The Big E, formerly known as The Eastern States Exposition, is billed as “New England’s Great State Fair.” It is the largest agricultural event on the eastern seaboard and the sixth-largest fair in the nation. In 2021, the Big E had 1.5 million visitors, and over 1.6 million visitors in 2019.

ARRL Board of Directors Meeting, July 15-16, 2022

From the ARRL Facebook page:

The ARRL Board of Directors gathered for its Second Annual Meeting on July 15 – 16, 2022, in Windsor, Connecticut. Read more about the highlights from the meeting here:

This photo shows roughly one-third of the attendees. Front row, L-R Dir. Jairam, Dir. Zygielbaum, Dir. Kemmerer, Dir. Ritz, Dir. Mcintyre, Dir. Boehner. Back row, L-R VD Vizcarrondo, VD Propper, VD Temples, VD Tharp, VD Marcin, and VD Morine.


N1ILZ To Become Eastern MA Section Manager Effective January 1, 2023

ARRL logovia

Tom Walsh, K1TW, writes:

I am very pleased to add my congratulations to Jon Mc Combie, N1ILZ

ARRL announced [on September 9] that Jon, N1ILZ, will assume the role of ARRL Section Manager for Eastern Massachusetts beginning January 1.  There should be a formal announcement from ARRL in the coming few days.

Jon brings a great enthusiasm and level of experience to the job, and I couldn’t be happier than to leave Jon at the helm when my term ends in just a few months.  Please join me in wishing Jon great success.  

I will of course help Jon through the transition so he will be ready.  Give him great support.  

I thank you all for the support I received the last eight years.


Tom K1TW

Merrimack Valley Amateur Radio Association

Jay Taft K1EHZ writes:


I write to introduce a new organization intended to support ARES®-related activities.

ARES® is a program of the ARRL®. It is not an entity that can own property or collect and spend money.

For these reasons many ARES® groups around the country started clubs that can own property and transact business to support ARES® activities.  Hillsborough County and Greater Manchester NH ARES® leaders have formed such a club.

Merrimack Valley Amateur Radio Association, callsign N1MVA, is a New Hampshire nonprofit charitable corporation. We are also applying to the IRS for 501(c)3 status.

Our main goals are

  • enhancing emergency communication infrastructure through fundraising
  • developing operator communication skills by supporting community events.

For example, a current MVARA project is a collaboration with the New England Digital Emergency Communications Network to connect two DMR repeaters with microwave links, as backup for internet connections, making DMR more resilient for emergency communications. This is a pilot project to demonstrate proof-of-concept before applying for funding for a larger deployment.

We also hope to expand the small microwave network among served agencies in Manchester, NH to Nashua and Concord. External funding for this project would also be the subject of an grant proposal.

We seek members interested in these kinds of activities.  Applicants need not be ARES® members nor reside in New Hampshire’s Merrimack Valley Region. ARRL® membership is encouraged so we can become an ARRL® affiliate club.

Those who join MVARA by December 31, 2022 will be designated Charter Members.

The membership application can be found on our website –

Questions or comments may be directed to me at


Newport County (RI) Radio Club Mentors New Hams Where They Are to Help Them

Nancy Austin, KC1NEK, writes:

photo of KC1RJK and KC1RJD
Nolan, KC1RJK, and Pat, KC1RJD, supported one another studying for the Technician exam to bring
resilient communication to Prudence Island, RI. They passed with flying colors at a NCRC VE-session on
June 4, 2022.

The Newport County (RI) Radio Club mentors new hams where they are to help them bridge that critical gap between getting licensed and joining a first net. (Sometimes, it even requires a boat!) On Friday, the NCRC and RI ham community gathered together to help new hams on Prudence Island get comfortable on the air. Over the weekend, this inspiring effort helped this Ocean State club’s 2m nets grow with enthusiasm to record levels – and the women are now set to operate with confidence. Amateur radio is a welcoming Social Media, a Technical hobby, and a key form of resilient communication.

Prudence Island, Rhode Island is a strategically-located island in Narragansett Bay not accessible by any bridge. It’s the kind of place where, for example, today a sailboat is racing the ferry that runs periodically to Bristol, RI. It has a small-year round community and earlier this year two growth-mindset long-time residents, Patricia Strong, KC1RJD, and Nolan Byrne, KC1RJK, decided to study with the NCRC on-line education training given by Bob Beatty WB4SON – and plunge ahead to take their Technician exam. Their mission was to get on the air and bring resilient communication to their island. And yes, they could do it! With no technical background, but plenty of can-do attitude, these two older women took the ferry to the mainland and passed their exams on June 4th with flying colors. (See pre-exam photo.) The club provides new members with radios and the women took part in Field Day this June. So far, so good.

But then, like many new operators, they ran into speed bump issues around antennas, net etiquette, and basic comfort around using an HT on a daily basis. What to do? As the summer wrapped up, NCRC-VP Paul Fredette, K1YBE, reached out to fellow antenna and mesh mentors in the club, as well as club member Ray Perry, KC1IPC, at the Portsmouth Emergency Operation Center. How could we collaborate to help Pat, KC1RFD, and Nolan, KC1RJK, get the mentoring they need to really get on the air? Prudence Island is technically a part of Portsmouth, and so arrangements were made for a team to visit these new hams at their respective island QTHs and install appropriate antennas, test mesh equipment, and then help Pat and Nolan get comfortable contacting club members across the water.

Everything was a huge success! The new hams had a mentor at their side as they practiced making contact with stations using the NCRC’s W1SYE Repeater. Since hurricane season is upon here, a test was also made on Simplex. The women were able to easily contact other nearby club women across the Bay, as well as getting strong signal reports across the entire state: from Carl, KC1NAM, in Tiverton, to Dan, KB1RON, in West Greenwich, to Steve, WA1GVM, in Coventry, to Ted, KC1NEU, near Providence. This mentoring session was a game changer. The new hams have rejoiced at the support they received from so many, and felt empowered to join the NCRC nets that night and over the weekend. Mostly, they appreciate the welcoming, nonjudgemental community support that met them where they were—figuratively and literally. As they say, it takes a Village!


Nancy Austin, KC1NEK
President Newport County Radio Club (founded 1945, ARRL chartered 1949)



On Friday September 2, 2022 a team from the Newport County (RI) radio Club (with support from Ray Perry,KC1IPC, at the Portsmouth, RI Emergency Operation Center) took the boat to Prudence Island to install antennas at various QTH, test future mesh capabilities, and mentor new hams Nolan, KC1RJK, and Pa,t KC1RJD, on how to join a 2m net, call CQ, and move between the W1SYE repeater and the National Calling frequency on Simplex as needed. [Trip photos courtesy of Keith Henry, KC1LPV]

JOTA event upcoming Oct 15, 2022 9-4pm



Volunteers Needed!
– YOU make it HAPPEN

Where:   West Redding  (just south of Danbury, off Rte. 7)
When:     Saturday – Oct. 15, 2022
Hours:     9 am – 4 pm  (Lunch break: 11:30 am – 1 pm)

Each year more than a million Scouts and Guides “get together” over the airwaves for the annual Jamboree-on-the-Air (JOTA).
On average, worldwide Scouting participation includes 1.1 million Boy Scouts and 200,000 Girl Guides/Gils Scouts, for a total participation of over 1.3 million–the largest Scouting event in the world.

Fall 2022 Camporee Theme:  ” MISSION POSSIBLE ”
Designed as a “Mission Possible” Spy Theme weekend.
–  If you live by the Scout Law/Oath, then any challenge is “Possible!”

This theme gives us a natural “Tie-In” to their event, and is a great way to SHARE THE MAGIC of Amateur Radio with about 150 scouts. Here they get to learn a little bit about RADIO, and get the opportunity to have a QSO “ON-THE-AIR” with other Scouts: Locally, Regionally, and Internationally.

JOTA is just FIVE WEEKS Away!
We are looking to put together a TEAM of 6 Hams to bring the JOTA experience to about 150 Scouts for this one-day event.

This JOTA Team will need to bring:
–  ONE  (or 2) complete portable HF Radio Station(s)
–  TWO complete portable/mobile VHF/UHF Radios Stations (with Mast and Antenna)
–  Off-Grid Power Supplies (To Be Confirmed)


DON’T “REPLY” to this email.

INSTEAD, Please Contact me, ASAP at

73, Douglas Sharafanowich – WA1SFH
ARRL Section Youth Coordinator, CT Section
cell: 203-494-3885

KM1P Featured in ARRL Letter Article about OMOTENASHI

Boston amateur and AMSAT member Joe Fitzgerald, KM1P, is mentioned in the September 8, 2022 issue of The ARRL Letter. He describes a tool called JPL Horizons, an online solar system data and computation service that provides access to key solar system data for solar system objects such as asteroids, planetary satellites, planets, the Sun, and select spacecraft:

From The ARRL Letter:

When NASA’s Artemis I rocket launches for its mission to the moon this month, you’ll be able to track it using 70-centimeter beacons known as Outstanding MOon exploration TEchnologies demonstrated by NAno Semi-Hard Impactors (OMOTENASHIs).

Omotenashi is Japanese for welcome or hospitality, and it describes the 70-centimeter beacons as small spacecraft and semi-hard landers of the 6U CubeSat format which will demonstrate low-cost technology to land and explore the lunar surface. OMOTENASHI will be one of 10 CubeSats to be carried with the Artemis I mission.

Brian Wilkins, KO4AQF, says that with the Artemis Real-time Orbit Website (AROW), anyone with internet access can pinpoint where Orion is and track its distance from the Earth, its distance from the moon, the mission duration, and more. AROW is available on NASA’s website and Twitter account. AROW visualizes data collected by sensors on Orion that are sent to the Johnson Space Center’s Mission Control Center in Houston during its flight. It will provide periodic real-time data beginning about 1 minute after liftoff through the separation of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket’s Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage, approximately 2 hours into flight.

Once Orion is flying on its own, AROW will provide constant real-time information. On the web, users can follow AROW to see where Orion is in relation to the Earth and the moon, and follow Orion’s path during the mission. Users can view key mission milestones and characteristics on the moon, including information about landing sites from the Apollo program. Also available for download will be an ephemeris, which provides trajectory data from the flight.

AROW will also provide a set of Orion’s state vectors — data that describes precisely where Orion is in space and how it moves — for inclusion in these tweets once Orion is flying on its own. These vectors can be used for data lovers, artists, and creatives to make their own tracking app, data visualization, or anything else they envision. For more information, read

AMSAT member Joe Fitzgerald, KM1P, adds a second online tool, called Horizons. The JPL Horizons online solar system data and computation service provides access to key solar system data and flexible production of highly accurate locations for solar system objects such as asteroids, planetary satellites, planets, the Sun, and select spacecraft. Horizons is provided by the Solar System Dynamics Group of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Fitzgerald says to use “OMOTENASHI” as the Target Body. You can find information and the online app at

Thanks to Brian Wilkins, KO4AQF; Joe Fitzgerald, KM1P; NASA; JPL Horizons, and AMSAT.

Fox Hunt, Manchester CT Vicinity, September 8, 2022

Paul Gipson, N1TUP, writes on the ctfoxhunter list:
Greetings Fox Hunters,
Fox #1 has been deployed, as 2 pm today, September 8, 2022.
Fox #1 
At its new location, the fox is running the usual 2 watts into a 18 inch antenna. Since there is no starting place for finding the hidden transmitter, all you can do is while going about your travels, periodically try to activate the hidden transmitter. Your first try may be from home. You do this by going on the 2 meter simplex frequency of 146.550 MHz (PL 88.5 MHz), key your transmitter, ID and then send a DTMF “1”. If the FoxBox can hear you and you can hear it, you will hear its very distinctive sound. It will transmit for 30 seconds, ID and then go back to sleep. You can make it transmit as often as necessary to find it.

Once someone has been able to bring it up and hear it, please report that information to the other fox hunters. Feel free to reply to the group. Do not reveal its location, just a location (and direction if possible) from which you are able to hear it. This then becomes a starting point for the other fox hunters to use.

You do not actually have to touch the box to claim finding it. Eye ball contact is sufficient. It is located less than 500 feet from a
safe parking location.

In this case the fox is less than 50 feet from a parking area. If you exceed this distance you are finding it the hard way.

Good luck,

Paul, N1TUP

NN1C Takes Top Honors in CQ WPX SSB

Larry Banks, W1DYJ, writes:

The results of the CW WPX SSB contest were just published.  Congratulations to Marty, NN1C; he operated from KC1XX in the Single Operator All Band High Power category: a score of 15,170,455.  Here are his “places”:

  • #4 in the World
  • #1 in the USA
  • Highest world score in the Youth Overlay  (<25 years old.)

To quote the article in CQ magazine: “In addition to achieving the top SO HP score in the USA, contest prodigy NN1C — using the call KC1XX — dominated the youth overlay.

73 / Larry / W1DYJ

NEDECN and Merrimack Valley Mesh Network Pilot

The New England Digital Emergency Communications Network (NEDECN) operates an extensive system of DMR repeaters connected through the commercial internet.  Some sites utilize mesh network nodes for repeater control and monitoring.

Bill Barber, NE1B and Jay Taft, K1EHZ are working on a pilot to interconnect 5.8 GHz mesh nodes between the Merrimack Valley mesh network and NEDECN mesh nodes in NH to demonstrate that use of NEDECN sites provides an effective way to expand both networks with the following benefits:

  1.  Enhanced remote site visual and spectral monitoring
  2.  Expanded network footprint for increased reliability
  3.  Better backup of internet connections between NEDECN repeaters
  4.  Potential high site paths to connect geographically separate mesh networks.

The first pilot is expected to be performed in September/October 2022. 

Categories All