Pre Field Day EMA Work Detail

There will be no ECT Training Net this evening. Take the time to get your gear ready and rest up for Field Day, which takes place this weekend, June 25-26 at Wassamki Springs Campground, (56 Saco Street, in Scarborough, ME).

We will be having a work detail at the Cumberland County EMA (CCEMA) bunker, located at 22 High Street, Windham, starting at 6:00PM this evening. The focus will be to clean out and load the communications trailer for Field Day. If you’d like to help out, feel free to stop by.

The next ECT Training Net will take place Thursday, July 28th at 7:00 PM on the W1QUI 147.090 (+ / 100) repeater.

73′

Tim
KB1HNZ

2022 ARRL Field Day Schedule

Please join us this weekend, June 25-26, at Wassamki Springs Campground, (located at 56 Saco Street, Scarborough, ME) for ARRL Field Day!

We will be operating in the 3A category (club station with 3 full time HF transmitters), plus we’ll also be active on 6 meters, VHF, and satellite throughout the event.

Please follow all campground rules! All visitors must check in at the main gate and park where they are directed to by the attendant. No campfires are allowed, no swimming, and no pets.

WEEKEND SCHEDULE:

FRIDAY – 10:00 AM – Setup for the CW tower/trailer [Contact: Rick K1OT at (207) 939-9333].

SATURDAY – 10:00 AM – Setup for the other HF stations, including tents, antennas, and small items such as the table display.

SATURDAY – 2:00 PM – On-air activities begin.

SUNDAY – 2:00 PM – On-air activities end, followed by breakdown of equipment and site cleanup.

GOTA STATION

The public is encouraged to attend, and there will also be a Get on the Air (GOTA) station available for anyone who’d like to try out ham radio! Here’s the preliminary schedule for the GOTA station:

Setup: SATURDAY 8:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Operating hours: SATURDAY: 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM & 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Operating hours: SUNDAY: 9:00 AM – 11:30 AM & 12:30 PM – 2:00 PM

TEMPORARY RULE WAVER

Similar to last year’s Field Day, a temporary rule waiver allows participants from any Class to optionally include a single club name with their submitted results. This means that if you’d prefer to operate from home, using your own call sign, and would like to contribute to our club aggregate score, you may do so. Please include the full club name: Wireless Society of Southern Maine with your entry.

Click here to review the complete 2022 Field Day rules.

FIELD DAY BULLETIN

Since quite a few of us will be involved with setup, we could use some help copying the Field Day bulletin. Click here to view the 2022 ARRL Field Day Bulletin schedule, including times, frequencies, and modes.

See you there!

73′

Tim
KB1HNZ

Wassamki Springs Campground is located at: 56 Saco Street, Scarborough, ME 04074.

Talk-in on 146.580 FM Simplex.

SKYWARN Activation Request 06/17/22

Good Morning,

We are requesting SKYWARN activation today for the potential for severe weather. While severe weather is not expected to be widespread, isolated severe storms will be possible in the 11am through 4pm timeframe. The most likely area for severe weather will be over western Maine.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we would request remote coverage of WX1GYX. Any method possible to send in reports is acceptable, with the preferred method being population of the SKYWARN NET Reporting Google Sheet.

Thank you,
NWS Gray

National Weather Service Gray
207-688-4081 – Operations
www.weather.gov/gyx


Weather spotters are encouraged to report significant weather conditions according to Standard Operating Procedures. Since these storms are expected to be isolated, please activate local nets as necessary. Remember, if you don’t hear SKYWARN activity in your locality, and severe weather is happening, help gather reports!

Be alert and stay safe,

73′

Tim Watson
KB1HNZ

Wireless Society Returns to Wassamki Springs Campground for Ham Radio Field Day

ARRL Field Day at Wassamki Springs

Members of the Wireless Society of Southern Maine (WSSM) are set to participate in the national Amateur Radio Field Day exercise June 25-26 at Wassamki Springs Campground, 56 Saco Street, Scarborough.

The public is encouraged to attend on Saturday, June 25, from 2p.m. to 8 p.m.

For more than 100 years, amateur radio – sometimes called ham radio – has allowed people from all walks of life to experiment with electronics and communications techniques, as well as provide a free public service to their communities during a disaster. Field Day demonstrates ham radio’s ability to work reliably under any conditions from almost any location and create an independent communications network. More than 35,000 people from thousands of locations participated in Field Day last year.

“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,” says club 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 modes.

“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,” adds club Vice President, Peter Hatem, of Scarborough. “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 auxiliary communications support to the Cumberland County Emergency Management Agency and members are also active in supporting the National Weather Service’s SKYWARN program in Gray, ME.

“Last year, the Wireless Society of Southern Maine, using call sign WS1SM, recorded the highest Field Day score in Maine and we hope to do well again this year,” says Brown. “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.”

Anyone can become a licensed amateur radio operator. There are more than 725,000 licensed hams in the United States, as young as 5 and as old as 100. The Wireless Society of Southern Maine is ready to help anyone get involved and licensed right here in Scarborough. The club meets on the 2nd Thursday of each month at the Scarborough Public Safety Building, located at 275 U.S. Route 1.

For more information about Field Day, and amateur radio in general, please visit: http://www.mainehamradio.com

The Maine 2 Meter FM Simplex Challenge is this Saturday!

The 12th Annual Maine 2 Meter FM Simplex Challenge takes place Saturday, March 26th, from 12PM – 4PM!

Contacts are limited to FM Simplex on the 2 meter band.

Participants may be entered as either fixed or mobile, (but not as both).

Exchange – Exchange items include your call sign, the name of the city, village, town, or township you are operating from, and your power level. Rovers and mobiles must be within the city limits of whatever city they claim to be operating from. If you are operating from a served agency station, you should also include this with your exchange. Specify which agency you serve, for example, “SKYWARN,” “EOC,” or “Red Cross.” On the log sheets, however, there will only be a place to notate whether or not the station is operating from a served agency.

City or Town – This is simply the name of the city or town you are operating from. If you do not live within the city limits, use the name of the town or municipality to which mail or a package would be addressed. For mobile entries, use the name of the city or town you are in, or the closest city or town.

Power levels are defined as follows:
QRP – 5 watts or less
Medium Power – greater than 5 watts, but less than 100
High Power – 100 watts or more

Enter as either Fixed (either at home or portable) or Mobile (roving).

Click here for complete rules and details, including Entry Forms and Log Sheets, for the 2022 Maine 2 Meter FM Simplex Challenge.

WSSM-ECT Training Net – Thursday, March 24th, at 7:00 PM

Please join us this evening at 7:00 PM on the W1QUI 147.090 (+ / 100) repeater, for our monthly On-Air Drill!

This will be an on-air and in person hybrid meeting, with a limit of 5 people allowed at the CCEMA Bunker, which is located at 22 High Street, Windham, ME. For those who join us at the bunker, we’ll be doing a work detail to install an HRI-200 on the new repeater, to give it Wires-X capability.

Because of the work detail, we won’t be doing a formal on-air training following the net on the repeater, but we encourage participants to get on 146.580 FM Simplex to test out your stations.

As a reminder, the Maine 2 Meter FM Simplex Challenge takes place this Saturday, from 12pm-4pm. The Simplex Challenge is a fun contest that is not only competitive, but also teaches us a lot about about the FM Simplex coverage throughout the state. I hope everyone has the opportunity to participate this year! For more information, including complete rules, please click here.

Catch you on the air!

73′

Tim
KB1HNZ

12th Annual Maine 2 Meter FM Simplex Challenge is March 26th!

The 12th Annual Maine 2 Meter FM Simplex Challenge takes place Saturday, March 26th, from 12PM – 4PM!

The Maine 2 meter FM Simplex Challenge is a ham radio contest primarily designed to give 2 meter operators a chance to compete on an even basis, and have fun doing it.

Saturday, March 26, 2022, and runs for 4 hours, beginning at 12:00 PM local time.

Contacts are limited to FM Simplex on the 2 meter band.

Participants may be entered as either fixed or mobile, (but not as both).

Exchange – Exchange items include your call sign, the name of the city, village, town, or township you are operating from, and your power level. Rovers and mobiles must be within the city limits of whatever city they claim to be operating from. If you are operating from a served agency station, you should also include this with your exchange. Specify which agency you serve, for example, “SKYWARN,” “EOC,” or “Red Cross.” On the log sheets, however, there will only be a place to notate whether or not the station is operating from a served agency.

City or Town – This is simply the name of the city or town you are operating from. If you do not live within the city limits, use the name of the town or municipality to which mail or a package would be addressed.

For mobile entries, use the name of the city or town you are in, or the closest city or town.

Power levels are defined as follows:
• QRP – 5 watts or less
• Medium Power – greater than 5 watts, but less than 100
• High Power – 100 watts or more

Enter as either Fixed (either at home or portable) or Mobile (roving).

Click here for complete rules and details, including Entry Forms and Log Sheets, for the 2022 Maine 2 Meter FM Simplex Challenge.

The Overall winner of the 2021 Maine 2 Meter FM Simplex Challenge was Dick Bean K1HC, from Westwood, Massachusetts, who made a total of 95 QSOs, in 41 different towns, for a total of 3,895 points. Congratulations on a job well done! K1HC operated as Fixed Medium from his vacation home in Haprswell, Maine, using an Icom IC-9700 into a Diamond X50 at 295′ above sea level, during the contest. Click here to see all the 2021 category winners.

Operating the Maine QSO Party from Romania – A Travel Log

Finally, by mid-September, our family trip to Romania, which was originally scheduled to take place in April 2020, was about to become a reality. Our tickets were purchased months prior, and everything was looking good, but just days before we were about to leave, the COVID-19 risk assessment level of the United States was moved from “High” to “Very High,” casting doubt once again on whether or not we’d be able to travel. The difference between these categories may not seem like much, but the way different countries react to these classifications are very drastic.

For us, being able to enter Romania wouldn’t change, but making a layover (for less than an hour), in Amsterdam, would become almost impossible. The Netherlands, in order to discourage travel from the United States, placed all kinds of requirements on American travelers, including paperwork to fill out, and testing within such a short window, it wouldn’t allow for the time it took to get there! My wife, Stefania, however, was determined to take the trip, and after researching every possible way to make it happen, she discovered that, because of her Romanian citizenship, we would all be able to get an electronic document called the “European COVID-19 Vaccine Passport.” This made all the difference, because, despite the fact that we were travelling on U.S. passports, we were treated like Europeans from a COVID perspective.

Despite these early challenges, the trip would go very well. The plane between Boston and Amsterdam was nearly empty (in both directions), which allowed room for our 3-year-old son, Elliot, to lay down and sleep. We arrived fresh and ready to settle in at Stefania’s childhood home, which is located along the famous “wine road,” in Valea Calugareasca, Prahova.

Elliot helps to pick corn.

The most heart-warming part was seeing Elliot meet his grandmother for the first time. They talk almost every day via Skype, but its not the same as having a real hug. Elliot loved playing in the big driveway and in the fields behind the house, and enjoyed helping out with the chores, including picking corn and putting them in bags to be stored for winter.

The family all together! Tim, Elliot, Stefania, and Gabi

The area is rural farmland, but its not far from Romania’s second most populated city, Ploiesti. Its also grown up a bit since the last time I was there, in 2015. The village center has more businesses, and the road was being reconfigured to support more traffic. The biggest difference I noticed was the fact that more people were driving, and the road infrastructure wasn’t quite up to the task. This was especially noticeable in Ploiesti, where we went to do some shopping and to renew Stefania’s Romanian passport.

What I didn’t expect, but probably should have, due to the time of year, was that late September is harvest season. My second day there, I helped cut down the vegetable plants and pick corn, that would be packed into large sacks to be stored during the winter – to feed the chickens. After this was done, I was asked to “cut down the field.” I expected to be shown a tractor or brush hog, but was instead handed a hoe with a curved blade on it. So, considering the field was close to two acres, this took nearly three days to finish.

Cutting down the corn field.

By the fourth day there, I was finally able to play some radio, using a borrowed Yaesu FT-857D and Stefania’s father’s old ham shack, complete with power supply and antennas, which included a delta loop for the low bands, and a yagi that covered 10-20 meters. The yagi tuned up pretty well on all its bands, but the loop had some sporadic SWR issues, which probably meant it had a bad feedline or some corrosion somewhere. None of this was unexpected, considering the station hadn’t been used in over six years! After a little work, we had the station running pretty well, and that first evening I was making QSOs in the middle east, and much later on, the U.S. The first station I heard from the States was the familiar voice of Rick, K1OT! It was good to hear someone from back home.

Yeasu FT-857d setup at Stefania’s family home.

It took a while to get used to the propagation in that part of the world, and also the IARU Region 1 band plan, which is much different than our own, and for the first time, I really got a feel for what it was like to be on the other side of the European DX wall. If you’ve ever chased a DXPedition from your QTH in Maine, you’ve probably experienced long hours when it seemed like the DX station would only hear Europe, despite the propagation being favorable to us. Southeastern Europe is on the other side of that “wall’, with a seemingly clear “view” of the east, so working DX in Asia and the Pacific was a lot easier.

Because of the time difference with the East Coast of the U.S. (which is seven hours), we would have to stay up quite late to talk to the U.S. Besides Rick, I was able to work quite a few others, including Eric N1RXR, via D-STAR!

After resting up from “cutting down the field” for a few days, Stefania and I helped to harvest the grapes. More than half of her mom’s back yard is a vineyard, featuring a variety of grapes that are unique to Romania, such as Feteasca Alba and Feteasca Neagra, (which are wine grapes), and some table grapes called “Hamburgs” by the locals.

The backyard vineyard.

It took 4 people, including Stefania and myself, plus her cousin and a friend of hers, to cut enough grapes to fill three different orders. The first two buyers needed 500 kilograms each, plus another wanted a lesser amount. After cutting and bagging up all those grapes, there were still some on the vines, which would be picked after we left. One of those orders was packed into a taxi cab and hauled off in several trips.

Feteasca Alba wine grapes.

During the last week of our stay, we went on a picnic with Stefania’s childhood friends, to a place called Valea Doftanei, which was about 45 minutes North of Valea Calugareasca. The picnic spot was on a sloping valley hill, surrounded by mountains and alongside a lake. It was a very picturesque fall day, and friendly cows roamed about the hillside as well, which made the experience a unique one.

Valea Doftanei

The highlight of the trip, at least as far as radio goes, was being able to participate in the Maine QSO Party from a very nicely equipped contest station in Baicoi, which is located just outside of Ploiesti.

A look at some of the antennas, including the Optibeam, at Baicoi.

The station is on the property of a business called MAZAROM, which is the Romanian distributer of Mazak CNC machines. The proprietor, and owner of the station, is Stefania’s former boss, Adrian Tutu, YO3HOT, a former president of the Federaţia Română de Radioamatorism (FRR). He’s a huge promoter of ham radio in the country, and also an accomplished DXer and Contester. While there, we were hosted by Mihai Malanca YO9BPX, who is active with youth groups, that encourage the study of CW. His teams have competed successfully in national and European CW competitions, and he’s also involved with the World Wide Floral and Fauna program, which encourages operating ham radio portable, while outside.

Stefania K1GJY (and YO9GJY), operating from Baicoi during the MEQP.

The primary HF station at Baicoi features a Kenwood TS-990, Expert 2K-FA amplifier, and a variety of antennas, including a multiband Optibeam on a 100+ ft tower, and a 4-square for 160m. The entire station can be controlled through a single PC, with software tied to the N1MM logging program, including rig, rotor, amp, and tuning control. Once you figure it out, it’s quite a pleasure to operate. The station is designed to host contesters, equipped with a bedroom, kitchen and cafeteria, as well.

Tim KB1HNZ, operating as YO/KB1HNZ, from Baicoi.

Stefania and I entered as a Multi-Op team, using call sign YO/KB1HNZ. Being only a day before we had to travel back home, we had to end a few hours early to get COVID tests, so it probably wasn’t a winning effort, but it was a lot of fun, and we’re grateful to have had the opportunity to work the contest from such an incredible station.

12th Annual Maine 2 Meter FM Simplex Challenge is Saturday, March 26th!

The 12th Annual Maine 2 Meter FM Simplex Challenge takes place Saturday, March 26th, from 12PM – 4PM!

The Maine 2 meter FM Simplex Challenge is a ham radio contest primarily designed to give 2 meter operators a chance to compete on an even basis, and have fun doing it.

Saturday, March 26, 2022, and runs for 4 hours, beginning at 12:00 PM local time.

Contacts are limited to FM Simplex on the 2 meter band.

Participants may be entered as either fixed or mobile, (but not as both).

Exchange – Exchange items include your call sign, the name of the city, village, town, or township you are operating from, and your power level. Rovers and mobiles must be within the city limits of whatever city they claim to be operating from. If you are operating from a served agency station, you should also include this with your exchange. Specify which agency you serve, for example, “SKYWARN,” “EOC,” or “Red Cross.” On the log sheets, however, there will only be a place to notate whether or not the station is operating from a served agency.

City or Town – This is simply the name of the city or town you are operating from. If you do not live within the city limits, use the name of the town or municipality to which mail or a package would be addressed.

For mobile entries, use the name of the city or town you are in, or the closest city or town.

Power levels are defined as follows:
• QRP – 5 watts or less
• Medium Power – greater than 5 watts, but less than 100
• High Power – 100 watts or more

Enter as either Fixed (either at home or portable) or Mobile (roving).

Click here for complete rules and details, including Entry Forms and Log Sheets, for the 2022 Maine 2 Meter FM Simplex Challenge.

The Overall winner of the 2021 Maine 2 Meter FM Simplex Challenge was Dick Bean K1HC, from Westwood, Massachusetts, who made a total of 95 QSOs, in 41 different towns, for a total of 3,895 points. Congratulations on a job well done! K1HC operated as Fixed Medium from his vacation home in Haprswell, Maine, using an Icom IC-9700 into a Diamond X50 at 295′ above sea level, during the contest. Click here to see all the 2021 category winners.