Self-Quarantine SKYWARN Drill 05/14/20 Net Report

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Thanks to everyone who checked in and participated! We had a good turnout on both simplex and DMR, with 10 check-ins! The purpose of the drill was to expose participants to the SKYWARN simplex frequency and the Severe Weather Report form, test our simplex coverage, and also test out the SKYWARN DMR Talk Group. In addition, we encouraged those who could not check-in on either simplex or DMR to send weather reports to WX1GYX via Winlink.

The simplex portion of the net started on time, at 7:00 PM (2300 UTC), on 146.595. Net Control: KB1HNZ Tim, in Saco. We had 6 check-ins and handled 6 pieces of weather traffic:

KC1HBL Ben, mobile in Scarborough, ME (2301 UTC), Traffic handled: 1
K1MGR Greg, in Scarborough, ME (2302 UTC), Traffic handled: 1
KB1FGF Dave, in Scarborough, ME (Pine Point) (2303 UTC), Traffic handled: 1
KB1HUU Dave, in Lyman, ME (2303UTC), Traffic handled: 1
AB1VX Larry, in Acton, ME (2307 UTC), Traffic handled: 1
WX1GYX op. N1RXR Eric, in New Gloucester, ME (2310 UTC), Traffic handled: 6

The Simplex Net was secured at 7:12 PM (2312 UTC), after a round of informals.

The DMR net started at 7:15 PM on the SKYWARN DMR Talk Group 759. Net Control: KB1HNZ Tim, in Saco. We had 4 check-ins and handled 2 pieces of weather traffic:

K1MGR Greg, in Scarborough, ME (2315 UTC), No traffic
KB1HUU Dave, in Lyman, ME (2315UTC), No traffic
W1CUI Dan, in Barrington, NH (2317 UTC), Traffic handled: 1
N1KMX Scott, in Weymouth, MA (2318 UTC), Traffic handled: 1

The DMR net was secured at 7:21 PM (0021 UTC).

Two reports were received via Winlink.

All the weather traffic over the voice nets were relayed either directly or by Winlink, to SKYWARN liaison N1RXR, who checked in as WX1GYX.

73′

Tim
KB1HNZ

Self Quarantine Simplex Drill – 04/30/2020 Net Report

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Thanks to everyone who checked in and participated! We had a total of 6 check-ins and handled 5 messages. This was the first time we’ve done a net on the 70 cm band, operating on 446.500, and we learned quite a bit about signal coverage, characteristics of the band, and the capability of our own stations. For many who checked in this was their first simplex contact on 440 MHz. One notable difference between 440 and 2 meters, was the amount of fading (QSB) in the signals.

The net started on time, at 7:00 PM. Net Control: KB1HNZ Tim, in Saco, assisted by Peter KC1HBM, in Scarborough.

We had 6 check-ins:

KC1HBM Peter, in Scarborough (2231 UTC)
Contacted 5 stations: KB1HNZ, KC1HBL, KC1JMH, N1RXR, KB1IAW, and W1SFS. Traffic handled: 2

KC1HBL Ben, in Buxton (2304 UTC)
Contacted 2 stations: KC1JMH, and KC1HBM

KC1JMH Brad, mobile in Waterboro (2310 UTC)
Contacted 3 stations: KC1HBM, KC1HBL, and KB1IAW

N1RXR Eric, in New Gloucester (2318 UTC)
Contacted 2 stations: KC1HBM, and KB1IAW. Traffic handled: 2

KB1IAW Paul, in North Yarmouth (2328 UTC)
Contacted 4 stations: N1RXR, KC1HBL, KC1HBM, and KC1JMH

W1SFS Jason, in Scarborough (2330 UTC)
Contacted 4 stations: KB1IAW, KC1HBM, KC1HBL, and KC1JMH
73′

Tim
KB1HNZ

Self-Quarantine SKYWARN Drill 042320 – Net Report

Self_Quarantine_SKYWARN_Drill

Thanks to everyone who checked in and participated! We had a great turnout on both simplex and DMR, with 22 check-ins! The purpose of the drill was to expose participants to the SKYWARN simplex frequency and the Severe Weather Report form, test our simplex coverage, and also test out the SKYWARN DMR Talk Group.

The simplex portion of the net started on time, at 7:00 PM (2300 UTC), on 146.595. Net Control: KB1HNZ Tim, in Saco. We had 10 check-ins and handled 13 pieces of weather traffic:

KC1DFO Pete, in Dayton, ME (2301 UTC)
Contacted 2 stations: KC1HBL, KB1HNZ, Traffic handled: 1

KC1HBL Ben, Buxton, ME (2303 UTC)
Contacted 7 stations: KB1PLY, KC1HBM, W1SFS, N1BIM, KB1HNZ, KC1JMH, AB1BX Traffic handled: 5

KB1PLY Rory, in Saco, ME (2305 UTC)
Contacted 6 stations: N1BIM, KC1HBM, KB1HNZ, W1SFS, AB1BX, KC1HBL, Traffic handled: 1

W1SFS Jason, in Scarborough, ME (2307 UTC)
Contacted 6 stations: KC1HBL, KB1PLY, KC1HBM, N1BIM, K1MGR, KB1HNZ, Traffic handled: 1

N1BIM Joe, in Old Orchard Beach, ME (2310 UTC)
Contacted 6 stations: KB1PLY, W1SFS, KC1HBL, K1MGR, KC1HBM, KB1HNZ, Traffic handled: 1

WX1GYX op. N1RXR Eric, in New Gloucester, ME (2315 UTC)
Contacted 1 station: KC1HBL, Traffic handled: 13

N1CKM Wayne, in Barnstead, NH (2316 UTC)
Contacted 1 station: KC1HBL, Traffic handled: 1

K1MGR Greg, in Scarborough, ME (2317 UTC)
Contacted 4 stations: KC1HBL, KB1HNZ, W1SFS, KC1HBM, Traffic handled: 1

KC1HBM Peter, in Scarborough, ME (2318 UTC)
Contacted 6 stations: KB1PLY, KB1HNZ, N1BIM, KC1HBL, W1SFS, K1MGR, Traffic handled: 1

KC1JMH Brad, in North Waterboro, ME (2321 UTC)
Contacted 1 station: KC1HBL, Traffic handled: 2

The Simplex Net was secured at 7:59 PM (2359 UTC), after a round of informals.

The DMR net started at 8:01PM on the SKYWARN DMR Talk Group 759. Net Control: KB1HNZ Tim, in Saco. We had 12 check-ins and handled 9 pieces of weather traffic:

KC1JMH Brad, in North Waterboro, ME (0001 UTC) Traffic handled: 1
KC1HBM Pete, in Scarborough, ME (0001 UTC) Traffic handled: 1
W1EAV Chris, in Marion, MA (0002 UTC) Traffic handled: 1
W2VAN Mike, in Portland, ME (0005 UTC) Traffic handled: 1
NE1B Bill, in Hudson, MA (0007 UTC) Traffic handled: 1
N1KMX Scott, in Weymouth, MA (0009 UTC) No traffic
N1JGB Bruce, in Essex Junction, VT (0010 UTC) Traffic handled: 1
K1MGR Greg, in Scarborough, ME (0011 UTC) No traffic
W1HAI Joe, in Natick, MA (0012 UTC) Traffic handled: 1
N1BIM Joe, in Old Orchard Beach, ME (0014 UTC) Traffic handled: 1
W1SHS Stu, in Franklin, MA (0016 UTC) Traffic handled: 1
N1XRX Dennis, in Weymouth, MA (0029 UTC) No traffic

The DMR net was secured at 8:29 PM (0029 UTC).

All the weather traffic was relayed either directly or by Winlink, to SKYWARN liaison N1RXR, who checked in as WX1GYX.

73′

Tim
KB1HNZ

WS1SM Team to Participate in 9th Field Day from Wassamki Springs

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by Pete Donovan, K1SK

Members of the Wireless Society of Southern Maine are set to participate in the national Amateur Radio Field Day exercise June 22-23 at Wassamki Springs Campground, 56 Saco Street, Scarborough.

The public is encouraged to attend on Saturday, June 22, 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, all without needing a cell phone or the internet. 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 Vice President, CJ Carlsson, of Portland, ME.
During the event, participants will try to earn points by meeting specific goals as outlined by the American Radio Relay League. 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 Carlsson.

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,” says club member, Tim Watson, of Saco. “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.”

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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 finish on top again in 2019,” says Carlsson. “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. For more information about Field Day, and amateur radio in general, please visit: http://www.mainehamradio.com

2018 Field Day at Wassamki Springs

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The Spiderbeam with WS1SM banner on a guy wire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Waylon KC1HJN and Steve AA1HF hunt for hidden transmitters

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

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

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

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

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

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Frank KR1ZAN successfully makes a satellite QSO

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

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

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

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

SKYWARN Recognition Day 2017

SRD_2017 Waylon McDonald KC1HJN (background) operates the HF station, while Eric Emery KC1HJK operates the VHF station at NWS Gray, ME

by Tim Watson, KB1HNZ

On Saturday, December 2nd, the WX1GYX team participated in SKYWARN Recognition Day from the National Weather Service Forecast Office, in Gray, ME. Activities started at 8pm on Friday evening (0000Z Saturday), and continued for 24 hours.

Now in its 19th year, SKYWARN Recognition Day is a popular on-air activity that was developed by the National Weather Service and the American Radio Relay League. It celebrates the contributions that volunteer SKYWARN radio operators make to the National Weather Service. During the day SKYWARN operators visit NWS offices and contact other radio operators across the world.

SKYWARN Recognition Day 2017 was a fun event and perhaps our best so far! WX1GYX made 315 QSOs in total, on 4 different bands, including 44 different states, and 29 different NWS Offices/SKYWARN Clubs!

Operators included: K1GJY, KB1HNZ, KC1HJK, KC1HJN, & N1KTA

Among the 5 operators, there were three returning and two newly licensed hams, who were participating for the first time.

Thanks to everyone who got on the air during SRD, and also to those who contributed throughout the year!

WSSM at the South Portland Fire Department Open House

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by Tim Watson, KB1HNZ

On Saturday, October 14th, WSSM members, including Rory McEwen KB1PLY, Charlie Shepard W1CPS, and Tim Watson KB1HNZ, set up a display table and a portable HF station during the annual South Portland Fire Department Open House.

The event, which took place at the Western Avenue Fire Station, featured fire trucks on display, including a fully extended ladder unit, an ambulance, demonstrations of the jaws of life, food, activities, and more.

The Cumberland County Emergency Management Agency (CCEMA), and several local businesses also had displays. There were lots of kids having fun, climbing in the trucks, and the many families were enjoying the beautiful fall day.

The WSSM team setup an HF radio, using a BuddiPole antenna, for on-air activities, and made a good demonstration of the hobby for the curious onlookers. There were also some other radios on display, including an Icom IC706MKIIG, which is used during SOTA and other portable operations, as well as some of the other equipment used, including SLA batteries of various sizes. Intro to ham radio handouts and club information was also available.

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The highlights of the day occurred when mascots from two of the local sports teams stopped by to play a little radio.