Grant: Satellite and ARISS Ground Station

Grant Date: August 2021
Amount: $9,769

The Norwich Free Academy (NFA) is an independent high school that was incorporated in 1854. NFA serves 2100 students in Norwich, Connecticut, and its seven surrounding towns. In 1944, the NFA Amateur Radio and Engineering Club, W1HLO, was born. W1HLO has the same mission it did when it was created: to educate high school students on the different aspects of amateur radio, to support the licensing of students, and to teach engineering to students that normally would not have access.

The projects W1HLO participates in today are both similar and different to those from the 1960s. For example, today, students build robots that integrate applied knowledge of antenna construction to increase the distance of a 2.4GHz telecommand signal. Students also have completed many high-altitude balloon missions that were tracked via APRS and broadcasted an amateur television (ATV) video feed. Additionally, at W1HLO, students prepare for their Technician Class license, learn CW, participate in on-air phone QSOs, and enjoy building other amateur radio-related projects.

With this ARDC grant, the Norwich Free Academy (NFA) Amateur Radio and Engineering Club (W1HLO) will create a ground station for contacting amateur radio satellites, weather satellites, and the International Space Station (ISS). The ground station will allow W1HLO’s members to participate in space communications. Students will learn how to predict satellite passes, receive live video data from weather satellites, and use repeaters on amateur radio satellites. These activities will be integrated into NFA’s science curriculum to broaden the reach of amateur radio and space science to students.

Learn more: