JOTA Volunteers Requested in Chelmsford, October 15-17, 2021

JOTA-JOTI logoGeorge Allison, K1IG, writes on the PART of Westford email list:

The JOTA is an annual event in which Scouts and Guides all over the world connect with each other by means of amateur radio, and this year will be held October 15-17. The Scout troop in Chelmsford is interested in participating, and is looking for hams who could host a few scouts at their home station, set up a portable station at the Scouting site in Chelmsford, or organize a fox hunt. The number of Scouts is estimated at 10-15, but could be more. If you want to host just a small number of Scouts at your home station, that can be arranged. Activities conducted indoors will require masks.

If you’re interested in participating, reply directly to me (k1ig (at) arrl dot net) by September 26.

George  K1IG
PART President
WB1GOF.org

Jamboree On The Air, October 15-17, 2021

JOTA-JOTI logoFrom the JOTA-JOTI website:

JOTA-JOTI (Jamboree-on-the-Air-Jamboree-on-the-Internet) is the world’s largest digital Scout event taking place on October 15-17, 2021, on the Internet and over the airwaves. Held every year in October, the event connects millions of young people around the world for a full weekend of online activities that promote friendship and global citizenship. JOTA-JOTI enables young people and volunteers to participate in fun and engaging group activities over the Internet and amateur radio focused on developing 21st century skills through Scouting. 

JOTA-JOTI 2020 took place from 15 to 17 October. The dynamic program comprised a variety of non-formal education activities, including webinars, global campfires, talent shows, live shows, fun challenges and more through an interactive 3D campsite. JOTA-JOTI aims to support young people of all ages to learn about communications technology, the values of global citizenship, and their role in creating a better world.

AB1OC: “Programs Helping Hams and Young People to Develop New Skills and Get on The Air” at New England Sci-Tech ARS Meeting, August 31, 2021

 New England Sci Tech logoOn Tuesday, August 31, 2021 at 7:00 PM, Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC, will present “Programs Helping Hams and Young People to Develop New Skills and Get on The Air” at the New England Sci-Tech ARS (STARS) meeting.

For Zoom conference information, email Bob Phinney, K5TEC, at bobphinney -at- nescitech -dot- org or call 508-720-4179.

KC1US: “Amateur Radio Public Service” at Sci-Tech ARS, August 24, 2021

New England Sci Tech logoComing Tuesday, August 24, 2021 at the Sci-Tech Amateur Radio Society: “Amateur Radio Public Service” by Bruce Pigott, KC1US.

This presentation will cover procedures, resources and clubs involved with public service events. Items discussed will include typical tasks, recommended equipment to use and communications protocols. Information about training as well as the groups and agencies that need radio support are also presented. Bruce has been doing events since 1989. He has been an operator, leader at large activities and a ham planner and organizer for various Public Service events. Bruce has maintained repeater systems, done many Field Days, participated in VHF contests, and built APRS tracker boxes. He has held a number of engineering positions, such as component engineer and test engineer for assembled boards and IC wafer trim and test.

[For Zoom conference information, email Bob Phinney, K5TEC, at bobphinney -at- nescitech -dot- org or call 508-720-4179.]

New England Sci-Tech QRV on WSPR

New England Sci Tech logoDerek Rowell, AK1WI, writes in the Sci-Tech ARS newsletter:

As promised last week, I have installed one of the New England Sci-Tech (NEST) WSPR (“Weak Signal Propagation Reporter”) beacons in the Radio Room and have had it running since on 80m, 40m, 20m, and 15m using the OCF dipole during periods when the room has been idle. My plan is to build filters for the other bands that are covered by the OCF (17m, 12m, 10m), one per day, and have them available later this week.

The results so far have been excellent. On separate days both 20m and 40m have had over 300 unique spots over a 24 hour period. (For those unfamiliar with WSPR jargon a “spot” is a report of a beacon being heard, and a “unique spot” is the first report from an individual reporting station) We were heard from Central Europe, South America, Antarctica, across the US, and down through the South Pacific.
 
The map shows the 306 unique spots on 40m over 24 hours on July 30. The results from 20m look very similar. We are still collecting initial data on 80m and 15m.
 
Last year we distributed 21 kits for the WSPR beacon and had two kit building sessions at NEST before Covid shut us down. Right now I am out of parts and cannot supply additional kits. However, if there is interest, I am willing to gear up and hold additional in-person building sessions at NEST. The parts cost is approximately $50 for the complete kit. This is a kit that can be assembled by first-time kit builders with no soldering experience, and takes about one morning to build the PCB and another shorter session to build a filter for a particular band and do some on-air testing.
 
After the this week’s meeting I’ll be available in the Sci-Tech ARS Radio Room to demonstrate the unit and discuss what’s involved in building it. For those attending by Zoom, I’ll set up a groups.io discussion (with hashtag #WSPR) where interested folks can chat about the project.
 

Derek, AK1WI 

World Map showing New England Sci-Tech WSPR spots

N8ZRY: “Repair and Restoration of Antique Radio Equipment” at Sci-Tech ARS Meeting, July 20, 2021

New England Sci Tech logoComing Tuesday, July 20 at the Sci-Tech Amateur Radio Society: “Repair and Restoration of Antique Radio Equipment” by Greg Charvat, N8ZRY. Greg operates SSB equipment that he has designed/built from scratch and vintage gear that has been restored. His work has been featured in QST magazine, on Hackaday, and many others. Licensed amateur since 1993, member of ARRL, Senior Member of the IEEE, and avid reader of Electric Radio magazine. For more information about his amateur radio activities, please see Greg’s webpage and his youtube channel.

[For Zoom conference information, email Bob Phinney, K5TEC, at bobphinney -at- nescitech -dot- org or call 508-720-4179.]

Youth On The Air 2021 Camp Makes Successful ARISS Contact

YOTA logoFred Kemmerer, AB1OC, writes:

“I had the pleasure of serving as the ARISS contact moderator for the Youth On The Air (YOTA) 2021 Camp’s contact with the International Space Station (ISS) using Amateur Radio today. Young Hams spent the week at the Voice of America Bethany Relay Station in West Chester, OH engaging in a variety of Amateur Radio Activities. Ruth Willet, KM4LAO, was the host for YOTA 2021 and provided an excellent pre-contact program. The West Chester Amateur Radio Association partnered with YOTA 2021 Camp group to help them with YOTA 2021 activities and their ISS contact. You can view a video of the YOTA 2021 Camp’s contact with astronaut Aki Hoshide, KE5DNI, on the International Space Station (ISS) by clicking on the video above.

Working with a school or group to help young people make contact with an astronaut on the ISS using Amateur Radio is a great way to build a lasting relationship around Amateur Radio with young people and their teachers and mentors. In my role as an ARISS Mentor and Ground Station, I have had the pleasure to help with nine of these contacts around the world over the last several years. In every case, local Ham Radio clubs partnered with the school or group to provide STEM learning experiences based on Amateur Radio. Helping a school or group make contact with the astronaut on the ISS provides a memorable experience for everyone involved.

You can learn more about the ARISS contact program here or contact me at ab1oc@arrl.net.

Fred, AB1OC

 

W0MXX: “High Altitude Ballooning: Going to the Edge of Space” at Sci-Tech ARS Meeting, July 13, 2021

New England Sci Tech logo
Coming Tuesday, July 13 at the New England Sci-Tech Amateur Radio Society: “High Altitude Ballooning: Going to the Edge of Space” by Max Kendall, W0MXX.  
 
This talk will introduce high altitude balloons and then describe Max’s experiences in building, launching, and recovering them.  Amateur radio transmitters play a critical role in recovery of payloads.
 
Max is one of our youth members who has achieved Tech and General licenses and is now working on his Amateur Extra license.
 
[For Zoom conference information, email Bob Phinney, K5TEC, at bobphinney -at- nescitech -dot- org or call 508-720-4179.]

Youth on the Air Camp 2021 to Activate W8Y and Stream Selected Events Online

YOTA logoFrom ARRL News:

The first Youth on the Air (YOTA) camp for young radio amateurs in North, Central, and South America begins on July 11 in West Chester, Ohio. Among other activities, campers will be operating special event station W8Y from the National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting in West Chester Township, and also from the camp hotel. The camp will run until July 16.

“We are at 23 campers,” said Camp Director Neil Rapp, WB9VPG. “We are very excited to finally bring this program to the Americas. Our young people are bringing an incredible lineup of hands-on sessions for their peers. We hope this pilot gives us the information we need to replicate this camp over multiple locations for years to come. We also hope this brings a more robust community of young hams into amateur radio.”

The long-awaited summer camp for up to 30 hams aged 15 through 25 had been set to take place in June 2020, but it had to be rescheduled until summer 2021 because of COVID-19 pandemic concerns. The camp for young hams in the Americas took its cue from the summer Youngsters on the Air camps held for the past few years in various IARU Region 1 countries. [Full story]

New England Sci-Tech “Natick Nights” with Amateur Radio on Display

From New England Sci-Tech Leadership Team news:

Bob Phinney and Rusty Moore have cleared their schedules for summer Thursdays 5:00-7:30pm to be in Natick Common to meet families and provide educational and entertaining STEM topics. We have activities planned for kid’s nights, family nights, history nights, art walk, and more. Thank you to Steve Palmer, Greg Moore, and David Kahn as well as teens Nolan Palmer, Jonathan Godfrey, and David Camaforte for helping at various times at the last two events. We welcome more helpers, so come and see us.

NEST Natick Nights display
Above: Natick Nights on June 10 was buzzing with activity. Steve Palmer mans the paper rocket launcher. Rusty makes radio contacts all over Europe. Greg and Bob run the NEST table.

 

AK1WI: “Adventures in Home Brew SDR Design” at New England Sci-Tech ARS, April 27, 2021

AK1WI homebrew SDR radioAK1WI will present “Adventures in Home Brew SDR Design” at the New England Sci-Tech Amateur Radio Society on April 27, 2021 at 7:00 PM. 

In this talk, Derek will describe his multi-year project to develop the hardware and software for a stand-alone SDR system using the “Teensy” family of microcontrollers from PJRC.  In particular, it uses the Teensy Audio Library structure, hence its name “AudioSDR.”   The software is now freely available from GitHub.

Derek will describe the origins of the project from a graduate course he was teaching in 2010, and how it was not initially intended for ham radio, but rather as an exercise in applied DSP (digital signal processing).   He will describe in very broad terms the structure and operation of the system.    Math will be kept at a minimum. 

The talk will also cover the associated hardware for the RF front-end and the LCD display, as well as how the system is controlled, and the software structure for the Teensy Audio Library coding.   We will look at (extremely) over-simplified seudo-code to demonstrate concepts of real-time software.  We will write such code for an SDR version of the humble crystal-set – the simplest of all radios.

Derek will also discuss current developments and future enhancements for AudioSDR, including the addition of a transmit function to make it a true transceiver. 

If feasible we will have a demonstration of the operation, or at a minimum, pre-recorded sound clips of the output.

WØMXX Experimenting With Weather Balloons

Shoebox containing W0MXX balloon payloadfrom WickedLocal.com:

Ten-year-old amateur radio operator Max Kendall is having a blast with his latest weather balloon project. The Medway youth has been constructing a balloon payload around a Raspberry Pi computer and camera. The microcomputer he’s programming will collect atmospheric data, and convert the temperature values to the Fahrenheit scale “because I have a better feel for Fahrenheit than Celsius.”

A fourth-grader at the Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter Public School in Franklin, Max spends many hours of his free time preparing for a spring launch of his very own weather balloon. He launched his first weather balloon from a field in Agawam, predicting it would eventually land many miles to the east in or near Halifax. After a few unsuccessful attempts to get the balloon airborne using party balloon helium purchased at Target, the apparatus went aloft but soon afterward, the tracker stopped sending signals. Max suspects it went too far out of his limited range  or “may have frozen as it drifted higher” despite the disposable hand warmer he placed in the box with it.
 
Max has founded the Medway Balloon Society, a club for youths and families who meet online and “share messages, files, chats, text messages and voice and video calls.” When the club has enough local members, he plans to hold in-person meetings and launches. Max’s mother, Jennifer Kendall, says Max is working with the Medway Public Library’s Makerspace coordinator, Diane Busa, to find interested individuals and families to participate.
 
“He would just love to have more people in the area to collaborate with him on weather balloons.” She adds, “there is just so much to love about them–the engineering and coding needed in building them, the thrill of the launch, and the adrenaline rushing when you attempt to recover them after the launch.”
 
In hopes of avoiding the same loss of contact with his second balloon that he experienced with his first,  Max studied online and earned an FCC General class amateur radio license.  His callsign is WØMXX. With his amateur radio privileges he hopes to track his second balloon and retrieve its data and images via ham radio. He’s currently studying to earn his Amateur Extra license.
 

Max is focusing on his next weather balloon. He thinks it will be ready for launch later this month, or in April. 

 
“The highest weather balloon went up 140,000 feet,” Max says. “My goal is 100,000 feet. That’s just about 63,000 feet short of the top of the earth’s stratosphere.”
 

For details about Max’s first weather balloon project, visit  https://maxkendall.wixsite.com/home/post/first-weather-balloon.

 

“Students Talk to Astronauts in Space”, WCVB-TV

Nashua, N.H.–Four years ago, an organization of ham radio operators in New Hampshire teamed up with a local high school so the students could learn more about the power of connecting people through the airwaves. Now that connection led the students all the way to outer space. It was an out-of-this-world experience for students at Bishop Gurtin High School in Nashua. On Friday, they make contact with the International Space Station. For members of the school’s STEM Club, it was a chance for them to chat directly with Astronaut Shannon Walker onboard the International Space Station. “It was really quite something to be able to speak to an astronaut that far away in space,” one of the club members said. [Full story]

screenshot of Nashua ARS ARISS school contact, WCVB.com

ARRL Board Considers Plan to Cover New $35 FCC Fee for Some Young Members

ARRL logofrom nediv.arrl.org:

At its Annual Meeting in January, the ARRL Board of Directors considered a motion to offer a new plan that would pay the new but not-yet-implemented $35 FCC application fee for a limited number of new radio amateurs younger than age 18 who, at the time of testing, belonged to an ARRL Affiliated 501(c)(3) charitable organization and passed their tests through an ARRL VEC-sponsored exam session. The proposal called for reducing the VEC fee for these candidates to $5. The initial proposal came from ARRL Southeastern Division Director Mickey Baker, N4MB. Other Board members offered subsidiary motions. Supporters said the purpose behind the motion was to ameliorate the potential financial hardship the pending FCC application fee posed on certain minors applying for their first license, and to encourage new youth membership. [Full story]

 

“Ham Radio Contesting” at Northeastern Wireless Club, February 11, 2021

photo of W1KBN shack, Northeastern Univ. Wireless ClubFrom NUWC mailing list:

Hello fellow radio enthusiast! This week we be learning about the foundation of our club, Ham Radio.

In particular we are learning about contesting! Contesting is a great way to use ham radio whether you are just learning or you are an expert. It usually takes place during a extended time interval where ham radio enthusiast – a team or individual – compete to make contact with as many as they can. This can be a great activity get out and socialize with new people especially in this age of isolation, and contest are a great opportunity to pick up the basic of using your license!

The meeting is this Thursday, February 11th, 6-7 PM. The meeting will be on Zoom, hope to see you all there! 

“Young students discover a different form of communication”

photo showing students of Bruce Blain's Morse code class in Foxboro schoolEastern MA Affiliated Club Coordinator Bruce Blain, K1BG, is featured in a story in The Foxboro Reporter, “Young students discover a different form of communication” that describes his efforts in teaching a Morse code class for a group of sixth-graders in Foxboro:

“In a year that has often been isolating, eight students from Foxboro are exploring a different way to communicate.

They are taking a virtual course in Morse code through the CW Academy.

Liam Polis, 11, a sixth-grader who is home-schooled this year, said his mother signed him up for the class, and at first, he wasn’t sure about it, but then found it to be fun.

‘It’s different than other classes because we learn on our own and then check in with the teacher, but it’s fun. I learned a lot about the history and use of Morse code and also the letters: a, e, i, o, s, t, n, m, y, l and number 1 for week one,’ Liam said.

His mother Rebecca Murphy said everything people do in life involves understanding a code or a pattern, so whether it’s learning a foreign language, math or history, recognizing and interpreting patterns is an important skill.”

[Full story]

Northeastern Wireless Club To Staff Table at COE Fair, February 4, 2021

Northeastern Wireless Club members will staff a table at the NEU College of Engineering Clubs/Organizations Fair on February 4, 2021. 

According to the NWC mailing list: “The COE club fair is a great way to hear and find out more about various clubs and activities on campus related to STEM. Many clubs table there so it is a great place to find out more about getting involved. All are welcome and we would love to talk to anyone about Wireless Club so feel free to stop by any time 6 PM to 8 PM.”

QCWA Scholarship Awarded to Catherine Hong, KC1MFU

Catherine Hong, KC1MFUFrom nediv.arrl.org:

The Quarter Century Wireless Association, Inc. has announced its Memorial Scholarships winners.  Among the recipients are: Catherine Hong, KC1MFU, who attends the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

“Catherine Hong, KC1MFU […] is a sophomore at MIT, double majoring in Mechanical Engineering (design concentration) and a Joint degree in Comparative Media Studies & Brain and Cognitive Science. She wants to be a conscious creator, imbuing objects and experiences with functional and/or narrative value. To do so, she must understand how people find meaning and interpret the world around them, how society shapes and is shaped by media & technologies, and how to technically plan, design, and create the ideas she imagines. In her free time, Catherine draws profusely, engages in kitchen experiments, and picks up new skills from the extracurricular activities she is in, such as the computing club, the caving club, the VR/AR club, and the Radio Clubs.” –QCWA February 2021 eJournal

MIT Radio Society Update: Station Renewal and COVID Response

MIT Radio Society QSL/logoMilo Hooper, AI1XR, writes:

One hundred and eleven years after its founding, the MIT Radio Society is flourishing. Student interest in RF engineering, telecommunications, and radio science is growing. And, the pandemic notwithstanding, MITs amateur radio clubs right now are larger than they’ve been in decades.

Now that the “eleventy-first” (111th) year of the club is finally drawing to a close, we’d like to share some of the stories of the last 12 months, both of the challenges the club has faced, and how we’ve been able to continue to serve both MIT and the amateur radio community at large.

Green Building Renovation and the Future of the Station

The Radio Society faced a serious challenge this year. The enclosed station space and large radome located on the roof of the Green Building, the center of many of our activities, had been slated for removal due to a major renovation scheduled to begin this spring. Thanks to overwhelming support from our alumni and friends, MIT is now supporting much of the renovation of our physical space directly, enabling us to focus our resources not just on rebuilding, but on improving our VHF/UHF and microwave contest and research station, W1XM, on the Green Building roof for the MIT community. Our next step is working to preserve the iconic large radome and dish within. The radome and dish are central to our vision for the future of the station. You can read more here about that effort.

We recently circulated an open letter seeking support from the MIT community for saving the radomes, and in response MIT has begun a design study of options for restoration. See our website for the latest news.

Our vision for the station of the future

Our dream for the new station on the top of the Green Building is a space that provides expanded opportunities for students to explore not just amateur radio but the whole spectrum of intersecting fields, from experimenting with radio propagation and learning about the ionosphere, to radio astronomy, signal processing, microwave electronics, and more.

We envision a station with banks of SDRs and servers that students can access remotely and program for experiments; a station that has current state of the art amateur radio equipment for research, contests, general communication, and emergency operations; a space that lends itself to uses we may not yet anticipate, with room for new hardware and experiments students choose to create in future.

Our priority is to expand access to and use of W1XM to as many students as possible to maximize the value we provide the MIT community, both by enabling remote access to the station for its current uses, by providing an improved space on the roof itself for students doing all manner of radio related experiments, and eventually by partnering with other groups at MIT in supporting students exploring radio and communications technologies.

Radio Society Supports Remote Junior Lab Class

Most undergraduate teaching at MIT has moved online, including some lab courses. The MIT Radio Society has been able to help by making our 6m “Big Dish” available to physics students in Junior Lab, one of the most popular undergraduate Physics courses. Students are using the Big Dish for observational radio astronomy at 1.4 GHz (a hydrogen emission line). Check out a sample of the data that students have collected.

New HF Beam for W1MX

After two years of planning, W1MX primary HF beam antenna, a Mosley Pro-96 that has served the club for over 20 years, was replaced with a new antenna of the same model. In the near future, the original guy wire system will also be updated to ensure the tower remains stable and can continue to serve MIT’s amateur radio community for years to come. Plans are also in progress to install new equipment graciously donated by one of our alumni, L. Dennis Shapiro EE ‘55, SM ‘57, to enable remote operation of the station now that the new antenna has been installed. 

Introducing Remote Ham Exams

The MIT Radio Exam Team is pleased to announce that it is now offering fully remote amateur radio license exams under the coordination of the W5YI-VEC. Not willing to let the pandemic stand in the way of getting new hams on the air, the amateur radio community came together to do what it does best: solve tough problems with ingenuity and technology. Since the MIT Radio Exam Team began offering remote exams, it has helped over 250 amateur radio operators obtain their first license or upgrade their existing one. Information about what it’s like to take a fully-remote ham exam with us can be found in our Remote Examinee Info Packet.