NPOTA Fun – Activating a New Park

Ever since we built our Mobile HF Station, we’ve talked about taking it to Acadia National Park in Maine and operating from the top of Cadillac Mountain.  The 2016 ARRL NPOTA event gave us the motivation to plan the trip for the week before Labor Day.    The week before our trip, we saw an article in the ARRL Letter encouraging operation from the newly declared National Monument, Katadhin Woods and Waters in Maine, which had just be designated as NPOTA MN84.  Visiting the NPS website, we learned that the park is only a 2 1/2 hour drive from Bar Harbor, where we are staying.  We decided to accept the challenge to be the first to activate the new park.

Our F150 Mobile Station at the entrance to Katadhin Woods and Wildlife National Monument
Our F150 Mobile Station at the entrance to Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument

Tuesday August 30 was our first full day of vacation, we left our hotel room and parked by the Acadia visitor center and called “CQ National Parks”.   We ended up with 76 contacts in the log from NP01.

After that we got on the road and headed toward Katadhin Woods and Waters, activating counties along the way including the county line between Penobscot and Aroostook Counties.

NPS Map of the Park

As a newly designated National Monument, Katadhin Woods and Waters does not yet have a visitors center or any signs showing you when you enter and exit the park.  We just had the map (above) to determine where the park boundaries were.    All of the roads in black on the map are gravel roads that are also used for logging trucks.

Entrance to Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument
Entrance to Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument

We entered the park from Swift Brook Road off Rt 11 in the lower right corner of the map.  We drove through the lower section by the entrance and then headed north along the Eastern Branch of the Penobscot River and operated near the Loos camping area.   The sign above confirmed that we were within the park boundaries.

Scenic View of Katahdin Woods and Waters NM
Scenic View of Katahdin Woods and Waters NM

The scenery along the river was beautiful with views of the mountains in the distance.

Operating at MN84
Operating at MN84

We started operating on 20m and the pileups were huge!  Everyone was excited to get this new NPOTA into the log.  Fred, AB1OC/M ended up going split on 20m due to the size of the pileups.  After a while, he moved to 40m to give the close in folks a chance at MN84.  We went back and further between 20m and 40m until the pileups thinned out.   We also made 18 QSOs with the club callsign N1FD to also give the club credit for the activation.  We really enjoyed activating the park and the people we talked to were great!  We made a total of 350 QSOs from MN84.

National Park Yes!
Friendly Sign at Katahdin Woods & Waters

We also plan to activate Acadia National Park NP01 again from Cadillac Mountain this week. We will also activate Saint Croix Island, HS01 and Roosevelt Campbello International Park, AA21 in Canada (as AB1OC/VE9 and AB1QB/VE9).

Activating MN84 for the first time was truly a memorable experience.  We enjoyed it so much we will be back on Saturday to give more NPOTA chasers a chance at MN84!  Hope to talk to you on the air!

Anita, AB1QB

How Marconi Gave Us the Wireless World … a new Bio

Guglielmo Marconi was arguably the first truly global figure in modern communication. Today’s globally networked media and communication system has its origins in the 19th century, when, for the first time, messages were sent electronically across great distances. Marconi was the first to develop and perfect a practical system for wireless, using the recently-discovered “air waves” that make up the electromagnetic spectrum.

Between 1896, when he applied for his first patent in England at the age of 22, and his death in Italy in 1937, Marconi was at the center of every major innovation in electronic communication. Some like to refer to him as a genius, but if there was any genius to Marconi it was this vision.


Marconi’s career was devoted to making wireless communication happen cheaply, efficiently, smoothly, and with an elegance that would appear to be intuitive and uncomplicated to the user—user-friendly, if you will. There is a direct connection from Marconi to today’s social media, search engines, and program streaming that can best be summed up by an admittedly provocative exclamation: the 20th century did not exist. In a sense, Marconi’s vision leapfrogged from his time to our own.

Marconi invented the idea of global communication—or, more prosaically, globally networked, mobile, wireless communication. Initially, this was wireless Morse code telegraphy, an improvement on the telegraph, the principal communication technology of his day. Marconi was the first to develop a practical method for wireless telegraphy using radio waves.


Tracing Marconi’s lifeline leads us into the story of modern communication itself. Marconi was quite simply the central figure in the emergence of a modern understanding of communication.

In his lifetime, Marconi foresaw the development of television and the fax machine, GPS, radar, and the portable hand-held telephone. Marconi’s biography is also a story about choices and the motivations behind them.

Marconi placed an indelible stamp on the way we live. Marconi not only “networked the world,” he was himself the consummate networker. At the same time, Marconi was uncompromisingly independent intellectually.

In June 1943, the US Supreme Court ruled on a patent infringement suit taken by the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of America against the United States government in 1916. The company claimed that the government had infringed a 1904 Marconi patent for radio “tuning.”

When the Marconi company sold its U.S. assets, including its patents, to the new Radio Corporation of America (RCA) in 1919, it reserved this unresolved claim for its own prosecution. It was Marconi’s last commercial interest in the United States. The suit claimed that the U.S. government was using Marconi’s patent without paying royalties. The government argued that the patent was not original and hence invalid. The 1943 Supreme Court ruling, written by Chief Justice Harlan F. Stone stated, “Marconi’s reputation as the man who first achieved successful radio transmission rests on his original patent… which is not here in question.

Reprinted from Marconi: The Man Who Networked the World by Marc Raboy with permission from Oxford University Press. Copyright © 2016 by Marc Raboy.

Marconi book

Marc Raboy is professor and Beaverbrook Chair in Ethics, Media and Communications in the Department of Art History and Communication Studies at McGill University.

See the Full Article here.

US Air Force Wants to Plasma Bomb the Sky Using Tiny Satellites

US Air Force wants to plasma bomb the sky using tiny satellites

The US Air Force is working on plans to improve radio communication over long distances by detonating plasma bombs in the upper atmosphere using a fleet of micro satellites.

The curvature of Earth stops most ground-based radio signals traveling more than 70 kilometers without a boost.

At night the density of the ionosphere’s charged particles is higher, making it more reflective.

This is not the first time we’ve tinkered with the ionosphere to try to improve radio communication and enhance the range of over-the-horizon radar. HAARP, the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program in Alaska, stimulates the ionosphere with radiation from an array of ground-based antennas to produce radio-reflecting plasma.

Now the USAF wants to do this more efficiently, with tiny cubesats, for example, carrying large volumes of ionized gas directly into the ionosphere.

As well as increasing the range of radio signals, the USAF says it wants to smooth out the effects of solar winds, which can knock out GPS, and also investigate the possibility of blocking communication from enemy satellites.

One challenge is building a plasma generator small enough to fit on a cubesat – roughly 10 centimeters cubed.

The USAF has awarded three contracts to teams who are sketching out ways to tackle the approach. The best proposal will be selected for a second phase in which plasma generators will be tested in vacuum chambers and exploratory space flights.

General Sciences in Souderton, Pennsylvania, is working with researchers at Drexel University in Philadelphia on a method that involves using a chemical reaction to heat a piece of metal beyond its boiling point. The vaporized metal will react with atmospheric oxygen to produce plasma.

Another team, Enig Associates of Bethesda, Maryland, and researchers at the University of Maryland, are working on a more explosive solution. Their idea is to rapidly heat a piece of metal by detonating a small bomb and converting energy from the blast into electrical energy. Different shaped plasma clouds can be generated by changing the form of the initial explosion.

David Last, former president of the UK’s Royal Institute of Navigation, is skeptical about USAF’s ambitions to counteract the effects of solar wind. When solar storms disrupt GPS signals, the entire side of Earth facing the sun is affected, he says. Ironing out those disturbances would require an extremely large and speedy intervention.

Written By David Hambling, this article was found at Daily News 9 August 2016 from the New Scientist web site:

Our Family Picnic is on August 27!!

Our Summer Picnic is scheduled for Saturday August 27th at Greeley Park in Nashua. All club members and their family members are invited. This will be a pot-luck lunch and members are encouraged to bring a dish. I have created a sign-up sheet. You can view it here.

Please edit this sheet to indicate whether you will attend, how many family members including yourself will attend, and what you will bring.

We will start to gather around 10:00am and lunch will be served at noon. Directions can be found on the club event calendar.

The rain date will be Sunday August 28. If there is inclement weather in the forecast for Saturday, stay tuned to our Forums for updates.

See you at our picnic!


Anita, AB1QB