Category Archives: nasa

Operating our Orion Special Event Station Saturday Morning

Orion EFT-1 Special Event Station snapshot (December 5th).

Rob KB5EZ and Dave KK4IKR operated for our Orion Special Event on Saturday morning on 20 meter SSB.

Rob KB5EZ and Dave KK4IKR operated for our Orion Special Event on Saturday morning on 20 meter SSB. John N4CNY and Gary WA2JQZ (not pictured) operated during the afternoon.

Thank you for contacting us for our Orion Test Flight Special Event

Thank you for contacting us for our Orion Special Event Station, yesterday, Saturday December 6, 2014.  We commemorated the successful EFT-1 test flight of the Orion spacecraft, flown the previous day. Thank you also for sharing your thoughts about the United States Space Program, and for expressing your support and pride.

We operated with our club call sign WA4NZD. We logged about 230 QSOs, most on 20 meters SSB. We tried 10 and 15 meters, but didn’t get much traffic.  We tried a few digital QSOs, most on 40 meters RTTY. Our operators were KB5EZ, KK4IKR, N4CNY, and WA2JQZ.

If you contacted us, QSL via Logbook of the World and eQSL. Paper QSL cards are available with a business sized SASE to WA4NZD MSFC Amateur Radio Club, c/o Donald Hediger, ES35, NASA MSFC, Huntsville, AL 35812, USA. Our email contact address is wa4nzd/at/gmail/dot/com..

Check our speical event page https://wa4nzd.wordpress.com/special-events/test-flight-of-the-orion-spacecraft-eft-1/ for additional information.

The Orion completed a successful test flight on Friday December 5, 2014, with a splashdown at 10:29 Central Time. The Exploration Flight Test 1 (EFT-1) was designed to test the Orion spacecraft and its systems, especially its heatshield for re-entry. The flight lasted four hours, and made two Earth orbits. The second orbit was highly eccentric, which enabled a high speed re-entry comparable to returning from deep space missions. EFT-1 is the opening test flight that will eventually lead to operational missions with the new Space Launch System (SLS) heavy lift launch vehicle.  The Space Launch System is now being developed and built at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.  Some components of the Orion test vehicle were designed and tested at NASA Marshall. The next flight of Orion will be aboard the Space Launch System, at this time scheduled for about 2018.  The Orion spacecraft is managed by the NASA Johnson Space Flight Center in Houston, Texas.

More information about the Orion spacecraft and program: http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/systems/orion/index.html

Orion_emblem_white

Update – Orion Special Event – Dec. 6

We plan to begin our special event station at 9 AM Central Time / 1500 GMT.

Orion Test Flight Special Event – Saturday December 6, 2014

The Marshall Space Flight Center Amateur Radio Club (MARC), WA4NZD, will operate a Special Event station to commemorate the successful EFT-1 test flight of the Orion spacecraft.

Operation will be on Saturday December 6, 2014 (Central Time) throughout the day, using the club call sign WA4NZD.

We will be self-spotting on the DX cluster — look for “WA4NZD SE Orion Flight Test“. We will operate on various bands and modes, depending on favorable propagation conditions. We expect to operate on 20 meter phone.  We probably will operate on other bands, on phone and digital modes, at the discretion of our operators.

QSL via Logbook of the World or eQSL. Paper QSLs will be available with a business sized SASE to WA4NZD MSFC Amateur Radio Club, c/o Donald Hediger, ES35, Huntsville, AL 35812.

Check https://wa4nzd.wordpress.com or WA4NZD on QRZ.COM for updated announcements.

The Orion completed a successful test flight on Friday December 5, 2014, with a splashdown at 10:29 Central Time.

The flight was designed to test the Orion spacecraft and its systems. The flight lasted four hours, and made two Earth orbits. The second orbit was highly eccentric, with an apogee of 3600 miles, which enabled a high speed re-entry comparable to returning from deep space missions. The flight is officially named Exploration Flight Test 1.  It is the opening test flight that will eventually lead to operational missions with the new Space Launch System (SLS) heavy lift launch vehicle.  Some components of the Orion test vehicle were designed and tested at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.

The next flight of Orion will be aboard the Space Launch System (SLS) being built by MSFC.

Special Event Station planned for the Test Flight of the Orion Spacecraft

We are planning to run a brief Special Event Station to commemorate the first test flight of the Orion spacecraft. As of this writing, the scheduled launch date is December 4, 2014. It is possible the flight could be delayed. We plan to operate our special event on the first full Saturday, central time, following a successful flight.  (That is, if a successful flight occurs on a Saturday morning or afternoon, central time, we will operate the following weekend on Saturday.) We will post future announcements and details about our special event on our QRZ page http://www.qrz.com/db/WA4NZD, and on our website here, once we are ready to proceed. We will operate with our club call sign, WA4NZD.

This flight is designed to test the Orion spacecraft and its systems, especially for high speed atmospheric re-entry from interplanetary space missions. The flight will last four hours, and make two Earth orbits. The flight is officially named Exploration Flight Test 1. It is the opening test flight that will eventually lead to test and operational missions with the new Space Launch System (SLS) heavy lift launch vehicle.  Some components of the Orion test vehicle were designed and tested at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.

More information:

2013 NASA Picnic & June VHF Contest

Posted by Gary WA2JQZ with Rob KB5EZ.

We are catching up with interesting stories that we didn’t have the chance to write earlier. This story is now also posted in our Activites menu.

[You can click on images to see them larger.]

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Marshall Amateur Radio Club tent set up in the NASA Family Picnic area. We had the portable mast with a rotatable VHF antenna. Rob’s G5RV Jr wire antenna was strung to the trees.

On a sunny Saturday June 8, 2013, the Marshall Amateur Radio Club took part in the annual NASA Family Picnic at MSFC. We set up under a tent, surrounded by child-friendly activities and other clubs.  But also the band stage was located not far away. We had access to power. And, a water cooler was conveniently located right next to us.

Don N4MSN set up a portable antenna mast close by, from which we deployed a VHF antenna. Rob KB5EZ set up a G5RV jr wire antenna in the trees for HF. We operated with the Yaesu FT-950 for HF and 6 meters, and the FT-897 for VHF/UHF.

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Portable mast with VHF antenna

The weather for the day was beautiful. Many people of all ages stopped by to visit us. Members of the club took turns talking with folks and operating the radios, and enjoying the day. The center director and his wife dropped by the tent at the beginning of the event. We made a lot of folks aware of the club as well as ham radio in general.

 

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Alan WB5RMG discussed ham radio by the Marshall Amateur Radio Club tent.

N4CNY

John N4CNY

We made a few HF contacts, mostly digital modes due to the QRM (loud sounds) from the band on the nearby stage. Yet that weekend also was the ARRL June VHF Contest, and we succeeded in making a few local phone contacts on 2 meters as well.

Matt KA0S and Rob KB5EZ

Matt KA0S (ex-KI4EUR) and Rob KB5EZ.

Several young boys and girls, with their families, spent time with us. Some were delighted to have us teach them Morse Code and help them practice. According to their interests and curiosity, we showed educational brochures, engaged them with some deeper understanding and fun, and talked about next steps they could try.

Ghee

Ghee WL7C with a young visitor. The ARRL pamphlet says, “Dreams begin here ….”

Ghee

Studying Morse Code sheet while Ghee WL7C took a radio break.

Matt KA0S (ex-KI4EUR) and Jenny M

Matt KA0S (ex-KI4EUR) and Jenny M. operating.

After the picnic concluded some members returned our equipment to the shack, and continued to operate for the ARRL VHF Contest into the evening. Some members returned to the shack on Sunday too, and again continued to operate for the VHF Contest.

During the picnic, propagation at 50 MHz and above was poor. But back at the shack, 6 meters sometimes opened to the U.S. southwest. And then we had 6 meters “magic”.

Below are some of the eQSLs we received from our VHF Contest contacts. Some QSLs are from north Alabama where we are located. And some come from the openings to Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona.

 

AK4QR 20130608 WA4NZD 6m SSB June VHF EM64 AL_50pc K4TD 20130608 WA4NZD 6m CW EM64 AL_50pc NM5S 20130608 WA4NZD 6m CW DM75 NM_50pc W0RIC 20130609 WA4NZD 6m SSB DM79 CO_50pc W4YZJ 20130609 WA4NZD 6m SSB June VHF EM64 AL_50pc WA4DXP 20130608 WA4NZD 6m SSB June VHF EM64 Huntsville AL_50pc W4ENN 20130608 WA4NZD 6m CW June VHF EM64 AL_50pc KJ4UGO 20130608 WA4NZD 2m SSB June VHF EM64 AL_50pc W0FRC 20130609 WA4NZD 6m SSB June VHF DM78 CO_50pc NQ7R 20130608 WA4NZD 6m SSB June VHF DM42 AZ_50pc

 

And that’s how the story almost ended. We had a beautiful day, and we enjoyed it. We shared our hobby and interests with out visitors, and in turn stretched their horizons and interests. We enjoyed working together. We enjoyed operating on the radios and talking with folks near and far. And we got to participate in the VHF Contest too, especially with some nice propagation openings…

But the following year, we received a surprise in the mail:

June 2013 VHF 2

We had been awarded First Place within the Limited Multi-Operator category, for the Alabama Section, for the June 2013 VHF Contest!

Probably not many other folks in Alabama operated in this category. But nonetheless, that was sweet!

Your N4A QSLs are on the way…

N4MSN and N4CNY replying to QSL cards for our N4A event.

N4MSN and N4CNY replying to QSL cards for our N4A Apollo 11 45th Anniversary Special Event.

We received over 200 QSL cards for our Apollo 11 45th anniversary special event station N4A, that we operated in July. This afternoon we met after work to respond to them, with our special event cards.

During the past week Matt KA0S and Don N4MSN set up a database for our contacts who mailed us, and Stephen KK4IBB printed individualized signal reports for them. Rob KB5EZ also set up a complete checklist from our log. Today we systematically responded to almost all of the cards we received. We read to each other messages that were included. Many interesting individualized cards were sent to us, including some nice stamps.

Just a few cards are not matching our log record, and we suspect some may be intended for the W4A Apollo anniversary station that was set up by the Huntsville Amateur Radio Club at the US Space & Rocket Center. Whatever the case, we’ll investigate each outlier.

We sent our mail out this evening.

KB5EZ placing QSL cards in envelopes for sending.

KB5EZ placing N4A QSL cards in envelopes for our contacts.

Our QSL card team members this evening were John N4CNY, Don N4MSN, Rob KB5EZ, Gary WA2JQZ, Tina WA8U, and Stephen KK4IBB.

We anticipate we may continue to receive more QSL cards for the Apollo event, especially from overseas.  We will respond to those, once they come.  This evening’s work gave us a chance to look together at the whole group of cards, and talk about them.

Our N4A special event QSL card.

Our N4A special event QSL card.