The Big E exposition: Radio club seeks scheduled contacts with POTA and SOTA activators

Many thanks to Mark (K8LSB) who shares the following announcement:

Sharing POTA/SOTA with the Public

Greetings POTA/SOTA activators,

This year the Big E (exposition)—a “combined” state fair for the six New England states (CT MA, ME, NH, RI, VT)—will run for 17 days: from September 16 to October 2. In the past, 1.5 million people have attended the Big E, the fifth largest fair in the nation.

Hampden County Radio Association (HCRA) will be running a special events station (N1E) and have a booth at the event where we hope to acquaint the general public with the many facets of amateur radio. For example, we have made arrangements to have a live ARISS space station contact, emergency communications display, POTA/SOTA contacts (hopefully), etc. One of our key goals is to identify those who might be interested in getting their ham license and connecting them with license training classes held by radio clubs across New England.

I am seeking your help in two ways. First, I would like to schedule some contacts with people activating POTA/SOTA sites during the Big E period. To make this interesting for visitors, I’d like to limit this primarily to phone operation, and would love it the activators could talk for a minute or two about where they are and what they enjoy about POTA/SOTA operation; not just the typical “you’re 58 in Massachusetts.” Many of the folks who attend the Big E are people who enjoy outdoor activities like RVing, hiking, camping, biking, etc. and may be attracted to adding the adventure of portable ham radio operation to their recreational routine.

The second way you can help is, for those of you who live in New England, to consider helping staff our booth at the Modern Living building. We hope to have at least four active hams at the booth from 10 am through 10 pm. Our operating shifts are from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm and 3:30 to 10 pm. As you can imagine, we need a lot of hams to help out! We have contacted all the radio clubs in New England to solicit volunteers, but we could still use some more hams on specific days. This is a volunteer activity, but we have funds to offset the price of admission ($15) and parking ($10), and can provide free overnight accommodations with local ham families if this makes the logistics easier.

If you’d like to volunteer to be one of our “activator” contacts, please contact me via [email protected] 

If you’re interested in learning more about our Big E plans or would like to volunteer, go to:  and scroll down to the “How Can I Help” and click the link for volunteering. It will show the specific dates and times that are open.

73, Marc K8LSB

4 thoughts on “The Big E exposition: Radio club seeks scheduled contacts with POTA and SOTA activators”

  1. Sounds like fun! Planning might want to recall that the California QSO Party is on the first weekend in October, October 1 and 2, the final weekend of The Big E. While visitors may find this event interesting, to reach POTA and SOTA activators, it may be useful to focus on WARK bands that final weekend of The Big E. The California QSO Party gets world wide participation. The 58 California counties are multiplyers for non-California stations, and expeditions go out to the smaller counties to assure that all 58 are on the air. Many work this party hoping for a “Clean Sweep.”

    California stations work the 50 USA states and 8 Canadian provinces and province clusters (less ham dense areas are grouped into special areas to make the mults equivalent: 58 Ca mults and 58 non-Ca mults). Everybody is welcome! I’m sure The Big E will be a great experience! 73. Rich, NU6T.

  2. Thanks to Mark for forwarding that information. What a great idea- a fabulous way to introduce ham radio to the public!

    I’m at the wrong distance to work that special event station- about 70 miles. That’s beyond ground-wave but too close for ‘skip’ operation. I’ll hear them but we’d be weak both ways. I hope other folks can contribute to this vital effort.

    73- Dave, K1SWL

  3. Just a quick question about if you will be supporting a talk-in channel on a VHF/UHF repeater? What frequency? Sorry if I missed it being posted…

  4. Bill, we will be listening on the D-star Reflector 69C often as well as 449.175, the W1KK repeater located in Agawam, MA, which is not far from the Big E itself.

    You can learn more about our ham radio booth at the Big E here:

    If you need more help or have any questions, please contact me direct at: W1AST at arrl dot net and I can provide more exact info.


    Larry, W1AST
    Project Big E organizer

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