September 2022 Section News

ARRL Eastern Massachusetts (EMA) section news – September 2022
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The BIG E Space Chat was an unqualified success. Many hours of planning and effort went into making the ISS contact a reality.

Thirteen young STEM students, who are taking space science workshops at New England Sci-Tech in Natick, Mass., were given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity on Tuesday, September 27, 2022 to ask questions of International Space Station pilot Bob Hines, KI5RQT, orbiting 260 miles above the earth via a ground station in Belgium. Held in The BIG Arena, a large entertainment venue, the event garnered much news and television coverage at the fair which attracts 1.5 million people during its 17-day run. It was an out of this world experience for the students from across New England.

Following several informative videos, hundreds of people who gathered at the BIG E Arena, along with a national audience watching via YouTube live stream heard from: Gene Cassidy, Eastern Exposition CEO; David Minster, ARRL CEO; Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC; and Bob Phinney, K5TEC. The pre-contact show was choreographed down to the minute in order to assure a smooth transition leading to the contact itself.

At approximately 2:30 PM ET, the audience heard astronaut Bob Hines, KI5RQT, reply to the ARISS ground station, ON4ISS:

“Oscar November Four India Sierra Sierra, this is Oscar Romeo Four India Sierra Sierra. Over.”

Over a dozen questions were asked by the youths and answered.

“The space station has to be flying over one of our ground stations… this one happened to be in Belgium,” said Bob Phinney, President of New England Sci-Tech. He told Springfield Channel 22 News, “The time had to be perfect. So the students got exactly ten minutes to get up and talk.”

“All the new opportunities that there are about new discoveries, new planets, and even new life,” said 11-year-old Harish Sathishkaumar.

Jack Warren told 22 News, “What fascinates me the most is the unknown… There is just so much to learn!”

“The best thing about this work is that we probably changed one or two lives today,” said Fred Kemmerer. “The biggest takeaway from this momentous day; always to reach for the stars.”

The BIG E Space Chat team consisted, in part, of:

* ARRL New England Division Director Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC
* New England Sci-Tech member Barbara Irby, KC1KGS
* Assistant Director Anita Kemmerer, AB1QB
* Western MA Section Manager Ray Lajoie, AA1SE
* New England Sci-Tech President Bob Phinney, K5TEC
* ARRL New England Division Vice Director Phil Temples, K9HI

Third-parties involved in making the effort a success included: the production company Black Helicopter, Limited; the BIG E Marketing team, and Eastern States Exposition CEO Gene Cassidy; NASA; and Amateur Radio on the International Space Station.

Several ARRL Headquarters staff from Newington, Connecticut attended the event including: ARRL CEO David Minster, NA2AA; Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1W, Director of Public Relations and Innovation; and Steve Goodgame, K5ATA, ARRL Education and Learning Manager.

At the conclusion of the contact, the youths were presented with certificates confirming their contact with Bob Hines aboard the ISS, signed by David Minster, NA2AA; Fred Kemmerer, AB1OC; and Bob Phinney, K5TEC.

Along with “Space Chat,” NE Sci-Tech is conducting a 12-month educational space science program that includes:

* Amateur Radio License Course
* Model Rocketry workshops
* Air-Powered Rocketry
* Introduction to Basic Electronics
* Introduction to Arduinos Electronics
* Public Telescope Nights
* Morse Code Introduction
* Elementary Mathematics for Modeling Rocket Flight

You can learn more about New England Sci-Tech’s educational space science program by visiting their website.

A recording of the pre-contact show and ARISS space station contact can be viewed on the NE Sci-Tech YouTube channel at: <>.



Project Big E (the ham radio exhibit) was conceived by Hampden County Radio Association President Larry Krainson, W1AST, in January 2021.  Planning continued for 21 months until the start of the BIG E on September 16, 2022.  The expressed purpose of this ambitious project is to bring awareness of Amateur Radio to the general public and expand Amateur Radio club membership in New England. The project believes that joining a club is the best possible way that someone can learn about Amateur Radio and get the help and support to get licensed and participate in the many avenues available of the avocation.

In conjunction with the booth, a web page has been set up as a place people having interest can visit to learn more and take the next step.

The ham radio exhibit is located in booth #103 in the Better Living Center, the largest building at the fair at 123,000 square feet.

Project BIG E owes a debt of gratitude to ARDC for a grant that made this effort possible. Also, to Remote Ham Radio for putting N1E on the air. Thank you, Icom, for lending us radios to show and demonstrate modern ham radio to the public.

This project would have been impossible without the dedicated effort of the 120 volunteers from all the New England States plus New York and New Jersey who staff the booth 12 hours a day. Also, a big thanks to the twelve clubs who staffed six-hour sessions or a full day.

Ham clubs and their members at the booth are showcasing modern ham radio to the public. Their goal is to teach and inform the public about ham radio and generate interest in becoming hams. As a result, we hope that the Amateur Radio hobby—and radio clubs throughout New England—will benefit. Learn more at <>.


New England Division Receives ARDC RFI Equipment Grant

From: <>

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.


Billerica ARS meeting on October 5 to feature Bob Phinney, K5TEC

The Billerica ARS meeting on Wednesday October 5 will feature Bob Phinney, K5TEC, as he describes his STEM program at New England Sci-Tech in Natick. Bob and his team just sponsored a highly successful ARISS Space Station contact at The BIG E multi-state fair in Springfield, MA on September 27. The event garnered much news and television coverage at the venue which attracts 1.5 million people during its 17-day run.



Section Traffic Manager – Marcia Forde, KW1U

NTS net schedules may be found at: <>

From Marcia’s latest August report.  Marcia writes:

“In late August we enjoyed a great New England and Hudson Divisions HamXposition. It was nice to see a good turnout for the Traffic Handlers Meet and Greet forum, which joined forces with the NE-ECAPS (New England Emergency and Public Service) group. It is always fun to see in person those with whom we handle traffic on the air, and one of the main topics was a very informative presentation by ARRL New England Division Director Fred Kemmerer AB1OC concerning the ongoing work on the revitalization of NTS, also known as NTS 2.0. The NTS subcommittee of the ECFSC (Emergency Communications and Field Services Committee) continues to extend briefings to other ARRL Divisions across the country, with a goal of establishing implementation teams by some time in November. During the first part of the year, we hope to see some actual results coming from these teams applied to message handling. Stay tuned.”

Read Marcia’s full September report at: <>



Section Emergency Coordinator – Rob Macedo KD1CY

ARES Net Schedules may be found at:

News concerning ARES and Emergency Communications in the EMA section is

updated regularly on our web site: <>.



Eastern Massachusetts Section website: <>

New England Division website: <>

Section Speaker List: <>

To join EMA ARES visit: <>



Hundreds of BIG E attendees and spectators were able to watch students make a live contact with an astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS) from The BIG E Arena on Tuesday, September 27, 2022.

Congratulations to Bob Phinney, K5TEC, President of NE Sci-Tech; Larry, W1AST (HCRA); the ARRL Division staff, and all the many volunteers and clubs that helped make The BIG E a huge success for Amateur Radio.

Until next month.


The EMA September section news has been jointly produced by Phil K9HI, Assistant Section Manager, and Tom K1TW, Section Manager.


ARRL Eastern Massachusetts Section
Section Manager: Thomas D Walsh, K1TW