Tag Archives: Special Events

2018 NASA On the Air Event

2018 is a big year for NASA anniversaries and the amateur radio clubs at NASA centers would like for you to help us celebrate.  It will be 60 years since NASA was created, 50 years since NASA orbited the first man around the moon, and 20 years since the first elements of the International Space Station (ISS) were launched into low-Earth orbit.

The amateur radio club stations at the various NASA centers and facilities plan to be on the air with special event operations to celebrate these monumental achievements, as well as current milestones. Some clubs will be offering commemorative QSL cards and a special certificate will be available indicating how many NASA club stations you worked on various bands and modes. We plan to have a web-based system for you to check your points total and download a printable certificate at the end of the event in December 2018.  Points will be awarded for each center worked on each band and mode (phone, CW, digital, and “space” modes). The event will run from December 11, 2017 through December 27, 2018 with the following key dates:

Apollo 17 45th anniversary – 11-14 December 2017, beginning of event

NASA founded 60th anniversary (Space Act signed by President Eisenhower) – 29 July 1958

ISS First Element Launch 20th anniversary – 20 November 1998

ISS Node 1 Launch 20th anniversary – 4 December 1998

Apollo 8 50th anniversary – launch 21 December 1968, splashdown 27 December, end of event

Note that there will be other special event operations by the various centers commemorating and celebrating specific events, but those listed above will include participation from most of the clubs. All operating modes are fair game including “space” modes such as satellites, meteor scatter, EME, ISS APRS, etc. We hope to be on the air for casual contacts and contests as well. All contacts with NASA club stations will count toward your total. QSL cards can be requested from each club you work and details will be on the individual QRZ.COM pages for each club callsign.

Here is a list of the participating centers and facilities with designators and callsigns for each:

Center/Facility Acronym Callsign State
Ames Research Center ARC NA6MF California
Armstrong Flight Research Center AFRC NA6SA California
Glenn Research Center GRC NA8SA Ohio
Goddard Space Flight Center GSFC WA3NAN Maryland
International Space Station ISS NA1SS, etc. earth orbit
Jet Propulsion Laboratory JPL W6VIO California
Johnson Space Center JSC W5RRR Texas
Kennedy Space Center KSC N1KSC Florida
Langley Research Center LARC KG4NJA Virginia
Marshall Space Flight Center MSFC NN4SA Alabama
Stennis Space Center SSC TBD Mississippi
Wallops Fight Facility WFF W4WFF Virginia
White Sands Complex/White Sands Test Facility WSCTF N5BL New Mexico

Check back for direction to further details of the event and information on how to check your contacts and obtain a certificate at the end of the event.

Please help us celebrate this significant anniversary year for your space agency.  We look forward to working you!

The participating amateur radio clubs, and the NASA On The Air (NOTA) event activities are independent of, and not officially sponsored by NASA.

QSL information for NN4SA

NASA On The Air Website

Apollo 16, 45th Anniversary Special Event

Start Date/Time 2017-04-20 00:00 UT
End Date/Time 2017-04-23 23:59:00 UT
Club/Organization Sponsor Marshall Space Flight Center ARC, Huntsville, AL.
Call Sign NN4SA
Self spotting on the DX cluster
Stations contacted may request special QSL  by sending an S.A.S.E. to

c/o Donald Hediger, ES35
Huntsville, AL
35812 USA
Public contact email msfc-NN4SA@mail.nasa.gov

Apollo 16 was the first mission to visit the lunar highlands.  John Young and Charles Duke spent 71 hours on the surface while Ken Mattingly remained in the Command Module in lunar orbit.  There were 3 EVAs each using the Lunar Rover developed at MSFC.  More details on the mission are available here.


John Young flying high in this photo taken by Charlie Duke.          NASA photo.

National Parks On The Air Oct. 22nd.


NN4SA will be activating Little River Canyon National Preserve as part of ARRL’s National Parks On The Air (NPOTA) initiative. This event will occur on October 22 and begin at 10 AM. The day of activities will include NPOTA activation, much fellowship, good food, and lots of fun. We would like to invite you and your team to join us. All NN4SA operators will receive an event poster, and an “activator” certificate (signed by the president of the MSFC ARC). Mostly, we hope it’s a fun event. On top of that, we will be activating Little River Canyon National Preserve! How cool is that! So, please come have food and fun.

  • Set-up 6AM
  • Operations begin  when park opens @10AM, possibly earlier if we get everything set up and working before then.
  • Lunch (provided/burgers and dogs) will begin around noon
  • Operations until sunset, when the park closes all areas.

Click here for information on Little River Canyon information

Apollo XV (15) – 45th Anniversary

Start Date/Time 2016-07-30 07:00:00 Central time, U.S.A.
End Date/Time 2016-08-02 23:59:00 Central time, U.S.A.
Club/Organization Sponsor Marshall Space Flight Center ARC, Huntsville, AL.
Call Sign NN4SA
Self spotting on the DX cluster
Stations contacted may request QSL  by;

Sending an S.A.S.E. to
c/o Donald Hediger, ES35
Huntsville, AL
Public contact email msfc-NN4SA@mail.nasa.gov

A NASA written account of deployment of the first lunar rover.  NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama was responsible for development of the Lunar Roving Vehicle  (Lunar Rover).

We ended up with 1010 entries in our logbook for this event. During which I encountered one man who worked on every heat-shield put on the bottom of the Apollo Command Modules and another who’d worked, during that time, at Grumman where the Lunar Module was built.

Apollo XV Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV)

Apollo 14 45th anniversary

Apollo Don Emily.jpg



Apollo 14.45.2.JPG

N4MSN and KA0S

Total number of logged contacts was 698 QSOs.  We worked a few on more than once  on multiple bands during alternate operating sessions.

QSLs from Nat’l Wildlife Refuge Week

We received two QSL cards in the mail from when we ran our special event station for National Wildlife Refuge Week.  We operated our special event on October 11, in the field by the Tennessee River, to celebrate the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge.  Part of the Refuge extents in to the Arsenal and the NASA Marshall Center.

KA5VZG in Tennessee, in particular, wrote to thank us for activating Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge.  He showed us on his card that he is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Refuge Manager.

Our other card came from N1INI in Uxbridge, Massachusetts.  His card shows a photo of the Cape Naddick Lighthouse in Maine.


Here are some more QSL cards we received for the special event, through eQSL.  N1INI sent us a different photo in this set.

N1INI 20151011 NN4SA 20m SSB NWR MA

N1DRS 20151011 NN4SA 20m SSB NWR MA WM0L 20151011 NN4SA 20m SSB NWR NE KF5KJN 20151011 NN4SA 40m SSB NWR LA

National Wildlife Refuge Week Special Event, October 11, 2015


This post is our update to our Special Events page. Photos by KB5EZ and NM4T. Text by WA2JQZ.

Operation Date: Sunday October 11, 2015
(National Wildlife Refuge Week was October 11 – 17, 2015.)
Time: 1400 – 1900 UTC (0900 – 1400 CDT).
Location: Easter Posey #2 Recreation Area, Shields Road, Redstone Arsenal / NASA MSFC.

NN4SA operated a special event station to celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week. Parts of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center and Redstone Arsenal are in the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge. Our club station Bldg. 4622 is located just a few hundred feet from the wildlife area boundary. To keep close in spirit, we set up and operated a portable station at the Easter Posey #2 Recreation Area. The recreation area is at the southwest corner of the Arsenal, by the Tennessee River, and also is near the wildlife area boundary.

The Wheeler Refuge was established in 1938 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a haven and breeding sanctuary for migratory birds and other wildlife. It is 35,000 acres of mixed habitat, located along the Tennessee River in north Alabama.

Wheeler NWR map with NN4SA

Map of the Wheeler NWR, with the locations of our field operation site for the Special Event, and the location of our fixed station at Bldg. 4622.

Easter Posey Recreation Area #2 pavilion

Easter Posey Recreation Area #2 pavilion

We were on SSB and RTTY with a primary 100 W HF station, on 15, 20 and 40 meters. We also operated a CW QRP 5 W HF station on 20 meters, to participate in the QRP ARCI Fall QSO Party. Each radio used EndFedz wire antennas suspended from the trees. Although band conditions were poor, we made about 40 contacts, including 4 RTTY and 8 CW QRP. We also joined in the Arizona and Pennsylvania QSO Parties. A few contacts resulted in ragchews, on phone and CW. We made several DX contacts: to Italy, to Croatia, and to the Canary Islands. This was a relatively relaxed special event for us. We had hot apple cider at the start in the cool morning, and we made a lunch break with fresh grilled hot dogs and accompaniments. Our operators were KB5EZ, NM4T, WA2JQZ, and N4MSN.






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