AB1PH Published in QEX!

QEX coverStu Solomon, W1SHS, writes:
 
Don Rolph, AB1PH, ARES Emergency Coordinator for Norfolk County, MA, has an article published in the September/October 2023 edition of the ARRL publication QEX magazine.  The article, “An Open Source Meta-Design for an APRS™ Appliance” describes, in detail, the function, design and testing of a low cost APRS device.
 
Congratulations to Don on the excellent project and its publication in QEX!

HABGab and StratoScience Balloon Launch, Natick, 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:
https://nescitech.org/habgab

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
 
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.

Upcoming Solar Eclipse Educational Opportunities for STARS and NEST

New England Sci Tech logoRusty Moore, K1FVK, writes on the New England Sci-Tech mailing list:

As seen from Natick, the October 2023 annular eclipse will present about 18% obscuration of the sun, and the April 2024 total eclipse will reach 92.6%. Both are good opportunities for special public astronomy events. Using solar projection and the Lunt solar scope on [New England Sci-Tech]’s new observing deck, NEST could be the go-to spot for Natick residents to get good, safe views of the eclipses and educational content. NEST could (should) also participate in HamSCI’s Solar Eclipse QSO Parties (https://hamsci.org/eclipse) using amateur radio to collect scientific data in front of the public, making for a perfect opportunity to teach about celestial mechanics, astronomical scale, solar physics, space weather, and radio communications all at once. Radios could be operated out of the new STEM outreach trailer and inside the radio room simultaneously. News outlets could (should) be invited to the event as well.

The National Science Teachers Association has collected a bunch of resources for teaching with the upcoming eclipses. Here’s the link to those: https://www.nsta.org/eclipse.

Andy’s Ham Radio Linux Version 25a Released

linux penguin logoAndy Stewart, KB1OIQ, writes:

Hi Everybody,

I have released a new version of the “Andy’s Ham Radio Linux” (AHRL) software collection: version 25a

The previous version (v25) had over 10,100 downloads in about a year.

AHRL is based on Xubuntu 22.04. All of your favorite software has been updated, and a few things have been added, including:

* GridTracker
* some software from the M17 Project
* SDRangel
* Arduino 2.1.0

For more information, and a download link: https://sourceforge.net/projects/kb1oiq-andysham/

I’m really looking forward to seeing folks and giving a talk about AHRL at Hamvention 2023.

Have fun (!) and 73,

Andy

Test of High-Altitude Balloon Repeater, Natick MA, May 7, 2023

New England Sci Tech logoSeth Kendall, KC1PZY, writes on the New England Sci-Tech mailing list:

We plan to hoist up our payloads as high as we can over [New England Sci-Tech] this Sunday (May 7th) at 1pm.  The payload will be running the full repeater setup and live video transmission for flight.

We’d like to invite anyone who might have line of sight with NEST to try calling in once we start the event to test the functioning and propagation.  Keep in mind, the repeater uses low power HTs with homemade Slim Jim antennas, so do not expect the level of performance achieved by the real NEST repeater.  It is also expected to get significantly better signal up in free space during the flight than it will on the ground.

We are putting out a call to see if anyone has a long, sturdy gopher pole or extendable mast that could be temporarily mounted on the roof and hold 5 lbs. up vertically without bending.

To participate, here is what you need to do:

  1. Set up your UHF/VHF radio to these frequencies:
    1. Uplink (your transmit): 446.05 MHz
    2. Downlink (your receive): 146.55 MHz
  2. Use the best dual band antenna you’ve got, or two single band antennas with duplexer.  Antenna height will help a lot.
  3. Write down your distance from NEST and include it in the exchange.
  4. We’ll try to have someone calling CQ as W1STR during the test and writing down contacts and distances.
  5. If you’d like to come join us at NEST during the event to help with setup and operation, come join us around noon.  We’ll either be in the makerspace or on the roof.  We can order some food as well.

We are also looking for a volunteer to try receiving the video signal from some place with direct line of sight that is further than right down the street.  Ideally 1-5 miles away (not expecting the kind of propagation we’ll get up in free space).

  1. If you’d like to volunteer, let me know. 
  2. You’ll need a laptop with Windows.
  3. You’ll need to come into NEST either on Saturday or Sunday so I can give you the receive antenna we are testing, the receiver hardware, and help you set up your computer to input and view the video feed.
  4. You’ll need to find a place with direct line of sight (that’s the hard part).

Sixteen New Amateur Satellites in Orbit From Space-X Transporter 7 Launch

Joe Fitzgerald, KM1P, writes on the Sci-Tech ARS mailing list:

[New England Sci-Tech Amateur Radio Society] is working with AMSAT to help make a positive ID of these new satellites for inclusion in the AMSAT orbital elements distrubution. If you are so inclined, please listen for any of these new birds and send any observations, i.e. early or late passes based on the Celestrak Two Line element sets described below.

Our friends at Libre Space show 16 spacecraft using amateur frequencies on the recent Space-X transporter 7 launch.

https://community.libre.space/t/spacex-f9-transporter-7-2023-04-15-06-47-utc/10255

Celestrak has published element sets derived from Space-X deployment data. See https://celestrak.org/NORAD/elements/supplemental/sup-gp.php?FILE=transporter-7&FORMAT=tle

Celestrak also made an attempt to match Space-X derived TLEs to USSF tracked objects: https://celestrak.org/NORAD/elements/supplemental/transporter.match.txt but I don’t consider that authoritative. Note that RoseyCubesat-1 and INSPIRE-Sat 7 share the same element set which seems strange as I understand that they are two independent spacecraft.

We are particularly interested in INSPIRE-Sat 7. INSPIRE-Sat 7 carries a 435.200 MHz telemetry channel with BPSK mode – GR3UH 9k6 along with an FM transponder and student experiments to be activated after on-orbit checkout.

The following is from https://www.uvsq.fr/inspire-sat-7

“To receive the telemetry, a software has been developed: KissTool . It is available for Windows & Linux:

Linux: https://site.amsat-f.org/download/118791/?tmstv=1680945385

Windows : https://site.amsat-f.org/download/118784/?tmstv=1680945385

The user manual is available in French ( https://site.amsat-f.org/josast-kisstool/ ) and English ( https://code.electrolab.fr/xtof/josast/-/blob/27-new-application-for-spino/ApplicationKissTool/src/site/markdown/UserManual.md ) ”

de KM1P Joe

W6BI, KC1BHD, WZØC: “Amateur Radio Emergency Data Network” at Minuteman Repeater Association Hybrid Meeting, Natick MA, March 15, 2023

Tonight’s presentation will be Zoom-only; no in-person presence. 

MMRA logoMinuteman Repeater Association membership meeting: Wednesday, 15 March 2023 ~7:30—9:30 pm: Amateur Radio Emergency Data Network (AREDN). Orv Beach, W6BI; Jim Garner, KC1BHD; and Michael Ford, WZ0C. This is a Hybrid meeting at New England SciTech in Natick + ZOOM.
(Members: log into your account on MMRA.ORG to obtain the ZOOM info.
Non-members: send an email to contact@mmra to request the ZOOM info.

Learn what AREDN is all about, what it can be used for, and how you can get started with this technology. Orv, W6BI, will discuss how ham radio networking with AREDN software works and what you need to get started. He’ll also show some examples of user setups and things an AREDN network can be used for. Jim, KC1BHD, will give a demonstration of his AREDN go-kit prototype to be used in ARES activations, at disaster locations, or public service events. Michael, WZ0C, will talk about some of the AREDN efforts in New England along with the propagation testing he and Jim have been doing for this.

Orv, W6BI, was first licensed as WN6WEY in 1967. He’s been into digital ham radio all his life, starting with CW. He started messing around with ham radio networking in 2014, and is now an AREDN Ambassador, one who promotes using AREDN software and helps educate folks on its use. He’s helped deploy network digital radios in Ventura County and western Los Angeles County. He’s also active in coordinating the build-out and maintenance of the wider ham radio network which now spans from California’s central coast south to the Mexican border and east to Las Vegas, comprising over 550 nodes, both on hilltops and at ham QTHs.

Jim, KC1BHD, has always been interested in data transmission in general and for several years, AREDN mesh networking in particular. He lives near Worcester and envisions creating RF access to an AREDN mesh for hams across Massachusetts.

Michael, WZ0C, lives in Maynard and enjoys the amateur radio digital modes. Michael became interested in AREDN last year, connecting with Orv and Jim and learning about their efforts. Michael is hoping to use AREDN to increase the digital presence in Massachusetts. Michael will talk about some of the AREDN efforts in New England along with the propagation testing he and Jim have been doing for this.

“AeroNU Project Horizon Presentation” at Northeastern University Wireless Club, November 3, 2022

Northeastern Univ Wireless logoThe Northeastern University Wireless Club is hosting a special meeting with the AeroNU Project Horizon project on November 3, 2022 at  7 p.m. in 503 Hayden (club space).

The club will discuss its upcoming collaboration with AeroNU. AeroNU is launching a CubeSat, and NUWC is supporting the construction of a VHF/UHF satellite ground station to be hosted in the NUWC club space. The team from Aero will be presenting on their work, and the communication systems onboard. 

 

K1YUB to Present at 40th Annual AMSAT Space Symposium, October 21-22, 2022

AMSAT logoPaul Graveline, K1YUB, of Andover, MA, will present at the 40th Annual AMSAT Space Symposium in Bloomington, Minnesota, on October 21-22, 2022. Paul will present in a session on the CubeSat Simulator.

The symposium will feature:

* Space Symposium with Amateur Satellite Presentations
* Operating Techniques, News, & Plans from the Amateur Satellite World
* Board of Directors Meeting open to AMSAT members
* Opportunities to Meet Board Members and Officers
* AMSAT Annual General Membership Meeting
* Auction, Annual Banquet, Keynote Speaker and Door Prizes !!

The Crowne Plaza Suites, 3 Appletree Square, Bloomington, MN, is centrally located between the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport, Mall of America, Minneapolis Zoo, and Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park. Crown Plaza Suites provides a complimentary scheduled shuttle to and from the airport.

Additional information about the 2022 AMSAT Symposium can be found at https://www.amsat.org.

New England Division Receives ARDC RFI Equipment Grant

From nediv.arrl.org:

ARDC has approved a request for RFI hunting equipment for each of the seven sections in the New England Division.  The funds should be received in the next few weeks and orders placed for the equipment soon after.  Included is both an antenna set and an HF/VHF/UHF transceiver with a spectrum scope.  Distribution to each section will accompany training on the equipment.  In addition, some high-end equipment will remain in the custody of the Division for sharing when needed in addition to any the ARRL Lab will provide on loan.  Any questions can be directed to Rob, k1UI, Assistant New England Director, Spectrum Protection and Use.

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 https://www.nasa.gov/feature/track-nasa-s-artemis-i-mission-in-real-time/.

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 https://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/horizons.

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

LoRa Birdhouse Project at Wellesley ARS

Pix of LoRa BirdhouseThe Wellesley Amateur Radio Society is embarking upon an interesting technical project to develop LoRa nodes at club members’ homes, according to WARS President Dan Brown, W1DAN.
 
LoRa (Long Range) and LoRaWAN (Long Range Wide Area Network) are next generation technologies that will support wireless connectivity in IoT (the Internet of Things). Uniquely enabling long range, low power communication, they are already being used in numerous consumer and industrial applications to solve real world problems.
 
“Under the direction of Bruce [MacKinnon], KC1FSZ, we are launching our club LoRa Birdhouse project,” according to WARS President Dan Brown, W1DAN. Dan says that the project is open to all WARS members but “other folks can build nodes on their own as the project plans are open-source.”
 
WARS members will learn how to build a LoRa node and antenna, and use them to communicate with fellow WARS members. “No technical experience necessary, as we are making the project available to all skill levels.”
 
KC1FSZ’s GitHub documentation can be viewed at:  https://github.com/brucemack/WARS-Birdhouse
 
 

Bob Rose, KC1DSQ, and Bob Glorioso, W1IS, Win the March 2022 QST Cover Plaque Award

“Portable 20-Meter Phased Dipole BeamFrom ARRL News:
 
04/12/2022 – The winning article for the March 2022 QST Cover Plaque award is “Portable 20-Meter Phased Dipole Beam,” by Bob Rose, KC1DSQ, and Bob Glorioso, W1IS.
 
The QST Cover Plaque Award — given to the author or authors of the most popular article in each issue — is determined by a vote of ARRL members on the QST Cover Plaque Poll web page. Cast a ballot for your favorite article today!
 

New England Sci-Tech “Cubes In Space™” Program Begins in December, 2021

New England Sci Tech logoSpecial Note: The students in the 2019 cubes program had their projects accepted for flight. One project flew on a NASA rocket in June and one flew on a high altitude balloon in September. The 2020 program was cancelled due to COVID. The 2021 project did not fly because of a shipping problem with the carrier, so that project will fly in June 2022. 

CUBES IN SPACE™ – Now accepting 2021-2022 applications

A specialized activity of NE SciTech’s Space Science Club, specifically for students ages 11-17, Cubes in Space (CIS), a program by idoodledu inc., teaches students about the atmosphere, rocketry, high-altitude balloons, general laws of physics, and space science. Students work in teams to design and propose experiments to launch into space or a near space environment on a NASA sounding rocket and zero-pressure scientific balloon. Students then submit their proposals and could have a chance to fabricate and fly their projects. Space is limited.

Students attend regular educational CIS curriculum workshops and team meetings in the fall, winter, and spring. GROUP 1 meets on specific Friday evenings 6:30-7:30 pm. GROUP 2 meets on specific Saturday afternoons 3:30-4:30 pm. Regular meetings are usually every other week from December through March. For teams with projects that have been selected to fly, there will be additional prep and build meetings in April and May. The rocket flies in June. The hi-alt balloon flies over the summer, usually in August. We will schedule additional CIS meetings in the fall for students to examine their flown projects when recovered from NASA.

This CIS program is free for student members* of New England Sci-Tech, with a small lab fee** of $45 to cover printed materials and general supplies. Having experience in physics, electronics, or amateur radio is helpful, but not required. Space is limited.

Cubes in Space™ (CIS), a program by idoodledu inc., is a global competition. Out of thousands of entries worldwide, under a hundred get picked to fly. However, our mentors, running this program for the past five years, have had a 100% success rate for CIS projects accepted each year.

Students who successfully complete the program and successfully fly a project will receive an official CIS certificate and may list their CIS success in personal resumes, school transcripts, and college applications.

ORIENTATION MEETING

Get to know you, CIS preliminary overview, and registration:
Attend either Friday November 19, 6:30 pm, or Saturday November 20, 3:30 pm.

FRIDAY WORKSHOPS

Eight Fridays, 6:30-7:30 pm:
Lesson 1 – Dec 3, Lesson 2 – Dec 17, Lesson 3 – Jan 7, Lesson 4 – Jan 21, Lesson 5 – Feb 4, Lesson 6 – Feb 11, Lesson 7 – Mar 4, Lesson 8 – Mar 18.

For those projects chosen to fly, there will be 6 additional prep and build days, some optional:
Apr 1, 8, 29, May 13, 20, Jun 3.

For anyone who will need to miss a Friday lesson, you may attend the same lesson on Saturday. Please plan ahead.

SATURDAY WORKSHOPS

Eight Saturdays, 3:30-4:30 pm:
Lesson 1 – Dec 4, Lesson 2 – Dec 18, Lesson 3 – Jan 8, Lesson 4 – Jan 22, Lesson 5 – Feb 5, Lesson 6 – Feb 12, Lesson 7 – Mar 5, Lesson 8 – Mar 19.

For those projects chosen to fly, there will be 6 additional prep and build days, some optional:
Apr 2, 9, 30, May 14, 21, Jun 4.

For anyone who will need to miss a Saturday lesson, you may attend the same lesson on the previous Friday. Please plan ahead.

[Visit https://nescitech.org/product/cubes-in-spacetm/ for more information.]

Andy’s Ham Radio Linux Software Update, Version 24e

linux penguin logoAndy Stewart, KB1OIQ, writes on the PART of Westford mailing list:

I have just released version 24e of the “Andy’s Ham Radio Linux” software collection.  This is the 20th release since I started this work in 2011.  There are quite a few new pieces of software, as well as all of the other programs to which you’ve become accustomed.

To learn more: https://sourceforge.net/projects/kb1oiq-andysham/

Have fun and 73!

ARRL Responds to Story of Radio Amateur Told to Remove His Antenna

From ARRL Web:

09/02/2021 – ARRL has responded to an Orlando, Florida, news story on August 23, 2021 by WFTV Channel 9 alleging a radio amateur was told to remove his antenna by the management of his subdivision following a complaint made by a neighbor.

“The news story appears to stem from a 2-year-old complaint from a neighbor who believed her insulin pump had malfunctioned due to the radio amateur’s operations ‘a few doors down,’” said ARRL Laboratory Manager Ed Hare, W1RFI. “The story is lacking any details or timeline, so I contacted the radio amateur involved for information, and volunteered ARRL’s assistance.”

Hare explained that medical devices such as insulin pumps are regulated by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) specifically for electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) purposes and are expected to be capable of operating in all the RF environments likely to be encountered by consumers. FDA published guidance for its staff and industry defines EMC with respect to electrically powered medical devices “as the ability of a device to function safely and effectively in its intended electromagnetic environment, including immunity to electromagnetic disturbance (interference).” FDA review of EMC information submitted with a device for approval “is based on the risk associated with EMC malfunction or degradation of the device under review, as well as the use of appropriate FDA-recognized standards or appropriate consensus standards.”

Hare noted there is an FDA recall for the model number of the insulin pump in question, in approximately the same time frame. “But with so few details, there is no way of knowing whether that recall applies to the serial number used or whether the exact unit has the mechanical defect indicated in the recall notice that could cause the malfunction,” explained Hare.

It also became apparent that there is no actual evidence connecting the amateur’s transmissions to operation of the insulin pump. Hare was told that the amateur agreed to run tests to establish whether there was a cause and effect, but the neighbor declined. 

Hare commented, “While there are no requirements for a radio amateur to stop transmitting due to alleged interference to a non-radio device, the preferred path with any complaint is for neighbors to work together.”

 

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

W1IS & KC1DSQ Write Another Antenna Article

PART of Westford President George Allison, K1IG, writes on the PART mailing list:

The dynamic duo of PART member Bob, W1IS, and Bob, KC1DSQ, have another article published in CQ Magazine. In the May 2021 issue is their article titled “A New Design of a 40-6 Meter Off-Center-Fed Dipole,” that describes a dipole antenna covering the 40, 20, 15, 10, and 6-meter bands. 

Reminder: The two Bobs wrote an antenna article that was published in the June issue of QST, and voting is still open for the cover plaque award. ARRL members can vote for their favorite article.