Housatonic Amateur Radio Club Balloon Test “Highly Successful”

Members of the Housatonic Amateur Radio Club, Stratford CT, Dr. J. Pallis, KC1MHU, Gary Moyher, WE1M, and Larry Reed, AB1JC, along with University of Bridgeport and University of New Haven faculty and graduate students met at the University of Bridgeport’s Marina Park on September 22, 2023. There they put together the components of a balloon they will launch in Texas next month during the annular solar eclipse as part of NASA and Connecticut Space Grant Consortium’s 2023/2024 Solar Eclipse STEM projects. Here they tested the equipment with a tethered balloon full of helium.

It is estimated the balloon reached several hundred feet, which was sufficient to test the balloon, ground station, and the connections to University of Montana. The students practiced on the actual hardware they will use next month. All worked well, all was recovered and data was captured. This was a highly successful test. Students, university faculty and club members will fly to Texas next month to launch this payload during the annular solar eclipse and again fly to Texas in April, 2024, to launch another payload for the full Solar Eclipse.

ARISS Proposal Window Opens, October 1—November 10, 2023

ARISS logoARISS News Release No. 23-47

Dave Jordan, AA4KN

Message to US Educators
Amateur Radio on the International Space Station Contact Opportunity
Call for Proposals

New Proposal Window: October 1 – November 10, 2023

September 25, 2023 — The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) Program is seeking formal and informal education institutions and organizations, individually or working together, to host an Amateur Radio contact with a crew member on board the ISS. ARISS anticipates that the contact would be held between July 1, 2024 and December 31, 2024. Crew scheduling and ISS orbits will determine the exact contact dates. To maximize these radio contact opportunities, ARISS is looking for organizations that will draw large numbers of participants and integrate the contact into a well-developed education plan.

The deadline to submit a proposal is November 10, 2023. Proposal information and more details such as expectations, proposal guidelines and the proposal form can be found at www.ariss.org. An ARISS Proposal Webinar session will be held October 5 2023 at 7 PM ET and the Eventbrite link to sign up is: https://ariss-proposal-webinar-fall-2023.eventbrite.com

The Opportunity:

Crew members aboard the International Space Station will participate in scheduled Amateur Radio contacts. These radio contacts are approximately 10 minutes in length and allow students to interact with the astronauts through a question-and-answer session.

An ARISS contact is a voice-only communication opportunity via Amateur Radio between astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the space station and classrooms and their communities. ARISS contacts afford education audiences the chance to learn firsthand from astronauts what it is like to live and work in space and to learn about space research conducted on the ISS. Students also have an opportunity to learn about satellite communication, wireless technology, and radio science. Because of the nature of human spaceflight and the complexity of scheduling activities aboard the ISS, organizations must demonstrate flexibility to accommodate changes in dates and times of the radio contact.

Please direct any questions to education@ariss-usa.org.

About ARISS:

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) is a cooperative venture of international amateur radio societies and the space agencies that support the International Space Station (ISS). In the United States, sponsors are the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC), Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT), NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation program (SCaN) and the ISS National Lab—Space Station Explorers. The primary goal of ARISS is to promote exploration of science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics topics. ARISS does this by organizing scheduled contacts via amateur radio between crew members aboard the ISS and students. Before and during these radio contacts, students, educators, parents, and communities take part in hands-on learning activities tied to space, space technologies, and amateur radio. For more information, see http://www.ariss.org.

Find us on social media at:

X – Twitter: ARISS_Intl
Facebook: facebook.com/ARISSIntl
Instagram: ariss_intl
Mastodon: ariss_intl@mastodon.hams.social
Check out ARISS on Youtube.com.


Simon Golob, N1URAAn excited Simon Golob, N1URA, poses with New England Division Director Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC, and ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, at the recent New England Division Convention in Marlboro, Massachusetts. 

Nine-year-old Simon is the “harmonic” of Maine Assistant Section Manager Cory Golob, KU1U.

-KU1U photo

Minecraft Ham Radio Mod Unveiled at HamXposition

Minecraft imageThe Minecraft ham radio mod “RadioCraft” will be introduced at the 2023 Northeast HamXposition / ARRL New England Division Convention in Marlboro, MA, on August 25-27, 2023.

RadioCraft will enable simulation of ham radio in the Minecraft game. Game players will be able to build and operate a variety of radios on HF and VHF, with customizable antennas, and realistic simulations of propagation, QRM and QRN, diurnal solar effects, and band conditions. Eventually the project hopes to simulate the full range of ham radio activities including phone, CW, APRS, VHF repeaters, and even fox hunting.

“There will be a continuous demonstration in the convention center lobby,” writes PART of Westford President George Allison, K1IG. “At 11:00 AM on Saturday we’ll have a one-hour presentation by Lucas (W1BTR) and me in the Sterling [“W2″] Room. The presentation will include a live demo of the program, and we’ll talk about how the mod could affect the growth of ham radio.”

If successful, the RadioCraft project could potentially introduce Amateur Radio to millions of young gamers. Every convention-goer is strongly encouraged to attend the presentation and see what the RadioCraft project has accomplished.

“Our goal is to use this simulation to introduce ham radio to the world-wide Minecraft gaming community and then get them licensed so they can participate in the real-world hobby.”

For more information, visit http://wb1gof.org/RadioCraft/.

HABGab and StratoScience Balloon Launch, Natick MA, July 2023

Seth Kendall, KC1PZY, writes on July 22, 2023 at 6:27 AM:

HABGab 2023 is officially on for today.  We will be launching from:

Tantasqua Vocational Regional High School

319 Brookfield Rd, Fiskdale, MA 01518

Frequencies, tracking information, updated countdown, etc:

We will be starting on site set up at 9am.  Launch scheduled for 1pm.  We’d love to see you there or hear you on the air!

HABGab banner
From ema.arrl.org:
Seth Kendall, KC1PZY, writes:
Enjoy making rare contacts and participating in experimental projects?  The New England Weather Balloon Society, in partnership with the Sci-Tech Amateur Radio Society, is launching a special event high altitude balloon (HAB) repeater this July in Eastern Massachusetts. 
We would like to welcome all amateur radio operators in New England to participate in this experimental flight by calling into the repeater as it flies over 30 km high.  We will be issuing QSL cards to all confirmed contacts.
This flight will also be transmitting live video from the payload on 1.2 GHz, and live streaming to YouTube from our ground station at New England Sci-Tech.

Also traveling onboard will be a number of student projects by members of the StratoScience Lab class at New England Sci-Tech and BFCCPS school in Franklin, MA.

Please be aware that the date of the event is highly dependent on weather and readiness, so make sure to regularly check the HABGab Launch Page for up to date information about the date and instructions for making contact: https://nescitech.org/habgab.


Director’s Update for 1Q-2023

The first quarter of 2023 has kept me busy on a variety of fronts. The following are a few things that I hope you’ll be interested in hearing and learning more about.

January 2023 Board Meeting

The January ARRL Board Meeting was one of the most productive in recent memory. In addition to approving the 2023 ARRL budget, the board passed over 15 motions many of which initiated programs and activities to benefit ARRL members. The following two slides summarize the actions taken by the board in January –

January 2023 ARRL Board Meeting Highlights
January 2023 ARRL Board Meeting Highlights
January 2023 ARRL Board Meeting Highlights Continued
January 2023 ARRL Board Meeting Highlights Continued

You can view the notes from the meeting here. I am particularly happy and excited to see the new ham development initiative moving forward.

Year of the Volunteer

The ARRL is fortunate to be supported by over 7,000 volunteers! The ARRL has designated 2023 as The Year of the Volunteers. In addition to QST articles and other publications that highlight the many contributions that volunteers make to the ARRL, the league is sponsoring a year-long operating event to recognize ARRL volunteers (and to have some fun). Here’s some information about the event –

Year of the Volunteer On-Air Event
Year of the Volunteer On-Air Event

You can find more about the event and see the leaderboard here.

Hamfests, Club Meetings, and Field Day

Jerry Burns K1GUP Recognized by the ARRL at the Maine State Convention for over 50 years of service as Net Manager for the Maine Seagull Net
Jerry Burns K1GUP Recognized by the ARRL at the Maine State Convention for his 50 years+ of service as Net Manager for the Maine Seagull Net

I am continuing to attend Hamfests and Club Meetings around our Division. This is one of the areas of my work as an ARRL Director that I enjoy the most! Here are our plans for attending additional conventions and hamfests in 2023 –

Plans for NE Division Hamfests
Plans for NE Division Hamfests

We are headed off to Dayton and I am looking forward to seeing and talking with folks from New England there. We are working on our plans for visiting folks during Field Day 2023. If you like us to try to include you in our 2023 Field Day visits, please email Anita at ab1qb@arrl.net and we’ll try to get you onto our schedule.

ISS Contacts

I have continued to remain active in the ARISS program which helps schools to make contact with astronauts on the International Space Station via Amateur Radio.

Council Rock South High School ISS Contact
Council Rock South High School ISS Contact

My work with ARISS includes acting as a Ground Station to provide radio links for school contacts as well as working with schools to help them to prepare for their contacts. Most recently, I had the pleasure to work with Council Rock South H.S. in Pennsylvania to help them with their contact. It was amazing! You can watch a video of the contact here.

License Training and Mentoring

Anita and I continue to support license training and the Ham Bootcamp program which helps Hams to learn to utilize their licenses and get active in Amateur Radio. We’ve taught Technician, General, and Extra licenses classes this spring where we helped over 20 people to get licensed or upgrade to General and Extra class licenses. We are hoping to transfer these programs and more to the ARRL so that they can benefit more Hams.

6m Antennas and Operations

6m Antennas at AB1OC-AB1QB
6m Antennas at AB1OC-AB1QB

I have been able to find a little time to upgrade our station in here New Hampshire. I’ve been working on our 6m weak signal antenna systems. We’ve installed 14 new 6m antennas including three stacks and two 7-element LFA antennas. You can read more about our 6m antenna project here. We are really looking forward to the 6m Es season this year. I only need 3 more countries for DXCC on the 6m band and I am hoping to work these during the Es season. I hope to work many folks in our division on the HF bands and 6m this summer!

I hope that folks have a chance to enjoy Amateur Radio this spring and summer. Stay safe and have fun!

Best and 73,

Fred, AB1OC


Cape Cod Scout Camp Ham Station Starts Building its Antenna Field

The Barnstable Amateur Radio Club (BARC) received a grant from the ARRL to establish a ham radio station for scouts at Camp Greenough in Yarmouth on Cape Cod.  The camp hosts scouts from all over New England and BARC participates in Jamboree on the Air (JOTA) events at the camp as well as, most recently, Winter Field Day.  Donations from local businesses have amplified the value of the grant many times. These included building materials for both walls and operating desks, volunteer professional labor and even fiber-optic connectivity from Comcast.  Following removal of 18 trees, Eversource installed three poles with pulleys to suspend wire antennas on March 8.  Heavy equipment arrived in the morning with a full crew.  The poles were rigged and lifted into position once the holes were dug.  They are now ready to lift wire antennas into position, once the station build is completed and the equipment is in place. The station itself has been framed on three sides and old wiring removed.  An ADA-compliant door will be installed for station access prior to completion of the framing.  

Two operating positions , some furniture and a workbench are planned and some equipment donations have been offered, in addition to that funded by the grant.  The station will be capable of remote operation to allow on-site classroom facilities to be used for amateur radio instruction including that for the radio merit badge using live demonstrations.  BARC will relocate its satellite antenna array to the new station that will be fully HF, VHF and UHF capable.

BARC is targeting this summer for project completion.

Granite State ARA Participates in Career & Technical Education Event at Local High School

GSARA CTE Event photo #1On Thursday evening, February 2, the Granite State Amateur Radio Association participated in an inaugural event at Milford High School called Milford Applied Technology CTE.  Samantha Belcourt-Director, Jennifer DiMaria-Career Development Specialist, and Frank Xydias-engineering and STEM educator, hosted the event. U.S. Congress representative Ann Kuster participated in the opening remarks.

Approximately fifteen exhibitors, mostly local high-tech companies, community colleges, and universities, had exhibits and handouts. Also, tours of the facility were provided, including the precision machining shop, 3-D printing, and construction technology areas. Good food was offered by Windows on West Street, a student-operated restaurant that serves as a real-life course for students serving meals to the greater community two days a week.

GSARA CTE photo #2The GSARA table included an operating Icom IC-7300 HF station in a “go box” with an outdoor CrankIR portable vertical antenna and various hand-held VHF radios. Numerous hand-outs were provided by ARRL (Steve Goodgame, K5ATA, Education and Learning Manager), including Why Should You Give Amateur Radio a Try? and What Amateur Radio Can Do for Your School and Students. Students, parents, and teachers learned about our hobby and how it can initiate a passion for exciting, well-paying technical careers. GSARA provided other material.

Support for the club effort was provided by: Bill, W1WRA; Bill, KE1G; Eric, N1JUR; John, K1XF; Mike, W1EAA; Ryan, W1SNH; and Tom, AC1J.  

Barnstable ARC holds Winter Field Day at Scout Camp

The Barnstable ARC (BARC) held its first Winter Field Day (WFD) at Boy Scout Camp Greenough in Yarmouth, MA this weekend.  The Club and the Boy Scouts are working together to put a permanent amateur radio station at the camp.  As part of the close relationship being forged with scouting, BARC (W1MA) set up a 2O station in the camp and manned it around the clock with a dozen volunteers.  Since the Administration building was winterized with no heat or water, it was an ideal location for an outdoor experience including temporary heaters and bringing in water.  Although the effort was smaller than BARC’s summer Field Day, setting up the antennas and operating in cold weather gave both old timers and newer operators valuable experience.  Don, KT1OK (foreground) and Lem, W1LEM were finishing the operation on Sunday afternoon, logging a few last-minute contacts on 15 and 40 meters.

665 contacts were made on 5 bands using emergency power with stations as far away as Hawaii.  BARC is taking every opportunity to showcase amateur radio at Camp Greenough that hosts camp outs to scouts from all over Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut.

Winter Field Day continues this effort that began with Jamboree on the Air last Fall and continues with WFD and the removal of trees in preparation for Eversource to install three donated poles for the permanent radio station antenna supports.


ARISS Radio Contact is Scheduled with Students at Norwich Free Academy, Norwich CT, January 30, 2023

ARISS logoAmateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) has received schedule confirmation for an ARISS radio contact between an astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and students at the Norwich Free Academy located in Norwich, CT.  ARISS conducts 60-80 of these special amateur radio contacts each year between students around the globe and crew members with ham radio licenses aboard the ISS. 

Founded in 1854, Norwich Free Academy (NFA) is a secondary school in eastern Connecticut, with a student population of more than 2,100, and serving local communities as well as international students from China, Canada, and Finland.  

Leading up to this ARISS contact, NFA integrated an array of topics into the science curriculums for all grades. Students investigated Newtonian gravitational laws and Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion using a hands-on lab, a PhET interactive simulation, and video lessons. Students learned about the systems in place to help keep astronauts alive while living and working on the ISS; one student used NASA resources for a research project to discover how basic human needs (air, water, sleep, exercise, etc.) are met on the ISS. The NFA Amateur Radio & Engineering Club (ham radio call sign W1HLO) members and advisors installed an amateur radio satellite ground station on campus last year, thanks to a generous ARDC grant. Students in the club now get hands-on learning at the ham station for how to communicate using amateur radio satellites and how to receive weather satellite images.  

Students will ask their questions of Astronaut Josh Cassada, amateur radio call sign KI5CRH, who will use ARISS’s ISS call sign NA1SS. The downlink frequency for this contact is 145.800 MHZ and audio may be heard by listeners within the ISS footprint that also encompasses the amateur radio ground station at NFA, call sign W1HLO. Club advisors and members will establish and maintain the amateur radio operations for this ARISS connection. 

The ARISS radio contact is scheduled for January 30, 2023 at 1:55 pm EST (CT) (18:55:20UTC, 12:55 pm CST, 11:55 am MST, 10:55 am PST).  

The public is invited to watch the live stream at  https://youtu.be/pTkaCtam8m0.