Wellesley ARS/New England Sci-Tech Collaboration: High Altitude Balloon Project

Charlie Bures, WA3ITR, writes in the Wellesley ARS “The Sparkgap” November, 2019 newsletter: As part of the new collaboration between WARS (Wellesley Amateur Radio Society) and NEST (New England Sci-Tech in Natick), Charlie has proposed a NEST High Altitude Balloon (HAB) project. What are the goals? NEST mission is to help youth with STEM projects. As you recall, Charlie has previously done balloon launches with Natick HS and now, he is leading this new effort for NEST. The goals are to get young people involved in a project, which has Amateur radio (an APRS tracker device) with STEM learning. They …

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New England Sci-Tech, Blue Hill Meteorological Observatory Collaboration Underway

Bob Phinney, K5TEC, writes in the New England Sci-Tech Amateur Radio Society (STARS) newsletter: The NESciTech (NEST) collaboration with Blue Hill Meteorological Observatory and Science Center (BHO) is now fully underway. A crew of eight volunteers arrived on November 9, 2019 at Blue Hill to install the antennas and repeaters for the new Blue Hill radio club that the BHO science center is starting with the help of Bob and Rusty at NESciTech. Thank you Ted for doing much of the tower work, Bob D. for doing most of the repeater configurations and antenna setup, Jeremy for high quality cable …

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PART of Westford Kit Building with DrDuino

Andy Stewart, KB1OIQ, writes in the PART of Westford PARTicles newsletter, November, 2019: The PART kit building team is Andy, KB1OIQ; Steve, W1KBE; and Allison, KB1GMX. We recently received a very generous donation from an anonymous member of ten (10) DrDuino kits. You may remember reading about this kit in a recent issue of QST. The PART kit building activity got started in KB1OIQ’s basement classroom on November 7th, 2019. There were five (5) kit builders: George, K1IG; Rakesh, KC1HTB; Niece, KA1ULN; Rich, AB1HD; and Scott, KB1WMH. The first session was spent soldering together the kit. The next two sessions …

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W1BOF: Apollo Spacecraft Communications at Dan’s Tech Night, October 10, 2019

Dan Pedtke, KW2T, writes: TechNight is tomorrow night, Thursday, October 10, at the usual time and place; 7:00PM at the Grady Research Building in Ayer.  See www.danstechnight.com for details and directions. We have an unusually interesting program this month, with a rare guest speaker visiting us to discuss the technical aspects of the NASA Apollo spacecraft radio link.  George Whitehead, W1BOF, is one of the few remaining radio engineers who worked on the design of the Apollo mission communications radios. This the radio hardware that did the communications between earth and the spacecraft, including the video of man’s first step onto …

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KB1OIQ: Linux In Your Hamshack at Algonquin ARC, October 10, 2019

The Algonquin Amateur Radio Club meeting on October 10, 2019 features Andy Stewart, KB1OIQ, who will present on “Linux In Your Hamshack.” Linux fans will be interested in Andy’s Ham Radio Linux, a popular software collection he created for amateur radio users. The AARC meetings are held at 7:30 PM in the library of the 1st Lt. Charles W. Whitcomb Middle School in Marlborough, 25 Union Avenue. Use Door #1 at rear of building.

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Northeastern University Wireless Club Fall 2019 Electronics Projects

The Northeastern University Wireless Club has announced a number of exciting projects for Fall 2019. If you want to join any of the projects below, contact their lead on Slack, and find their meeting times on the Google calendar. Airlights+ First Meeting Tuesday 4pm Contact: Jack Leightcap Airights+ is working to improve the LED controller in the Wireless Club space. This team will have a good mix of software and hardware, with a lot of python programming as well as board design. LED Flag First Meeting Thursday 6pm Contact: James Packard The LED Flag is a device Wireless Club currently …

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Build-Your-Own “HABCAR” Course Coming Soon to MIT Lincoln Lab

MIT Lincoln Lab employee Brian Smigielski, AB1ZO, has been awarded funding to design a course in which participants will learn how to build a prototype High Altitude Balloon Carrying Amateur Radio (HABCAR). “The [MIT Lincoln Lab] Technology Office wanted to create another kit building course where each kit would have a price  point of about $400/kit,” writes Brian.  “I had suggested a Build-Your-Own High Altitude Balloon Carrying Amateur Radio course focused on a long-endurance flight using WSPR and transmitting back telemetry (as well as other sensor related data) using the “invalid” WSPR messages which begin with a 0 or Q (that …

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New Hampshire Tower Tragedy: Lessons Learned

Mark Pride, K1RX, writes on the YCCC Reflector: To all Tower owners in the Amateur Radio Community – a must read!  By Mark Pride, K1RX Many old timers in the hobby that own a tower, perhaps in the air for 20, 30, 40 or 50 years, need to take this article seriously as it could provide life saving information to you and your ground crew. This is a cautionary article for all that have a tower no matter how long its been the air.  What occurred at a NH amateur station recently provides a lesson for all of us tower …

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N1DCH: Intro to Radio Hotspots, Minuteman Repeater Association, May 15, 2019

The Minuteman Repeater Association will feature Dave Hornbaker, N1DCH, who will present on “Introduction to Hotspots” at its annual meeting on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 at 7 PM. The presentation will cover different hot spot options with emphasis on MMDVM based hotspots and Pi-Star.  The meeting will be held at New England Sci-Tech, Inc., 16 Tech Circle, Natick, MA. Directions  

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Dan’s Tech Night: TRL-SDR and Miscellany, Ayer, May 9, 2019

Dan Pedtke, KW2T, writes: Hello past TechNighters, It’s TechNight week again.  TechNight is this Thursday, May 9th, 2019, Grady Research Building in Ayer.  We’re going to talk about the RTL-SDR dongle (again, was a previous tech night, but now there’s a new one), and some other miscellaneous stuff, and the TechNight Radio.  The other stuff might include interesting things I bought at NEARFest last weekend. See DansTechNight.com for details and directions.  A newer schematic and the PCB layout are posted for the TechNight Radio. One of the issues with me talking about the Dongle is that it’s all about software, …

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Faster, More Contest-Friendly FT4 Digital Protocol to Debut in a Week

From ARRL Web: A new, speedier, more contest-friendly digital mode is just days away in beta version. WSJT-X Developers say serious work on the new FT4 protocol began shortly after the FT8 Roundup held last December 1-2. The goal was a mode that could compete with RTTY contesting in terms of contact rates, while preserving many of the benefits of FT8. [More]

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Dan’s Tech Night, April 11, 2019

This month’s “Dan’s Tech Night” will be moderated by Bob Jackson, KE1JH. The presentation will be “show and tell” format so bring in your projects, thoughts, or stories to share with the group. Bob may also have a significant topic to talk about as well. Dan’s Tech Night is Thursday, April 11th at 7 PM at the Grady Research Building, 323 Main St, Ayer. And as always, everyone is welcome. See: www.DansTechNight.com for details and directions. Hope to see you there. 

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Northeastern University Wireless Club Hackathon, April 6-7, 2019

The Northeastern University Wireless Club (W1KBN) is holding its 4th annual Hackathon on Saturday, April 6 from 12 noon until Sunday, April 7 at 3 PM in 424/425 Hayden Hall on the Northeastern campus.  The theme will be post-apocalyptic, and the Hackathon will have prize categories for both hardware and software oriented projects.  To register, go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/wireless-club-spring-2019-hackathon-tickets-58854136306. 

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Dan’s Tech Night, Ayer, March 14, 2019

Dan Pedtke, KW2T, writes: TechNight is Thursday, March 14, 2019 at 7 PM, at the Grady Research building in Ayer. See www.DansTechNight.com for details and directions. This week we are back to the Tech Night Radio project.  I now have most of the schematic done and getting ready for the proto board layout.  We’ll go over some of the schematic, then I want to talk about one of the most useful and cheap electronic parts there is, the XOR logic gate.  I’ll show how it can be used as a buffer, inverter, schmitt trigger, level translator, polarity control, frequency doubler, phase …

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W1DYJ to Present FT8 Talk at Minuteman Repeater Association, March 20, 2019

The Minuteman Repeater Association will feature Larry Banks, W1DYJ, who will present “FT8: Not a Prefix, a Powerful New Mode” on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 at 7:00 PM. The meeting location is the Microsoft Technology Center, 5 Wayside Rd, Burlington, MA 01803.  (Directions) “FT8 showed up on the ham horizon in August 2017, and has since become the ‘hot new mode.’ Larry will discuss its history and how to set up your station. He will also introduce a supporting application called JTAlert and highlight some reporting web sites. He will end with his personal experience using FT8 to chase DX.” …

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“Andy’s Ham Radio Linux” Distribution Version 22 Now Available

Andy Stewart, KB1OIQ, writes: I’ve just released a new version of “Andy’s Ham Radio Linux” for 64-bit  computers.  Version 22 is based on the Ubuntu 18.04 repositories and contains many new and updated programs.  The previous version had over 10,400 downloads in 14 months!  Thank you for your support! For more information:  https://sourceforge.net/projects/kb1oiq-andysham/ Please pass this information to your Linux and ham radio friends.

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W1DAN Featured on Ham Nation Podcast

Bruce MacKinnon, KC1FSZ, writes on the Wellesley ARS list: If you don’t normally listen, be sure to check out yesterday’s edition of the Ham Nation podcast.  Our very own [Dan Brown,] W1DAN is mentioned (around 1:10) in connection with the upcoming AM Rally and the installation of a monster AM station at W1AW HQ. Way to go Dan!   https://twit.tv/shows/ham-nation/episodes/386?autostart=false  

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MIT Radio Society, EE and Computer Science Department Hosting Radio Technology Lectures

From www.ARRL.org: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Radio Society (W1MX) and the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) are hosting a series of public lectures on “everything radio,” presented by academics and industry professionals. The series begins on Tuesday, January 8, at 5:30 PM ET in Building 3, Room 270. Each self-contained talk will address a different facet of radio, ranging from modulation, propagation, and Amateur Radio, to radar, radio astronomy, space-based applications, and cellular and 5G technology.  [Full story]

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China and Russia band together on controversial ionospheric heating experiments

The South China Morning Post carried this story, “China and Russia band together on controversial heating experiments to modify the atmosphere” December 17, 2018, describing  the continuing military “race to control the ionosphere.” The experiments are similar to the US program’s super-power High-Frequency Active Auroral Research Program ( HAARP) transmitters in Gakona, Alaska.  

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