2016 Summer Activities!

The Nashua Area Radio Club has a lot going on this summer!

Examples of CW Keys at Our First CW Training Class
Examples of CW Keys at Our First CW Training Class

First, our CW Training Classes have begun. We held our first class last Saturday at Dartmouth-Hitchcock in Nashua, NH.

CW Training Class Details
CW Training Class Details

These classes are being held on Saturday mornings and are open to all Club Members and it’s not too late to join. You can find more about the classes in our CW and QRP Forum and on our calendar here on our website.

Saint-Gaudens NHS
Saint-Gaudens NHS

We also completed the first of our planned NPOTA activations at Saint-Gaudens NHS recently. We had a lot of fun and made a bunch of contacts. You can read all about our activation here. We are planning a second activation at Saint-Gaudens NHS on August 7th. You can find more about it in Aron’s article on our Blog and on our Calendar.

2016 ARRL Rookie Roundup RTTY Information
2016 ARRL Rookie Roundup RTTY Information

Don’t forget the ARRL Rookie Roundup RTTY which is coming up on August 21st. Fred, AB1OC and I will again be hosting a multi-op entry in this contest. It’s open to all of our members who have earned their first Amateur Radio License in the last three years. We will be scheduling a training and practice session before the contest. We will announce the details in the Member’s Forum here on our website. You can read about our ARRL Rookie Roundup SSB entry here on our blog.

Nashua Area Radio Club Summer Picnic
Nashua Area Radio Club Summer Picnic

Finally, don’t forget our upcoming club picnic on Saturday, August 27th (the rain date is Sunday, August 28). This will a pot-luck picnic and social gathering for our club. Bring your whole family and meet the families and friends of our club members. Our picnic will be held at Greeley Park in Nashua, NH. You find directions and information about the park on our club calendar.

Please contact me at ab1qb@arrl.net for more information on any of our summer activities. We hope to see you at these events throughout the summer!

73,

Anita, AB1QB

July 10th NPOTA activation by N1FD

On July 10, N1FD members gathered in Cornish, NH to activate the Saint-Gaudens National Historical Site as part of the ARRL’s year-long National Parks On The Air (NPOTA) event which is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.  We almost cancelled it due to a prediction of thunderstorms, but the weather changed to merely intermittent showers, which we didn’t let get in our way.

NPOTA Portable Station at Saint-Gaudens NHS
NPOTA Portable Station at Saint-Gaudens NHS

While the rain was still very light, the advance crew was able to set up the canopy that was last used as the food tent during our recent Field Day operation.  It was more than adequate to keep the 100W station and a handful of club members dry throughout the day.  The site was on the edge of the meadow (a/k/a the reserve parking area) near the entrance to the Ravine Trail which was furthest from the buildings.

20m Inverted V Antenna
20m Inverted V Antenna

With the next carload of club members and a pneumatic launcher, we were able to put a line over the branch of a tree along the edge of the meadow and use it to hoist up a 20m dipole in an inverted “V” configuration.   It only had to be lowered and raised a couple of times to tune it, and we got it right on the mark using an antenna analyzer.

20m Portable Station
20m Portable Station

A small, quiet generator was also set up on the edge of the field to provide power.  This 20m antenna and generator were used on the 100W station, an IC-7300.

Mobile HF Station on 40m
Mobile HF Station on 40m

A second station, Fred AB1OC’s 500W mobile station, was parked midway across the field towards the road and operated on 40m.  I don’t know how many NPOTA activations have had multiple stations running at once, but a number of hams worked us on both bands.

One of Many Sculptures on the Park Grounds
One of Many Sculptures on the Park Grounds

Unlike our visits earlier in the year, park operations were in full swing for the season.  All of the buildings were open to visitors.  The park’s Resident Artist for this summer was working on a clay original to later be cast in bronze, and he paused to talk to us about his work.   Club members were able to explore other modern sculpture, and also the sculpture by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, that is on exhibit throughout the grounds.  A number of members walked the Ravine Trail, which descended into a deep ravine (what did you expect?) to a stream and a swimming hole used by Augustus Saint-Gaudens and his family and others who worked at the studios. People were also able to enjoy a bit of the Sunday afternoon concert.

Saint-Gaudens NHS Resident
Saint-Gaudens NHS Resident

Not too far from where our 20 meter station was, Mike K1WVO spotted a tiny salamander, a Red Eft, crawling across the forest floor.  I’m not sure, but I suspect that a few Pokémon were also spotted in the park!

We also had some special visitors: a ham from California whose daughter worked at the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park across the river in Vermont, and a local ham who worked us and then drove over for an eyeball QSO.

N1FD On The Air at Saint-Galuldens NHS
N1FD On The Air at Saint-Gaudens NHS

The rain continued off and on throughout the day, but it was never heavy — certainly not heavy enough to dampen the spirits of the Nashua ARC members who were too busy making or helping to log QSOs to notice it.  The group logged a total of 528 QSOs in a little over 4 hours!  At the end of the day, the equipment was quickly broken down and packed up, just in time for the rain to completely stop and the skies to clear for a pleasant drive home.

We’re hoping that you and your family can join us for the next activation of this park on August 7!

– Aron W1AKI

2016 – A Record Year for Nashua Area Radio Club On The Air Operations?

The first half of 2016 is behind us and I believe that we are well on our way to a record year as far as contacts made by our club. Among other things, I have had the fun of being the QSL manager for our club as well as for the New Hampshire stations (K2K) for the 13 Colonies Special Event. Members of our club have made a total of 13,787 contacts so far this year using a combination of the N1FD call sign and K2K New Hampshire. All of these contacts represent a great effort on the part of our members. For me, the real story here is about the fun we’ve had together on the air and the great progress that many of our newest members have made in developing their operating skills along the way.

ARRL Rookie Roundup SSB - A First Contest
ARRL Rookie Roundup SSB – A First Contest

Our first major on the air operation was the ARRL Rookie Roundup  SSB Contest in April. This contest is for Amateurs who have been licensed for 3 years or less and its a great opportunity to try contesting and to learn HF operating skills.

ARRL Rookie Roundup SSB - A First Contest
ARRL Rookie Roundup SSB – A First Contest

We entered using our club call sign, N1FD in the multi-op category and took first place! More importantly, many of our recently licensed members got a chance to get on the air and begin developing their operating skills. The group made 280 QSOs and had a lot of fun. You can read more about this operation here on our Blog.

New England QSO Party Mobile Ops
New England QSO Party Mobile Ops

We got a chance to try contesting from a mobile as part of the 2016 New England QSO Party (NEQP). Several of us got together for a weekend of activating counties and having fun as part of this contest. We operated as N1FD/M and the contest gave us a chance to develop and hone our SSB contesting skills further.

NEQP Contest Operations
NEQP Contest Operations

In addition to many county line activations in MA, NH and VT, we also activated two National Parks. In spite of difficult band conditions, we made 631 QSOs and had a great time. You can read more about this operation here.

Learning To Operate Through Satellites
Learning To Operate Through Satellites

Next came our 2016 Field Day operation. We tried several new things as part of Field Day this year. One of these was LEO Satellite operations. Several club members got together to build a great LEO Satellite Station and several of us made our first Satellite contacts while testing it prior to Field Day.

2016 Nashua ARC Field Day
2016 Nashua ARC Field Day

June and July represented a Tsunami of Amateur Radio operating for several of us. This period began with the best Field Day operation that I have ever been part of. We built quite a station and had a great time using it to operate during Field Day 2016.

2016 Field Day - Many Members Came Out
2016 Field Day – Many Members Came Out

We had a great turn out for Field Day this year with a mix of newer folks who were experiencing their first Field Day and the seasoned veterans in our club who have done Field Day many times before. The camaraderie and the learning were fantastic!

2016 Field Day - We Continued Practicing and Building Our Operating Skills
2016 Field Day – We Continued Practicing and Building Our Operating Skills

Many of our members operated during our 2016 Field Day operation and our diligence paid off . We increased both our score and the number of contacts (2,464) made by a significant amount over last year and had a great time doing it!

Our 2016 Field Day Highlights Video 

The video above has some highlights from our 2016 Field Day operation. You can read more about it on our Field Day page and here on our Blog.

13 Colonies Special Event - K2K New Hampshire QSL
13 Colonies Special Event – K2K New Hampshire QSL

Next came the 13 Colonies Special Event. I am the manager for the New Hampshire Colony which operates under the K2K call sign each year. The K2K operating team was made up entirely of Nashua Area Radio Club members this year. This event produces huge pileups and it really challenges one’s operating skills.

13 Colonies - A Chance To Operate in a Large Special Event
13 Colonies – A Chance To Operate in a Large Special Event This

We operated using a combination of SSB Phone, Digital, and CW and the club members made a total of 9,719 contacts!

13 Colonies 2016 - K2K NH Top Club
13 Colonies 2016 – N1FD Top Club Certificate

This was more than enough to make the Nashua Area Radio Club the Top Club in the event! We used the 2016 event to further develop our operating skills as well as provide opportunities for new Amateurs to have fun on the air and make contacts.

Activating Saint-Gaudens NHS - Operating Portable on 20m
Activating Saint-Gaudens NHS – Operating Portable on 20m

Our most recent operation was the Activation of Saint-Gaudens NHS as part of the ARRL’s NPOTA program. Aron Insinga, W1AKI and his XYL Merle, W1MSI have been working on this project for some time and it was great to see it come together to result in a very successful activation. You can learn more about Saint-Gaudens and out plans to activate it here on our Blog.

Activating Saint-Gaudens NHS as part of NPOTA
Activating Saint-Gaudens NHS as part of NPOTA

We activated Saint-Gaudens on Sunday, July 10th with two stations – a 20m portable station using an Inverted-V antenna and 100W and a mobile station on 40m running 500w.

Activating Saint-Gaudens NHS - Operating Mobile on 40m
Activating Saint-Gaudens NHS – Operating Mobile on 40m

We again had a good mix of experienced operators and newer folks from our club. It was especially great to see how well some of the newer folks have come along in terms of their operating skills. The group made a total of 528 QSOs in a little over 4 hours and had a great time doing it! We are all looking forward to our second planned NPOTA activation later this summer on August 7th.

There have been some other, smaller operations too such as our trial run earlier this year at Saint-Gaudens NHS and as part of our training sessions which proceeded several of these operations.

Highlights From Nashua Area Radio Club’s 2016 Activities 

I must say that I don’t think I have ever seen a group of Amateur Radio Club members do so much operating on the air within such a short period of time. Check out the video above for In particular, I believe that some of our newer members are well on their way to becoming world-class operators if they keep going the way they are. Anita, AB1QB and I find it particularly rewarding to have the chance to be part of helping our club to grow and to build our skills. It has been truly a privilege to be part of the Nashua Area Radio Club team.

73,

Fred, AB1OC