Project Big E

Introduction

Project Big E is a 17-day amateur radio exhibit to be held at the 2022 Big E from September 16-October 3, 2022 in West Springfield, Massachusetts. Western Massachusetts ARRL Affiliated Club Coordinator and Hampden County Radio Association president Larry Krainson, W1AST, is the Project Big E General Chairman.

History

Big E Cover Photo

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. [Wikipedia.org]

2022 Big E Special and State Days

Friday, Sept. 16 Military Appreciation Day • Be A Kid For A Day
Saturday, Sept. 17 Maine Day • 4-H/FFA Day
Sunday, Sept. 18 Storrowton Day
Monday, Sept. 19 Salute to West Springfield
Tuesday, Sept. 20 Rhode Island Day • Salute to Holyoke
Wednesday, Sept. 21 Connecticut Day
Thursday, Sept. 22 Massachusetts Day
Friday, Sept. 23 New Hampshire Day
Saturday, Sept. 24 Vermont Day
Sunday, Sept. 25 Grange Day • Chocolate Milk Day
Monday, Sept. 26 Salute to Springfield
Tuesday, Sept. 27 Salute to Chicopee
Wednesday, Sept. 28 Salute to Agawam
Thursday, Sept. 29 Salute to Westfield
Friday, Sept. 30 Harvest New England Day
Saturday, Oct. 1 October Fun Day
Sunday, Oct. 2 Salute to Special Olympics

2022 Project Big E

Planning for Project Big E (the Amateur Radio event) began in 2021 by Larry Krainson, W1AST; members of the Hampden County Radio Association; and other interested individuals. They envisioned a ham radio booth that would demonstrate the many aspects of modern ham radio, and provide an avenue for people to sign up for information and courses in their local area. According to W1AST, “If just one-tenth of one percent of attendees sign up for ham classes, that would be 1,600 names to distribute to all New England clubs. We would all benefit and grow ham radio.”

Some of the Project’s ideas include:

  • an EmComm display
  • DMR and/or other digital mobile mode demo
  • Digital HF modes on a big screen
  • A special event station (N1E) with unique QSL cards
  • SSB, CW and digital modes
  • Demonstrations of portable stations for field operation (i.e., Parks On The Air, Summits On The Air)
  • Highlight youth in ham radio

W1AST hopes that volunteers from different states’ radio clubs will staff the booth during State Days and Theme Days

Project Big E has managed to secure a great location for the booth in the Better Living Center at the end of an isle near the restrooms. This will no doubt result in a large number of pedestrians walking by the booth.

Special Event Station N1E

Project Big E and the Hampden County Radio Association (W1NY) has requisitioned the 1×1 special event callsign “N1E” for use during the 17-day event. 

Live ARISS Contact

ARISS Contact at the Big E slideOn April 24, 2022, Project Big E received exciting news: an application from New England Sci-Tech (Natick, MA) President Bob Phinney, K5TEC, to conduct an ARISS project with home-schooled youth throughout New England and host a live ARISS (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station) contact at the Big E was officially approved by ARISS. ARRL New England Division Director Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC, will act as the official ARISS Technical Mentor.

According to ARISS-US delegate Rosalie White, K1STO, “All ARISS executives have agreed that there are many positives for supporting this ARISS contact. Many schools aren’t settled enough into their new school year [in September] to want to do ARISS contacts.  The Big E gets approximately 60,000 visitors a day–twice that on weekends. [New England Sci-Tech] knows how to work with youth, provide a STEM education program for home school students, and generate publicity. The group promises to highlight ARISS’s sponsors and what Amateur Radio does to promote STEM and STEAM learning.”

 

How Can I Help?

Big E Recruitment Flyer

Such an undertaking can only succeed if there is a sufficient number of volunteers and radio clubs who agree to participate in the event.  A special Groups.io mailing list group has been established to promote exchange of dialogue and ideas for the event. To join, send an email to ProjectBigE+subscribe@groups.io

Please mention Project Big E to your ham friends and fellow radio club members. Discuss it on your club nets.  Send this press release to your club newsletter editor or webmaster.

To volunteer for specific days/hours, go to the special Google form signup sheet and register.

Watch this space: <https://nediv.arrl.org/ProjectBigE> and the groups.io list for additional information and updates.