Call for NN3SI volunteers-Smithsonian ARC

Perry Klein pk at
Fri Dec 12 00:48:24 CST 2003

Hello everyone!

The Smithsonian Amateur Radio Club, which operates
the NN3SI Club Station on the first floor of the
Museum of American History, is in need of volunteer
"Duty Operators", who can help demonstrate the station
to visitors one day a week from 10 to 3.  If not
every week, twice a month would be welcome on a
prearranged schedule.  The Museum is located near
the Smithsonian Metro.

The NN3SI Club Station is one of the highest-
visibility ham stations in the country --- the
Museum of American History receives around 5
million visitors a year.  AMSAT recently donated
the Microsat Mechanical Test Model to the Smithsonian,
and it will soon be suspended from the ceiling
in front of NN3SI.  It would be helpful to have
AMSAT volunteers on hand to explain the Microsats
and other OSCAR satellites to visitors.  Plans
call for a major expansion of the station in the
next few years in order to make it an even more
interactive exhibit.

"Duty Operators" are considered official volunteers,
a very prestigious position similar to a docent.

Below is the Smithsonian's official "job description"
(with minor updates suggested by Carl Lagoda, W3CL).
If you're able to help out, please send an e-mail
to Carl, NN3SI Senior Operator, at <clag at>
with a copy to me.

Thanks for your help.  It should be fun!

Perry, W3PK
w3pk at

DESCRIPTION OF TASKS (include location of work and any accessibility 

The Smithsonian Institution is licensed by the Federal Communications 
Commission (FCC) to operate Amateur Radio Station NN3SI. The station is 
located at the National Museum of American History, within the Information 
Age exhibition.  The mission of the station is two-fold: (1) inform radio 
contacts about the Smithsonian Institution and its mission, and (2) inform 
museum visitors about the global hobby of amateur radio and its place 
within the array of communications technologies displayed in Information Age.

The station offers Duty Operators a choice of activities on amateur radio 
frequency bands between 3.5 and 144 MHz, including: SSB (voice), FM 
(voice), CW (Morse code), RTTY (radio-teletype), SSTV (slow-scan TV), 
computer digital software for various modes of emission, PSK-31 and 
satellite communications.  In addition to routine activities, Duty 
Operators also supervise Guest Operators.  These are licensed radio 
amateurs from around the world who operate the station by appointment 
during their visit to the museum. Occasionally, Duty Operators participate 
in special events, which include contests and remembrance of historical events.

The station operates daily from 10am to 3pm (except for December 25th), and 
an attempt is made to have two operators on duty each day, one to operate, 
the other to explain and answer questions.


Radio amateurs licensed by the FCC at the General Class or higher are 
eligible to volunteer at NN3SI. (To preserve the station's amateur status, 
Smithsonian employees who are licensed operators may not operate the 
station during working hours unless on annual leave.)  Volunteer operators 
are expected to be familiar with the rules and regulations of the Federal 
Communications Commission.  Experience with operating an amateur station is 
recommended, though not essential.

Training is provided regarding museum standards and practices relative to 
the operation of the station. Station equipment, layout and procedures are 
explained to the volunteer so that he or she becomes familiar with 
operating the station.  Volunteers are expected to be able to operate all 
equipment installed in the station.  Instructional and technical books 
explaining the station equipment are available for study.

Prospective Duty Operators are evaluated after receiving training and must 
be approved by senior operators prior to being scheduled for regular duty. 
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