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!

73′

Tim
KB1HNZ

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.

2021 SKYWARN Recognition Day Review

On Saturday, December 4th, members of the NWS Gray SKYWARN Amateur Radio Team activated WX1GYX for SKYWARN Recognition Day, an annual event that celebrates the contributions that SKYWARN volunteers across the country make to their communities.

Radio operations began at 0000 UTC on December 4th and continued for 24 hours, with either a weather report or SRD number being exchanged. SRD isn’t a contest, but a fun on-air activity with many different participants, including SKYWARN Net Control operators, SKYWARN spotters, regular hams, ARES volunteers, and even DX stations, taking part.

SRD isn’t just for radio operators, either! SKYWARN is a national network of volunteer severe weather spotters, many of whom are not hams. Over 4,500 spotters took part in the SRD National Spotter Check-In, which mapped their locations across the country.

Similar to last year, the NWS Gray SKYWARN Amateur Radio Team could not activate from the National Weather Service Forecast Office, due to COVID-19 restrictions, so they created a shared Google Sheet and encouraged radio volunteers to choose a time and band slot to operate as WX1GYX, either from a portable location, or their own homes. The effort was successful in giving NWS Gray an on-air presence during the event.

Special thanks to: Eric N1RXR (D-STAR, Echolink, and FM), Tom N1KTA (Echolink), Tim KB1HNZ (HF SSB, HF Digital, and DMR), Stefania K1GJY (HF SSB), Susan WB2UQP (HF SSB), and Jason W1SFS (HF SSB)., for contributing logs! WX1GYX logged 45 different states, 7 different NWS Offices, and 59 SKYWARN Spotters, for a total of 195 QSOs during the event. Great job, everyone!

Click here to view the SRD Check-in map and learn more about SKYWARN Recognition Day.

2021 SKYWARN Recognition Day Nationwide Check-In

A new feature for 2021 SKYWARN Recognition Day is the Nationwide Check-in.

SRD organizers and the NWS want to see where all of our SKYWARN Spotters are across the country! Check in using this simple form and represent your community.

All SKYWARN spotters are encouraged to participate! This is a fun way that SKYWARN Spotters who aren’t ham radio operators can also take part in the SRD activities.

73′

Tim Watson
KB1HNZ

2021 SKYWARN Recognition Day is December 4th!

2021 SKYWARN Recognition Day is December 4, from 0000Z – 2359Z

For 22 years, SKYWARN™ Recognition Day, developed jointly by the National Weather Service and the American Radio Relay League, celebrates the contributions that volunteer SKYWARN™ radio operators make to the National Weather Service.

Similar to last year, because of COVID-19 restrictions, ham operators will not have access to the NWS Gray facility, but we encourage you to take turns activating the WX1GYX call sign, either from your home stations, portable, or mobile, during the event.

If you’d like to use the WX1GYX call sign during SRD, please click here to sign up for a time/band slot. We hope to have at least one operator from each of the counties in the NWS Gray Weather Forecast area, so spread the word!

Participants are asked to log contacts in an electronic logging program, such as N1MM, and submit to kb1hnz@yahoo.com in an ADIF format.

During the periods that you’re not using the WX1GYX call sign, operators may also use their personal call signs to exchange their name, SRD number (which can be obtained here) and current weather conditions with other participating stations.

The event website provides complete operating guidelines, including the suggested exchange. SRD is a fun on-air activity that feels very much like a contest, but its informal. There’s no rules or band limitations. You can even use repeaters!


73′

Tim Watson
KB1HNZ

WSSM-ECT Training Net – Thursday, October 28, 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 use the remaining time after the net to install and update software on the PCs.

Following our net on the repeater, we’ll test out the newly re-installed HF antenna at CCEMA. For those with HF capabilities, please join us on 3940 kHz LSB for an exchange of signal reports.

Catch you on the air!

73′

Tim
KB1HNZ

Local Ham Radio Group Participates in Statewide Exercise

On Saturday, October 9th, 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 last year, there’s has been a lot of statewide coordination for the SET, and Maine ARES and others have developed an extensive 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 seventh 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

WSSM-ECT Pre-SET Training & Traffic Net Report

Thanks to everyone who joined us our special Pre-SET Training Net last evening. We began the net on the 147.090 repeater and after closing the net on the repeater, we moved over to 146.580 FM Simplex. Below is the complete Net Report:

Date: 10/07/2021
Start Time: 7:00 PM
Frequency: 147.090 (+ / 100 Hz) FM repeater, located on Blackstrap Mt., Falmouth, ME
Net Control: Tim Watson KB1HNZ, Battery Power, in Saco, ME

Check-ins: 4
Ben, KC1HBL, Commercial Power, in Buxton, ME
Dave, KB1FGF, Commercial Power, in Scarborough, ME
Brad, KC1JMH, Battery Power, in N. Waterboro, ME
Ed, W1XAW, Mobile, Battery Power, Portland, ME

Traffic Handled: 1
Brad brought one piece of through traffic to the net, for KX7YT, in Portland, OR. This will be held and forwarded via Winlink during the SET, on Saturday.

Secure at: 7:22 PM

Simplex Net Details:
Start Time: 7:23 PM
Frequency: 146.580 FM Simplex
Net Control: Tim KB1HNZ, Battery Power, in Saco, ME
Check-ins: 5
Ben, KC1HBL, Commercial Power, in Buxton, ME
Dave, KB1FGF, Commercial Power, in Scarborough, ME
Brad, KC1JMH, Battery Power, in N. Waterboro, ME
Steve, WZ1J, Commercial Power, Brunswick, ME
Steve, W1GR (Club Call Sign), Commercial Power, Brunswick, ME
Secure at: 7:38 PM