Apollo 11 45th Anniversary Special Event Station N4A

The Apollo 11 Saturn V, as it rolled out from the Vehicle Assembly Building at Launch Complex 39 at the Kennedy Space Center.

The Apollo 11 Saturn V, as it rolled out from the Vehicle Assembly Building at Launch Complex 39 at the Kennedy Space Center in 1969.

Our Apollo 11 45th Anniversary Special Event Station N4A was an outstanding success! Thank you for contacting us, and thank you for commemorating this special anniversary with us.

Rob KB5EZ starts the Apollo 11 anniversary special event during lunch break on Thursday July 17.

Rob KB5EZ started the Apollo 11 anniversary special event during lunch break on Thursday July 17, operating 17 and 20 meter SSB.

45 years ago Apollo 11 landed on the Moon, and astronauts first walked on the lunar surface.  President Kennedy was probably right, that no other single space project of that time was more impressive to mankind, nor more important for the long range exploration of space.  The space programs of the 1960s with the Apollo lunar landings deeply influenced several generations, including us here.  Our special event was intended to help all of us reconnect with that heritage.

Our operation was timed to coincide with the actual dates of the Apollo 11 mission, which was launched July 16, 1969, reached lunar orbit July 19, landed on the moon July 20 with the EVA walk that evening, and splashed down on July 24 (CDT).  We operated from July 17 to 21 (CDT).  On the 20th and 21st we played short audio clips of the landing and EVA moonwalk communications.

We were one of several NASA amateur radio clubs commemorating the anniversary; the others were WA3NAN at Goddard in Maryland and NA8SA at Glenn in Ohio.  Also participating were the Huntsville Amateur Radio Club operating at the US Space & Rocket Center museum using W4A and W4R, the Cradle of Aviation Museum K2CAM on Long Island (not far from where Grumman built the Lunar Modules) and the actual Grumman Amateur Radio Club WA2LQO.

We logged 1225 QSOs.  Most QSOs were on SSB, but some were CW, RTTY, and FM as well. Most of our operations were on the 17, 20, and 40 meter bands. Our contacts were from most of the US states (including HI and AK) and several territories,  6 Canadian provinces, and more than 30 countries.  Our longest-distance contacts were in Japan on 17 meters. We also contacted 3 of the other special event stations (WA3NAN, W4A, and K2CAM).  The NASA Johnson station in Texas W5RRR contacted us. Some of our contacts had worked with the Apollo Program or other aspects of the space program. When we had time and there was interest, we and our contacts shared memories from that period.  Our operators were KA0S, WA2JQZ, KK4IBB, N4CNY, N4MSN, KB5EZ, and WA8U.  We also had invaluable logging help from Jenny and Joe. This was our most successful event since we reactivated the club a few years ago.

We QSL with Logbook of the World and eQSL. Paper QSL cards are available with an SASE to WA4NZD MSFC Amateur Radio Club, c/o Donald Hediger, ES32, NASA MSFC, Huntsville, AL 35812, USA. Our email contact address is wa4nzd/at/gmail/dot/com.

Jenny logging, Matt KA0S operating RTTY and SSB, and John N4CNY.

Matt KA0S operated RTTY and SSB Friday evening, with Jenny logging, and with John N4CNY.

Rob KB5EZ operating RTTY on Saturday with Stephen KK4IBB. Rob also tried 2 meter FM and Internet Radio Linking Project (IRLP) to Alaska and West Coast reflectors.

Rob KB5EZ on Saturday, with Stephen KK4IBB. Rob operated RTTY, and also tried 2 meter FM and the Internet Radio Linking Project (IRLP) to Alaska and West Coast reflectors. Stephen operated SSB Saturday and Monday afternoons.

Gary WA2JQZ operated Saturday afternoon on 17 and 20m SSB. Band conditions were poor, but sufficiently to the western US and Pacific.  That enabled contacts to Hawaii and Japan, and also to a few QRP stations in the US southwest.  Gary also operated CW.

Gary WA2JQZ operated Saturday afternoon on 17 and 20m SSB. Band conditions were poor, but opened sufficiently to the western US and Pacific. That enabled contacts to Hawaii and Japan, and even to a few QRP stations in the US southwest. Gary operated CW and SSB on several days.

Don N4MSN at the mike Sunday evening, with Tina WA8U logging.

Don N4MSN at the mike Sunday evening, with Tina WA8U logging. Don operated or logged several of the late night shifts, on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday.

Joe, who is studying for his ticket, logged late night Sunday with Don N4MSN

Joe, who is studying for his ticket, logged late night Sunday with Don N4MSN

US Space & Rocket Center

You can learn more about the space program and the heritage from Apollo by visiting the US Space & Rocket Center – the visitor center for the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center and Redstone Arsenal — located on I-565 in Huntsville, AL. Its outdoor Rocket Park tells the story of U.S. rocket development during the 1950s and 60s. The Saturn V replica is a prominent landmark, visible from many miles away. Inside the Davidson Center building you can get close with a real Saturn V, plus many more items of Apollo and American space program hardware. The US Space & Rocket Center is the home of Space Camp.
* * *
The NASA Marshall Space Flight Center developed the Apollo Saturn launch vehicles, and continues to serve a major role for the country. Its work supports all the major NASA directorates. Marshall is now developing the heavy-lift Space Launch System (SLS), which will give the country again the ability to send heavy payloads to deep space.

Apollo 11 45th Anniversary Special Event Station – N4A

The Marshall Space Flight Center Amateur Radio Club (MARC), WA4NZD, will be operating a special event station to commemorate the 45th Anniversary of Apollo 11.

Operations will be from Jul 17 0500Z – Jul 22 0459Z, (midnight CDT) using the callsign N4A (NASA for Apollo),

We will be self-spotting on the DX cluster and will be on various bands and modes.

QSL via Logbook of the World or eQSL. Paper QSLs will be available with an SASE to WA4NZD MSFC Amateur Radio Club, c/o Donald Hediger, ES32, Huntsville, AL 35812.

Check http://wa4nzd.wordpress.com or WA4NZD on QRZ.COM for availability and other frequency announcements.

Club stations from several other NASA centers and various museums will be on the air during the mission anniversary.

Rob

KB5EZ

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Apollo 11 45th Anniversary Logo

Alabama QSO Party (June 7, 2014) Adventure

A month ago Stephen KK4IBB and I WA2JQZ tried to operate the Alabama QSO Party for the first time. The idea is for hams outside the state to work folks in the state, including as many counties as they can. For us here, we try to work everyone, including as much variety of states and Canadian provinces as we can. It is a 12 hour affair, from 11 AM to 11 PM CDT, once a year on the first Saturday in June. It was something completely new for us.

Stephen arrived at the station a little after noon, and I got there about a half hour later. Stephen already got us started on 20 meters. We had a hard time finding any Alabama QSO stations at all on 20. The band was busy with so much else going on!

However Stephen did find something interesting, which he told me about when I arrived. He had contacted a museum ship, the destroyer USS Joseph P. Kennedy (DD850) with the call sign NB1CR. I then showed him a website printout I had brought with me, which listed 104 museum ships and nautical museums that were operating that weekend — it was also Museum Ship Weekend, and that had caught my attention too.

We carefully tuned through the band, but we managed to contact just one caller for the Alabama QSO Party, N2MM.

But along the journey, what we found we liked was to talk to the ships. We eventually found six. We also worked a lighthouse in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island (operated by W1SYE), in a completely different event.  And there was a military commemoration in Stewart, Florida, another event.   I think we were very tempted to just forget all about the Alabama QSO party and keep exploring. We definitely enjoyed discovering the ships, and learning some nautical and military history.

There’s more to the museum ship story. But I want to save that for another post. Thinking it made sense to work from the high frequency bands to the lower, we eventually gave up 20 meters (which seemed like the real “party” band — it was a non-stop party), and moved to 40. Where could the Alabama QSO Party be?

We eventually found something we were looking for. On 7.24 MHz we came upon a group of Alabama stations working together. I counted 5 stations, each from a different county. One of them, N4DTC, Marvin, called “CQ Alabama QSO Party”. When other hams would call in, he made the QSO, then invited the caller to work each of the other Alabama participants. We gave them a call. It took time and patience, yet it was very effective.

By then it was mid-afternoon, and it was time for Stephen to go. I decided to stay, and joined that 40 meter group. Some of the Alabama members left or took breaks, and some others joined in too at various times.  While I was there we had participants from the counties of Cherokee, Elmore, Lamar, Lee, Limestone, Madison, Montgomery, Talladega, and Walker. With them I logged about 50 Alabama QSO Party QSOs. Rob KB5EZ later told me that usually we don’t work so many for that event. So we ended up doing pretty well after all. For many contests we’ll tune and seek contacts. And lately we’ve been calling CQ on our own more too. Here was something new for me as well, a spontaneous net had come together to help everyone who chose to participate.

Rob also later told me I had met Marvin before. He is KL0ET. He visited the club earlier this year after he returned from Afghanistan (where he was T6MC). He did an excellent job on our frequency, keeping everything running smoothly and friendly. N4DTC is the club station at the Drake State Technical College here in Huntsville.

Of the contests I’ve participated in over the last year and a half, the Alabama QSO Party is definitely the most locally oriented.  True, the VHF contests often have a local character when there’s no propagation; but when those bands open suddenly, we visit neighbors near and far. The Alabama QSO Partly invited everyone to come to meet us.  In turn, as I saw we did, we genuinely offered our hospitality.  I felt part of a community.

To close, these are the eQSLs we received for the Alabama QSO Party. (We posted them small.  But click on them and you’ll see more detail.) They are a nice variety.

Thank you everyone who contacted us.

- Gary WA2JQZ

AI8F 20140607 WA4NZD 40m LSB ALQP GA_50pcW1MLK 20140607 WA4NZD 40m LSB  AL-QSOP OH_50pcW8DM 20140607 WA4NZD 40m LSB ALQP MS_50pcNZ4CW 20140607 WA4NZD 40m LSB AL QSOP GA_50pcNJ9U 20140607 WA4NZD [WA2JQZ] 40m LSB AL-QSOP IN_50pcN4HID 20140607 WA4NZD 40m LSB AL QSOP KY_50pcN4EMP 20140607 WA4NZD 40m LSB AL-QSOP AL_50pcKJ8O 20140607 WA4NZD 40m LSB ALQSO-P MI_50pcKC4QWM 20140607 WA4NZD 40m LSB AL-QSOP AL_50pcKC4OR 20140607 WA4NZD 40m LSB ALQP AL_50pcK9JN 20140607 WA4NZD 20m LSB AL QSOP IL_50pcK8L 20140607 WA4NZD 40 LSB AL QP OH_50pcK0BRT 20140607 WA4NZD ALQP MO_50pcAJ1F 20140607 WA4NZD 40m LSB AL QSOP AL_50pcW4UT 20140607 WA4NZD 40m LSB AL QSOP TN_50pcW3UC 20140607 WA4NZD 40m LSB AL QSOP MD_50pcWJ4HCP 20140607 WA4NZD 40m LSB AL QSOP TN_50pc

 

 

Field Day 2014 Update #2

Satellite antenna

During the previous week we completed repairs on our satellite antennas, just in time for Field Day. We updated obital elements data, and successfully tested by tracking and communicating through VO-52. (Photo: N4MSN)

 

N4MSN operating HF SSB with N4CNY

N4MSN operating HF SSB with N4CNY supporting with logging. Club members took turns operating, and with helping log and verify information

KA0S operating late night digital (RTTY & PSK31)

KA0S operating late night digital (RTTY & PSK31) on 20 and 40 meters.

WB5RMG operating VHF with N4CNY.

WB5RMG operating VHF with N4CNY.

Some initial results from our Field Day ops: We had 10 operators: WB5RMG, KK4IBB, KB5EZ,  N4CNY, WA2JQZ, N4MSN, KA0S, WB8ELK, K3XM, and W4VM. We logged 304 contacts using Phone, CW, and Digital modes, on 40, 20, 15, 6, 2 meters, and 70 cm. One contact was via the VO-52 amateur satellite. 10 contacts  were logged while using solar power.

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Field Day 2014 is here .!.

Has it really been a whole year since Field Day ?
(updated 20140629)
The club has had a lot of activity getting ready for the summer contest season, and this weekend will be a focal point. I wanted to start a new post, and let everyone know that WA4NZD will be active in the “1F” category, as our facility at NASA/MSFC is an informal auxiliary EOC that exercises to support both the Marshall and the Redstone communities. We will run one transmitter, which covers 160m thru 6m. We will also have an active VHF station to cover VO-52 satellite, 50MHz, 144MHz, 432MHz.
Surely you can find us somewhere. Work us everywhere you can.

Oh, and to find us, if you already have access to the base – please drop by to see whats a goin on. http://wa4nzd.wordpress.com/2010/05/05/quick-maps/

We hope to come back and update this post thru the weekend, so check back.

UPDATE: 20140629 – back for more . . .

The log indicates that KA0S was here until 03:45 local, and I was back at 08:15 after leaving at 01:00 CDT. WA2JQZ got here at 09:30, with fresh muffins and coffee. N4CNY just arrived as well, and is going to listen on 6m. Only one contact on 6 this morning, from Texas, and 2 meters has only been a little noisy.

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N4MSN, W4VM, KK4RPQ, KK4TJP, N4CNY, WA2JQZ, WB8ELK, N5AYD, WB5RMG

We had a pretty good crowd at times last nite, several distinguished guests.

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CW contact with W3CWC, via VO-52

Field Day dramatically increases the challenges, even for CW via satellite. WB8ELK finally pulls one out on our second VO-52 pass just before it goes LOS over the Pacific Ocean. WB5RMG makes sure it logged. Thanks to W3CWC for that contact, worth 102 points for us (including the satellite bonus) .!.

Another update to come later…
Thanks /;^)

Apollo 11 Anniversary Special Event Station – N4A – 17-22 July, 2014

The Marshall Space Flight Center Amateur Radio Club (MARC), WA4NZD, will be operating a special event station to commemorate the 45th Anniversary of Apollo 11.

Operations will be from Jul 17 – Jul 22, 0000Z-2359Z, using the callsign N4A (NASA for Apollo),

We will be self-spotting on the DX cluster.

QSL via Logbook of the World or eQSL. Paper QSLs will be available with an SASE from WA4NZD MSFC Amateur Radio Club, c/o Donald Hediger, ES32, Huntsville, AL 35812.

Check http://wa4nzd.wordpress.com or WA4NZD on QRZ.COM for availability and other frequency announcements.

Club stations from several other NASA centers will be on the air during this same time frame.

 

Rob

KB5EZ

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Apollo 11 45th Anniversary Logo

2014 update

(Gary – WA2JQZ has been invited to contribute to the blog)

Although we’ve been quiet for awhile here, we’ve been focused on the club and we’ve been busy.

Since the last post here,
•we’ve been repairing our antennas and building new ones,
•we upgraded our CW capability by repairing our straight key,
getting a Vibroflex standard keyer paddle,
and building a Winkeyer kit (during the furlough),
•we’ve been operating portable and QRP in the field around Huntsville and on Monte Sano, on phone, CW, and JT65,
•we’ve become more active in contests,
•we won First Place in two 2013 ARRL contests within the Alabama Section for multi-operator, low power:
for the ARRL DX Contest in March, and the June VHF Contest,
•we’ve been getting on the air more, having casual QSOs, and getting to know more hams,
•we attended the Huntsville and Birmingham Hamfests,
•we’ve been having interesting guest speakers,
•we’ve been cleaning the station and we got better seats,
•some members have been volunteering in the community,
helping with a new high school radio club, giving license tests,
and working with ARES,
•some members have been working on upgrading their licenses,
•and more.
And we’ve been having fun.!.

We’re now getting ready to participate together in ARRL Field Day.

And we’re preparing for a Special Event in July!

- Gary