NASA-On-The-Air (NOTA) 60th anniversary
W5RRR was extremely active this past week, logging in over 1200 contacts on FT8, SSB, CW, AM and Satellites. We received large exposure on many fronts including a JSC Roundup announcement, an ARRL posting on their web News section, and a lot of twitter traffic. Additionally, a professional photographer came out to take shots of the station and even, and a JSC external relations writer came out to write a story about the event and club.
We got both the photographer and the writer on-the-air as well, to give them an idea of what ham radio is about. As always, the hams on the other end did not disappoint by extending courtesy and welcoming conversations back to us.
The spotlight of the whole 60th anniversary event was Ken, K5RG’s 1958 vintage station. Ken fought pesky unplanned issues all along the way, but his persistence allowed this vintage station to make a few contacts on AM and CW. We especially got great photographs of Ken operating the station which we will exploit for the JSC story being written and a potential ARRL article of regarind this club event. Ken is letting us hold onto the Ranger transmitter for a bit longer so we can make a few more CW contacts in continuing celebration of the 60th anniversary. Since the Hammarlund HQ145 is not optimized for CW operations, we’re going to swap it out with another vintage receiver this week.
During Saturday evening, we were treated by the attendance of Milt Heflin, K5KRM. Milt is a long time JSC and NASA icon, which includes his experience onboard the prime recovery ships during splashdowns and post landing activities of Apollo 8, Apollo 10, and Apollo 16 and Apollo 17. As a flight director, he oversaw 20 shuttle flights with seven as lead flight director. He had a ball talking with Ken and gushing over the vacuum tube vintage station. A highlight for several of us was getting Milt on a 20m pileup. Paired with Tanner as his logger, Milt eloquently conversed with the outside ham community and actually renewed a few unexpected acquaintances related to his days of flight operations on Shuttle. He and Tanner commanded the pileup until the band dried up around 9:00PM and then he was ready for more and worked 40m.
Special mention should be made of our commanding presence on the Satellites. Anchored by John Maca and Keith Brandt, the Satellite QSOs presence was extremely well received. We received numerous twitter and email feedback of appreciation for providing W5RRR on the air with the Satellites. For many this was a historic in some way for them and this type of outreach was hugely successful for the NOTA event as well as the agency.
Our very special 60th anniversary QSL cards are expected to arrive this evening. Thanks again to John Maca for taking the time to design, perhaps one of our best cards ever. We’ll leave samples in the shack and will show them off at the next club meeting.
Lastly, regarding this event – thanks to all the members who continue to make this NOTA event successful. And a special shout out to the newer licensed members who bravely jumped in, got on the air, and started working the radios. Good job to all.
Calendar of Events
August 1 Weekend – Austin Summerfest 2018
Austin will be hosting its annual Summerfest event in the Capital City this upcoming weekend. It’s always been a big draw for the state’s population of hams, it attracts bigtime speakers and technical sessions.
August 1 Saturday. North American QSO Party, CW
Also during the same weekend, CW ops of W5RRR will operate this morse code only event on Saturday. Please allow these folks priority usage in the shack during this event as they plan to operate for a solid 12 hours from 1:00pm Saturday thru 1:00AM Sunday morning. Currently our ops team will be WD9GET, NZ5A, N8MTV, and W5OC. This weekend will be this year’s single largest CW effort of the year and will significantly increase our CW NASA-On-The-Air metric count.
August 18 North American QSO Party Single Side Band
Nobody has indicated formal interest yet, but we expect some of our Single Side Band operators to consider working this contest. This will be a very popular and fun event for SSB operators.
August 25th The south Texas Balloon Launch Team will be inflating and launching another large balloon; BLT-50. Any individual, groups, teams and/or clubs can build and launch their payloads on these balloons. This one will carry a variety of payload radios including FM and DMR repeaters, Digital TV, and Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS). The JSCARC is interested in members who are willing to build a fly a payload on some future balloon transports. This upcoming event is highly recommended for those who have this interest and to gain an understanding how the balloon team will launch our potential payloads beyond the 100,000 foot elevations. If there’s enough interest, we can carpool a group to observe the launch and tracking. See AB5SS for more information.
ELMER is the ham radio term used for a wise mentor. We’re received 9 requests for ELMERS from the Technician class Stu (W4STU) is currently teaching. Thanks to our ELMER volunteers: Keith WD9GET, Tanner W9TWJ, Mike N8MTV, and Jeff AB4ME.
EME Moon Bounce
Now that we’ve notched up our big 60th anniversary event, we’re seriously turning our attention towards an EME moonbounce effort from the W5RRR shack. This event occurs in both Oct and November as part of an ARRL Moonbounce contest. John AB5SS and Mike N8MTV are our key players here and we’ll likely use digital JT65 as our mode on either 144, 432, or 1296 while using the shack equipment and likely borrowing some of John’s UHF assets. There are known big guns with high power and huge antenna arrays which will increase our changes to make a contact using our modest setup. We’re committed to make a historic 1st for the club and this is on our radar as a significant goal to cap off 2018.