Meeting on the Air – Tonight at 7PM!

Join us this evening, January 21st, at 7:00PM on the 147.090 (+ / 100.0 Hz) W1QUI repeater, for our monthly meeting on-the-air.

On the agenda, we’ll be asking if participants have upgraded their ham stations recently or acquired any new gear since our last on-air meeting. We’ll also talk about Winter Field Day and how participants can operate from home and contribute to the club score.

As always, if you have HF capabilities, you’re welcome to join us on 28.455 USB for the After Net, immediately following our net on the repeater.

A Culture of Connection

“Grandpa Listening in on the Wireless,” by Norman Rockwell

Although most of what we read about in ham radio literature is heavily weighted toward the technical side of things, it doesn’t paint the whole picture. Amateur radio, at its core, is a social activity. And unlike some hobbies, like woodworking or painting, ham radio actually requires others to participate – to not only make it interesting, but to make it possible.

For over a hundred years, hams have utilized technology and harnessed natural phenomena, such as the ionosphere, to communicate with one another over long distances, and one of the first things a ham realizes is that the world isn’t quite as large as he or she once thought it was.

The Russian novelist, Mihail Sholokhov once said that “Vast sections of the world’s population are inspired by the same desires and live for common interests that bind them together far more than they separate them.”

What becomes apparent after only a few radio contacts, is that often that distance between two sides of a QSO becomes nil. No matter who you connect with on the airwaves, hams have at least one thing in common, and that’s the hobby itself. It’s the starting point, and from there, conversations often shift to other areas of interest, such as sports, other hobbies, current projects, family, occupations, and more.

After reading about all the people suffering the ill effects of staying away from each other and foregoing social activities over the past several months, due to the lockdowns and COVID-19 restrictions that we’ve had to endure, I started thinking about how lucky hams are to always have someone to talk to, despite the fact that we also couldn’t do some of the activities that we normally do.

A recent article in the Christian Science Monitor, called “A Close-knit culture, with separation at its core,” summed it up pretty well, saying “as a pandemic hobby, it’s perfect. Socially distanced, it hails human connection with the push of a button. If the going gets tough, you can always heave a lifeline across the airwaves.”

ARRL Vice President Mike Raisbeck K1TWF, (who visited our Field Day site a couple years ago), commented in the same article when asked about the state of amateur radio during the pandemic, saying that “people are looking to touch the rest of humanity.”

It’s a beautiful statement if you think about it.

Amateur radio is truly a culture of connection, allowing hams to interact with each other every day, no matter the distance, and for that, especially this year, I’m grateful.

Works Cited:
“A Close-Knit Culture With Separation at its Core.” Christian Science Monitor. 16 December 2020. Website: https://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/2020/0521/A-close-knit-culture-with-separation-at-its-core-video

December Monthly Business Meeting via Free Conference Call

This will be an online / call-in meeting only.

Please join us Thursday, December 10th, at 7:00 PM, as we’ll be reviewing SKYWARN Recognition Day, and looking ahead to 2021 Winter Field Day. At November’s meeting, we discussed taking advantage of temporary changes in the rules, that will allow individual operators to participate from their own homes and contribute to the club score.

Dial-in number (US): (425) 436-6366
Access code: 2618168#
International dial-in numbers: https://fccdl.in/i/kb1hnz
Online meeting ID: kb1hnz
Join the online meeting: https://join.freeconferencecall.com/kb1hnz

For additional assistance connecting to the meeting text ‘Call Me’ to the Dial-In number above and you will be called into the conference. Message and data rates may apply.

See you there!

73′

Tim
KB1HNZ

2020 Maine Simulated Emergency Test

Begins at 8:00am Saturday, October 24th

Thanks to everyone who joined us last night on the WSSM-ECT Training Net! We successfully tested communications on multiple bands and modes, including VHF repeater, 2m FM Simplex, 40 and 80 meters SSB, and Winlink.

If you’re interested in participating, please click here to familiarize yourself with the “Final” SET plan for tomorrow’s statewide test.

To begin with, we’ll meet first thing on the Cumberland County primary repeater, 147.090. We’ll use this throughout the first half of the exercise and I encourage everyone to monitor it on a second radio or sub band, if possible. This is where we can trouble shoot problems amongst ourselves and also share county-wide traffic for the first couple of hours (until the repeaters go down). If you generate any traffic yourselves, I would recommend a SKYWARN-style weather report. The scenario is a hurricane, after all. Also, remember to preface your traffic with a disclaimer such as “This is an exercise message.”

Please help out with as many tasks as you’re able to:

The first task will be #6 on the SET Plan – To Perform radio checks with other counties on Amateur VHF repeaters. We’ll take this opportunity to try different repeaters and contact other ARES / EmComm groups and individuals. Keep a log of your contacts and which county EMA they are associated with, if any. Also be prepared to receive or relay radiogram traffic, as some may have traffic already prepared. See the explanation in the SET plan for more info.

Task #7 is to exchange traffic via FlDigi / FlMsg. If you are equipped to do so, please attempt to exchange traffic via FlDigi over a repeater.

Steps #8 and #9 are related. If anyone has the ability to connect to the Maine Packet Network, please send a Check-in form to Steve KC1TCE at KB1TCE@winlink.org prior to the start of the exercise to let him know you will be able to accept traffic. Go to: Select Template -> Standard Templates -> General Forms -> Winlink Check In.txt to select the form. This way the other counties will know you are participating. These tasks require that we connect to the Maine Packet Network on VHF and also to exchange traffic via the Winlink RMS system using this method.

Tasks 6-9 take place while the Hurricane Effects are being felt in Maine. Phones and Internet are out, but repeaters are still in operation. For all other tasks (after 10:00 am), it is presumed that the repeaters will be offline as well, and therefore ham ops on VHF switch to Simplex.The next up is Task #10, which is to relay radiogram traffic via FM Simplex. See the SET Plan for more details. Although the task is intended to relay traffic between County EMAs, we may need inter-county relay stations in place to assist, and also to help coordinate making contact between counties.

It is also during this time period that we can make HF voice radio checks between counties. See Task #11 in the SET Plan. Although it comes up in the exercise after 10am, there is usually plenty of activity on the Maine ARES HF frequency earlier than that.

Task #12 on the SET Plan calls for performing radio checks with nearby counties via FM Simplex. In the log sheet, this is called “contest style,” so have fun with it and make as many contacts as you can. If you get to exchange any traffic during this part of the exercise, its a bonus!

The final task is to perform voice radio checks with hospitals and shelters within our county. This portion of the exercise is very much like what we did during our 2015-2018 SET exercises. We’ll do some further coordination during the SET to determine which shelters we can cover.

Catch you on the air!

73′

Tim
KB1HNZ

New England ARES Academy Online

The first-ever New England Division ARES Academy, originally scheduled for the Division Convention in November, will instead be held over a period of several weeks in October via Zoom. There are five Basic Track classes for those just getting started, and more advanced classes and workshops for those who already have the basics. One-hour classes will be held on weeknights from 7:30 to 8:30 PM EDT, and two-hour workshop sessions will be held Saturday mornings from 9:00 to 11:00 AM EDT.

A big benefit of the online schedule is the opportunity to take every single class and workshop instead of having to pick and choose.

Weeknight class participants will be able to ask questions and interact with the instructor via chat. The two-hour Saturday workshops are designed to be even more interactive. Academy Instructors are all recognized experts in their subject area.

The NE-ARES Academy is an outgrowth of the successful NH-ARES Academy program that ran at the NH State Fire Academy for eight years. The program’s goal is to offer both basic and advanced skills training based on ARRL ARES training standards.

For more information and to register, visit:

https://hamxposition.org/2020/ne-ares-academy

Meeting on-the-Air Tonight at 7PM on 147.090

MEETING ANNOUNCEMENT
7:00 – 8:00pm on the 147.090 (+ / 100.0 Hz) W1QUI repeater

Join us this evening, September 17th, at 7:00PM on the 147.090 repeater, for our monthly meeting on-the-air .

On the agenda, we’ll be asking if participants have ever tried to communicate via an amateur radio satellite or with astronauts on an orbiting space craft. We also plan on cutting the meeting short, at around 7:25pm, to allow participants to attempt to contact each other, or other, via the cross-band repeater on the International Space Station (ISS), as it will be passing over Maine during that time.

Here’s the details of the ISS pass and repeater frequencies, so you can program your radios and join us:

The ISS will pass from SSW to ENE between 7:25 and 7:32pm, reaching a maximum altitude of 21 degrees, at around 7:29pm.

ISS cross-band repeater frequencies:

Uplink: 145.990 (PL: 67.0 Hz)
Downlink: 437.800 (+/- Doppler)

Click here for more information about contacting the ISS.

See you there!

73′

Tim
KB1HNZ


Meeting Reminder – This Thursday! 08/13/20

Meeting_Reminder

Please join us this Thursday, August 13th, from 7:00-9:00pm at Wassamki Springs Campground, in Scarborough, for our monthly business meeting.

We’ll be meeting outside, near the Ham Shack (which is the former camp store), so please bring a lawn chair and practice social distancing where possible. Everyone who enters the facility must check-in at the gate with their name and phone number. Also, out of respect of the owners and their customers, we ask that everyone wear a face covering, especially when social distancing cannot be maintained.

The Ham Shack will be open, but because of its small size, only two people will be allowed inside at a time. Attendees are invited to bring their own radio to try out on the air, after the meeting adjourns. There are antennas already installed for HF and VHF.

Our topics for the evening include an overview of the recent W1V 10th Anniversary Special Event, which took place in July, the upcoming International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend (ILLW), which takes place the weekend of August 22-23, a discussion about indoor meeting locations for the Fall and Winter, and Officer Nominations, among others.

See you there!

73′

Tim
KB1HNZ

W1V Special Event Update

W1V_Web_Banner

On-Air Activities begin at 0000 UTC, July 12th (Saturday night at 8PM)!

Thanks to the everyone who checked-in to our kick-off / coordination net last evening. Some good topics came up, including questions about a script to use, QSL information, logging, and how chasers and operators can earn a certificate.

We’ve created a simple fillable PDF for certificate requests, which is available here.

Tips for operators:

Since this isn’t a contest, it’s okay to self-spot! We suggest spotting on DX Summit to help chasers find you.

Feel free to use social media to post your operating frequencies and modes, and to tell a story about your operating conditions, etc. If you tag us, we’ll be sure to share your posts.

Please use electronic logging, and send your logs, in ADIF format to: kb1hnz@yahoo.com when complete. This is so we can upload to LoTW, eQSL, Clublog, etc.

Operations are not limited to HF. You can get on 6 meters, VHF/UHF, DMR, and D-STAR as well.

Although we don’t suggest any specific frequencies, try to stay around the lower end of the General portion of the bands, when on HF.

We suggest the following for a script:

“This is Special Event station W1V, celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the founding of the Wireless Society of Southern Maine. For information about obtaining a certificate or QSL, please visit www.ws1sm.com

Most importantly, Have fun!

To help encourage participants to activate as many bands and modes as possible, we’re offering certificates to operators as well as chasers. More information can be can be found on the event website.

If you’re interested in operating W1V during the event, please click here to request access to the operator signup sheet.

Field Day is This Weekend!

Field_Day_campfire (1)

The WS1SM team will take part in their 10th annual ARRL Field Day on the weekend of June 27-28, at Wassamki Springs Campground, located at 56 Saco Street, in Scarborough, ME.

Setup will begin Friday afternoon at 5:00PM.

The plan is to operate 2 full-time HF stations – one will focus on SSB while the other will be a multi-mode station, focusing on CW and digital. An operator signup sheet can be found here.

The purpose of the signup sheet is to help limit the amount of people present at the same time. We will also be enforcing social distancing protocol as recommended by the CDC, and request that participants wear face coverings when around others, especially when interacting with the public.

It is also recommended that operators supply their own headphones, if they choose to use them.

Looking at the sheet, we still need help with some of the bonus categories. Copying the W1AW Field Day message, Site visitation by elected officials/ served agency reps, natural power QSO’s, Safety Officer, and GOTA station are just a few. Any help with these would be greatly appreciated.

Because of the pandemic we will not be hosting some of the larger social gatherings such as the Saturday night cookout or Sunday morning breakfast. All participants are encouraged to bring their own snacks and supplies.

See you there!

73′

Tim

KB1HNZ

 


 

We know that some of our members will operate from home this year, and if you’re one of those, we encourage you to log all of your contacts because they count towards the club score! See below:

ARRL Modifies Field Day Rules

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 situation, the ARRL has modified the rules for this year’s Field Day to allow QSO submissions from multiple individual hams to be aggregated as a Club Score – even though they “worked alone together” from their base QTH. The modifications are:

  • For Field Day 2020 only, Class D stations may work all other Field Day stations, including other Class D stations, for points.
  • For 2020 only, an aggregate club score will be published, which will be the sum of all individual entries indicating a specific club (similar to the aggregate score totals used in ARRL affiliated club competitions). Ordinarily, club names are only published in the results for Class A and Class F entries, but the temporary rule waiver for 2020 allows participants from any Class to optionally include a single club name with their submitted results following Field Day.

If you will be working field day from you home QTH, please consider identifying the Wireless Society of Southern Maine as your home club if you will be uploading your log.

Wireless Society to Return to Wassamki Springs for Ham Radio Field Day

Members of the Wireless Society of Southern Maine are set to participate in the national Amateur Radio Field Day exercise on June 27-28 at Wassamki Springs Campground, 56 Saco Street, Scarborough.

Because of the pandemic, as recent as a month ago, club leadership was unsure if Field Day would even take place this year. They were finding it difficult to find a venue, but with the easing of restrictions on lodging facilities and public places, at the beginning of the month, the possibility to return to Wassamki Springs Campground became more promising. “When we reached out to the Hillock Family, who own the campground, they were glad to have us back, and that’s pretty special because this will be our tenth year doing Field Day at the campground,” said Tim Watson, WSSM President.

This year’s event will be of a much smaller scale than in years past. “We’ll be operating one less full-time station, and use a strict operator schedule to reduce the number of people present at the same time. Similarly, some of the social events, such as our Saturday night cookout and Sunday morning breakfast, won’t take place, and our educational activity will be done via live stream, instead of in-person” Watson explained.
“Field Day is part emergency communications exercise, and part competition, where we accumulate points and test our operating skills against other clubs and individuals around the U.S. and Canada,” added Vice President, Brad Brown, Jr., of North Waterboro, ME.

During the event, participants will try to earn points by meeting specific goals as outlined by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL). Some of these include handling and delivering messages, hosting educational activities, and making contacts with other amateurs through various methods, such as voice, telegraphy, satellites, and digital technology.

“This is a fun event that gives us an opportunity to share our passion with the community and to improve our operating skills, all while getting everyone out there and on the air,” says Brown.

Field Day, which has taken place annually since 1933, is designed to test radio operators’ ability to quickly setup and operate portable stations in emergency conditions.

“The entire operation will exclusively use emergency power sources like batteries, or solar energy, in order to simulate how things would be during a catastrophic event,” added Watson. “The public should be aware that in the event of an emergency, we’re ready to assist in any way that we can. While people may have the impression that cell phones and other technologies are good enough, we stand by as a trained pool of experienced radio operators to provide the vital communication services others may not. Hams have provided emergency communications during hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, floods, blackouts, and other disasters, where more complex and fragile communications systems, such as cell networks, have failed or become overloaded.”

The Wireless Society of Southern Maine’s Emergency Communications Team provides communications support to the Cumberland County Emergency Management Agency and members also support the National Weather Service’s SKYWARN operations in Gray, ME.

“Since 2014, the Wireless Society of Southern Maine, using call sign WS1SM, has recorded the highest Field Day score in Maine and hopes to do well again this year, despite the limited operation,” says Watson. “The public is welcome to attend the event and if anyone is interested in learning more about the hobby, we’ll be glad to help.”

There are over 725,000 licensed hams in the United States and anyone can become a licensed amateur radio operator. The Wireless Society of Southern Maine is ready to help newcomers get involved and licensed right here in Scarborough. For more information about Field Day, and amateur radio in general, please visit:

http://www.mainehamradio.com