The Radiogram – Summer / Fall 2018

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Click here to view the latest issue of the Radiogram – the official eNews of the Wireless Society of Southern Maine.

In this issue we review the WSSM Field Day at Wassamki Springs, ILLW 2018 from Spring Point Ledge Light, 2018 Maine 2 Meter FM Simplex Challenge Winners, DX News, and more!

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6th Annual Maine QSO Party is September 22-23!

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Mark your calendars!

The 6th Annual Maine QSO Party takes place between 1200 UTC Saturday September 22, 2018 to 1200 UTC Sunday September 23, 2018.

The contest is designed to encourage Maine stations to expand their knowledge of DX propagation on the HF and MF bands, improve their operating skills, and improve station capability by creating a competition in which W/VE, and DX stations have the incentive to work Maine.

Click here for more information and complete rules.

WSSM Activates Spring Point Ledge Light for ILLW 2018

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SOUTH PORTLAND, ME – During the weekend of August 18-19th, the WSSM team activated Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse, in South Portland, ME, for International Lighthouse & Lightship Weekend (ILLW). Club members operated from 10am-4pm on both days, using the special event call sign K1S.

2018 marked the 8th year that WSSM has participated in ILLW, which sees over 500 light houses and lightships activated in over 40 countries. The international event helps promote the preservation of lighthouses and lightships, and at the same time gives the community an opportunity to experience Amateur Radio first hand.

Setup took place on Friday evening, with Sean W1MSA, Rory KB1PLY, Pete KC1DFO, Keith AC1EG, Brad KC1JMH, and Tim KB1HNZ all taking part. The team setup a BuddiPole rotatable dipole on the highest platform of the lighthouse, and a station on the inside consisting of a Yaesu FT857d, tuner, and battery power. They also setup an information display.

By Saturday there was a second station setup, which consisted of an Icom IC-7300 and a 40m dipole. Spring Point marked the first time we were able to operate from inside an active lighthouse. Special thanks to Keith Thompson AC1EG, and the Spring Point Ledge Light Trust for their hospitality.

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Particpants included Mike Fandell N5QYQ, Charlie Shepard W1CPS, Sean Binette W1MSA, Eric Emery KC1HJK, Curt Sachs K2IPH, Rory McEwen KB1PLY, Stefania Watson K1GJY, Tim Watson KB1HNZ,  Brad Brown, Jr. KC1JMH, Keith Thompson AC1EG, and Peter Warren KC1DFO.

Click here to learn more about WSSM Lighthouse activations, and see more photos from the event.

WSSM-ECT Participates in Regional Sheltering Exercise

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WESTBROOK, ME – On Saturday, August 11th, WSSM Emergency Communications Team members participated in a Regional Sheltering Exercise, at Westbrook High School. The exercise was designed to improve the coordination and integration of organizations and special teams in support of regional sheltering operations during a disaster. Among those participating, were the American Red Cross, Medical Reserve Corps, Cumberland County Animal Response Team, Cumberland County Emergency Management Agency, and the Westbrook School Department.

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The event began with a registration period in the morning, followed by introductions, briefing, and a tour of the facility, and then exercise play took place. It was followed up in the afternoon by a “Hotwash” session, in which observations and comments from all the participants were welcomed.

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The WSSM-ECT team split into two groups, with one staying at the shelter, and another heading to the Cumberland County EMA bunker, in Windham. During the exercise, the shelter team was provided with requisitions for supplies, for both the Red Cross and CCART, to be forwarded to the Emergency Operations Center (EOC). These messages were transcribed into a digital format and transmitted to the bunker, where the staff at the EOC made assessments and sent back replies.

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From a technical standpoint, the operation was a success, because the traffic was successfully sent and responded to, but the team did identify a few areas to improve upon. One was that the original message could be saved to a memory stick, which could be passed from the originating party to the radio operator. This would speed up the process considerably, and guarantee accuracy. Another was that, since a number of participants were relatively new hams, some additional training, especially with regards to the digital modes software, was recommended.

During the exercise, on the shelter side, Roger N1XP’s mobile setup was used. Special thanks to Roger for getting things setup and organized! Other participants included Peter Warren KC1DFO, Anne McBride, Brad Brown KC1JMH, Rory McEwen KB1PLY, C.J. Carlsson W1CJC, and Tim Watson KB1HNZ.

145 mile DMR DX Repeater Contact Reported

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Chris Andrews, 2E0UKH reported making a long distance DMR repeater contact on July 23rd. Chris was able to reach a repeater in Utrecht, Netherlands, from Lowestoft, UK. The distance between Utrecht and Lowestoft is 145 miles, making it one of the longest known DX repeaters reached on DMR, and just shy of the simplex record.

Chris reports that its not uncommon to reach repeaters across the channel during lift conditions on FM, but this is the first time he’s experienced it on DMR.

Click here to view Chris’ video.

WSSM to Activate Spring Point Ledge Light for 2018 ILLW

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The Wireless Society of Southern Maine, a ham radio club based in Scarborough, will join other Amateur Radio operators from around the world in celebrating International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend, on August 18-19. From 10am-4pm on both days, local hams will attempt two-way communications with other lighthouses and lightships, as well as other hams, from the Spring Point Ledge Light, in South Portland, ME. The international event, which sees over 500 light houses and lightships activated in over 40 countries, helps promote the preservation of lighthouses and lightships, and at the same time give the community an opportunity to experience Amateur Radio.

The Wireless Society of Southern Maine, founded in 2010, has participated in ILLW since 2011, activating several lighthouses along the Maine coast and Canada. Past activations have included Pemaquid Point Light, Portland Head Light, West Quoddy Head Light, Cape Neddick “Nubble” Light, and Seguin Island Light, among others.

Former club president Thom Watson, of Gorham says of this year’s event: The Wireless Society of Southern Maine and The Spring Point Ledge Light Trust, are excited for the opportunity to promote this historic light. It’s always fun to participate in ILLW, as it allows us to show off what we’re capable, setting up and operating with portable antennas and battery power, and at the same time raise awareness about preserving historic lighthouses and lightships.”

For this year’s event, WSSM will be using the special 1X1 call sign, K1S during ILLW.

For more information about Amateur Radio, and the ILLW event, please visit: www.ws1sm.com

2018 Field Day at Wassamki Springs

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The Spiderbeam with WS1SM banner on a guy wire

2018 Field Day was a tremendous success, and a lot of fun! Special thanks to the Hillock family of Wassamki Springs Campground for hosting us for the 8th consecutive year!

UPDATE: The 2018 ARRL Field Day results are in, and WS1SM captured 1st place in Maine for the fifth consecutive year. In addition, we finished 14th overall in the 3A category, cracking the top 20 for the 2nd time in 2 years. Congratulations to everyone on our team for a job well done! Click here to read the QST article.

Operating twice around the clock, in the 3A category, we captured 1,730 Bonus Points, and 6,968 QSO points, which is a new record for WS1SM. The biggest areas of improvement this year were in SSB QSOs (+500), and in the bonus points (+200) over last year.

Setup began Friday morning, as Rick K1OT and helpers met to raise his 40′ tower and antennas. Later in the evening Tim KB1HNZ and Eric KC1HJK setup the Spiderbeam tribander.

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Rick K1OT (L) and Joe K1JB (R) in the CW Trailer

On-air activities began at 2PM on Saturday, and continued through 2PM Sunday. All the radios ran on 100% battery power, with the exception of a handful of QSO that Charlie W1CPS made on solar power.

Frank KR1ZAN and Steve AA1HF served as coaches for a Get on the Air (GOTA) station, which operated concurrently in the Wassamki Springs Ham Shack, which is located in the former camp store. There were 6 participants who made QSOs!

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Waylon KC1HJN and Steve AA1HF hunt for hidden transmitters

The educational activity for this year was Radio Direction Finding, using various methods, including a tape measure yagi, rotatable loop, and attenuator.

Peter KC1HBM, invited Scarborough Town Councilor, Jean-Marie Caterina, who spent some time talking to participants and got a tour of the Field Day and GOTA operations.

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Scarborough Town Councilor, Jean-Marie Caterina visits the WS1SM Field Day site and also checks out the GOTA station (seen above).

Special thanks to everyone who brought food to the pot luck supper on Saturday evening, especially to Sheila Martin, W1DXX, who brought lots of pizza, and Mike Mooney, who brought ribs and pulled pork!

Tim KB1HNZ composed or replied to 23 messages, which were transmitted via Winlink on HF. He also operated some digital modes over night on Saturday.

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Frank KR1ZAN successfully makes a satellite QSO

The CW operators equaled last year’s total, and Charlie W1CPS came just 2 QSOs short of his previous best on 6 meters.

We also copied the Field Day bulletin, thanks to the efforts of Frank KR1ZAN and Ryan KB1YTR.

Frank, with the help of Waylon KC1HJN, also helped us get a satellite QSO during the last SO50 pass of the day.

Field Day was a massive team effort, and it wouldn’t have been possible without everyone’s help. Great job everyone!