West Palm Beach Amateur Radio Group, Inc.
a Florida Non-Profit Corporation

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The next regular membership meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 27, 2018 at 7:00 PM at the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium. After a brief business meeting the program will be on Amateur Radio Satellite Communications. The program will be given by Jim Nagle KF4OD and Mike Bald K4MIA.

On Saturday, February 3, 2018 we held a Foxhunt followed by a club picnic. Both events were held at the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium in West Palm Beach. We had six hunters looking for two hidden transmitters. The hunters had one hour to find the ‘foxes’ but our first and second place finishers only needed 23 and 24 minutes respectively to find them. The first place finishers took home a $50 prize. The second place finisher took home a Baofeng UV-5R dual band HT for his efforts.

The club picnic followed the Foxhunt. We had a good turnout. The club extends a heartfelt thank you to Jon Brown WW4JB and Polly McMullen KK4PM for all the work they did in purchasing the food and drinks and for setting up the serving tables. The picnic wouldn't have been the success it was without their help.

Meeting Programs Have Been Well Received

The programs at our meetings have been excellent this year. The May program was on Communications at the Honda Classic golf tournament presented by our own VP, Steve Werner KD3WK. The April program was on Digital Mobile Radios (DMR) presented by Dick Groth WB2NBU. The March program was a live demonstration by Steve Ikler KS3K on CW Contesting for Non-CW Operators and using the Ham Radio Deluxe (HRD) Logging program.

The February program was “Vertical Antennas” and it was given via Skype by Tim Duffy K3LR. Tim is the COO and GM of DX Engineering and a noted contester. Tim has one of the biggest contest super-stations in the US and it’s located in northwest Pennsylvania.

Successful VE Session on June 2, 2018

On June 2, 2018 the club held its regularly scheduled Volunteer Examiner (VE) test session at the Science Center. We had a total of seven candidates taking tests. Out of that group we got five new Techs and two new Generals.

Thanks to our Volunteer Examiners Bob Hagans (W4SOG) (Team Leader), Jerry Grant (KI4NUV) and Steve Ikler (KS3K).

The next VE test session will be on Saturday, August 4, 2018 at 10:30 AM at the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium, Discovery III building. Please contact Jerry Grant KI4NUV at ki4nuv "at" yahoo "dot" com to reserve a spot for the test.

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station Logo

WPBARG Links Students with Astronaut in Space Via Ham Radio

In 2016, the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium (SFSC&A) submitted a proposal to the "Amateur Radio on the International Space Station" (ARISS) program to host a radio contact with the crew on-board the International Space Station (ISS). The proposal included the West Palm Beach Amateur Radio Group as its partner to provide technical assistance. In a December 15, 2016 press release, the program announced that their proposal was selected to "move forward into the Next Stage of the ARISS Selection". Only 11 schools/organizations qualified for the second half of 2017. A successful contact with the space station was held on November 6, 2017.

Local students were given the chance of a lifetime to talk live with an astronaut in space. During the radio contact, eleven young students talked with Italian astronaut/ham Paolo Nespoli and asked questions they had prepared. The students, ranging in age from 7 to 12, were selected after writing an essay on what one question they would like to ask an astronaut. There was only a nine minute window where the ISS was in range for a radio contact. The ISS travels about 17,600 miles per hour and is over 250 miles above earth.

Members of the WPBARG were actively involved in the event. The lead technical person was Jim Nagle KF4OD and he was assisted by Rex Rathbun AJ4GC. Jim initiated the contact by calling, "NA1SS this is WS4FSC." NA1SS is the callsign of the ISS and WS4SFC is the callsign for the club's radio station. After a couple calls, the ISS replied and the contact began. Jim then handed the microphone over to the first student for him to ask his question. After receiving the answer from the astronaut, the next students followed with their questions. Things went so smoothly that some students had time to ask a second question.

The WPBARG was previously given the opportunity to conduct a radio contact with the ISS at the Science Center in 2012.

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) is a cooperative venture of the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT), the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the United States, and other international space agencies and international amateur radio organizations around the world. The primary goal of ARISS is to promote exploration of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) topics by organizing scheduled contacts via amateur radio between crew members aboard the ISS and students in classrooms or informal education venues. With the help of experienced amateur radio volunteers from amateur radio clubs and coordination from the ARISS team, the ISS crew members speak directly with large group audiences in a variety of public forums such as school assemblies, science centers and museums, Scout camporees, jamborees and space camps, where students, teachers, parents, and communities learn about space, space technologies and Amateur Radio.

Jim Nagle, KF4OD being interviewed by media

Jim Nagle, KF4OD, being interviewed by media.

Tom Loughney and Jeff Beals

SFL Section Manager Appoints Tom Loughney Section Youth Coordinator

At the February 2018 meeting, South Florida Section Manager, Jeff Beals WA4AW (R), presented Tom Loughney AJ4XM (L) with his certificate as the newly appointed Section Youth Coordinator.