2023 1st Quarter ARES Exercise

Good Afternoon,

Here’s the plan for tomorrow’s Emergency Communications exercise, that takes place from 9:00AM – 11:00AM (prior to Winter Field Day):

Chris Wheeler (CCEMA) offered the following scenario (and request): 

 “Let’s say we had a large subsidence on the Presumpscot river below the Sappi Paper Mill that caused the foundations to some of their buildings to buckle and potentially fail. In this type of scenario we would be looking for:” 

Request to MEMA for assistance (ICS-213RR via Winlink): 

  • Structural Engineers (5) 
  • Type One Large Backhoes (2) 
  • Water Pumps (8) 
  • Railroad Ties (500) 
  • Manual and Hydraulic Building Jacks (25) 
  • Large Type 1 Dump Trucks (4) 

Countywide traffic: 

During the exercise, we’ll be looking for a simulated storm update from NWS Gray to determine likelihood of continuing flood risk, simulated weather reports from individual check-ins that we can forward to NWS so they can issue, update, or confirm warnings, and also simulated reports of road washouts, etc., to forward to CCEMA, so they can dispatch DOT crews. Be sure to preface each message with THIS IS A DRILL or EXERCISE MESSAGE. 

Exercise Schedule: 

  • We will be starting our county wide net on the 449.225 repeater at or around 9:00 AM to take check-ins and take any traffic (weather reports or SITREPS) from participants. 
  • At around the same time, we will also check into the Maine Emergency Net on 3940 kHz. 
  • At 9:30 AM, we will take check-ins on simplex to test comms from the trailer. For obvious reasons, it won’t have the same coverage as the station at the EOC, but we’ll see who can hear us. 
  • At 10:00 AM we will be sending our Winlink traffic, most likely via PACKET. 
  • From 10:30 – 11:00 AM, we will check back into and monitor the Maine Emergency Net to see if there’s any traffic waiting for us, and handle as needed. 




Winter Field Day is this Weekend!

Please join us this weekend, January 28-29, at the Cumberland County Emergency Management Agency (CCEMA) bunker, (located at 22 High Street, Windham, ME) for Winter Field Day!

We will be operating in the 1O category (club station with 1 full time HF transmitter), plus we’ll also be participating in a statewide Emergency Communications Exercise Saturday morning, from 9AM – 11 AM.


THURSDAY – 7:00 PM – Setup begins during the ECT Meeting, with antennas and trailer prep.

SATURDAY – 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM – Statewide Emergency Communications Exercise (similar to the SET, but shorter in duration).

SATURDAY – 2:00 PM – SUNDAY – 1:59 PM – Winter Field Day on-air ops.

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


We need lots of help to make this a success! Please click here to sign up for WFD Setup/Breakdown, Saturday’s EmComm Exercise, WFD On-Air ops, and Food!

See you there!



Talk-in on 146.580 FM Simplex.

Winter Field Day is January 28-29

Winter Field Day (WFD), which has taken place annually on the last full weekend in January, since 2007, has continued to grow in popularity each year. In 2022, the Winter Field Day Association processed over 2500 logs. This year’s Winter Field Day takes place January 28th – 29th.

Clubs and individuals from around the world activate for the event, many using it as an opportunity to practice portable emergency communications in winter environments, since the potential for freezing temperatures, snow, ice, and other hazards present unique operational concerns. Winter Field Day is formatted to help radio amateurs develop a higher level of preparedness for disasters and improve operational skills in subpar conditions.

Winter Field Day is a communications exercise that can be worked from the comfort of your home or in a remote location. Amateur radio operators may use any mode that can faithfully transmit the required exchange, on HF, VHF, or UHF bands. Like the ARRL Field Day, bonus points are earned in several ways, including for using non-commercial power sources, operating from remote locations, making satellite contacts, and more.

Complete rules can be found here. Combining this with the ARRL’s ongoing Volunteers On the Air operation is a great way to make contacts and get new operators on the air.

On the weekend of July 28-29, the Wireless Society of Southern Maine Emergency Communications Team will take part in their fifth Winter Field Day, operating as an outdoor station from the Cumberland County Emergency Management Agency (CCEMA) communications trailer. We’ll be setting up portable antennas, and run the entire 24 hours on emergency power.

Prior to the event, on Saturday, the WSSM-ECT will also be taking part in an emergency communications exercise, checking into the Maine Emergency Net, and exchanging simulated emergency traffic with adjacent counties and the Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), in Augusta.

2022 Weather Year in Review

In 2022, the NWS Gray SKYWARN Amateur Radio Team gathered a record 518 reports.

The year 2022 started out with three SKYWARN activations on January 7th, 17th – 18th, and 29th – 30th, the most memorable for a nor’easter that tracked near the Gulf of Maine on January 29th. The nor’easter accounted for 13.2 inches of the 13.6 inches total snowfall for the month in Portland, and produced 86 SKYWARN reports. January featured several temperature swings through the first three weeks of the month, followed by persistent cold through the end of the month. On the whole, the average temperature for January was well below normal and it was the coldest January since 2009.

Observed snowfall totals from the January 29-30 nor’easter

February was quieter, with only two SKYWARN activations on the 4th and 25th – 26th, as the upper-level jet stream took on a traditional La Nina pattern, with a ridge in the Northeast Pacific and another over the Southeastern U.S. The persistent ridge over the Southeast dominated weather in the Portland area, bringing several warm spells during the month. The warmest period came during the last week of the month, when the high temperature reached 66 degrees on February 23rd. A sharp cold front crossed the area causing temperatures to drop 25 degrees by midnight and resulted in a record temperature range of 41 degrees for the date. The most significant event occurred on February 3-4 when waves of low pressure tracked along a cold front that slowly sank south through New England and then stalled near Portland. This setup a period of rain that changed over to sleet, with the Portland area receiving 2 to 3 inches of sleet before precipitation ended as light snow. Smaller systems in the second half of the month were primarily rain producers, until a storm finally tracked across southern New England with enough cold air to bring 5.8” of snow on the 25th.

Frequent light precipitation events with measurable precipitation occurred during March, with only two SKYWARN activations on the 12th and 30th. While snowfall did eclipse the dismal 0.1” recorded in March of 2021, total snowfall finished well below normal with only 3 inches and no days of an inch or greater of snow.

Only a single SKYWARN activation occurred in April for a wind and rain event on the 19th. A 28 mph wind gust was recorded in New Harbor, and we received multiple reports of wind damage in the Waldoboro area. A total of 5.0 inches of precipitation fell in Portland, which was 0.59 inches above normal.

The month of May was warm and dry in the Portland area. The primary feature that dominated the weather pattern was a ridge of high pressure that started to develop during the second week of the month and remained centered over Northern New England through the end of the month. Only one SKYWARN activation occurred, on May 16 for damaging thunderstorms that effected mostly Southwestern New Hampshire and the Connecticut River Valley. The storm produced 21 reports, which were mostly for wind damage. A total of 1.12 inches of precipitation fell in the Portland area, which was 2.55 inches below normal.

The month of June was cooler and drier than normal. An anomalous trough of low pressure that started to develop during the second week of the month remained through the third week of the month. Two SKYWARN activations occurred for thunderstorms, with quarter size hail reported in Conway, NH on the 4th and heavy rain and ponding in the roadway reported in Scarborough on the 17th. A total of 2.62 inches of precipitation fell in the Portland area, which was 1.53 inches below normal. The heaviest precipitation fell on June 17th, when 0.76” was recorded.

July was warmer and much drier than normal. It was also the third month in a row with below normal precipitation, leading to an expansion of moderate drought conditions early in the month. Despite the lack of precipitation, there were five SKYWARN activations during the month for thunderstorms, on July 12, 14, 21, 25, and 28. We received 26 reports on the 21st, mostly for wind damage, from Antrim, Stoddard, Hancock, Sullivan, Harrisville, and Moultonborough, NH, and the same cell produced a microbust on Frye Island and Raymond, ME. On the 25th, we received reports of trees and wires down in Swanzey, and Exeter, NH. A total of 1.28 inches of precipitation fell in July, which was 2.15 inches below normal. The heaviest precipitation fell on July 5th into the 6th, when 0.38” was recorded.

Wind damage from the July 25th storm, in Sebago, ME

August was much wetter and warmer than normal. By the end of the first week of the month, a broad ridge, that started to develop in the mid-levels of atmosphere, shifted east, with the center of the ridge settling over New England. The ridge persisted into the second week of August and was responsible for the hottest stretch of weather during the summer months. From August 5 to 7, the temperature did not drop below 70 degrees for three days in a row, along with high temperatures climbing above 90 degrees for three days in a row between the 7th and 9th. A cold front then crossed into New England the night of August 9th, bringing much cooler air. It was during this period that a series of upper troughs pushed across Southeastern Canada with frontal systems bringing bouts of heavy rain on the 22nd, 26th, and 31st. SKYWARN activations occurred on the 8th and 26th. We received multiple reports on the 26th for wind damage in Marlborough and Newport, NH, and heavy rain, wind, and hail across Southern Maine.

September was cooler and wetter than normal and two SKYWARN activations occurred on the 13th and 23rd. A cold front crossed New England to start the month followed by high pressure settling over the area through the 4th. This allowed for warm sunny days and cool crisp nights. Another cold front dropped south into the area the night of the 4th and stalled over New England through the 6th. Waves of low pressure tracked along the frontal boundary bringing a soaking rain on the 5th – 6th. Unseasonably warm days followed, until a cold front crossed on the 15th, causing temps to average below normal through the end of the month.

October was warmer and much wetter than normal, with only one SKYWARN activation occurring during the month, as a severe thunderstorm produced 13 reports of mostly wind damage in Dixfield, Scarborough, Saco, and Buckfield, ME, and street flooding in Scarborough. The middle of the month was particularly active with one system bringing 3.27 inches of rain the night of the 13th through the 14th, and another system bringing 2.76 inches of rain on the 17th – 18th. The storm system that crossed the morning of the 14th brought strong south to southeast winds that caused tree damage in York County with the peak wind measured at 45 mph in Portland. The first freeze of the fall occurred on October 9th.

November was exceptionally warm in the Portland area through the first half of the month, followed by temperatures averaging below normal through the second half. During the first 12 days, the average temperature was 54.1 degrees and exceeded the 70-degree mark 3 times. A new all time record high was set on the 5th when the high temperature reached 75 degrees! The jet stream configuration, which consisted of a ridge of high pressure centered over New England, limited precipitation early in the month, although the remnants of Tropical System Nicole moved up the eastern seaboard, bringing a bout of heavy rain on the 11th. The ridge broke down during the middle of the month, giving way to a trough of low pressure. This pattern allowed for a couple of frontal systems to cross New England, and temperatures to trend below normal. SKYWARN activations occurred on the 16th, bringing the first reports of freezing precipitation of the season, followed by another activation on the 30th, for a strong cold front that generated reports of snow, heavy rain, and wind damage. The peak gust at Portland topped out at 47 mph. A total of 5.24 inches of precipitation fell in November, which was 0.99 inches above normal. The heaviest precipitation in fell on the 15th – 16th when 1.32 inches of rain was recorded.

Four SKYWARN activations took place in December, on the 1st, 12th, 15th – 17th, and 23rd. A cold front crossed the region to start the month followed by a brief high pressure. A period of relatively active weather ensued through the winter solstice as several mid latitude cyclones of Pacific origin tracked eastward and brought bouts of precipitation to New England. Towards the middle of the month, high latitude blocking became pronounced over Alaska and Eastern Canada. The blocking over Alaska helped funnel arctic air into the Continental U.S. and the blocking over Eastern Canada helped suppress low pressure systems from tracking west of New England. This pattern ultimately led to a coastal low pressure system to develop near the Mid Atlantic on the 15th, which tracked into the Gulf of Maine on the 17th. This system brought significant moisture into New England, and while the Portland area did see prolonged snowfall, temperatures were near or slightly above freezing, limiting the ability for the snow to accumulate. The system brought the heaviest precipitation of the month with rain and melted snow amounting to 1.45 inches, with 4.1 inches of heavy wet snow. Further inland, this system brought significant heavy wet snow leading to power outages across the interior with the mountains seeing upwards of two feet.

After a few days of dry weather, another significant system took shape over the Central Plains on the 22nd and tracked over the Great Lakes on the 23rd and into Quebec on the 24th. The system brought significant southerly to southeasterly winds into Maine and New Hampshire with the peak gust in Portland reaching 65 mph. These very strong onshore winds combined with a period of high astronomical tides led to the 4th highest tide on record at Portland at 13.72 feet, on the 23rd, which resulted in significant coastal flooding. Much cooler weather followed over the holiday weekend, with temperatures climbing well above normal to close out the month.

Satellite image of Winter Storm “Elliott”

A total of 3.98 inches of precipitation fell, which was 0.52 inches below normal. A total of 4.7 inches of snow fell, which was 9.9 inches below normal. The majority of this snow fell on the 16th – 17th when 4.2 inches of heavy wet snow was measured.

December was a busy month for SKYWARN, as we collected 144 reports, 61 of which were for the December 23rd storm. Many of these were for wind damage and flooding.

Coastal flooding in York, ME during the December 23rd storm

During the year, the NWS Gray SKYWARN Amateur Radio Team helped gather a record 518 SKYWARN reports, which is 75 more than our previous record of 443, set in 2020. Thanks to all of our Net Control operators, SKYWARN Spotters, and volunteers, who helped us throughout the year. Keep up the good work!

The NWS Gray SKYWARN Amateur Radio Team is a group of volunteers who support the National Weather Service Forecast Office, in Gray, ME. Click here to learn more about the team and how you can help.

Works cited:

NWS Gray Climate Information Library – Portland, ME: https://www.weather.gov/gyx/climate_f6.html

Portland Maine Daily Records: https://www.weather.gov/media/gyx/climo/PortlandRecords.pdf

Climatological Report (Monthly): https://forecast.weather.gov/product.php?site=GYX&product=CLM&issuedby=PWM

2022 Simulated Emergency Test Review

Despite some challenges, the 2022 Simulated Emergency Test was a big success for our team!

Since early Spring, the communications room at the Cumberland County EMA was undergoing various phases of renovation, and getting the gear setup in time for the SET was a huge undertaking. Our team also acquired, through grants, some new deployable equipment, which had just been taken out of the box a few days before the Saturday of the test! But, our team pulled it all together and did a great job demonstrating their skills once again, to make us one of the top performing groups in the state.

Despite this, there were some minor hiccups. Our primary deployed team, consisting of Brad Brown KC1JMH and Peter Hatem KC1HBM, was sent to Scarborough High School having never setup a Buddipole antenna before and with a brand new Icom IC-7100. Somehow, they managed to get the antenna setup and the radio on the air, although they did miss a couple of early tasks.

Things went smooth at the EOC, despite getting the gear setup the Thursday evening before the test. This consisted of more than just plugging in the equipment, but required the installation of a new PC for the HF station, including all necessary software, setting up two new work stations, routing coax through the ceiling and down the walls to the workstations, grounding, setting up a LAN, and more! The team of Tim Watson KB1HNZ and CJ Carlsson W1CJC, took turns manning the HF, V/U, and DMR stations, and performed all the necessary tasks.

Meanwhile, Waylon McDonald KC1HJN was deployed to multiple shelter locations throughout the county and successfully completed all of his objectives, and Eric Emery N1RXR, operating remote from New Gloucester, acted as a key station, performing relays when needed, and handled traffic for the National Weather Service, in Gray, ME.

Here’s what the 2022 SET consisted of:

Name of exercise: 2022 Maine Simulated Emergency Test
Date of activity: October 22, 2022
Duration of activity: 08:00 – 12:00

Type: Multi-mode communication exercise between State and County EMAs, as well as other agencies, including Red Cross and the National Weather Service.

Served agency(s):
Cumberland County Emergency Management Agency (CCEMA)
National Weather Service, Gray, ME

WSSM-ECT: Participants will operate from the EOC, home, at deployed stations, and mobile from shelters.

Purpose: Test ability to communicate inter-county and between counties, using various modes: UHF FM repeater, VHF FM Simplex, HF SSB, VHF Packet, HF Digital, and Winlink via VHF Packet and HF.

Objectives: Perform Amateur Radio Tasks as outlined in the 2022 Maine SET Plan:

  • Digital data with other Counties on Amateur VHF repeater systems and packet network.
  • Voice with other Counties on Amateur VHF using simplex.
  • Voice with other Counties on Amateur HF systems
  • Retrieve a text file using Packet
  • Digital data via Amateur Packet and Winlink systems

TASK 1 – Perform voice radio checks inter-county via Amateur UHF repeater
TASK 2 – Perform voice radio checks inter-county via Amateur HF
TASK 3 – Establish communications with Statewide Emergency Net and perform voice radio checks with other Counties via Amateur HF
TASK 4 – Perform voice radio checks inter-county via Amateur VHF Simplex
TASK 5 – Perform voice radio checks with nearby Counties via Amateur VHF simplex
TASK 6 – Exchange ICS-213 messages via voice, digital, Winlink, and Packet
TASK 7 – Retrieve a text file via PACKET
TASK 8 – Send Digital Data through the Maine Packet Network

Although highly successful, the 2022 SET highlighted some areas that can be more fine tuned. One of these is more hands-on training with deployable equipment, and another is, as always, traffic handling. Having more time to spend with our new gear, we’ll easily remedy the first concern, but the latter is more a widespread problem, not isolated to our team. In fact, having handled something like 32 messages during the SET (mostly within the county), we do very well with it, but I’ve found a lack of continuity on the statewide level, that can only be fixed with a unified acceptance of modes, forms, and protocol. I have no doubt this will get better with time, as we do more exercises, and hopefully, by next year, we’ll all be on the same page.

Click here to download our 2022 SET After Action Review.

    Local Ham Group Participates in Statewide Exercise

    On Saturday, October 22nd, members of the Wireless Society of Southern Maine Emergency Communications Team (WSSM-ECT), which meets monthly in Scarborough, will participate in a statewide drill to test their communications capabilities between various different sites throughout Cumberland County and the state. The drill, known as the Simulated Emergency Test, or SET, is an annual exercise, sponsored by the American Radio Relay League, which encourages amateur radio operators from across the country to test their communications skills during a mock disaster.

    During the SET, hams are required to quickly establish communications between various Emergency Operations Centers and exchange formal messages and traffic, which contain requests for supplies, medical information, or weather reports, or other information that may be of importance during a disaster. They do this via voice, Morse code, and digital two-way radio, on bands ranging from HF to UHF, as required.

    “Similar to previous years, there’s has been statewide coordination for the SET, and Maine ARES and others have developed a plan that involves testing both amateur radio and EMA communications,” says Tim Watson, of Saco. Watson is a founder of the Wireless Society of Southern Maine, which provides communications support for Cumberland County EMA, as well as the National Weather Service. “The SET tests how we respond during large- scale disasters, where commercial infrastructure has failed. In these events, hams are often the only source of communications.”

    “The hams in our club are a dedicated group,” adds club President, Brad Brown, of Waterboro. “Amateur radio has a long history of volunteerism. Sure, it’s a hobby and there’s some fun things that we do like lighthouse expeditions or competitive events like contesting, but so many like to stay sharp by providing support for community events, and drills like this, so they’ll be ready to offer their time and expertise when disaster strikes.”

    The Wireless Society of Southern Maine’s Emergency Communications Team is participating in their eighth SET. After the event, the participants will do an assessment to determine how well they performed and look for areas to improve upon. “There’s always new things to learn and ways to improve,” says Watson. “This year we’ll be testing some updates that have been made to the statewide digital packet network, which we use for sending messages. We hope to learn more about its capabilities and how to improve it for the future.”

    For more information about amateur radio, or the Wireless Society of Southern Maine, please visit their website at: http://www.mainehamradio.com

    2022 ARRL Field Day Review

    SCARBOROUGH, ME – On the weekend of June 25-26, the WS1SM team participated in their 12th ARRL Field Day from Wassamki Springs Campground, in Scarborough.

    Activities began Friday morning when club members helped to setup a utility trailer, tower, and antenna, that would make up the CW operating station. The station, which is the design of Rick Fickett K1OT, goes together smoothly. After assembling the antennas which consist of a 40 meter yagi and a 10/15/20m tri-bander, and tower components, the tower is pulled up by a winch, so it only needs to be guided on the way up, and when the tower is almost upright, a custom made bracket which holds the yagis, allows them to move into position and lock in place. After this was complete, the guys were tightened and the area was roped off for safety.

    Rick Fickett K1OT, gets the station ready

    The station consists of an Elecraft K3 that runs on a pair of deep cycle batteries. It was operated throughout Field Day by Rick K1OT, Greg W1GF, and Joe K1JB.

    Unlike previous years, the SSB stations were setup on Saturday morning. One was setup in a large tent, and the other was setup in the Cumberland County Emergency Management Agency (CCEMA) communications trailer. Antennas included a 160m end fed and a Buddipole, and 40m rotatable dipole (that mounts to the trailer). The two SSB stations consisted of a Yaesu FT-857d (in the tent) and Icom IC-7300 (in the trailer), which ran on battery power throughout the event.

    Waylon KC1HJN operating SSB

    After final checks and updates to the logging software, we were ready to get on the air by 2:00PM!

    The weather was pleasant for the entire Field Day, including setup and break down, and the band conditions seemed very good as well. 40 meters was steady throughout most of the weekend, and 20m opened up nicely late Saturday afternoon and lasted well into the evening, similar to last year, and there was also activity on 10 and 15 meters, especially on Sunday.

    Waylon KC1HJN, Tim KB1HNZ, Stefania K1GJY, Eric N1RXR, Peter KC1HBM, Jim KB1SDK, Brad KC1JMH, and others, each took turns operating the SSB stations. Eric N1RXR had a really good run on 15 meters Sunday morning, and Stefania K1GJY made lots of QSOs on 40 meters throughout the event.

    Eric N1RXR getting ready for a satellite pass

    Our Safety Officer for 2022 ARRL Field Day was Mike N5QYQ. Mike reported that he made sure any trip hazards were marked, that fire suppression was handy, first aid was accessible, and that stations were properly grounded. We also made sure to have RF exposure reports on hand for each operating station and antenna combination.

    Fellow club members, Frank KR1ZAN in Plano, TX, and Ryan Michaelson KB1YTR, in Duluth, MN, helped us copy the W1AW Field Day message, which was super helpful because many of us were setting up station equipment during the broadcast.

    Tim KB1HNZ prepared radiograms for the Section Manager and several others, and Brad KC1JMH sent them via the Digital Traffic Network using VHF Packet and HF Winlink.

    Eric N1RXR attempted to make a satellite contact using his IC-9700, but despite hearing a few passes really well, we weren’t unable to make a verifiable contact.

    Mike N5QYQ and Steve AA1HF reprised their roles as GOTA station coaches, setting up a nice station in the Wassamki Springs Ham Shack. There were both modern and classic radios to try out. They welcomed unlicensed operators, who took turns getting on the air throughout the weekend, as well as a few newer hams.

    Jim KB1SDK operates SSB from the tent

    Besides the lessons learned at the GOTA station, we also offered a formal educational activity about radio direction finding. Tim KB1HNZ hid a small purpose-built transmitter and explained some of the various methods that can be used to track it down, including using doppler finder technology, attenuators, body shielding, and a directional antenna. Tim’s son, Elliot, had a fun time trying to find a hidden transmitter and eventually did!

    Rick K1OT, Greg W1GF, and Joe K1JB all took turns operating the CW station from Rick’s trailer. They made nearly 1200 QSO’s, of which 502 were on 40 meters alone!

    Operating as 3A (three fulltime HF stations on emergency power), and call sign W1M, 2022 ARRL Field Day was not only a fun time, but a huge success! We logged 1900 QSOs for a total of 6,210 QSO points, and nearly maxed out on all the bonus points.

    Elliot makes a QSO on HF!

    Be sure to check the December issue of QST for the 2022 ARRL Field Day Line Scores!

    Special thanks to Chris Wheeler, and everyone at Cumberland County EMA for their support and allowing us to use the CCEMA communications trailer, and to the Hillock Family for their continued hospitality, allowing us to operate from Wassamki Springs Campground for the 12th consecutive year! We’d also like to thank Steve’s wife Marilyn, who provided us with a fantastic cookout Saturday evening and breakfast sandwiches Sunday morning!

    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

    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!