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.

Mentoring and Ham Development/Youth Outreach Group Meeting December 15th


Our next meeting of the Mentoring and Ham Development and Youth Outreach Groups will be held on Thursday, December 15th from 7:00 to 8:00 pm.

Our speaker will be Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R, from the ARRL, who will speak about the Year of the Volunteers.

Contact Anita, AB1QB at ab1qb@nediv.arrl.org to get the Zoom link, or join our Groups.io group – ne-ham-dev .

Hope to see you on Thursday!

Youth On The Air Camp 2023 Application Period Now Open

Youth On The Air logoApplications are now being accepted for campers interested in attending Youth on the Air (YOTA) Camp 2023.

Licensed amateur radio operators ages 15 through 25 are encouraged to apply online at YouthOnTheAir.org. The Radio Amateurs of Canada will be the local host for the 2023 YOTA Camp. It is scheduled to take place July 16 â 21, 2023, at the Carleton University campus in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Applications will be accepted through May 31, 2023, but for the best chance at being selected, applications should be submitted by 2359 UTC on January 15, 2023.

The application process is free. However, a $100 deposit is required upon acceptance. If a camper is unable to pay the deposit, they may be able to apply for a scholarship or waiver. Camp Director, Neil Rapp, WB9VPG, said campers are responsible for their transportation to the camp location, though some assistance may be available. Travel during camp events is provided. [Full story]

Adventure at the Fort—New England Regional Scouting Jamboree a Huge Success: Cub Scouts Love Radio

The Newport County (RI) Radio Club was a strong presence at Saturday’s wildly successful Scouting Jamboree Adventure public day at historic Fort Adams (1799) in Newport, Rhode Island. Over 3000 Scouts attended this post-covid New England regional Jamboree weekend.

One of the day’s highlights was a dramatic Coast Guard helicopter to water rescue drill watched with rapt attention by the cross-generation crowds on a perfect day.

The large and active Newport (RI) County Radio Club set up multiple hands-on stations across the west side of Fort Adams facing Narragansett Bay, and NCRC volunteers spoke all day with hundreds of Scouts and adults eager to learn more about making satellite contacts, GMRS, CW, HF, and well-received demos on the principles of radio communication.

A special shout out in this post to the 5th grade Cub Scouts who rallied around NCRC Scouting Jamboree lead, John Vecoli, KC1KOO, shown below with Cub Scouts from packs across RI, including East Greenwich and Richmond. Nearby, 5th grade Cub Scouts Valerie and Ingrid from Newport’s small but vibrant coed pack were excited to hear about becoming a licensed radio operator from NCRC new hams Nolan Byrne, K1PRU, and Pat Strong, K2PRU, from Prudence Island who loved mentoring the girls on their own new radios. The future looked bright today!

Contributed by Nancy Austin, KC1NEK, NCRC (RI) club president

“What’s Your Dream? RI-MA JOTA a Success”

Photo of 2022 JOTA-JOTI patchThirty-two Scouts earned their Radio Merit Badge on this crisp fall day at collaborating Jamboree on the Air (JOTA) sites in Rhode Island at Camp Champlin and in Massachusetts at Camp Norse near the Cape. Multiple local radio clubs and Scout troops planned all year to make this a post-pandemic success. Team leads from the Newport County Radio Club (NCRC) were John Vecoli, KC1KOO; Doug Belcher, KC1NFL; and Mike Cullen, K1NPT. NCRC hams on site in RI included Jim Sendrak, KC1LYG; Henry Guzeika, W1GUZ; and Paul Fredette, K1YBE. Blackstone Valley Amateur Radio Club hams present included BVARC Club President Ken Trudel, N1RGK. The camping weekend event was a welcoming opportunity for youth to build confident self-leadership in this supportive hands-on learning community partnership between scouting and amateur radio.

As part of the Radio Merit Badge, the Scouts eagerly took turns getting on the air to talk with stations on all bands and modes. Not a shy bunch, the youth were eager to share their dreams and rag chew about overcoming challenges. Alex in 6th grade chatted on 2-meters with Mark about his dream of becoming a Disney Imagineer and exploring the secret tunnels he had read about. This sparked further conversations on air and off, including from hams who had worked on the tunnels as adult tech professionals. Everyone acknowledged Alex was someone with clear goals and the drive to follow through on his dreams. Another Scout with dyslexia was curious to hear about one ham’s son who had the same learning challenge and now worked at NASA – thanks in part to the always-curious, hands-on learning, right-size coaching that the ham community does so well. Another Scout leader asked the NCRC about following up with a VE session so a number of the new Radio Merit Badge Scouts in his troop could follow up on a new dream to achieve their own Tech license and call sign while still in high school. One 7th-grade Scout clearly had fallen in love with amateur radio, and his extended family of hams were encouraging him to get licensed soon to inherit his grandmother’s call sign! (Although maybe his mother or Scout sisters will take up that legacy first?) Stay tuned. For many youth, JOTA is a first introduction to never-imagined new pathways of belonging and exploration.

Many thanks to the whole village of radio operators who help build resilient networks for our shared future. Contributed by NCRC (RI) Club President Nancy Austin, KC1NEK.

L-R: Paul Fredette, K1YBE; Jim Sendrak, KC1LYG; Caleb using DSTAR; Henry Guzeika, W1GUZ; Mike Cullen, K1NPT; Carol; John Vecoli, KC1KOO, JOTA Team Lead.
photo of KC1LYG at NCRC JOTA
Jim Sendrak KC1LYG mentoring two of the Scouts who passed their Radio Merit Badge at Camp Champlin in RI on Saturday October 15, 2022.