Kennedy Space Center Amateur Radio Club - N1KSC
Kennedy Space Center Amateur Radio Club - N1KSC

Latest News

N1KSC 70cm Repeater Work

Posted Oct 26, 2021 (Website Editor)

Work was performed on the N1KSC 70cm repeater on Tuesday Oct 26th to troubleshoot & resolve issues related to the two phone lines supporting our remote power control and phone patch capabilities.  The phone patch issue has been resolved, and the club can now support the upcoming NASA's SpaceX Crew-3 PAO audio feed for the launch.  The remote power control via phone line issue remains; however, it appears to be an issue within the Ambery PDU (Power Distribution Unit).  The Ambery will be replaced in the near future with a newer PDU, one that has cell phone control capability replacing the landline phone link.

 

In addition; the repeater rack UPS batteries (8 x 7.2Ah) were replaced with new batteries, plus an additional bank of new batteries (8 x 7.2Ah) were added to the UPS expansion chassis.  Thus doubling the backup power available to the repeater equipment in the event of power outages.  Thanks go out to club members Jim Dumoulin (KM4OFO), John McCardle (KN4OBL), Michael Seay (WA4ECT), Scott Vangen (WB0QMZ), Kevin Zari (KK4YEL) for their support.

N1KSC Officers Special Election Results

Posted May 20, 2021 (Website Editor)

A special officers election was called at the May regular club meeting to fill the two vacant officer positions.  The Tellers Committee has affirmed the results of the special election for club President and Activities Officer.  Effective immediately, our new club President is Benjamin Creighton KC3NRO.  Congratulations to Ben and Bernie Hahn for thier active participation as candidates for a club office.  In addition, Andy Lopatin KB3KX is our new club Activities Officer, with no other candidates nominated.  Congratulations to both new officers!

 

 

2021 KARC Officers Installed (Updated)

Effective May 20, 2021

  • President: Benjamin Creighton (KC3NRO)
  • Vice President: Michael Seay (WA4ECT)
  • General Secretary: Jim Hale (KA3DHV)
  • Treasurer: Mike Williamson (KF4PGQ)
  • Systems Officer: John McCardle (KN4OBL)
  • Activities Officer: Andy Lopatin (KB3KX)

N1KSC Repeater Temporarily Down For VAB Work Operations

Posted Jan 26, 2021 (Website Editor)

The N1KSC UHF Repeater will be deactivated for approximately a two week period, starting Thursday January 28th.  This is due to work operations constraining the use of radiated power during scheduled maintenance activities in the proximity of the VAB Penthouse where our repeater equipment is located.

Update: Repeater is back operational as of Mar 15, 2021; work operations took longer than expected (repainting of the VAB penthouse lightning protection towers).  We're sorry for the inconvenience with the extended repeater outage, but the circumstances were outside of our control.  Thank You's go to Kevin Zari (KK4YEL), as the club Trustee, who was the principle interface with the contractor performing the painting work.

2021 KARC Officers Installed

Jan 2021 - The following officers were installed:
  • President: Vacant
  • Vice President: Michael Seay (WA4ECT)
  • General Secretary: Jim Hale (KA3DHV)
  • Treasurer: Mike Williamson (KF4PGQ)
  • Systems Officer: John McCardle (KN4OBL)
  • Activities Officer: Vacant

2020

Kevin Zari KK4YEL Earns AMSAT's GridMaster Award!

Posted Nov 18, 2020 (Website Editor)

KARC club member and club president Kevin Zari KK4YEL, has just accomplished an amazing milestone in amateur radio satellite ops.  He has successfully logged 2-way satellite QSO's with each and every one of the continental US (lower 48 states) maidenhead grids, a total of 488 grids located within the contiguous United States of America.  We believe this makes Kevin only the 21st individual to have earned the highly coveted "GridMaster Award"; AMSAT's most prestigious award!  Congratulations to Kevin KK4YEL is accomplishing this significant achievement.  Note that several of his satellite QSO's were accomplished from the N1KSC shack on-center at KSC.

Tower & Beam PM's

Posted Aug 8, 2020 (Website Editor)

Since the tower was already down & stowed for Tropical Storm Isaias, we took advantage this weekend (Aug 8th) of the easy access to the beam antennas for doing some preventive maintenance; specifically, installing new plastic end-caps on all of the tri-bander & dual-bander element coils.  In addition, the two thrust bearings on the tower-tilt ACME screw mechanism were removed for cleaning & relubrication.  The tower was re-erected to vertical, and available for nominal use.  Thank Yous go to Mike Williamson KF4PGQ, Dennis Veselka KI4KNC, and Scott Vangen WB0QMZ for their help.

Hurricane 'Isaias' Safing (Tower Stow & Secure)

Posted Aug 1, 2020 (Website Editor)

Tropical Storm/Hurricane Isaias is currently forecasted to track along the east coast of Florida, arriving the Cape area Sunday afternoon/evening.  On Friday July 31st, club members lowered the club tower and secured per our hurricane plan procedures, along with securing with the 40-10m end-fed "fish pole" antenna.  Note that impact to club operations is negligible since KSC is still under a Covid-19 "stay-at-home" mandate for non-essential personnel.

N1KSC Shack New Furniture Installation

Posted July 25, 2020 (website Editor)

The club is fortunate to have recently obtained some high-end German manufactured laboratory grade furniture.  The existing two 6 ft desks (test bench & guest ops desk) have now been replaced with the modular lab furniture.  This new setup provides a more modern high-tech work area and additional storage shelves for the test bench and guest ops areas; in addition to providing space for admin functions such as QSL card work.

 

Interesting history on this lab furniture; it was first purchase/used for the German-built SPAS (Shuttle Pallet Satellite) free-flyer science payload flown on multiple Space Shuttle missions (6 flights total).  It was the first payload with on-orbit operations controlled from the KSC located SPOC (SPAS Payload Operations Center), operated by the German payload & science team.

 

We would like to thank Mike Haddad KE4GOQ, and Scott Vangen WB0QMZ for helping with the installation.

N1KSC Shack Elecraft K3s Station Installation

Posted July 24, 2020 (website Editor)

The club is fortunate to have recently obtained a complete Elecraft K3s HF/6m Station; consisting of the K3s 100w Transceiver, P3 PanAdaptor, KPA500 500w Linear Amplifier, KTA500 500w Antenna Tuner, and P-Pod Remote Control Pad.  This equipment was installed into Bays 1 & 2 of the KARC Ops Console, replacing the Motorola 70cm Transceiver in Bay 1 (moved to top of console), and the Yaesu FT-450D Transceiver originally located in Bay 2 (now dedicated for mobile/field operations).

 

This Elecraft station setup is a top of the line radio gear, featuring the K3s Tranceiver's hybrid architecture which out-performs both pure (direct sampling) SDR's and legacy Superhets.  The addition of an integrated PanAdaptor provides real-time band-wide view of the operating spectrum.  The 500w linear amplifier, along with the matching antenna tuner, provides the club with the extra punch desired for operating during less than ideal propagation conditions by increasing transmission power if required.  As with any new equipment, familiarity training is required prior to utilization by club members.

 

We would like to thank John McCardle KN4OBL, Scott Vangen WB0QMZ, and Kevin Zari KK4YEL for helping with the installation.

N1KSC Repeater Phone-Patch Auto CW ID Installation

Posted July 24, 2020 (website Editor)

A RACOM "Automatic Morse Code Station Identifier" unit, donated by Chris Durso AA4CD, was installed Friday July 24th into the club's UHF repeater rack located in the VAB Penthouse.  This piece of equipment will augment our phone-patch capability by providing automated "DE N1KSC" CW identification every ~8 minutes when supporting NASA/KSC PAO (Public Affairs Office) launch operations commentary on future NASA missions; the first use being the Mars 2020 launch planned for July 30th. 

 

We would like to thank Chris Durso AA4CD for the kind donation, along with John McCardle KN4OBL and Scott Vangen WB0QMZ for helping with the installation.

SpaceX Demo-2 Mission

N1KSC UHF Repeater Support of NASA PAO Live Audio Events 

Posted May 20, 2020 (website Editor)

The KARC N1KSC 70cm UHF repeater will be supporting NASA/KSC PAO (Public Affairs Office) launch operations commentary for the upcoming SpaceX Commercial Crew Demo-2 mission, with a planned liftoff for Wednesday May 27th at 4:33pm EDT (scrubbed); now rescheduled for Saturday May 30th at 3:22pm EDT).

 

Several special event transmissions are planned featuring live audio feed from NASA's public affairs office, starting today Wed May 20th with the crew arrival to KSC and running through launch day Wed May 27th.  A full schedule of the live audio events that KARC will support transmission can be found here (updated as required).  

 

Anyone with a 70cm FM compatible radio and within range of the repeater coverage can enjoy the retransmissions.  Repeater Rx freq = 444.925 MHz (no PL tone required to monitor).  Please note that during the support of the live audio coverage, the repeater will be not open to regular use (emergency traffic can take priority if required).  

 

Note: This is a similar community service that LISATS provides on their 2m repeater (146.940 MHz) located in Merritt Island, FL.

N1KSC Repeater Phone-Patch Installation

Posted May 1, 2020 (website Editor)

During this extenuating time (COVID-19 "stay-at-home" state-wide mandate), the club still has been busy with enhancing our capabilities; specifically, the addition of a phone-patch for the N1KSC UHF repeater.  The primary reason for this new repeater hardware is for supporting NASA/KSC PAO (Public Affairs Office) launch operations commentary for upcoming NASA missions; the first of which being the Space-X Commercial Crew Demo-2 mission planned for May 27th.

 

The GAI-Tronics MRTI-2000 phone-patch was installed Friday May 1st into the club's UHF repeater rack located in the VAB Penthouse.  The phone line interface into the Motorola Quantar repeater provides the desired audio feed path from NASA PAO.  Current plans are for enabling launch commentary on our 70cm repeater (444.925 MHz) during specific NASA launch operations as a KARC service to the spacecoast community.  We would like to thank John McCardle KN4OBL, Michael Seay WA4ECT, Scott Vangen WB0QMZ, and Kevin Zari KK4YEL for helping with the installation.

 

Note: This is a similar community service that LISATS provides on their 2m repeater (146.940 MHz) located in Merritt Island, FL.

Ham Radio - 'Social Distancing' for over 100 Years!

A message from the N1KSC President (Kevin Z. KK4YEL)

Posted Mar 26, 2020

During this time (COVID-19 "stay-at-home" state-wide mandate), the club officers are communicating over collaboration tools, and discussing how the state of the Center and associated lands, current suggestions, and even laws impact club activities and social gatherings. 

 

I’d like to remind you that the club still offers things for us to enjoy our hobby, safely from the comfort of our homes or vehicles. One of those being our repeater, N1KSC, on top of the VAB. We have the weekly Thursday evening net run on our repeater at 7:30 PM. (It’s been great hearing the individuality and talent of our net controls. Thanks to them).

 

The repeater is available for general use anytime by members and non-members alike. If you are experiencing any challenges or want more information, feel free to contact me. We stand by willing to help in the event that the Brevard County RACES/ARES folks need our help / use of the repeater. 

 

We are also investigating the option for operating the FL QSO party from our homes, as individuals, but collecting up club members individual points and rolling up the total for a club submit.  More info to come on that from the Activities Officer.  Is it safe to say everyone has some form of computer at home that if we offered a virtual build over a Teams meeting, you could all join in?

 

Please take care of yourselves and each other.  We will get through this.  Stay Safe.

New ARRL General Class License Manuals Available

Posted Feb 28, 2020 (Website Editor)

The club's library now has two copies of the updated ARRL General Class License Manual (9th Edition) available for membership checkout/use.  In addition, we also have an updated copy of the ARRL General Q&A (6th Edition).  These books are valid from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2023.  Now is a great time for some of our Tech's to upgrade to the extensive HF privileges that a General Class license ticket offers.  Once you do, the entire range of operating modes and the majority of the amateur spectrum below 30 MHz becomes available to you!

 

And to quote an overworked & tired CPA during the crunch of tax season: "For the love of god, please get your General Class license and not become a CPA!"

KARC Systems & Operations Handbook Available

Posted Feb 12, 2020 (Website Editor)

The baseline release of the "KARC Systems & Operations Handbook" is now available. Copies are provided in the Shack (one on the Ops Console, and one in the library available for checkout).  The 200+ page handbook is an attempt to capture the technical details essential to understanding the operations and sustaining aspects of running the club's various systems and assets.  The club upon formation was in an exteremely rapid state of growth, both in membership and acquiring assets and operating capabilities.  As such, limited technical documentation was captured and cataloged real-time during these formative years while building up the various club's equipment, systems, and capabilities.  It is with this handbook that we hope to make good on providing the desired documentation going forward.

 

Handbook Sections:

1) Introduction

2) General Systems Overview

3) Club Shack (Shack): Operating Console

4) Club Shack (Shack): Antennas

5) Club Shack (Shack): Additional Workstations & Radio Gear

6) Club Shack (Shack): Ancillary Systems & Equipment

7) Tower & Tilt-Assembly

8) UHF Repeater

9) Logistics

10) KARC & KSC Procedures

Appendixes (Doc Change Log, Sys Officer Roles & Resp., Antenna SWR Graphs, Quantar RSS Parameters)

 

Note: this is not an "Operating" handbook for the individual radio systems.  The details for operating any particular radio equipment can best be found in the manufacturers provided manual which are available for all of the club's assets.

 

2020 KARC Officers Installed

Jan 2020 - The following officers were installed:
  • President: Kevin Zari (KK4YEL)
  • Vice President: Michael Seay (WA4ECT)
  • General Secretary: Jim Hale (KA3DHV)
  • Treasurer: Mike Williamson (KF4PGQ)
  • Systems Officer: John McCardle (KN4OBL)
  • Activities Officer: Arjumand Alvi (KI5BYW)
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