Author Topic: May 2008 - McAuliffe Planetarium Amateur Radio Station Project Update.  (Read 6001 times)

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Offline W1RC

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at The Deerfield (NH) Fairgrounds, May 2nd and 3rd 2008


DEERFIELD, NH: May 3rd, 2008.

A state-of-the-art amateur radio station was inaugurated at the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium,  located on the grounds of the New Hampshire Technical Institute in Concord NH, on "Spacetacular Saturday", May 3rd at 4:00PM and several VHF contacts were made.  This station, when completed will be presented to the Planetarium by the New England Amateur Radio Festival as a gift to the young people who visit the Planetarium from the radio amateurs of New England and Eastern Canada.

The station was dedicated in the memory of Gregory J Mumley, KA1FJ (SK)*  by his wife Lisa and children, Nickolas and Jessalyn.  Greg was first licensed in 1976 at the age of fifteen in Alburg VT as a high-school student.  KA1FJ embodies the very essence and spirit of the young people we are trying to interest in radio technology and attract to our hobby.  It was because of his intense interest in amateur radio at such a young age Greg chose to make his career in broadcasting as an on-air personality in Burlington VT. 

Gregory J Mumley, 1960-2002 KA1FJ (SK) *

* "SK" stands for "Silent Key" to refer to a callsign of an amateur who is deceased.

Dave McDonald, KB1QGX, Director of Education welcomed the crowd to the inauguration and introduced Mike Raisbeck, K1TWF, NEAR-Fest Director of Operations and ARRL New England Division Vice Director.

"It gives me and the staff and all the participants of the New England Amateur Radio Festival - NEAR-Fest - a great deal of pleasure to dedicate this station to the memory of Greg Mumley, KA1FJ," said Raisbeck.  "It is particularly appropriate here in this planetarium with all these kids and is such a wonderful opportunity to honor his memory with something that will live on and will bring this knowledge and this understanding to a whole new generation. That's what we at NEAR-Fest are all about."

John Moore, N1FOJ, President of the Contoocook Valley Radio Club introduced Greg's wife Lisa Mumley who, along with their children were present to officially dedicate the station in their father's memory.

While Planetarium staffer Kate Michener, K1KTE, operated the controls of the station's Kenwood TS-2000, nine year-old Nickolas and his sister Jessa made the station's first contact with K1CKL, a station in Hillsborough NH.  Seeing a photo on the wall of one of the Apollo missions Jessa wanted to know if there was a flag on the moon.  Sid, the operator at K1CKL said he believed there was.

Lisa then addressed the assembled crowd, saying: "Ham radio was more than a hobby to Greg - it was a way to reach out and make new friends.  Greg was first licensed at age 15 and getting the next generation interested in ham radio was very important to him.  I can't think of a better way to showcase this hobby."

The dedication ceremony coincided with "NEAR-Fest III" that was held at the Deerfield Fairgrounds May 2nd and 3rd 2008.

The station, when complete, will consist of a Kenwood TS-2000 transceiver (donated by Kenwood USA with our gratitude and thanks especially to Phil Parton, N4DRO, USA Amateur Radio Sales Manager who made it happen) and a highly complex array of M2 antennas, rotator and computerized controller system.  It will be fully capable of communicating with amateur satellites, the Space Shuttle, the International Space Station as well as all-mode HF and VHF/UHF coverage as well.

Six Planetarium staff members already are licensed amateurs: Dave McDonald, Director of Education, KB1QGX, Sandt, KB1QGJ, Kate, K1KTE, Jeff, KB1QGF, Mal KB1QGC, and Tiffany, KB1QFZ.   They successfully passed their F.C.C. Amateur Radio examinations at the Contoocook Valley Radio Club (CVRC) Hamfest in Henniker NH held on March 30th 2008.   Four passed their Technician Class examinations and two candidates went on to pass the second-level "General Class" tests as well.  This will allow them to operate on the H.F. (High Frequency) bands in addition to the VHF/UHF privileges of the Technician Class license.

NEAR-Fest Director of Operations Mike Raisbeck, K1TWF, (aka "Twoof") presents Dave McDonald, Director of Education, with the Kenwood TS-2000 transceiver.   

“NEAR-Fest takes a great deal of pleasure and pride in being able to support the wonderful programs provided by the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium," Raisbeck commented.  " I’m sure the radio that we are giving you today is only the beginning of a relationship between the Planetarium, NEAR-Fest and the CVRC that will enrich the education of numerous people, young and old, across New England.”

From left to right: John Moore, N1FOJ, CVRC President and Head Instructor, Al Shuman, K1AKS, ARRL NH Section Manager, Michael Raisbeck, K1TWF with successful candidates Sandt Michener, his XYL Kate and Dave McDonald who commented: "It is exciting for us to now be licensed amateur radio operators.  We are looking forward to the new experiences we will be able to offer the public in using satellites and the Space Station for communications as well as deeper instruction and experiences on the radio wave side of the electromagnetic spectrum.  It should be a lot of fun.  We are also grateful to NEAR-Fest for the great equipment that they have donated to make our station possible."

The entire NEAR-Fest gang is very proud of their achievement and we want to thank our partners in this Project, the Contoocook Valley Radio Club (CVRC) and President, John Moore, N1FOJ along with  Dale Clements, AF1T, and their outstanding team of instructors who made this possible.

"It has been a great pleasure for the CVRC to have the members of the Planetarium Staff attend our recent license class,"  stated the CVRC President.  "Our thanks go to the Planetarium for hosting the class, our dedicated team of instructors (N1ZIH, K1JNE, AF1T, W1MKY, K1MID, NS1E, AA1YN and N1FOJ), and also to the Planetarium staff members for having enough interest in our service to invest the time and effort to become licensed Radio Amateurs ! As head instructor, I think the results of the CVRC Hamfest VE session speak for themselves.  Our Club is looking forward eagerly to having these six new amateurs "ON THE AIR" from the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium."

Upon hearing the test results Planetarium Executive Director Jeanne Gerulskis noted, "I just knew they would pass with flying colors."  Each Thursday, as staff gathered for their HAM radio training sessions, their enthusiasm for this new adventure was apparent.  We are proud of them, and very excited about the Planetarium's new collaboration with NEAR-Fest."

NEAR-Fest has already acquired the antennas, pre-amplifiers, rotator, controller and software.  The word was out that all that was left to obtain was a self-supporting tower.  A group came forward at the Hamfest and offered to donate one to the Project.  We now have everything we need to set up a radio station at the Planetarium.

We at NEAR-Fest are honored to present this worthy educational institution and the young people who visit it with this addition to their wonderful resource center as our first Project funded by the proceeds of our semi-annual hamfest.  There will be more such projects throughout New England and Eastern Canada.<

We thank our CVRC partners for all their hard work and effort now and into the future as their alliance between their Club and the Planetarium continues to develop and the station becomes a more integral component of their wonderful Resource Center.


Mister Mike, W1RC
NEAR-Fest Founder and General Chairman

Note to Editors:&nbsp; More photos are available on request